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How to know your fabric has enough stretch for your pattern

How to know if your fabric has enough stretch for your pattern.

Sometimes a pattern can specify the amount of stretch required to make the item sit correctly or move with you nicely. In this case you may wish to check the stretch of the fabric you want to use.

You are going to need a ruler or tape measure

ACROSS THE GRAIN (the width of the fabric)

Hold your fabric with the salvedge at either side (usually this will be with the design facing the correct way up to you)

Fold the top of the fabric down so that you have a folded seam running straight across the fabric. Check you haven’t twisted your fabric as you’ve folded it.

Hold the fabric firmly with the folded seam against your ruler. You want to have your fingers 10cm apart so they are resting at the 0 and the 10cm points on your ruler.

Stretch until you feel resistance and look at the number.

ALONG THE GRAIN (THE LENGTH of the fabric)

Fold your fabric with the salvedges together. Be sure that you haven’t twisted the fabric as you folded it.

Hold the fabric firmly with the folded seam against your ruler. You want to have your fingers 10cm apart so they are resting at the 0 and the 10cm points on your ruler.

Stretch until you feel resistance and look at the number.

What the number means

If it stretches to 12 you have 20% stretch, if it stretches to 14, it means you have 40% stretch, if it stretches to 16, it means you have 60% stretch.

If you only have an imperial ruler it’s not quite so obvious what the stretch equals but here are the stretch amounts for you:

If it stretches from 5″ to 6″ it means you have 20% stretch, if it stretches from 5″ to 7″ it means you have  40% stretch and if it stretches from 5″ to 8″ you have 60% stretch.

Found this blog helpful? Please come back for more tips over the coming weeks. You can also join our Facebook group where you can ask questions of other sewers and get fabric and pattern support.

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