Wovens with Stretch
by Shannon Gifford
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  • Wovens with Stretch

    The addition of lycra to woven fabrics has made a huge difference in the comfort factor of wovens. The lycra also assists in the reduction of wrinkles in the fabric, making these fabrics wonderful for travel or for all-day wear. The fabric does not change in appearance due to the inclusion of the lycra. The change is in the ease of wear!

    Pretreatment:

    Depends on the base fabric. If the base fabric requires dry-cleaning, the lycra blend will also require dry-cleaning. Some lycra blends respond beautifully to machine washing, but all require a cool dryer. Avoid the use of high heat in the dryer or from the iron in these fabrics.

    Needles and Thread:

    Use the size needle required for the base fabric. If it is a fine suiting, use a 75/11 or a 70/10 needle. If it is a denim with lycra, change to a larger needle such as a 90/14. Use cotton, cotton/polyester, all polyester, or even silk thread for construction.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    Standard straight seams (2.0-2.5 length) are good choices for most construction. Hems can be done by machine blind-hemming, hand stitching, or machine topstitching. Seam finishes will vary; test your fabric with a 3 thread serged finished, a seam binding, or use an enclosed seam such as a fell seam or French seam.

    Interfacing:

    Because lycra does not respond well to high heat, a cool-fuse interfacing is the preferred choice. Try So-Sheer or Touch-of-Gold for most areas that require interfacing. If you have an area that needs a crisper interfacing, use a sew-in interfacing (such as batiste, organza, or muslin) cut on the bias.

    Pattern Suggestions:

    Tailored garments such as jackets, coats, trousers, and casual garments: pants, tops, capris, tanks, cardigans.

    Creative possibilities:

    Many of the stretch wovens are beautiful when machine embroidered, but placement is key to success. Place your motifs where the garment will not stretch with the body; good areas for placement are hems, collars, and cuff areas.

    Additional Tips:

    Avoid high heat with the iron, and use a press cloth when pressing seams.

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