Notion Review: Coats & Clarks Eloflex Stretch Thread

Please note: Coats & Clark did not ask me to review this product, nor did they provide me with any product or any compensation. I bought it with my own money, and you are getting my highly unvarnished (one might say ‘blunt’) opinion.

Lately it seems that lots of bloggers are flogging hyping talking about a new product, Coats & Clarks Eloflex Thread. This is a thread with elastic properties that’s designed for knit and stretch fabrics, and can be used straight – it doesn’t require any specialized stitches. According to Coats’ home-sewers website:

“Eloflex is a new, innovative thread from Coats & Clark that sews, soft, secure, stretchable seams in knit fabrics. Special stitches or a serger are not required to achieve professional results. Seams and hems will not pop when stretched because Eloflex expands with the fabric.
Eloflex is perfect for knit fabrics used in athleisure, cosplay costumes, swim suits, lingerie, and dance wear. Use with knits, but also with fabrics like stretch denim or twill. Use for sewing your own knit garments or for repairs or alterations. Have you ever tried to hem a knit skirt or T-shirt only to have it look stretched-out or wavy? Eloflex will make this a thing of the past.

Repairing a popped seam? Stitch it with Eloflex and ithe thread will stretch with the garment instead of breaking. Eloflex is 27 wt and can be used on the top and bobbin or in the needle and loopers of a serger. A size 11 ball-point or universal point needle is recommended. Eloflex is chlorine bleach resistant.”

(If you want my unvarnished opinion, the Coats Industrial Website has better information and less purple prose.)

Okay, that sounds promising. So I went to the local JoAnn to pick some up. Be warned, it’s not cheap. I paid full retail, without any coupons. Eloflex will set you back $3.49 for a 225 yard spool. By comparison, Coats’ Dual Duty all purpose thread retails for $2.99 for 400 yards, which means the Eloflex nets out to more than twice the cost of Dual Duty.

Okay then, let’s see if it’s all they say it is…

The Test Drive
I figure the best way to test it out is to try it against a control: I pulled out a spool of bright orange Gütermann polyester thread that I have in my stash. I used a royal purple Eloflex. I sewed with both threads on samples of Striped Viscose Jersey left over from my Vogue 9205 top.

I used the same thread in the needle and the bobbin (so Gütermann/Gütermann, Eloflex/Eloflex) on each sample. In all cases I used my Pfaff 2030 sewing machine with the same Stretch 75/11 Organ needle.

I ran three lines of stitches with each thread, all along the crosswise-grain, so they were along the greatest stretch of the fabric.  I ran two lines of straight stitches, each 2.5 mm long. In the line of stitches that has the red pin at the end of it, I stretched the fabric very slightly on both sides of the needle as it stitched. In the line of stitches with the white pin at the end, I didn’t stretch at all, I just let the feed dogs do their work. The third was a line of zigzag stitches, 3mm wide by 2.5mm long.

I used the Integrated Dual Feed (the built in walking foot on the Pfaff), and my presser foot pressure was set to 3 for all samples. I didn’t press any of the samples after sewing, so you see what they look like as they came off the sewing machine.

Eloflex thread: Top row, I stretched the fabric very slightly on either side of the needle while sewing. Middle row, I didn’t stretch the fabric at all while sewing. Bottom row, zigzag.
Top Row: Fabric stretched slightly on either side of the needle while sewing, Middle Row: Zigzag, Bottom Row: Fabric not stretched while sewing.

The Results
One thing I saw right away was that the Eloflex incurred more puckering along the stitching lines than the Gütermann. That was true in all three cases. I don’t know if pressing the stitches will release that. It’s not horrible, but it is noticeable, and it’s quite noticeable on the zigzag stitch.

Next I wanted to test the elasticity of the stitching. So I stretched the fabric along each of the stitching lines. I started in each case with a line of stitches measuring 5 inches.

