How to Measure Fabric Stretch

Whenever you see a minimum stretch requirement on one of our sewing patterns, it is very important that you measure your fabric stretch both in the length and in the width.

 

Fabric stretch is not written on the fabric content label at the fabric store, but some online store now include it in the description.

 

How to see if your fabric has enough stretch

Across the grain (in the width)

 

  • Fold you fabric square with the finished edge of the fabric (selvage), away from the cut edge
  • Hold the pleat over the ruler printed on the back of the pattern
  • Stretch the fold to reach the end of the ruler (where is says "up to here"):

 

Along the grain (in the length):

 

  • Fold you fabric parallel with the finished edge of the fabric (selvage), away from the edge
  • Hold the pleat over the ruler printed on the back of the pattern
  • Stretch the fold to reach the end of the ruler (where is says "up to here")

 

How to measure the fabric stretch

If you do not have the back of the pattern on hand or if you want a percentage, stretch over a ruler to find out the exact stretch factor.

Metric ruler (easiest)

  • Hold the fabric as shown above with your left fingers at "0", right fingers above "10 cm". 
  • Stretch until you feel resistance and look at the number.
  • If it stretches to 16, it means you have 60% stretch, if it stretches to 12, it means you have 20% stretch.

Imperial ruler (requires you to do a little math)

  • Hold the fabric as shown above with your left fingers at "0", right fingers above "5 inches". 
  • Stretch until you feel resistance and look at the number.
  • Calculate "stretched measurement" minus 5: _______
  • Divide that number by 5 and multiply by 100
  • For example, if it stretches from 5 to 8 inches: 
    • 8-5=3
    • 3/5=0.6
    • 0.6 x 100 = 60%
  • Cheat Sheet:
    • If it stretches from 5" to 5 1/2" = 10%
    • If it stretches from 5" to 6" = 20%
    • If it stretches from 5" to 7" = 40%
    • If it stretches from 5" to 8" = 60%

 

 
Posted in Photo Tutorials By

Emilie