Elastic is composed of a set of rubber (or stretchable material, as with spandex) components that have been bonded or coated in polyester, nylon, cotton, or a mix of fiber thread. Due to its unique, exceptional elongation and recovery qualities, it has relatively significant importance for use by the textile industry. To produce the elastic, the exterior threads are being braided, knitted, or woven together. It comes in a variation of sizes and different thickness; varying elastics (such as woven, braided and knitted elastic) differs on its stretch – each kind may have a more or less of a stretch. Elastic can also be sewed into casings or immediately stitched into the material to leverage fullness in a specific area. You know that you got a great elastic quality when it can be stretched it at least more than twice its length, and still returns to its original length and shape. An elastic’s quality and behavior can be ascertained by its composition and fiber content.
Most elastics range from 1/8 “to 2 1/2” wide. Elastic thread, though, is quite narrower, and other decorative elastic waistbands can also be wider.
The Difference of Knitted Elastic, Braided Elastic, Woven Elastic, and Clear Elastic
Elastic is classified by how it is manufactured as well as the fiber content. Each component plays a significant role in how an elastic behaves and how to use it or its proper application. The elastics are classified as either knitted, braided, and woven.
The fiber content is an essential component to be considered when choosing an elastic. Most elastic is made from rubber cores; however, the rubber-free elastic can be used in medical supplies and also for people who are allergic to latex. In general, the higher the amount of the rubber content in an elastic, the greater the stretch would be. Most elastic is a variation of polyester, rubber, nylon, or cotton.
A combination of rubber and polyester is by far the most versatile and also the most common elastics. They are ideal for fabrics that are wash-and-wear, swimwear, and synthetic knits.
Knitted elastic Is a soft yet sturdy. Its versatility is ideal to be used for most clothing products. Knitted elastic is the preferred choice for pajamas or other garments wherein the elastic would touch the body.
It is considered suitable for lightweight materials since it is also lightweight. It would narrow even when extended and is not damaged with needle piercings, making it as appropriate for direct application to fabric, just like as it would be with casings.
Knitted elastic material basically would not narrow even when stretched out to its maximum as it is not composed of as much rubber or fiber as that of a braided elastic and woven elastic. This also certainly contributed to knitted elastic’s cost-effectiveness. Among all the available flat elastics, the knitted elastic can be manufactured the fastest, which correlates into the shortest turnaround times when there is a need for large quantities manufacturing. White elastic, beige elastic, and black elastics are the most widely produced colors of knitted elastic due to its popular use in the textile industry and even in the medical field (which needs a lot of latex-free elastic).
Knitted elastic comes as either a blended polyester-nylon or polyester elastic, which makes it the cheapest and the most versatile among all the elastic materials.
Braided elastic is undoubtedly what so many of us imagine when we talk about elastic. This has parallel ribs passing along the elastic length, and it certainly narrows when stretched. When poked with a needle, it loses its stretch, so it is not the best option for sewing. Braided elastic is typically used when put inside casings, like that of necklines in shirts or dresses in the hems of sleeves.
Braided flat elastic is often used in innumerable uses, including sports products, equipment bags, swimwear, leg bands, and so much more. It varies in the width, materials, stretch, and colors.
Braided elastic can also be used in applications that need narrow widths but can still be a high-quality material. The braided elastic consists of high strength latex rubber and is covered with a fiber such as elastic polyester, cotton elastic, or with elastic nylon. All braided elastic behaves the same, irrespective of its covering material; it becomes narrower once stretched but goes back to its original size owing to its unique stretch retention, which is sometimes also called “memory.”
The braided elastic materials’ resilience and durability grant them longer lifespans than that of the knitted elastic varieties. The enhanced durability is the outcome of the manufacturing process during which the rubber and fiber are being braided so tightly that even at full stretch, the elastic will still look opaque.
Woven elastic is very durable and tends to be thicker than that of other elastics mentioned. Because of the very design of its construction, woven elastic is indeed a high-strength material that stretches and moves with daily use, yet when stretched, it will never narrow. The amount of its elastic content – which is double, whenever stretch is essential, the woven elastic is still by far the best choice. That added material — may it be a cotton woven elastic or polyester — also leads to increased strength and durability. A woven elastic band is so sturdy that it can be used for heavy-duty applications like those of car covering, home décor, strapping, accessories, bags, and so on. It has a distinctive rib that runs both lengthwise and horizontal, rendering it the impression of that of a windowpane. It certainly does not narrow when it is stretched, nor would it be weakened by any needle piercing. It can, therefore, be used in casings or can be directly sewn into the fabric.
Transparent polyurethane, which is also commonly known as the clear elastic, is neither a knitted, braided or woven. This is a synthetic material that returns to its original size and shapes even when stretched three to four times the length. It is now popularly used for direct application on fabric.