White Pin (fabric not stretched at all while sewing)
Eloflex: 5 inches stretched to 6 inches (20% stretch) without undue stress
Gütermann: 5 inches stretched to 5.25 inches without undue stress

Red Pin (fabric stretched slightly while sewing)
Eloflex: 5 inches stretched to 6 1/8 inches without undue stress
Gütermann: 5 inches stretched to 5 ¾ inches without undue stress

Eloflex: 5 inches stretched to 6 3/8 inches
Gütermann: 5 inches stretched to 6 ¼

Breaking Point
Next, I decided to see how far each would stretch before they broke.
The Eloflex broke when I stretched it from 5 inches to 9 inches (80% stretch)

Breakage in the Eloflex – it took a fair amount of stretch, but it did break

The Gutermann broke when I stretched it from 5 inches to 6 3/4 (25% stretch)

The Gütermann broke with a lot less stretch

In my highly unscientific test, the Eloflex did a reasonable job. Here are some of my initial observations.

  1. It’s expensive.
  2. I didn’t like the fact that the thread causes the stitching line to pucker, sometimes noticeably.
  3. The Eloflex does indeed have more stretch than all-purpose thread, but I don’t believe it will allow you to sew swimsuits with a straight stitch.
  4. If you’re making a garment that takes a lot of stress through the seams, test out different types of stitches (notably zigzag and triple stitch zigzag)
  5. On the plus side, this thread is very soft, and it would be quite suitable for lingerie and other garments that lie against the body.

So, Is It Worth the Money?
The jury is still out on that. I’m going to try it on the bomber jacket that I’m making right now, and I’ll let you know what I think after I run a few more things with it.

Happy sewing!

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Gorgeous Fabrics

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21 thoughts on “Notion Review: Coats & Clarks Eloflex Stretch Thread”

  1. Not only is their prose purple, it’s not punctuated properly. For a huge company like Coats & Clark to let something like that go out the door makes me wonder what else they’re missing.

  2. Bought 4 spools in colors I use regularly. I did use the JoAnn’s coupon to that made the price a little less painful.
    Thank you for sharing your results.

  3. Darn. I heard about the thread and was wondering if it would be good for swimsuits which I am wrangling with right now. I unpicked an old Land’s End suit where the elastic had been topstitched after being serged onto the edge and turned. One side of the topstitching was in elastic thread and the other in regular thread. Don’t remember if the elastic was in the bobbin or on top. Thank you for the honest review. I’m going to JoAnn’s this week for more elastic so I may just pick up a spool and use my coupon.
    Theresa in Tucson

  4. I love this review. Samples and control tests. I kept wondering if this thread was all that and a bag of chips and now I feel like I really know the difference.

  5. I bought it and tried it on a swimsuit top and a swimsuit bottom. I found once you get past the outer layer of thread, it shreds horribly and breaks frequently. Not impressed and won’t spend the money again.

  6. Gosh, I love you. 💕 I asked on another blog but received no answer, if this was similar to Wooly nylon that is often used in serger loopers. I do sew knits (when I ever get to actually sew!) and I was thinking of trying it. It’s encouraging it took quite a bit to break the seam, but the puckering is discouraging and it would be expensive to load up the serger to construct leggings, knit tops, etc. thank you for your honest review and I’ll be waiting for the finish review.

    1. Yvonne, I can’t answer about the wooly nylon. I tried wooly nylon ages ago with bad results (puckered like crazy) and I have really good results with regular thread in my serger. Glad this helped!

      1. Wooly nylon also melts when you press it with heat. I avoid it.

        Thanks for this informative review, Ann. I hadn’t even heard of this product!

