Thursday, March 24, 2011

my new friend - FOE

Have you ever used FOE (fold over elastic)? I'd been mildly interested, but I don't really sew enough clothing to justify ordering any. Then I saw some at the sewing expo a few weeks ago, and was sorely tempted... and when I saw the "remnants - all you can stuff in a bag for $10" bin, I fell for it. I think I scored a great deal - I got at least 45 yards, of several different widths and colors. Plenty to play around with now!

My first attempt to use it was for this simple circle skirt for the kid. Happy St. Patrick's day! I followed the basics of the MADE tutorial (could not be any easier!). When it came time to do the waistband, I cut a length of FOE about the same length I would for normal elastic if I was using a casing. I pinned it at 4 places, and stretched the FOE as I sewed it down with a zigzag stitch. Super easy, super quick!

The only problem is that it somehow turned out WAY too big! I wasn't about to redo it (me? rip out zigzag stitching? not on your life!), so I just made two really ugly tucks on the sides. On the upside, it will be really easy to let those tucks out, so this skirt should last for *years*! So I guess the stitching makes it so that the elastic doesn't un-stretch all the way back once you've sewn it down. Is there some magic formula for how much shorter you should make it? I guess I can answer my own question - for about a 19" waist, I had to take up about 4 or 5". So, about 25% less. There you go.

I did look around youtube to see if there were any videos about how to use FOE. I found a few, but nothing about how to measure it to fit a waistband. I loved the Angry Chicken video, but even hers didn't say anything about it. Oh well, I'm okay with trial and error!

And speaking of other new things to try - what do you know about laminated cottons? I picked up a couple of these remnant pieces at the expo ($1.50 each, for two extra chubby fat quarters), but they curl up like crazy! I can't imagine trying to sew when the fabric is like this. Especially for a laminate - aren't you supposed to avoid using pins? Any hints for how to get them to lay flat? I tried to press them, but it just seemed to make it worse. Should I wash them, or throw them in the dryer? Any other advice? I'm not even sure what I'm going to make with them, maybe snack bags?


  1. i was just thinking about this FOE today. for slippers! good idea? i am not sure.

  2. I had never heard of FOE until your blog entry. Interesting invention. Cute little skirt for a cute little girl. When I read that it came out too big around the waist, I also thought, to myself, that she might grow into it one day. My kids grew like weeds about that age.
    Seems like I saw some bloggers in blog land use the laminated cloth to make coin purses.

  3. Good to know about the FOE not stretching back... I am excited to try using what I got (although it will probably be months if not years ;).

    Have you tried setting some heavy books on each end of the laminated fabric to get it to lay flat? That is my only suggestion...

  4. I love FOE! And I have no idea how to measure it...I usually just stretch it, sew it on, and when I get to the end of what I am sewing, I cut it off. Hmmm. Super technical. :) AND! Use your blow dryer for the laminated cottons. I works for vinyl, maybe it will work for the laminated stuff? And I read that if you use regular tape on the bottom of your presser foot and on the throat plate, it will help the laminated cotton go through easier when you are sewing it. (Put a piece on the bottom of the presser foot and the top of the throag plate- with a hole for the bobbin thread to come up.) That is all the advice I have for today. Ha ha!