Types of Stretch Fabric

30 Types of Stretch Fabric: Properties and Their Application 

Ripp! That is not the sound you hear when you wear stretch fabric. The reason is the stretch fabric can be stretched to meet your body movements.

Stretch fabric is one of the essential textile fabrics that can help you save from those embarrassing moments. There are unlimited sewing options available for this fabric, and it is easier to work with them.

If you’re a fashionista or just want to know how to sew stretch fabric and make it a beautiful addition to your wardrobe, this guide is for you.

Learn about different types of stretch fabric, their uses, and tips for sewing it.

Where Are Different Types of Stretch Fabric Produced?

Many renowned corporations make stretch and spandex fabrics. DuPont is one of the famous factories which is spread across the world.

While many synthetic fibers have lost popularity in recent years, different types of stretch fabrics are coming on the market every day. The stretch fabric industry will continue to enjoy increasing growth until 2023. 

The majority of the world’s spandex or stretch fabric manufacturing plants are located in China. Here are some of the popular countries which produce high-quality stretch fabric.

    • China
    • Ghana
    • India
    • USA
    • Malaysia
    • Nigeria
    • Switzerland
    • France
    • Italy

Two Types of Stretch Fabric by the Yard

Stretch fabric is a synthetic fiber that stretches. This fabric can be categorized into two types of stretch fabric.

2-way Stretch Fabric

What is a two way stretch fabric
Image Source: Sewing is Cool

2-way stretch fabric is also known as 1-way stretch material. These types of stretch fabric by the yard stretch in one direction and then bounce back to their original shape.

4-way Stretch Fabric

The 4-way stretch fabric may look like it stretches in four directions, but it stretches in two directions such as lengthwise and crosswise. Jersey fabric is a 4-way stretch fabric as they are knitted.

Some people also believe that there is a third type of 1-way stretch fabric, but many knit fabrics which provide 25% stretch are 1-way stretch fabric.

19 Different Types of Stretch Fabric and Their Properties

Stretch fabrics are an essential part of everyone’s life. You can find different types of stretch fabrics in your wardrobe which allow you to spend your day with utmost comfort.

Types of stretch fabric
Image Source: Pinterest

Here are some common types of stretch fabric.

Spandex

Spandex fabric
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Spandex has revolutionized the textile industry with its unique ability to stretch about 300% to 400%. The stretchiness of spandex depends on the elastane content. 

Comfort wear contains 1% to 5% elastane, whereas sportswear has 12% to 15% elastane. Many people think spandex and Lycra are identical, but they are not. 

Types of stretch fabric that contain elastic content with the base of nylon, cotton, or wool are known as Spandex fabric. Lycra is another type of spandex fabric that is trademarked by DuPont company.

Spandex Blends

Spandex blends are those stretchy fabrics that are mixed with other fibers and lend 2% to 20% of their elasticity to new fiber. There are different types of spandex blends available in the market. Here are some of the popular spandex blends:

Cotton Spandex Blend

Stretch fabric
Image Source: Medium

The cotton-spandex blend is popular for its smoothness. Since it is a 4-ways stretch fabric, it can be used for making different types of t-shirts, skirts, dresses, etc. Stretch cotton fabric contains 3% to 4% spandex. 

Sometimes synthetic fibers are blended with Lycra to make a popular fabric called slinky knit. These blends are named as per the fabric they are constructed with. So, if you choose cotton, you can get cotton slinky knits.

Rayon Knit Spandex Blend

Rayon spandex can offer you the same smoothness as offered by silk fabric. Since rayon knit spandex blend fabric gives utmost comfort, it is suitable for making form-fitting fabrics. 

One of the best rayon spandex blends is Bamboo rayon which gives incredible smoothness against the skin. Some spandex blends are:

    • Linen
    • Modal
    • Acetate
    • Tencel

Polyester Spandex Blend

Stretch cotton fabric
Image Source: Pinterest

It’s amazing to see how many different articles are written on making clothes with polyester fabric. This cost-effective fabric can be blended with spandex to give you more stretch. 