  7. I had a recent bad experience with an indie pattern that the blogosphere fawned all over and realized then the extent to which many popular blogs are simply marketing themselves out for freebies with reader trust taking a backseat. I love free as much as the next, but have a hard time understanding this disingenuous approach. Your Eloflex review is a model of constructive and thoughtful criticism and I would imagine Coats and Clark will appreciate it. Related, thank you for the professionalism and good common business sense that you exhibit by always including a disclaimer on your reviews. Not including a proper (or even pseudo-legal) disclaimer of affiliation is a huge pet peeve of mine! Whether it’s your designer friend Paco or this thread, you are a straight shooter about your affiliation (or lack thereof) with the product.

  8. Thanks for the non-sponsered review. I have a spool of Eloflex, but it feels too heavy for lighter weight knits I use. It might do well in my coverstitch machine needles for stretch denim.
    There’s another stretch thread I heard about called Gütermann MaraFlex 120 that’s lightweight and supposedly works in lockstitch or chainstitch machines. The downside is a limited color selection and it only comes in large spools of 1,640 for $6.49 ( Wawak).

  9. You are the America’s Test Kitchen of sewing. Thank you! I bought a spool of this thread with a 50% off coupon and haven’t tested it, but yeah, my gut told me my good old poly-wrapped thread sewn with a stretch stitch isn’t heading to the loser basket anytime soon.

  10. I get the idea that if you take the time to blog about the stuffs you make (which I have proved so many times that I am just too lazy to even try) you would get excited if someone offered you something for free and asked for your opinion. To then say bad things might mean that you don’t get any more free things and you don’t get to offer more opinions. I can almost see the angel and devil, almost but not quite. I don’t get to sew as much as I would like, and I wear the things I do get made with the same pride a 5 year old has over macaroni art on the fridge, so if something isn’t “holy crap batman” amazing please don’t talk it up like that because I might believe you. Thanks Ann!! I’m going to skip this new toy for now.

  11. I got 1 spool to experiment with, but haven’t yet, and it looks like it might be a while before I get to experiement. I still have more questions to mind –
    1. Is it any more difficult to remove the stitching? I don’t think I’ve ever sewn a garment without needing to rip out at least a bit.
    2. I wonder how this thread is for hand stitching – tangles, knotting if needed, and such.
    3. how will it last over the long haul of stretching, laundering, dryers, etc. Will it get stiff, loose its elasticity or like some spandex fabrics do get spandex fibers fluffing out?
    4. whether it’s any harder on the fabrics than regular thread – I’d rather the seam fail than the thread cut the fabric.

    I suspect this will be the only spool I ever buy, since wobble stitch is quite sufficient for what I sew. Besides, it looks like J took out the light weight Coats threads from the rack to put this in. I’d rather have light weight available.

    Thanks for your review Ann!

  12. I have made a top out of a Ity knit

    It does have stretch, it does pucker, I found it breaks frequently I was constantly re threading

    I would not use this thread again. I prefer Guitermann and using a zigzag stitch

  13. How would Eloflex fare in the washing machine and especially the dryer? It’s plastic thread after all. Or, it does not matter since the thread is being used on plastic material which most of today’s knit are. However, I will hate to have it become gunky on good cotton, wool, or silk knit. Thanks for the sewing test.

    1. I don’t know, Hanh-Trang. I tested it on scraps and haven’t washed them yet. I will let you know when I test it out.

  14. I bought my bright red Eloflex thread with high hopes! I stitched a sweater knit fabric into a hat, hoping that it would outperform my regular thread. Nope! It broke about every ten inches. I finally made my hat with “regular” thread. In the meantime I tried gently stretching the thread directly from the spool. Break, break, break…not a thread that I would recommend. I’m planning to take it back to Joann fabrics…hoping it was a bad spool. Loved the idea!

    1. You know Peesh, it’s funny – I pulled it out again yesterday, hoping it would work for hemming my latest Ann Tee Top. No luck. It wouldn’t wind into the bobbin without a lot of manipulating. When it wasn’t skipping stitches (and I tried a whole lot of different needles and needle types) it was breaking. I hate to pan a product, but my experience with this thread has been nothing short of awful. Save your money, folks. This product isn’t worth it.

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