I get asked all the time what types of stretch fabric to buy for my stretch sewing patterns so I thought I’d put together a bit of information for you. Knits are classified by the amount they stretch and their fabric composition. They can be made from a variety of materials including cotton, bamboo, rayon, polyester, and linen. Often these will be blended with Lycra or Spandex to give extra stretch to your fabric and to stop the garment going out of shape as it is worn. This is called recovery!
It is important to not only choose the correct fabric composition but also the correct stretch factor to get the best results in your stretch garments. As a general rule, the more stretch a fabric has, the larger the garment will appear on your body. This means you need to choose a sewing pattern designed for your fabric’s particular stretch factor.
Further Reading: How to determine stretch factor with printable chart
Types of Stretch Fabric According to Stretch Factor
Here is I have divided the types of stretch fabric into 4 common categories.
- Generally, stretch between 18-25%.
- This is the best kind of knit for beginners to use for many patterns as they are easiest to sew and don’t overly stretch underneath your sewing machine foot.
- Examples of stable knits include polar fleece and sweatshirt fabrics. Also look for jersey and t-shirt fabrics with 25% stretch
- Great for the Elke, Sally, Bluebell, Colorblock and Charlotte patterns
- Generally, stretch between 26-50%
- Examples of moderate knits include t-shirt fabric, interlocks and jerseys
- Great for the Willow pattern, Elise and leggings sewing patterns
- Generall,y stretch between 51-75%
- Examples include stretch velour, stretch terry and some t-shirt fabrics
Super stretchy knits (also known as 2 way or 4 way stretch)
- Generally, stretch between 76-100%
- These stretches are best used for really tight fitting clothing such as bodysuits, leotards and swimwear.
- They include spandex and lycra.
- Great for my leotard sewing patterns and swimwear sewing patterns.
Places to buy stretch online
- Denver Fabrics have a good selection of sweatshirt fleece
- https://www.joann.com has a good selection of polar fleece
- www.fabric.com – assorted brands. My favorites are Riley Blake and Robert Kaufman knits.
- Eurogirls Boutique – find them on Etsy. They are my favorite stretch shop for spots and stripes in a nice thickness.
- Riley Blake Designs
- Robert Kaufman – Laguna jersey
If you know of any other great places you buy stretch online please let me know and I’ll add them to the list.
READ MORE ABOUT HOW TO SEW STRETCH FABRIC