It is a lightweight fabric and ideal for sewing costumes, leggings, and dancewear. Stretch polyester fabric can also be used as an alternative to leather fabric.

Nylon Spandex Blend

All kinds of activewear such as swimsuits, sports bras, and many more are made from nylon spandex blend fabric. Many cycling champions prefer these types of spandex blended fabric. 

So next time when you watch the Tour de France, catch this fabric. Most nylon stretch fabrics are blended about 15% with spandex. With some other fabrics such as Tricot, the spandex can be between 25% to 50%.

Knit Fabric

Stretch knit fabric
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Knit fabrics are popular for sewing all types of clothes since they are stretchy. Most knit fabric has stretch in 2-way form. Start with these easy beginner sewing projects to make beautiful clothes from stretch knit fabric.

Here is a quick overview of different types of knitted fabric:

Stretch Jersey Knit

Stretch jersey knit is a light to medium weight knit fabric that is used for making sportswear. Stretch jersey fabric has a smooth surface and excellent drape, which makes it perfect for making body-hugging dresses. Cotton fibers in jersey knit fabric add more comfort level to clothes.

Woollen Jersey Fabric

Woollen jersey fabric
Image Source: Pinterest

Woolen jersey fabric is knit together by using hand or machine and wool yarns. These types of knit fabric might be challenging to sew since it unravels when you cut it. Learn some advanced sewing techniques and sewing hacks to deal with woolen jersey fabric.

Other types of knitted fabric include:

    • Silk Jersey
    • 3×3 rib knit
    • Cotton jersey knit
    • Bamboo jersey
    • Sweater knit
    • Interlock twist jersey
    • Double knit
    • Silk mesh knit

Stretch Lace

It is one of the best types of stretch fabric since it has lace. When you get lace with stretch property, you can do wonders. This fabric can add more beauty to any cloth. 

Stretch lace fabric is woven from a combination of synthetic and elastic sewing threads types and tips. They are often used in making different types of women’s underwear, dresses, skirts, and blouses. You can also learn to sew leggings from stretch lace material.

Stretch Velvet

Appleton velvet dress
Image Source: Sew Sarah Smith

Stretch velvet fabric comes with a beautiful surface and can stretch up to 15%. These types of stretch fabric are perfect for making costumes, dancewear, etc.

Stretch Denim

Stretch denim fabric is a lightweight stretchy fabric that offers utmost comfort and ease. These types of stretch fabrics are a mixture of polyester, cotton, and spandex. Stretch denim is often used in making different types of jeans and skirts.

Rubber/Latex

Different types of stretch fabric
Image Source: The Guardian

Rubbers can be used for making some limited clothes. Latex is made up of the sap of the rubber tree. This fabric is challenging to sew, thus read these best sewing tips and tricks

Rubber or latex is not comfortable to wear even though it is stretchy. It can be used for making numerous things that can keep you dry in the rainy season since it has water-resistant properties. Rubber is also used in a lot of medical facilities.

When rubber comes in direct contact with skin, it might be allergic. Make sure you do not dry clean rubbers, as dry cleaning can damage the fabric.

Neoprene Rubber

It is a synthetic polymer that looks like rubber. Neoprene rubber comes in a variety of thicknesses and is often used in scuba driver’s wetsuits. 

Many designers have also started using neoprene rubber for making fashionable garments and accessories. Make sure you check the woven labels and care labels of clothes made from neoprene rubber.

French Terry

What is french terry
Image Source: Treasurie Blog

French terry is another type of stretchy knit fabric. This is a soft material and comfortable to wear. This medium-weight fabric is easy to maintain and easy to work with. French terry is often used for making hoodies, loungewear, and sweatpants.

Stretch Satin

Stretch satin fabric is a polyester-spandex blend in satin finish. This material is sought-after to achieve its lustrous and elegant look.

