In all my years of sewing, I’d never worked with a stretchable thread for a regular sewing machine, but it was recommended in a BurdaStyle sewing challenge I recently took: Sew-Along: Knit Maxi Dress with Meg Healy.
Yes, I used a stretchy thread before (it’s called wooly nylon) but it can be used only in the upper and lower loopers of my serger for seams, rolled hems, and edges.
So, I bought this stretchable thread for a regular sewing machine called Eloflex (from Coats) right away and started to sew a dress from Burda Style magazine ( 04/2017) Meg Healy had recommended. Here is my review of this wonderful thread.
✅ Related tutorial: Stretch thread for sewing
What do I like about this Eloflex thread?
The first obvious plus is that the thread can be used in a regular sewing machine with just a regular straight stitch function. Special stitches (like a small zigzag) or a serger are not required to sew knits or stretchy woven fabric with elastane. Just wind the bobbin with Eloflex thread and use the thread both in the needle and the bobbin to sew stretchy fabric.
I tested it with a few different fabrics: woven cotton with elastane, woven natural silk with elastane, and knit 100% cotton. It works like a charm.
Stretch stitches of your sewing machine can be used with Eloflex also, by the way. It actually makes the seams even stronger and improves the recovery of the fabric after it was stretched.
Below there are images of fabrics I tried to sew with Eloflex thread.
Eloflex thread is quite strong and it expands with the fabric so seams on those fabrics I used don’t pop out when stretched. I haven’t had any breakage, despite giving it a sharp tug a few times, just to test it.
The thread has a nice sheen and the variety of colors is great.
It has quite a useful latch to hold the thread in place when in storage so it will not mix with other threads in my sewing box and make a mess.
The thread is very smooth. It has no unevenness or weak areas and is quite durable.
What I don’t like about the Eloflex thread
I noticed also a few things that I don’t like about this thread. Well, nothing is perfect, right? And if you know some cons that I discovered you will be just more careful in using the thread.
The thread didn’t work well with very stretchy knits. Yes, it is strong and stretches quite well, but up to a point.
I made this maxi dress from Meg’s tutorial and wore it twice and a few seams have the popped-out thread already.
When I was sewing the dress using a very stretchy viscose fabric with Eloflex thread my Janome Memory Craft 6600 (which is an extremely nice sewing machine) couldn’t handle it properly. I suppose to use a ballpoint (or stretch, jersey) needle for sewing stretchy fabric. My machine completely refused to sew the Eloflex thread with ballpoint needles, and I tried 3 different kinds and brands. It is quite surprising because other people who have sewn with Eloflex thread used ballpoint or stretch needles.
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The thread kept fraying in my sewing machine and then missing stitches. Bunching happened and I needed to rethread. I never could use Eloflex thread with the ball point needles on my Janome. So I tried just regular needles 80/12 and 90/14 which handled it beautifully. And I didn’t have any problems sewing except having small holes in my knits which is not really good.
✅ Related tutorial: Sewing thread types and uses
This Eloflex thread from Coats is a very nice innovation in sewing stretchy fabric. Use it where appropriate – and you will love it.
Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself.
Where to buy Eloflex thread?
Joann Fabrics has it but when I went there to buy the thread they were out of stock. So I bought it online. I had a good experience buying from Amazon. They have the best selection, price, and customer service is pretty good. So you can buy Eloflex here online too.
Did you find this tutorial helpful? If so, save this pin (see below) on your sewing board so you can come to this tutorial later when you are ready to use the Eloflex thread, and follow me on Pinterest for more tips, tutorials, and inspiration!
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Wednesday 21st of September 2022
Thanks for the info. Do you have wind the bobbin like with Shirring elastic, or use the bobbin winder?
Monday 3rd of October 2022
I wind a bobbin with shirring elastic by hand, no, I don't use a bobbin winder in this case. I have a tutorial on filling a bobbin How to wind a bobbin
Thursday 5th of May 2022
I couldn't tell from your post, but some people may not realize that not all ballpoint needles are the same. The size of the scarf and the eye will have an effect on the thread and stitching. Schmetz makes a stretch needle with a ballpoint and a special eye especially for stretch knits. I'm not a Schmetz rep, but just wanted to provide a link for more info on this type of needle from the manufacturer. I have tried one with good luck using this thread. https://schmetzneedles.com/stretch-sewing-machine-needles/stretch-1722c-group
Sunday 8th of May 2022
I am talking more about needles for knits in this article: How To Sew Knit Fabric. Amazon also sells the Schmetz stretch needles here: https://amzn.to/386xMAZ (for size 11/75) or you can go to the Schmetz store on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/387eQ56 for a larger selection.
Saturday 19th of March 2022
I recently had to repair a sock with an alabaster egg, the old fashioned way. The socks are compression socks with stretch & expensive. The way hole in heel area. I used wooly nylon thread as that is all I had that seemed stretchy enough. Regular thread does not work, I have tried.
Hand sewing with wooly nylon thread is difficult as it catches or tangles easily. I serger it is much better.
Would you recommend Eloflex as an alternative? I will have to buy online, as we have no shops here that carry much.
Thank you for all of your great tips you share.
Saturday 19th of March 2022
I have used Eloflex in sewing by hand, and it did work. It is however much less stretchy than the woolly nylon, of course it depends on how much tension you put on the woolly nylon to begin with. I think you can try to use it, I have never tried myself with that kind of material, but to me it sounds possible. If you do, please let us know what the result is! Thank you.
Saturday 19th of March 2022
@Nikki, sorry for typos.... eye issues
Monday 2nd of September 2019
How do I use my serger for bathing suit fabrics? Thank you.
Friday 26th of July 2019
Have you tried eloflex in the needles on a serger?
Saturday 27th of July 2019
No, I didn't try because Eloflex is for the regular sewing machine (for sewing knits mostly), for my serger I have wooly nylon threads (for the looper) for very stretchy knits and if the fabric is not very stretchable I just use regular polyester serger/overlock threads. But I think you can certainly use Eloflex with a serger, I don't see why not.