Stretch factor for fabric means how much the fabric stretches.
Stretch factor is measured on DOGS and grain-line. Read about DOGS and grain-line on this page. When the fabric stretches only on DOGS, we say the fabric is stretchy only in one direction. When the fabric stretches on DOGS and grain-line, we say that fabric stretches in both directions.
Sewing patterns for elastic fabrics must specify for what type of fabric they were designed: fabric that is elastic on one direction, or on both directions. Also, for every stretch direction, the pattern must include the stretch factor or stretch percentage.
How to determine the stretch factor (percentage) for our fabric?
Identify the directions we want to measure the stretch factor on our fabric: DOGS or grain-line
Take a segment of 20 cm long on the chosen direction. The end of the segment is marked by our thumbs. When the fabric has some kind of border, avoid taking it in our segment.
The hand with the thumb pointing at 0 (zero) will remain still
Stretch the fabric pulling only the right hand
Stretch easily, do not pull to rip the fabric!
Note the value where our right thumb is pointing
Look for your value in the table bellow and see what your fabric stretch factor is.
How much your fabric has stretched:
The fabric stretch factor is:
Bellow are 3 examples on different fabrics. I want to determine stretch factor on DOGS for all 3 fabrics. Click on pictures to enlarge.
The blue line shows where 20 cm are. But the right red arrow shows that the fabric stretch to 25 cm. From the table above we see that this fabric has a 25% stretch factor.
The blue line shows where 20 cm are. But the right red arrow shows that the fabric stretch to 27 cm. From the table above we see that this fabric has a 35% stretch factor.
The blue line shows where 20 cm are. But the right red arrow shows that the fabric stretch to 27.5-28 cm. From the table above we see that this fabric has a 35-40% stretch factor.
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