Vinyl or Faux Leather

Stretch vinyl fabric
Image Source: Sailrite Blog

Vinyl or faux leather is made from synthetic fibers. This stretchy fabric is ideal for making belts and home furnishing items. Sometimes Stretch vinyl fabric or faux leather is used in different types of shirts and men’s underwear as well. Black stretch fabric is popular in men’s belts.

Stretch Fabric Ceiling

This fabric is made with a thick PVC-based, recyclable stretch membrane. They come in a wide range of colors and finishes such as satin, matt, high gloss lacquer, etc. 

The fabric is waterproof and can be printed or simple. This stretchable fabric requires less care and is used for installing it in the ceiling.

PowerNet

Stretch mesh fabric
Image Source: Pinterest

Many people are not familiar with Powernet fabric since it is just used for making different types of male underwear. As the name suggests, this stretch fabric has many elastane fibers with a four-way stretch.

Cotton Poplin Stretch

Cotton poplin stretch is a 2-way or 4-way stretch fabric, depending upon the fibers blended in it. This stretch fabric stretches about 10%, but it gives super comfort. 

Many types of shirts are made from cotton poplin stretch. This fabric is also suitable for making different types of shorts, shirts, blouses, skirts, and summer dresses.

Stretch Viscose Jacquard

Stretch viscose fabric
Image Source: Sewing Hackers

Viscose Jacquard fabric’s stretch depends on its construction. These types of fabric are perfect for making different types of tank tops, tunics, and blouses.

Mesh Stretch

Eyelet mesh stretch fabric is one of the best breathable stretch fabrics. It is a 2-way, lightweight stretch mesh fabric. 

Stretch mesh fabric is available in a wide range of colors and patterns to meet all of your sewing project needs. Designers use hang tags with mesh stretch fabric for making backpacks pockets, sports bras, and swimsuits.

Chiffon Stretch

Stretch chiffon fabric
Image Source: Sewing is Cool

If you are looking for stretchable fabric that can help you look sophisticated, choose stretch chiffon fabric. These types of stretch fabric by the yard have an incredibly smooth surface and are used for various formal garments. 

Some sleek and elegant blouses and formal gowns are made from chiffon stretch fabric. You can also read these 35 intermediate sewing projects and learn to use them as a layering fabric for formal and casual day-dresses.

Crepe Stretch

Stretch crepe fabric is the most comfortable type of stretch fabric that can be worn all around the year. Its viscose content makes its high-quality fabric. This heavyweight, excellent stretchy fabric is perfect for making a wide range of stylish clothes. 

Stretch crepe fabric has a beautiful matte surface and incredible drape with a spandex blend, making it a 4-way stretch fabric. With some simple care and tips, you can maintain stretch crepe fabric.

Silk Stretch

Stretch silk fabric
Image Source: The Creative Folk

Elegance and sophistication can just be brought by beautiful silk fabric. When silk is blended with spandex, it can give you a lustrous look and great stretch. 

You can also mix fabrics such as viscose and rayon to get the softness you are looking for. Stretch silk fabric can be used for making different types of pants for both formal and casual occasions. 

When to Use Four-way Stretch Fabric and 2-way Stretch Fabric?

Sewing stretch fabric can be a challenging task when you don’t know which way the fabric stretches. There are two basic stretch fabrics available in the market: 2-way and 4-way.

These both stretch fabrics are made for specific purposes. Here are some of the ways you can use 2-way and 4-way stretch fabrics.

Stretch Cotton Poplin

Stretch cotton poplin
Image Source: Tissura

Blouses, Shirts, Skirts, and Warmer Dresses

Stretch Jersey Knit

Tops, Dresses, and Skirts

Stretch Viscose Jacquard

Blouses, Tops, Dresses, Tunics, Skirts

Cotton Jersey Knit

Cotton jersey knit fabric
Image Source: Pinterest

Trousers, Women Tops, Skirts, Cardigans, Dresses

Stretch Cotton

Dresses, Skirts, Blouses. Heavyweight stretch cotton for Jackets and Trousers.

