17 Different Stretch Fabrics (Full Stretchy Fabric Names List) Update 05/2022

Rippppp!! When you wear stretch textiles, that is usually not the sound you hear. Because the fabric can stretch to accommodate your body movements, you won’t hear that sound. Stretch textiles have their purpose, and they can keep you out of awkward situations.

Spandex is a sort of stretch fabric with an anagram for the word expands. Stretch textiles accomplish exactly that; they extend to accommodate your movements. Lycra and elastane are two other varieties of elastane, however they are both the same material.

17 Types of Stretch Fabric (Full Stretchy Fabric Names List)

Continue reading this post to understand more about stretch textiles and their different varieties. It contains the names of those types, as well as some of their properties and applications, so you can make the most of them. Take a few moments to learn everything there is to know about this fabric selection.

What is a Stretch Fabric?

Stretch textiles, in general, may stretch fibers to a given extent and then return them to their original size without issue. These textiles are similar to rubber bands, except they do not hold several items together.

Because these materials can stretch, they’re perfect for picking up stuff off the floor and other activities that require a lot of bending. This capacity to stretch makes certain types of clothes more comfortable to wear.

The amazing thing about these materials is that some of them can stretch in multiple directions. You can use the stretch fabric for specific apparel with specific uses that demand a little or a lot of stretch, as well as a single or multi-direction stretch.

Then there’s the fact that you get to choose the one you want to use, as well as the color and style.

Types of Stretch Fabric

There are only two varieties of stretch fabric in general. The two-way and four-way stretch materials, though the two-way is frequently referred to as a one-way stretch material. It gets its second moniker because it only expands in one direction before returning to its former size.

Although the 4-way stretch textiles appear to stretch in all directions, they only stretch in two. The 2-way stretch textiles extend just in one direction: lengthwise or crosswise, but the 4-way option stretches in both directions.

Some people believe that there is a third type of fabric called 1-way stretch, however they are referring to numerous knit textiles that may stretch up to 25% at any given time. Because jersey textiles are knitted rather than woven, they feature 4-way elasticity.

Full Stretchy Fabric Names List

Fabric nameType of stretchUses (limited list)
Stretch jersey knitcan be either 2 or 4 waydresses, skirts & tops
Cotton jersey knitusually just 1 wayany clothing item
Stretch cotton poplin2 or 4 way depending on the stretch fibers blended insummer dresses, blouses, skirts, shirts
Stretch cotton1, 2 & 4 wayblouses, shirts, ,etc., with heavier weights for jackets and pants
Stretch cotton shirtingdepends on constructionshirts and dresses
Stretch cotton sateendepends on constructionblouses, formal dresses, with heavier weights for suits
Stretch cotton jacquarddepends on constructionjackets, skirts & dresses
Stretch viscose jacquarddepends on constructiontunics, tops, dresses, skirts, & blouses
Stretch silk satindepends on constructionevening wear, lingerie, & more
Stretch silk crepedepends on constructiondresses, pants, jackets, & skirts
Stretch silk liningdepends on the exterior materialall lining options
Stretch satin chiffondepends on constructionblouses, skirts, dresses
Stretch wooldepends on constructionjackets, sweaters, pants, sweatshirts and more
Stretch wool crepedepends on constructionjackets, skirts & dresses
Stretch velvetdepends on constructionsweatshirts, jackets, pants, skirts & dresses
Stretch lacedepends on constructionsleeves, lingerie,overlays, etc.
Stretch tulle4 way stretchinserts, underlays, necklines, hems and so on

It was not our aim to leave any out. We couldn’t find those names in our study.

Types of Woven Fabrics – universally used fabric names

Stretchy Durable Fabric

There are a number of other stretch textiles that didn’t make the cut. The rationale for this is that they would be regarded subcategories of the previously described stretch fabrics.

Knits are extremely durable due to their construction. Different fibers are used to make these knit styles. Then there’s spandex, which is thought to be a very durable material. It has several subcategories as well, although all of the additional ingredients are mixes.

Cotton, polyester, satin, velvet, nylon, and rayon can all be used in the blends. Stretch denim, poplin, imitation leather, vinyl, and other fibers are all found here. Then there’s rubber or latex, which is seen as a long-lasting stretch material, but there are various disadvantages to employing it in garments.

Finally, if you need a durable stretch material for specific clothing items, you can use neoprene, but it is not recommended for everyday usage.

