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.
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
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)
The Gutermann broke when I stretched it from 5 inches to 6 3/4 (25% stretch)
In my highly unscientific test, the Eloflex did a reasonable job. Here are some of my initial observations.
- It’s expensive.
- I didn’t like the fact that the thread causes the stitching line to pucker, sometimes noticeably.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.