Stretchable Fabrics, Different Types of Stretch Fabrics, Quality Parameters of the Stretchable Fabrics

Stretchable fabric

A fabric that stretches lengthwise or widthwise or in all directions with the body movement is called as stretchable fabric. In the fitted clothing, sports clothing, ladies jeans and ladies tops stretchable fabrics are used to give comfort with the better fit that moves with the body movement. The stretchable fabric, whether woven or knitted, gain stretch property when a spandex filament (like Lycra) is inserted into the fabric while the fabric is manufactured.

The knits fabrics (Jersey and ribs) have inherent stretch properties but to add an extra stretch the elastane filament is used. The elastane filament is a synthetic fiber.

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Different types of stretchable fabrics

Stretch fabrics are categorized as warp stretch and weft stretch. The weft stretch fabrics are majorly found as it is easier to insert spandex yarn in the fabrics at the time of weaving with the weft insertion. Different terms are used by fabric traders for the stretch fabrics such as 2-way stretch, 4-way stretch, and all-way stretch fabric.

Depending on the end product a certain type of stretchable fabric is used. Like for stretchable jeans pants 2-way (width-wise), stretchable fabric is fine where for a ladies top a 4-way stretchable fabric is a good selection.
Stretch denim

What are the differences between them and their characteristics?

  • The warp stretch fabrics are stretchable in warp direction (2-way stretch)
  • The weft stretch fabric is stretchable in weft direction (2-way stretch)
  • Stretch in both ways and diagonally (all way stretch)

How spandex is inserted in the stretch fabrics?

Spandex yarns are inserted as filling (weft) during weaving. Spandex yarn comes as elastane filament in the core and wrapped by normal yarn. In knitting, spandex is inserted with normal yarn but not as core filament. In woven mostly spandex is inserted as the filament in the core.

What are the testing parameters for stretch fabrics, elasticity recovery percentage, and Shrinkage percentage?

The common testing parameters of the stretchable fabrics includes 
  • Elongation percentage and 
  • stretch recovery time 

What kind of finishing is done in stretch fabrics?

Normal finishing is used for stretch fabrics and garment made of stretchable fabrics. But the washing and pressing temperature is controlled during finishing. A high temperature is not recommended while finishing the fabrics that contain elastane filament. Normally heat setting is done, so no issue with any kind of finish.

How quality of the spandex affects the stretch in fabric?

The stretch in fabric increases as spandex filament denier increase

The stretch in fabric also depends on the spandex (elastane filament) quality. Till date Lycra brand is the best in quality for elastane filament.

How elasticity varies with the different denier of spandex and with different amount of spandex in fabrics.

Fabric elasticity increases as filament denier increase.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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