Can You Cut Elastic In Half Lengthwise? (Keep From Fraying)

When you are working on elastic waistbands sometimes measurements go off or the fabric will not play along. Whatever the mistake it is best to resist temptation and take the easy way out. Sometimes you have to use elastic in its original form and simply redo your work or measurements.

Can you cut elastic in half lengthwise? Yes, you can cut elastic in half but not every type of elastic can be cut lengthwise. You have to know the type of elastic you are working with before you reach for your scissors and start cutting away.

To learn more about cutting elastic in half and which types are safe to cut, just continue to read our article. it has the information you need to know about so you do not make a second mistake after making a first one.

Can You Cut Elastic in Half?


There are some styles of elastic that can be cut in half lengthwise and there are styles that cannot endure that cut. braided elastic will not work well if cut in half. It is not designed to handle that method of customizing.

But knitted elastic should be okay to cut in half lengthwise. The knit should hold the material together and keep it useful. To find the brand and type of elastic that can be cut lengthwise you should read the labels on the packaging.

Those labels should provide you with the right information per elastic type. If there isn’t any, a good internet search should help you find the type that can be cut in half. A little research first should save you time and some money preventing you from buying the wrong kind of elastic.

If you have some lying around the sewing room, cut a little piece off width-wise and then make a test. Cut the little piece lengthwise and see what happens.

What Happens if You Cut Elastic Lengthwise?

Nothing if you cut the kind of elastic that can be cut lengthwise. You should end up with 2 equally long pieces that can be used in different sewing projects. There is a very good brand of elastic called Stretchrite PSort elastic and it is better than most store brands being carried by Joanns and other outlets.

But if you cut the wrong brand, then you can expect disaster. The elastic will, at best, simply unravel on you and not stop until there is no elastic left to unravel. Plus, that material will probably lose its strength as its integrity has been ruined making it worthless to use.

Take the time to find a good brand of cuttable elastic to make sure you do not delay your sewing project by going out to the store and finding a different brand.

Even the elastic brands that can be cut do not work as well as they used to. That is because of inferior manufacturing and materials were used in the production process.

Will Cutting Elastic Make it Fray?


On some brands or types of elastic yes it will. The braided option is the worst for this and you should be careful of how you cut when using braided elastic. if the elastic is woven you can expect some fraying to take place.

When this happens no matter where the elastic is placed, you are going to have to deal with minor problems. The least of which is having your hair fall into your face as your hair tie has come unraveled.

To prevent any fraying you can do a zig-zag stitch on the ends, spread some liquid fabric stabilizer over the elastic, or sewing an overlapping stitch on both sides of the elastic.

If you use plastic-type elastic you should not see any fraying but that option is also not as strong as woven elastic.

Can You Cut Woven Elastic?

It is possible to cut woven elastic but it is not advisable to cut it lengthwise. When you cut this type of elastic in the normal way, it works well, is very firm, and maintains its width.

But if you cut the material lengthwise you can expect fraying to take place. Woven elastic is not that strong when it is cut lengthwise., It will lose its integrity and strength and that is evidenced by the fraying that takes place.

Woven elastic is one of the two top types that work with elastic casing. It is also the best option when you are working with heavyweight fabrics. It does not lose its resilience so you can count on your elastic waistband to hold up for several years.

When you cut this type of elastic make sure to apply some anti-fray technique to the material to keep it in top shape.

Can You Cut Knit Elastic Lengthwise


This seems to be the only type of elastic that can withstand being cut along its length. When you are working on your sewing project and you find the knitted elastic too wide, simply cut it.

You can get up to 6 pieces of 1/4 inch wide pieces of elastic cutting lengthwise. That strength does not overcome all the vulnerabilities that knitted elastic has. First, one added good point is that it is a softer elastic than the other types.

But the bad points are that it will roll more than woven elastic and it is not strong enough to handle heavyweight fabrics. It also needs to be cut shorter than the other versions because it does not grip that well when left its original size.

The good news is that this style of elastic will retain its width so you do not have to worry about that problem.

What Type of Elastic Can You Cut Lengthwise?

