There are so many different types of elastic available for a wide variety of end uses. Plush back elastic is an elastic that is commonly used when making panties and lingerie items because it has a soft velvety side designed to be comfortable against your skin. Finishing plush elastic has a decorative lacy or picot trimmed edge that is designed to show on the outside of the garment. The application technique is actually quite clever.
Plush back elastic has the same texture as typical elastic on one side and has a brushed soft finish on the other. The soft side is there to make the elastic more comfortable against your skin. This type of elastic is often found around the leg openings of panties or along the edges of a bra.
The type of plush back elastic I am using is technically called finishing plush elastic because it has a decorative picot edge. I attach it to the garment so the picot edge shows on the outside of the garment.
To prepare your fabric or pattern for using plush back elastic, adjust the seam allowance so that it is the same width as the elastic (minus any decorative edge).
As with other types of elastic, you should cut your elastic to approximately 75% of the length of what you are sewing it to.
Lay out your fabric with the right side facing up.
Lay out the elastic with the plush side facing up.
If using elastic with a decorative edge, the decoration should be toward the main body of the fabric. The un-decorated edge should be touching the cut edge of the fabric.
Pin the elastic at either end of what you will be sewing it to. Stretch the elastic until the fabric underneath is no longer bunched up and is laying flat. Pin at intervals. You want the stretch of the elastic to be evenly distributed along what you are sewing.
The best sewing machine stitch for attaching this type of elastic is a 3-step zig-zag. If your machine does not have a 3-step zig-zag stitch, a regular zig-zag should work but keep the stitches fairly close together.
First Stitching Pass
The elastic side should be facing up. The left-most stitch in your 3-step zig-zag should hit right where the elastic and decorative edge meet. As the machine sews, you should be holding the fabric and elastic so that the fabric is flat and the elastic stretched. I typically hold the fabric where it has been pinned to the elastic to maintain the even distribution of stretch.
On the first pass, your right-most stitch will fall somewhere in the middle of the elastic.
This is what the opposite side of the fabric looks like.
Second Sewing Pass
Remove the fabric from your machine. Turn the elastic to the wrong side of the fabric so the decorative edge shows (if applicable). On the second sewing pass, you will secure the cut edge of the fabric. You can sew this with the elastic side up; I like to sew this with the right-side of the fabric facing up so I can ensure the front looks nice and doesn’t pucker or pull. Use the same stitch as before – a 3-step zig-zag (or regular zig-zag if 3-step is unavailable).
The left-most stitch of my 3-step zig-zag is just off the elastic.
Here is the front and back of the finished elastic application.