Not all stretch fabrics are the same.
They vary in several ways including how they sit around the body, how they stretch around the body & their drape.
Both fabric content & stretch factor play an important role in this.
Each fabric’s stretch factor plays a big part in this, as does their lycra, spandex or elastane content. Below is a guide to help you choose your fabric.
In the handmade world, stretch knit fabric is generally described as either 2-way or 4-way stretch.
NOTE: You will sometimes find fabrics that have a reasonable amount of vertical stretch (give/slight stretch), despite being described as a 2 way stretch. Do a stretch factor test (outlined below) if you can and if buying online, ask the seller if there is any vertical give.
Stretch factor is how far a fabric stretches past it’s relaxed state. This is important for the correct fit of a stretch fitted garment.
If you are sewing a fitted stretch garment it's important for the fabric to have both horizontal & vertical stretch.
As a fabric stretches OUT on your body, it will also pull UP.
For this reason, it's important for a fitted stretch garment to be made out of 4-way stretch.
If a fabric has no vertical stretch, the fabric won't be able to comfortably pull up, making it too short both through the body, crotch, armhole &/or legs. This can be very uncomfortable.
Determining stretch fabric is super easy. Here's how:
1. PRINT OUT THE STRETCH FACTOR GUIDE:
2. CUT AND LABEL A FABRIC SWATCH:
3. DETERMINE HORIZONTAL STRETCH
4. VERTICAL STRETCH
Simply refer to the fabric pages of your Pattern Emporium pattern. It will tell you exactly what stretch fabric you need.
ITY, cotton elastane, poly elastane, poly jersey, swimwear fabric, some pontes, rayon elastane, rayon bamboo elastane, stretch lace, stretch velour (stretch velvet), double brushed polyester.
Note: swimwear & leggings fabrics may fit firmer than other fabrics due to the nature of the stretch.
To view our collection of stretch patterns, click here.
These include skirts, tops & dresses.