Stretchy Fabric for Dresses

When you look at the graph above, you’ll find that almost all of them have one thing in common. They’re all skilled at manufacturing the same clothes, and dresses are frequently at the top of the list.

If you want a western aesthetic, stretch denim is ideal, but any type of cotton will work well for this project. If you want something more formal or refined, stretch silk or chiffon are good choices.

If you want to stay warm, stretch wool or stretch velvet are good options. The advantage of having so many alternatives is that you’ll have a lot of patterns, colors, and designs to choose from.

If one option doesn’t have what you’re looking for, try switching to a different cloth. The potential for flexibility is great. Then, to make the dress even more stunning, add a little stretch lace.

In this area, you have a lot of leeway to create a stunning garment that will work for any season.

Thick Stretch Fabric

Thick materials are not always easy to stretch, thus your selection possibilities in this category may be limited. The fibers’ weight and texture would make all the difference.

Some of the fabrics we suggested earlier would also work here. Stretch denim is one such example. To locate heavyweight stretch textiles, look at the label to see what fibers were used in the combination.

A thick stretch fabric made entirely of 100% rubber or latex would be ideal, but these materials have limited applications and are better suited to certain jobs or household chores.

Velvet, imitation leather, and other heavy-weight fabrics that have been combined with spandex, lycra, or elastane would also be acceptable. The majority of heavy-weight materials are not stretchable, and if they are, the stretch will be limited. When you wish to deal with these materials, check your fabric stores to see what’s available.

Soft Stretchy Fabric

This category will provide you a lot more options than the previous one because many medium to lightweight fabrics, even when converted into stretch materials, are very soft to the touch. You can also put heavier-weight fabrics, such as stretch denim, in the mix.

When created with the proper wool fibers, jersey knits and wool can be extremely soft. The bulk of medium to lightweight cotton alternatives are a good choice. Cotton has an extremely soft texture, which makes it a popular material to work with.

The next material is silk, which provides the beauty and sophistication that only silk can bring to a wardrobe. In addition to those possibilities, blended textiles, rayon, and viscose can provide the softness you desire.

Remember that with the correct stretch fibers put in, polyester may be transformed into a soft textile. Although polyester has an artificial texture, it can also be incredibly soft. Other textiles that are lovely and soft can be found under the polyester label.

Stretch Fabric for Pants

Again, if you look at the chart above, you’ll notice that there are some fantastic stretch fabrics that will work with pants. To avoid repeating ourselves, stretch denim is an excellent choice, particularly if you want your pants to be very form-fitting.

However, you may need to hunt for fabrics or ready-made pants that are combined with stretch fibers in this instance. Nylon, spandex, and other stretchy materials are ideal for various sportswear pants.

Different activities require varied types of stretch as well as different quantities of stretch, therefore your fabric choice will be determined by the purpose of those pants (note that we are avoiding addressing the various holiday seasons with enlarged menus).

Silk and wool, as well as other top formal-looking stretch materials, can be used for suit pants. Price is another factor to consider, since certain materials are more expensive per yard than others.

Lightweight Stretch Fabric

Because the subcategories may be too numerous to list here, this category would have to be limited to generic fabric categories. There are several good possibilities in the cotton general category, and which one you choose will depend on how you want to look and feel while inside those materials.

Using fusible iron-on stretch interfacing for knit fabrics

Polyester is similar in that it can be spun into a variety of weight levels and feels wonderful when worn. Many knits are available in both fibers, giving you a lightweight garment with enough of elasticity for most activities.

From the in-between fabric category, rayon and viscose may be your two greatest lightweight options. They can be quite translucent at times and can be combined with stretch fibers to improve the drape and movement.

Silks and chiffon are both good choices when combined with stretch fibers.

What is The Most Stretchy Material?

We’ll skip over commercial and industrial applications because those materials are rarely used in domestic or daily fashion. There are a few good possibilities for this title when it comes to clothing items.

Nylon is a good fabric, although it is not the most stretchable. Rubber is probably the greatest, although it isn’t suitable for everyday wear. Because it is so thick, it has limited applications, and making it thinner causes it to snap.

Simply pull a thin rubber band to see how far it will stretch before snapping. Thick rubber bands have little stretch yet are extremely durable. Spandex, elastane, and lycra are all good choices for everyday wear and sporting activity.

Fortunately, all of those names refer to the same thing. Which one is most commonly used depends on where you reside. However, if you need a lot of stretch, this is certainly the best option.

What is The Micro Elastic Fabric?

