High Stretch Fabrics & Precautions When Sourcing High Stretch Fabrics

High Stretch Fabrics can help you create a distinct product range. But, you must know the precautions to exercise when sourcing and using these fabrics.

High stretch woven fabrics are fabrics that have been designed to have a high degree of stretch and elasticity, while still maintaining their shape and structure. These fabrics are typically made from synthetic fibers, such as polyester, spandex, or elastane, that have been woven into a fabric in such a way as to allow them to stretch.

When sourcing high stretch fabrics, there are several key precautions to take:

Check the composition

It’s important to check the composition of the fabric, as different fibers will have different properties and will affect the stretch, durability, and appearance of the fabric.

Consider the stretch ratio

The stretch ratio of a fabric is the percentage of its original length that it can stretch without breaking. Make sure to choose a fabric with the appropriate stretch ratio for your needs.

Check for quality

High stretch fabrics can be prone to growth & recovery issues, so it’s important to check the quality of the fabric, paying attention to any signs of excess growth or poor recovery. 

Consider the weight

High stretch fabrics can be quite heavy, which can affect the drape and overall appearance of the final product. Consider the weight of the fabric when making your purchase, and choose a lighter-weight fabric if needed.

Evaluate the appearance

High stretch fabrics can have a distinct appearance, with a shiny surface and a uniform texture. Make sure to evaluate the appearance of the fabric to ensure that it meets your aesthetic needs.

When making garments from high stretch fabrics, you are likely to encounter several challenges, including:

High Shrinkage

Typically high stretch fabrics consist of higher shrinkage than the standard 5%. They are typically at 10% and go as high as 15%. This can lead to variable size sets and garmenting challenges. Either work with mills who can offer lower shrinkage with the same resultant end product or use pre-process techniques before stitching garments to avoid rejections. 

Sewing difficulties

High stretch fabrics can be difficult to sew due to their elasticity and tendency to stretch or distort during the sewing process. This can make it challenging to achieve a consistent and accurate stitch, especially when working with curves or tight corners.

Pattern selection

High stretch fabrics often require special patterns that take into account their elasticity and ability to stretch. Standard patterns may not work well with these fabrics, and may lead to misshapen or ill-fitting garments.

Fitting issues

High stretch fabrics can be challenging to fit properly, as they may not maintain their shape when stretched or pulled. This can lead to garments that are too tight in some areas and too loose in others.


High stretch fabrics can be prone to tearing and abrasion, especially in areas of high stress, such as the underarms or crotch. Careful attention must be paid to the construction of these garments to ensure that they are durable and can withstand wear and tear.


High stretch fabrics can be challenging to finish, as they may not hold their shape well when hemmed or finished. This can result in wavy or misshapen hems, and can make it difficult to achieve a neat and tidy finish.

To overcome these challenges, it is important to work with experienced pattern makers, sewers, and finishers who have experience working with high stretch fabrics. By carefully selecting the right patterns and construction techniques, and by taking the time to fit and test the garments, you can ensure that you are able to produce high-quality and well-fitting garments from high stretch fabrics.

Strategies You Can Use to Reduce Rejections When making garments from high stretch fabrics:

Choose the right pattern

Selecting the right pattern is crucial when making garments from high stretch fabrics. Look for patterns that are specifically designed for stretch fabrics and take into account their elasticity and ability to stretch.

Pre-wash the fabric

Before starting the garment construction, it is a good idea to pre-wash the fabric. This will remove any residue or sizing from the fabric and allow it to shrink before the garment is made. It is also a good opportunity to test the shrinkage and adjust the pattern accordingly.

Use the right needle and thread

Using the right needle and thread for the fabric can help to prevent stretching, tearing, or damage to the fabric. Look for ballpoint needles that are designed for stretch fabrics, as these are less likely to damage the fabric. Also, use a thread that is designed for stretch fabrics and has a high degree of elasticity.

Use proper construction techniques

When making the garment, it is important to use proper construction techniques to prevent stretching, shrinkage, or misshaping. For example, use a stretch stitch for all seams, such as a zigzag or a stretch overlock stitch, to allow for a certain degree of stretch.

Test the garment

Before mass producing, it is a good idea to test the garment on a model or yourself to ensure that it fits well and that the fabric behaves as expected. This can help to identify any areas that need to be adjusted, such as the fit or the construction, before producing the final garment.