In this article, we will talk about the difference between braided and knitted elastic. These types of elastic are commonly used in making face masks. If you are wondering about the differences between the two elastics then you have come to the right place. While both elastics look the same at first glance, there are differences that make them unique from each other. Read the rest of this article to find out what those differences are.
What is the difference between braided and knitted elastic? Knitted elastics are popular and inexpensive because it has a wide variety of thickness and tensions offered in the range. The width of knitted elastics usually varies from 1/8 inches to 12 inches but can also be custom designed according to certain specifications. On the other hand, the braided elastic is basic elastic with parallel ribs running the length of the elastic. It curls and narrows when stretched and is commonly used in light to medium weight fabrics.
This article does not contain any product recommendations. If you are interested in purchasing elastics for face masks, here’s our buying guide with products.
What are the different features of braided and knitted elastics? How do they differ from each other? What are their pros and cons? We will answer these questions and more in this article. Before you start shopping for braided or knit elastics, you can first check out this article for useful tips and information that can help you decide which type of elastic you should choose.
What is Braided Elastic?
The important thing to remember about braided elastic is that it gets narrowed when stretched. It is also the cheapest type of elastic. It is ideal for making a face mask because it has longer life expectancy as compared to other types of elastic. Braided elastic is usually used in casings because they are not recommended to be sewn directly into the fabric as it can lose its stretch over time. You can also check out this article that we have written titled, can you use braided elastic for face masks? We have talked about braided elastics and why they are ideal for face masks.
Braided Elastic Features
- Has parallel rib along the length of the elastics
- Narrows when stretched
- Longer life expectancy as compared to other elastics
- Great for products that require frequent use
- Often used inside casings
What is Knitted Elastic?
Knitted elastic is known for being soft, strong, and suitable for most garments. This type of elastic is ideal for lightweight fabrics. It does not narrow when stretched and is also not affected by needle piercing. You can sew it directly into the fabric of the mask or use it in a casing. Aside from being soft, it is also comfortable to use. Knitted elastics are shrink-resistant and are ideal for wash-and-wear garments like face masks.
Knitted Elastic Features
- Soft and comfortable
- Lends itself well to garments that come in direct contact with the skin
- Can be sewn through fabrics without weakening its stretch properties
- Will not narrow when stretched
- Shrink resistant and is ideal for garments that will repeatedly wear and wash
- Can be sewn inside of fabric or directly outside on the surface of the fabric
What are the Differences between Braided and Knitted Elastics?
Braided elastics are shrink resistant and can stay unaffected by saltwater and chlorine. They come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Knitted elastics are used in a variety of applications mainly because it is soft and comfortable on the skin. It does not narrow when stretched and can be stitched directly into the fabric. Below are the features of braided and knitted elastics that show their differences.
Braided elastics become narrower when sewn through by needles or pins. The needle pierces the rubber casing which causes loss of stretch and recovery. Because of this, it is ideal for use in casings. Knitted elastics do not lose its stretch when pierced in needles. Moreover, it is soft and comfortable to the skin. For these reasons, it can be used for casings, sewing directly into the fabric, or on the surface of the fabric.
Braided elastic is made by covering rubber with either polyester or cotton which allows it to stretch. It will get narrow when stretched but it has amazing recovery. The polyester and rubber, or cotton fibers are braided closely making it strong and durable. On the other hand, the knitted elastic does not have much rubber or fiber in it so it does not narrow when stretched. This also contributes to the cost-effectiveness of the elastic. Knitted elastics can be produced the quickest. They are usually made of polyester elastic or a polyester and nylon blend which makes them versatile.
Braided elastic becomes narrow as it stretches. This could have some advantage when the material is overstretched over a long period of time. It also loses its stretch when sew or pierced with needles. Knitted elastics do not narrow when stretched and are also shrink-resistant. You can pierce it with a needle without weakening or distorting the elastic.
Braided elastic cannot be cut lengthwise because it frays and unravels. As a result, it loses its integrity. Knitted elastics do not narrow when stretched and can be cut lengthwise because it does not fray. If you are interested in purchasing black elastics for your face mask, you can also check out this article that we have written about the best black elastics for face masks. We have shared a list of products that you can choose from and purchase for your next face mask project.
When to Use Braided and Knitted Elastics?
Braided elastics are commonly used in casings and hems like in necklines of dresses. It is also ideal for sewing face masks. Knitted elastics are ideal for light to mid-weight fabrics. It can be put in a casing or applied directly into the skin. It is a good choice for pajama pants and other garments where elastic touches the skin like face masks. On the other hand, braided elastic loses its stretch when pierced with needles so it is not always the best choice. Knitted elastic can be less durable after many uses. We have also written this article titled, can you use round elastic for a face mask? Check out the article for useful tips and information.
✅ Video – How to Pick the Right Elastic for Your Sewing Project
Seamwork shared the video below on their YouTube channel. In the video, Kim talked about how to pick the right elastic for your sewing project. The different kinds of elastics are discussed along with their individual features. She also talked about the pros and cons of the elastics. Moreover, she provided helpful tips to determine which elastic suits your preferences. Check out the video below for more tips and information.
Which Should You Use for a Face Mask?
Braided and knitted elastics have their pros and cons. The choice is up to you. You have to consider your preferences when it comes to choosing between the two. While braided elastics can easily fray and gets narrow when stretched, it is lightweight and has longer life expectancy as compared to other kinds of elastic. Knitted elastic on the other hand can be sewn directly on the fabric and does not narrow when stretched but it can be less durable in the long run. You can also check out this article that we have written about braided elastics and if it is good for face masks. Check out the article for more information.
What Stitch do You Use to Sew Elastics?
When sewing elastics, you can use a zigzag stitch setting on your sewing machine or you can also do it by hand. Sew across the overlapping elastics two to three times. This will make sure that the ends of the elastics are well connected and will not easily tear off. Another method that you can do is by sewing the ends of the elastic together using a scrap piece of fabric. You can also insert the elastic through a casing on the mask.
✅ Video – How to Insert Elastic for Face Mask
SewInGenius shared the video below on her YouTube channel. She talked about how to insert elastic for a face mask. She is using ¼ inches for the mask. Check out the cool trick that she does for holding the ends of the elastic in place while sewing them. Watch the video below for the demonstration
How Many Inches Should the Elastic be on a Face Mask?
There is no standard length required when making face masks. Some people suggest using 7 inches long for ear loops and 23 inches long for over the head straps. If you want to use elastics for the ties, you can make the elastic longer. The choice depends on your preferences and how you want the mask to fit on the wearer’s face. You can also check out this article that talks about how many inches the elastic should be on a face mask. We have shared various length options that you can choose from.
Thank you for reading this article about the difference between braided and knitted elastic. Hopefully, this article will help you choose the right one for you. Both braided and knitted elastics have their pros and cons. You can decide which one is best for you by analyzing your needs and preferences. You can also store them both in your closet for future use.