Friday, September 20, 2013

Comparing Elastic Threads: Which is Best?


Hi there!  Have you ever wondered how elastic thread (you know, the kind you use for shirring) compares from brand to brand?  I normally buy Gutermann because that was what was available at JoAnn the first time I decided I needed some.  I've just been buying it ever since.  But a few months back, I went into Hobby Lobby and tried to pick some up, and they don't carry it!  So I decided to pick up a spool of Dritz elastic thread and a spool of Sew-Ology and hope for the best.  I was really impressed with Sew-Ology (I opted to try that one over the Dritz for my project).  I've also heard a lot of people talking about how awesome Stretchrite is, too.  With all these choices, what's a girl to do?  Well, I decided to do a little experiment to compare all 4 of these brands and want to share my results with you all so you can make informed buying decisions, too! 

Just some background info...

*  I cut 4 identical rectangles measuring 12"x 5" out of gray broadcloth.  I then labeled then A, B, C, and D.

*  I assigned Stretchrite to Fabric A, Dritz to Fabric B, Gutermann to Fabric C, and Sew-Ology to Fabric D.

*  I did 8 rows of shirring on each piece of fabric, with each row being 1/4" apart.

 The results...

The photo on the left shows the shirring before I hit it with some steam.  The photo on the right shows how much they shrank up once I steamed them.  Each blue square measures one inch.  The fabric rectangles started out being 12 inches long, and this is how much they've shrunk. 

Here's what I found.  The Sew-Ology thread created the tightest shirring, followed by Stretch-Rite, then Gutermann, and lastly Dritz.  This doesn't necessarily mean you should never use Dritz.  If you're wanting to add a little shirring, like to perhaps a pocket for some added interest, then Dritz might be a good choice.  I guess it would just depend on how tight you wanted your shirring to be for your specific project.  If using shirring on a bodice, I would want the tightest fit to ensure the bodice stayed put, so I'll be sticking with Sew-Ology for that :)

Please note that these are simply my findings from my own little experiment in my house.  I haven't made a garment with each of these threads to test their durability and/or long-term elasticity, so those might be other factors you would want to consider.  Plus, there may be other brands of thread out there that are awesome.  I don't know of any...but they might be out there!  So anyways, I hope this was helpful! 

 And now, a reminder about our latest contest!

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 Go sew something magical!


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  1. It's funny you post your experiment with the elastic thread. A few weeks ago I did a shirring project and could not for the life of me figure out why the elastic thread was not shrinking as it usually does. I thought I had just got a hold to a bad roll of thread. After reading your post I now know what the problem was. I normally buy stretch rite and had picked up another brand for this project because it was all that was available at the time. So I can attest to your experiment and say the brand of thread really does make a difference in the project it's being used for. Thanks for sharing!! Enjoyed reading!

    1. Thanks, Donna! It's hard to believe there is an almost 2 inch difference between the Dritz and Sew-Ology, isn't it? I wouldn't have thought there would be much of a difference between them all. Have a great day!!

  2. Hi Kayla, I found your experiment to be very interesting and very well done. I would love to see a tutorial on how to do shirring to make garments. I have never found anyone who could show me how to do it. Please consider it!

    1. Roberta, thank you so much! I actually am working on a shirring tutorial, but I only know how to shirr using my Brother SE 400. I'm not sure if it would still be relevant for machines other than Brothers. But maybe it will help! I hope to get it up sometime next week :)

  3. Well done! Thanks, I have been finding new ways to use shirring and love its many effects. I have always wondered if there really was a difference. Now I know :)

  4. I've been wondering for awhile now, too, and my curiosity got the better of me :) Thanks so much!!

  5. You saved us hours by sharing this! Thank you!! You are the best!!!!!!!!!

  6. Thanks for this! I'd been using Stretchrite but can no longer find it in stores near me; seems they all sell Singer now and it's worse than Dritz! Nearest Hobby Lobby is an hour away, but I can stock up on Sewology now that I know it will work well! Wish I'd seen this before I wasted $$ on Dritz.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I'll try to respond as quickly as I can! Have a fabulous day full of sewing!