The best that can be stated about this material is that it is soft and has limited applications. The fibers would be smaller and similar to those found in microfiber fabrics, giving a pleasant texture.

Lingerie is the primary application for this material. This is the fabric to choose if you want something extremely soft near to your skin. It also stretches, so it moves with you to keep you comfy all day.

The 4-way stretch fabric ensures that you are never uncomfortable when wearing this line of items. The material is available in a range of colors, is opaque, and should not unravel.

This is a really fluid fabric that will make you question if you’re wearing anything underneath. It is simple to layer your outer layers over this material because clothing glides over it without feeling or acting slippery.

If you’re interested in buying some, it’s usually available by the half yard and in 58-inch widths. It might be a good material to think about if you want to make your own intimate clothes.

Which Stitch for Stretch Fabric

The straight stitch is the one stitch you should avoid. While it is a fine, robust stitch in most situations, it does not stretch well and lacks the strength to operate with stretch fabrics.

The triple straight stitch is the straight stitch option to select. This pattern is designed for stretch fabrics and has the strength and flexibility to keep your clothing items together. This stitch design works well with form-fitting textiles.

The famous zig-zag design is another wonderful stitch to employ. When your machine doesn’t offer a triple straight stitch pattern, this is the go-to stretch option.

Then there’s the three-step zig zag, which helps to alleviate the tunneling effect caused by the normal zig-zag stitch in lightweight fabrics. Its design prevents side-to-side pulling while also resulting in a flatter stitch pattern.

There’s also the lightning bolt stitch pattern, which looks great on knits. This approach also aids in the reduction of puckering and tunneling. The honeycomb, overlock or overedge stitch, feather, and top stitch possibilities are also worthy of notice.

Choose your favorite or the one that is the most convenient for you while forming a strong binding between fabric pieces.

Which Needle for Stretch Fabric

While there aren’t as many needle options as there are stitch possibilities for stretch fabrics, you do have some control over which needle to use. Any sewing endeavor, regardless of cloth, is made easier with the appropriate needle.

The first option available to you will be universal. This option gives you the most versatility and may reduce the number of needle changes you have to make in your sewing machine.

The stretch needle is your second option, and its smaller, more rounded point makes it excellent for working with particularly stretchy textiles. Spandex and scuba fabric are the materials in question.

The ballpoint needle is the third and final option. This is the preferable or suggested option if you are not working with the aforementioned spandex or scuba materials.

The good news is that you can find all three types of needles pretty much anywhere that sells sewing supplies. Amazon is a good place to start, as are all of your local fabric stores, mall department stores, and large box stores found in practically every city across the country.

Does Stretch Fabric Shrink?

Some people believe knit textiles shrink more than woven fabrics, which may surprise you. It’s a distinct possibility, particularly if you utilize the incorrect water temperatures and dryer heat.

These criteria would also apply to nylon. It may shrink if washed in the improper conditions since it can stretch. It may also melt and deform on you, rendering you unable to repair or reuse the fabric.

Spandex does not shrink unless it is combined with natural or other fabrics that shrink when washed wrongly. Because lycra and elastane are both spandex, textiles labeled with those names will behave similarly to spandex.

Synthetic fibers were designed to withstand shrinkage. So, if your stretch fabric is made up of synthetic fibers, you’re unlikely to observe much, if any, shrinkage. That is why clothing constructed from a blend of natural and synthetic fibers rarely shrinks.

The natural fibers are held in place by the synthetic ones. We created a lengthy post about shrinking fabrics that also addresses this topic.

Does Stretch Fabric Fray?

The good news is that while working with stretch and knit textiles, none of the fraying-prevention products you bought will be necessary. Because there always seems to be an exception to the rule somewhere, we say most.

When the stretch fabric or knit fabric is lightly woven or knitted together, this is one of the exceptions. After cutting stretch textiles, you usually don’t need to finish the edges. You go on to the following step in your sewing job once you’ve finished with your cutter.

The lightweight knits you enjoy working with may curl at the edges on you, but some people find this a cute touch and don’t mind. You can either sew and cut the surplus stretch material or stitch and leave it when working on the edges. There is no tension here because neither option is incorrect.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are numerous stretch fabrics available. That means you can express yourself through your sewing efforts. You not only have a vast supply of stretch fabrics, but they also come in a variety of colors and patterns.

You have a lot of options. Many stretch fabric alternatives depending on your project, so you can manufacture two or three of the same outfit with different stretch materials.

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