FOE: Where Have You Been All My Life?


FOE = Fold over elastic.

I am in love.

The picture shows an unnameable garment I completed with a little bit of FOE that someone had given me. (It is embarrassing to put up that picture. I’m only doing it so you can see what I’m talking about.)

It was a dream – and answer to prayer! Sure beat everything else I have tried for getting elastic smoothly around leg and waist openings. As soon as I get some more colors, I am going to use the fold-over elastic for the arm and neck openings on tank tops, for more unnameable garments, and for the necks on dress/shifts for the girls… This is going to be so fun!

I ordered some from an ebay seller: Fold Over Elastic Plus. It will hopefully arrive today and then I can start to do more fun projects with it. I ordered black and brown and some miscellaneous colors, too.

If you want to see fun ideas and tutorials for fold-over elastic, you have to check out Angry Chicken. She’s made some adorable dresses. I haven’t watched any of the videos; I have limited bandwidth and could easily use up a month of internet with sewing tutorials!

The basic idea with fold over elastic is that it folds in half and you can encase any opening – neck, arm, leg, waist, ankle, etc. Use it like binding, only it is WAYYYYY easier to apply. If you’re okay with the casual look (such as in the unnameable garment above), just zigzag it in place, stretching the elastic to fit the opening. If you want it to look more finished, zigzag the back side of the FOE to the underside of the garment, then fold the front side of the FOE onto the right side of the garment and straight-stitch it in place. How much stretch you give it depends on the application. For swim suit leg openings or unnameable garment openings, you’ll want the elastic to be shorter than the opening, so as to gather it closed and hold it in place. For an open neckline, the FOE could be almost the same width as the opening, although I would still make it only about 75% or 80% so it wouldn’t gape open. (This remains to be tested though.)

Anybody used fold-over elastic before? Anybody willing to give it a try? Please share!


  1. I’ve never used it, but it looks so cool. I looked at Angry Chicken’s skirt and the girls dresses. Adorable. Food for sewing thoughts. Thanks for sharing. I learn so much from you.

  2. I’ve never heard of it, but then I’ve been out of sewing garments for around 20 years. However, this reminds me of my favorite edging – ribbing – not as strong as this elastic sounds, but very soft and stretchy for finishing garments ~ it is great!

    I have saved up nice amounts of ribbing since stretch ‘n sew when out of style. It was all the rage in the 80’s but now I can hardly find a pattern …. makes edges lay nice and flat, looks very professional. Sounds like this is doing the same for you.

    Thanks for sharing those links. I can’t wait to see more of your finished items as you get them.



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