Actually, you can cut all elastic strips in half lengthwise if you want. the end result for two of those types is not going to be good. The braided and woven styles are not made to be cut in half the long way.

They just won’t hold together very well once their integrity has been violated. Unless you apply some fraying techniques the elastic should not last very long. Once cut the strength of those types of elastic should be minimal.

The best and only type of elastic we have found that can be cut lengthwise is the knitted version. It holds together well and you can cut it in half multiple times and not ruin the integrity of the material.

We haven’t mentioned any other types of elastic because there are basically only three types you can buy.

Cut Braided Elastic


This is not a good idea as the braided elastic is not meant to be cut in any way except across its width. Once you cut it lengthwise, it should lose strength and not respond in the manner you want it to.

Also, you should expect a lot of fraying to take place and if you want to add to your sewing work, go ahead and cut the braided elastic along its length. Once you do that you will have to apply some zig-zag or other stitches to hold the fabric together.

But the problem with sewing braided elastic is that it tends to lose its strength. Zigzag and other stitches may stop the fraying but will also act like cutting Samson’s hair. There will be no strength to the elastic.

It is best to go with a knitted elastic brand to make sure you do not create more problems for you to solve.

How to Cut Elastic Lengthwise

Not to be sarcastic or anything, you make your cuts carefully. The right tools will help you make the cut easier and spare you any issues once you are done. And the first thing you need to do is get the right brand. There is what is called fantastic elastic, if it is still around, that you can cut lengthwise.

All you need is a rotary cutter and a good straight edge that allows you to keep the elastic straight and see what you are doing. That straight edge should be transparent so that you can line up your points exactly and not make any cutting errors.

Make sure to measure twice before making your cut and also make sure your cut is straight. When you cut knitted elastic in half you can get several pieces out of one strip saving you time and money over the long run.

Can You Cut Thick Elastic Into Thinner Strips?


Yes, you can cut thick elastic into thinner strips. The trick is to find the right brand of elastic and the type of material that allows you to cut wider strips of elastic into thinner pieces.

Again, you can use a brand called fantastic elastic which has so much flexibility to it that you do not need to stock any other size of elastics. Or if you can’t find that brand find a knitted version that has the same flexibility.

This cuts down on your costs and saves you time looking for the exact width of elastic you need. When you need 1/4 inch wide elastic just cut it from a wider knitted version. This makes sewing a lot easier and more enjoyable as you are not wasting any time looking for exact elastic widths.

Will Elastic Fray Be Cut?

You can try but you may end up causing more fraying to take place. If you are not quick on the sewing draw, the material, if it is not knitted, will fray fast and easily. Cutting the fray off seems like a good idea but it wastes time you may not have.

If the elastic does start to fray make your sew line first then cut the fray off. If you do it the other way then you run the risk of losing all of the elastic. Also, keep in mind that braided elastic loses its strength when sewn.

You may have to find another alternative to stop the fraying. There are many ways to stop fraying as you will soon see. Knitted elastic should not fray on you but be careful with the woven type as it is not going to be very friendly when you cut it.

How to Keep Elastic From Fraying


There are many options available to you when fraying is going to be a problem. If the elastic is made from polyester or some other synthetic material, using a match or a lighter to melt the edges will do the trick.

Next, you can sew a zig-zag stitch on the cut edges and when you connect the two ends to make sure fraying doesn't occur. if you are attaching the elastic directly to the fabric, use woven elastic and a zig-zag or similar stitch to stop fraying.

Having a stitch line should help as well. Just don’t use braided elastic when directly attaching the material to the fabric. It won’t be strong enough. But before you attempt these options, you should cut a bit of the elastic off to see which one will work best for you and your sewing project.

Be sure first they will work before you try them. Then with the lighter option just make sure not to melt too much or you will have to start over.

Some Final Words

When working with elastic it is best to just eliminate those fabric options that do not allow you to cut them in half lengthwise. Stick to one type only and save yourself a boatload of trouble.

The knitted type is the best option to do this with and it should not fray as you make the cut. Just make sure to use a rotary cutter to get the cleanest cut possible. look for the best brands as well to save on sewing headaches.

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