Invisible (or clear) elastic is one of our overlooked (tee hee) helpers when it comes to sewing jersey fabric. At least, in my experience, most of my students don’t know of the many uses for it.

One of the great ways to use invisible elastic, is to use it for stabilizing a neckline (or, indeed, armholes) you want to just fold over and stitch from the right side, to keep the neckline from stretching out of shape and ultimately gaping.


How to use invisible elastic as a stabilizer:

In this video, I show you how to stabelize the neckline of the Karen Drape Dress. But you use the same method for the back neckline and the armholes on the Day-2-Night Drape Top – and you can even use it for the FREE Kirsten Kimono Tee, you get when you sign up for my newsletter.

What is invisible elastic?

Invisible (or clear) elastic is, as the name implies, transparent elastic. It’s not actually invisible – that would be weird. But because it is see through and rather thin, you can use it with thin fabric without it showing on the right side. It’s often made from silicone or elastane.

It’s widely available in most fabric stores I know, but just so you know what we are talking about, here are a few links:

Prym Clear Elastic (UK)
Dritz clear elastic (Amazon)


How to use the invisible/clear elastic:

Use the elastic to stabilize for instance a boat neck neckline, before you fold the seam allowances under and stitch the neckline from the right side.

  1. Leave the elastic on the roll, but un-roll the amount you need (about 80 cm / just under a yard). Pre stretch the elastic a few times.
  2. Pin one end of the elastic to the wrong side of the neckline seam allowance with a single pin – just to keep it in place when you start sewing. I always leave an extra 10 cm /4″ on the other side of the presser foot, to hold on to when the sewing begins (just trim it off afterwards). I always begin the sewing at centre back, but that’s a personal preference.
  3. Sew the elastic to the wrong side of the seam allowance. Use a serger (overlocker) or a stretch stitch on your sewing machine. Hold the elastic taut while sewing, but do not stretch it.
  4. Sew all way around, and let the elastic overlap  a bit before stopping. Trim the elastic ends.
  5. Fold the seam allowances under and pin it in place. Stitch from the right side using a stretch stitch on your sewing machine.
  6. Final (but very important) step is to steam press the neckline pretty and flat. If your fabric is delicate, simply hold teh iron over it and steam, and then press down with your hand while the fabric cools. I always use a pressing ham to maintain the curve of teh neckline.