How to Calculate Elastic Consumption of Garment

How to Calculate Elastic Consumption of Garment

Niharika Ninawe
IE officer at Pratibha Syntex Ltd.
Pithampur, Indore


Elastic consumption in garment production is a crucial aspect of creating comfortable and well-fitted clothing. Elastic bands are commonly used in various parts of garments, such as waistbands, cuffs, and necklines, to provide stretch and ensure a snug fit. Calculating the correct amount of elastic needed for a specific garment is essential for achieving the desired fit and avoiding fabric wastage.

In this process, accurate measurements, an understanding of fabric stretch properties, and sewing techniques play vital roles. Designers, pattern makers, and sewists need to calculate elastic consumption to ensure that the garment fits well on the wearer while allowing for ease of movement. By following precise calculations and considering factors like stretch percentage, overlap, and sewing allowances, the elastic can be incorporated seamlessly into the garment design.

Elastic attachment in garment
Fig: Elastic attachment in garment

This guide will provide a detailed overview of the steps involved in calculating elastic consumption for a garment. From gathering necessary measurements to determining the total length of stretched elastic and accounting for sewing allowances, the process is broken down to help professionals and enthusiasts alike create garments that are both stylish and comfortable. Understanding these calculations not only aids in efficient material usage but also contributes to the overall quality and durability of the finished garment.

How to Calculate Elastic Consumption:
To calculate the elastic consumption of a garment, you need to follow a few steps. Elastic consumption refers to the amount of elastic needed to create a specific length of gathered or stretched fabric in a garment. Here’s a general guide on how to calculate elastic consumption:

1. Gather Information:

  1. Garment Measurements: Determine the length of the area where the elastic will be applied (e.g., waist, cuffs, and neckline).
  2. Stretch Percentage: Know the stretch percentage of the elastic you are using. This information is usually provided by the manufacturer and indicates how much the elastic can stretch beyond its original length.

2. Calculate the Desired Length of the Stretched Elastic:

Calculate the Total Length: Multiply the garment measurement by the desired stretch percentage. This will give you the total length of the stretched elastic required for the garment.

Total Length of Stretched Elastic = Garment Measurement × (1+Stretch Percentage)

3. Account for Elastic Overlap and Sewing Allowance:

  1. Elastic Overlap: If you are joining the ends of the elastic to create a loop, you’ll need to account for the overlap. Typically, an overlap of 1 inch (2.54 cm) is used.
  2. Sewing Allowance: Add a small amount for seam allowance on each end where the elastic will be sewn. A common sewing allowance is around 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) on each end.
  3. Total Elastic Length=Total Length of Stretched Elastic+Overlap+2×Sewing Allowance

4. Cut the Elastic:
Cut the calculated total elastic length from the elastic roll.

5. Sew the Elastic in Place:
Sew the elastic onto the garment, stretching it as you sew to fit the garment measurement.

Let’s say you’re making a skirt with a waist measurement of 30 inches, and you’re using elastic with a stretch percentage of 25%.

Calculate Total Length of Stretched Elastic:

Total Length of Stretched Elastic = 30 inches × (1+0.25) = 30 inches×1.25 = 37.5inches

Account for Overlap and Sewing Allowance:

Overlap = 1 inch

Sewing Allowance = 2 × 0.5 inches = 1 inch

Total Elastic Length=37.5inches+1inch+1inch=39.5inches

Cut a piece of elastic that is 39.5 inches long and sew it into the waist of the skirt.

Calculate Elastic Consumption
Click on image for large size

Remember, these are general guidelines, and actual measurements and allowances can vary based on the specific design and personal preference. Always test the elastic on a small fabric sample before applying it to the actual garment to ensure the desired fit.

Elastic consumption can vary based on the type of elastic (braided, knitted, woven, etc.) and the specific project requirements. Always refer to the elastic’s packaging or manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidelines on usage.

While this is a basic method, keep in mind that different sewing techniques and garment styles might require adjustments to the calculations. Always test your elastic on a small fabric swatch before applying it to your actual project to ensure the desired fit and stretch.

Calculating the length of waist elastic for a garment involves a few steps. Here’s a general guide on how to do it:

Step 1: Measure the Waist
Firstly, measure the waist of the person who will be wearing the garment. Make sure to measure it snugly but not too tight, as the elastic needs to be comfortable when worn.

Step 2: Determine the Desired Tension
Decide how tight you want the elastic to be. This depends on the style of the garment and the wearer’s comfort. Some prefer a snug fit, while others might like it a bit looser. Generally, you would subtract about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) from the actual waist measurement to allow for a comfortable fit.

Step 3: Calculate the Elastic Length
If you’re sewing a waistband directly into a garment:

  • Subtract: Subtract the desired tension (usually 1-2 inches or 2.5-5 cm) from the actual waist measurement.
  • Round off: Round the result to the nearest whole number.
  • Cut the elastic: Cut the elastic to this length.

In conclusion, calculating elastic consumption in garment production is a critical skill that ensures not only the proper fit of the garment but also efficient use of materials. By following precise measurements and considering factors like stretch percentage, overlap, and sewing allowances, designers and manufacturers can create garments that are comfortable, well-fitted, and aesthetically pleasing.

Understanding the specific requirements of each garment, such as waistbands, cuffs, or necklines, allows for the accurate determination of the elastic length needed. This attention to detail is essential for both mass production and handmade garments, contributing significantly to the overall quality of the finished product.

Moreover, by mastering the art of elastic consumption calculation, fashion professionals can optimize material usage, reduce wastage, and enhance the sustainability of their practices. Properly fitted garments not only improve customer satisfaction but also minimize the need for alterations, saving both time and resources.


  1. The topic of elastic consumption in garment making is often covered in comprehensive sewing and pattern-making books. If you’re looking for detailed information on this subject, you might want to check popular sewing resources, both online and offline.
  2. I learn this from institute and industry of apparel manufacturing; in library specialized fashion and sewing books are available.

You may also like:

  1. Seam Allowance: A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing Seams
  2. Consumption Calculation for Woven Basic Pant/Trouser
  3. Determination of Fabric Consumption of Dress Shirt
  4. Consumption Calculation of Fabric, Garment Trimmings and Accessories

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