Choosing the Right Stretch Fabric for your Project or Pattern


A concise guide on how to choose the right stretch fabric for your project or pattern, including a stretch guide you can print out and take to the fabric store with you.


Have you heard that sewing with stretch and knit fabrics is a gas, and it’s quick and fun?  I sure did when I started sewing with knits, and I wondered why. So I went back and “tried” to follow the instructions in the pattern to the letter.  Then they would say something like “Use Stable Knits Only” or for “Jersey” – well that’s great but what is that?  I mean how much stretch is too much and how much is too little?  What percentage are Stable Knits?…. Moderate Knits?…Jerseys?  I’ve had jerseys in my hand that would stretch from here to Timbuktu, and then other jerseys that would barely stretch at all – which one am I supposed to use for this pattern?…and why?…and how do you tell them apart?

If you don’t pick out the right fabric, to begin with, no matter how well you sew and how meticulous you follow the directions, you’re most likely going to end up with a failure.  And this seems to get more and more complicated the more you look into it.

I wanted a simple concise measurement that I could use with all my students so that they could go to the store and on their own purchase the fabric needed for their patterns -that would make the garment turn out like they wanted.  That’s what this little guide is.  It’s packed with information about what makes up a certain category of stretch percentage, how to tell, what tests/gauges to use to get you the information so you can buy what you need.  Just like any other type of sewing, knowing the rules and using them, gets you great and professional results every time. This document also contains my own stretch gauge which you can print out and take to the fabric store with you.

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