By: Collin Barnwell
What is Elastic?
Elastic is a common textile term used to reference a fabric which has been woven with rubber strips. When released from tension, elastic fabrics can return to their original tensioned shape. Typically, elastic is a spandex core wrapped in nylon or polyester fabric. Elastic was first used in clothing in 1820 by Thomas Hancock. Hancock first used the elastic fabric in producing elastic fasteners for gloves, suspenders, shoes and stockings. While most commonly used in apparel items, elastic has now become popular with manufacturers of end-use products such as luggage and backpacks.
Varieties of Elastic
In the manufacturing space, elastic can be broken down into its three styles:
Flat braided elastic is one of the more common elastics and is used in both apparel items and end-use products. Flat braid elastic is not suitable for sewing directly sown into. Doing so will cause the material to weaken at the thread point. To combat this, flat braid elastic is commonly used in sleeve and collar casings where fabric material can be sown around the elastic. One downside to using flat braid elastic is its tendency to 'edge roll,' or become loose; this can be seen in the collar of an overly worn t-shirt. Stocked in 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch, 3/4-inch, and 1-inch widths.
Available Product: C1040 - Flat Braid Elastic
Knitted elastic can best be described as a mid-range elastic. Where flat braid elastic is best used with lightweight fabrics, knit elastic is best used with mid-weight material. Knit elastic is commonly used in apparel and bag items, but is unique in that, unlike flat braid, knit elastic can be sown directly into and does not edge roll to the same degree flat braid does. Stocked in 1-inch, 2-inch, 3-inch, and 4-inch widths.
Available Product: C1000 - Knit Elastic
Woven elastic is a very stiff and rigged elastic. Commonly used to reinforce and provide stretch to backpack pockets or tactical vests, woven elastic does not 'edge roll' and is very versatile. Unlike flat brain elastic, woven elastic needs to be sewn to heavy weight fabrics. Stocked in 5/8-inch, 3/4-inch, 1-inch, 1.25-inch, 1.5-inch, 2-inch, and 4-inch widths.
Available Product: C198 - Woven Elastic
DirecTex offers low-cost wholesale pricing to business and government agencies. Contact DirecTex to learn more about our product lines. DirecTex specializes in custom manufactured components and subassemblies for your projects. DirecTex offers low-cost wholesale pricing to business and government agencies. Contact DirecTex to learn more about our product lines. DirecTex specializes in custom manufactured components and subassemblies for your projects.