Updated: Jun 26
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Wanna learn how to easily calculate your fabric's stretch percentage for sewing your favorite fitted knit garments? Read this tutorial and download our FREE pdf charts.
Then, it'll be a piece of cake!
What is fabric persentage?
In short, fabric stretch persentage is the amount (on percent) that your fabric is able to stretch from it's original size. When you figure out the percentage in a small piece (we suggest 4'' / 10cm width) it's enough for knowing the persentage of the whole fabric.
When is it necessary to know your fabric's stretch persentage?
When sewing knit garments like a fitted top, a swimsuit, a pair of leggings or any other fitted pant, it's a necessity to know your fabric's stretch persentage. Most of these garments are designed with a negative ease, meaning that the finished garment will be smaller than your body. So, you need the fabric to be streched in order to put it on, to have a nice fit and be comfortamble while wearing it.
2-way stretch & 4-way strech meaning
Two-way stretch means that the fabric streches only on the crossgrain (the width of fabric), perpendicular to the selvage. The 4-way means that it stretches both along the crossgrain and along the grainline (parallel to the selvage). Note that all fabrics, even woven ones stretch along the bias, which is 45 degrees from the selvage, due to the nature of fabric construction.
*You can learn everything about the Bias cut on our related article here
How to calculate the stretch percentage
All you need is a small piece of your fabric, a measuring tape or a ruler & our FREE pdf chart.
So, cut a piece of fabric along the grossgrain 4'' / 10 cm width. (This is an easy amount to do calculations with).
Pick a flat surface and line your the measuring tape and the fabric up to 0. (Either it is for inches, either for cm)
Without shifting your fabric from the 0 mark, stretch you fabric wide and jot down your measurement.
If your fabric stretches, as in our example to 5'', that's equal to ((5 x 100): 4) = 125 which means 25% stretch.
To know the fabric stretch percentage you have in a variety of lenths without making any calculations, above you can find and download our FREE pdf charts in Metrics & Imperial units.
For downloading the charts, click here!
Normally, in the instructions section of your pattern you'll find what percentage of stretch your fabric needs to have and whether you need 2-way or 4-way stretch.
Hope, you found this article helpful!
Would you like to start sewing fitted knit garments?
Check out our relative patterns:
SANDY is a fitted, one shoulder top pattern, designed for knit fabrics. It goes with almost everything, so sew up the easy summer top in multiple colors!
Pattern includes an all-in-one facing while no closure is needed. A serger is the ideal way for sewing this garment. This is an easy sewing project even for beginners!
GINGER is designed for 4-ways stretched jersey fabrics. Classic, super versatile, wearable from every day to exercising. You can never sew enough of Ginger leggings!There is no side seam so it really wraps around leg very nice. Three indicated lengs: Bellow knee, 7/8 & full length.