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!


    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.


    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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