Stretch Silk Satin

Stretch silk satin fabric
Image Source: Tissura

Eveningwear, Dresses, Underwear, Blouses, Skirts

Stretch Velvet

Sweatshirts, Jackets, Trousers, Dresses, Skirts

Stretch Wool

Skirts, Cardigans, Sweatshirts, Jackets, Dresses, Trousers, Sweatshirts

Stretch Cotton Sateen

Stretch cotton sateen fabric
Image Source: Cali Fabrics Blog

Elegant dresses, Blouses, Skirts. Heavyweight stretch cotton sateen is great for suits and shirts.

7 Things to Know When Wondering How to Sew With 4-way Stretch Knit Fabric

Whether you’re an experienced tailor or a fresher, knowing how to sew stretch fabric is essential. Sewing stretch fabric can be a bit challenging.

How to sew stretchy fabric
Image Source: Contrado

Stretch fabric is comfortable and easy to wear, but you need proper knowledge to sew this fabric. Knowing how to sew this fabric can give you the confidence to polish your sewing skills. Read these things to know the section; you will see that sewing stretch fabric is not so hard.

How to Handle the Fabric

Make sure you do not forget to pre-wash your stretch fabric before you start sewing fabric. Let it dry flat for at least a day so that it can keep its original shape. 

Choose your patterns and keep them on your fabric. If you’re wondering “how to stretch fabric,” then you can use a fabric stretcher to check if the fabric you chose is stretchable or not. 

To keep the fabric in place, you can use some pins and cut the patterns with paperweights and a rotary cutter. It is good to keep the pins inside the seam allowance so that you can avoid unwanted holes in the garment. 

Stretch knit fabric tends to curl, so sometimes it makes it harder to sew with them. You can use a stretchy spray to press the edges.

Which Thread and Needle to Use

Threads are an essential part of sewing any fabric. It also works great with segers, sewing machines, and cover stitch machines. 

Man made fibers
Image Source: Hector J. Rivas On Unsplash

When working with stretch fabric, make sure you choose polyester threads as they are strong and can be found in various colors. Avoid choosing cotton threads as they might break when pulled.

Needles are also essential when sewing stretch fabric. When you feel skipped or poor stitches while sewing, the problem might be with the type of needle you choose. 

All stretchy fabrics should be sewn with either a ballpoint or stretch needle. A ballpoint needle is a type of needle that has a rounded tip used for pushing yarns and avoiding damage to the fabric while sewing. 

The size of the needle also matters. Make sure you choose the right needle size.

Which Stitches to Use

If you’re wondering “how to hem stretch fabric,” you should think about the stitches first. Make sure you use stitches that can hold the stretch fabric and stretch with it, so they don’t break. 

How to hem stretch fabric
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In case if you have to sew with a straight stitch, hold the fabric but do not pull it. There are different types of stitches available for sewing fabrics. Here are some of the best stitches you can use for sewing stretch fabric.

Overedge Stitch

It is a special type of stitch that looks over the edge of the material to finish a seam in a single pass.

Straight Stretch Stitch

These types of stitches look like 3-parallel straight rows of stitches.

Narrow Zigzag

Choose narrow zigzag stitches with a stitch length equal to stitch width. These stitches will allow the material to stretch but will maintain a straight seam.

Twin-needle Stitches

Sewing with a twin needle
Image Source: WeAllSew

Twin-needle stitches require two needles. The right side of the stretch material comes with 2-parallel stitching rows, while the wrong side has a bobbin thread that follows a zigzag pattern.

Stable Seams and Seam Finishes

The beauty of stretch fabric is the stretch, but sometimes you don’t want the stretch. You might want a shoulder seam to be a stable seam that ends at your elbow and does not stretch. 

These types of seams can be stabilized with stretch twill fabric and tape that can extend beyond the seam allowance. Another essential thing of stretch fabric is finishing all seams with a seam finish to prevent seam allowance from curling and stabilize the seam. You also want seam allowance to lay smooth and mix into the fabric instead of looking lumpy.

