by Shannon Gifford
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  • RPL (Rayon/Poly/Lycra)

    These fabrics are a staple fabric for the sewing room; they are incredibly versatile! They are easy-care, come in beautiful weaves, have fabulous drapeā€¦.could they be more perfect? The stretch factor from the lycra is a true bonus, as well.


    Pre-test your fabric for shrinkage. Wash in cold water, and lay flat to dry. Do not expose to high heat (such as in a dryer or a hot iron).

    Needles and Thread:

    Universal needles (70/10 or 80/12), or sharps (75/11) are the best choices for these fabrics. Base the size of your needle on the type of weave; I use the smaller needles for the crepe-like weaves. Use cotton/poly or all polyester thread for RPL.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    Standard straight seams, medium length (2.5) are perfect for these fabrics. If your garment is cut on the bias or has bias seams (such as an a-line skirt), switch to a small zigzag (2.5 length, 2.0 width) to maintain the bias drape. Hems can be completed by hand or machine. Topstitching is beautiful on these fabrics. Seam finishes should be light in weight. Use a binding made from lining-weight fabric, a rayon seam binding, or a 2-thread serged edge.


    Lycra does not respond well to high heat; use a cool-fuse such as So-Sheer or Touch-of-Gold for your RPL fabric. If you prefer a sew-in interfacing, use pre-washed cotton batiste, silk organza, or pre-washed cotton flannel for additional warmth.

    Pattern Suggestions:

    Pants, jackets, lightweight coats, dresses, shirts, anything with draped details (like cowl necklines)

    Creative possibilities:

    Topstitching and embroidery are beautiful on these fabrics. Use tone-on-tone embroideries for the most elegant effects, or choose bright colors for a trendy look.

    Additional Tips:

    Again, avoid high heat from an iron or a clothes dryer. Avoid over-fitting; the temptation with lycra is to fit the garment like a second skin. This fabric will not respond well to such tightly fitted garments. Allow appropriate amounts of ease to extend the life and good looks of your garment.

    Copyright (c) 2018 by EmmaOneSock