Serger or Overlock Machine

Overlocker for beginners
Image Source: WeAllSew

So many people stitch a serger or overlock machine even while sewing stretch fabric. Serger machines are not appropriate for sewing stretch or knit fabrics. They are great when constructing a seam on Lycra. 

An overlock machine is all in one. You can also use the serger’s ability to trim the edges before using an overlock machine. The outcomes will be mesmerizing.

Consider Stitch Length

The most challenging part of stretch fabric is taking out stitches if anything goes wrong. Tiny stitches are hard to see and embed in the fabric weave, making them impossible to remove.

A quite longer stitch length is ideal for outstanding construction and even de-construction whenever required.

Use Straight Stitch Throat Plate

Straight stitch plate sewing
Image Source: Husqvarna Viking

Make sure you use a throat plate when sewing a straight stitch with one needle. This is a great way to keep the delicate stretch fabric from slipping down into the bobbin area. 

If you see your fabric getting pushed into the machine, you can use a straight stitch throat plate to solve these issues.

How to Sew Stretch Sequin Fabric

Sequin is the peacock of the fabric world. Sequin fabric is shiny, flashy, and hard to resist. This lightweight stretch woven fabric has sequins all over the pattern, making it harder to sew with. 

How to sew stretch sequin fabric
Image Source: Karolina Grabowska On Pexels

With some essential sewing tips, you can sew stretch sequin fabric and rhinestone stretch fabric with ease. Here is how to sew sequin stretch fabric.

Choose Patterns

The pattern is selected based on the stretch of the fabric. Sequin fabric is stretchy and bulkier than regular fabrics, so you should choose a simple pattern. 

Choose a pattern with no fasteners, collars, pleats, gather or ruffles, and pockets. Minimum stitching and seams are perfect for sequin fabric.

Marking on the Fabric

Marking sequin fabric with pins
Image Source: Sew Essential

It is not possible to mark on the face of the sequin fabric since it has sequins and beads attached all over. Make paper patterns and pin the pattern on the fabric. 

Start marking around the paper and cut it. Make sure the patterns are laid out and cut in just one single. Avoid keeping the pattern like a fish scale on the fabric.

Cutting the Sequin Fabric

When cutting sequin fabric, make sure you use eye protection since sequins can pop out and damage your eye. You can also remove sequins and start cutting the fabric. 

The sequins can also dull the blades of your scissors, so do not use new scissors. When sewing any garment from sequin fabric, you should also add a lining since the fabric can be stretchy and uncomfortable to wear.

Preparing the Fabric for Stitches

Stretch sequin fabric
Image Source: SequinQueen

Remove all beads/sequins on the seam line one by one and use a seam ripper. Keep a thread and hand needle ready, so you can remove the sequins on the stitching line and reinforce stitching sequins.

Stitching Sequin fabric

Hand stitching is one of the best ways to sew sequin stretch fabric. It might be time-consuming, so here is how you can sew sequin fabric with a sewing machine.

    • Use nylon or polyester thread since they are stronger than cotton threads.
    • Choose a heavy needle if you’re using thicker sequin fabric or a denim needle, as it is strong enough to stitch the seam line.
    • Ensure you have spare needles at hand because sequin is hard to sew, and sometimes needles might break.

Finishing Hems and Necklines of Sequin Fabric

Sewing sequin fabric
Image Source: Elizabeth Made This

You need to bind hems and necklines with bias tape and use simple whip stitches to sew that binding place. Sometimes sewing machines cause a problem, so it is good to use hand stitches for sequin fabric.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many types of stretch fabric. The above-listed information will help you choose the best stretchable fabric for your next sewing project.

You can have a lot of flexibility, and based on your sewing project, you can sew different garments. When a sewing instruction tells you to sew on the right side, it is about the printed side which looks best.

Choose the right stretch fabric and get creative with your sewing project. 

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