There are so many amazing patterns for knit fabrics out there… How do you choose the right fabric for the job? When sewing with knits, one of the most important factors to consider is the stretch percentage. It can seem hard to figure out at first, but we’ll show you an easy way to figure it out so determining stretch percentage will be second nature to you. And you’ll always be able to find the right knit for the job!
Finding the Right Knit~ Determining Stretch
Where do we start?
The first step is determining how stretchy the fabric needs to be for the garment to turn out correctly. Most patterns will list the recommended stretch percentage with the fabric requirements near the beginning of the document.
How to Determine Stretch
Now that we know what we’re looking for, we can check our fabric. First, grab your chosen fabric and a ruler of some sort. For demonstration purposes, I’m using my cutting mat. Lay the fabric with one end at “zero”.
Next, grab the fabric at the 4-inch mark. Keep the other end securely anchored.
The rest is relatively easy. Just start stretching while keeping a firm grip on that 4-inch mark and a solid hold at the zero. The farther it stretches, the higher the percentage. It’s all pretty simple. If the farthest you can stretch it is one inch, the stretch percentage is 25%.
If it stretches by 2 inches (so to the 6-inch mark), the stretch percentage is 50%.
Once the fabric stretches out to the 7-inch mark, you’ve hit a 75% stretch.
And if you can make it all the way to 8 inches, you’ve got a fabric with 100% stretch!
Just make sure that the stretch percentage of your fabric is at or above the recommended requirements. Also, if you’re using that fabric for things like neckbands or cuffs, you want to be sure that fabric also has a good recovery. Most ideally, when you relax the fabric it returns to its original size. A poor recovery fabric will stay stretched out and will make your garment look sloppy if it’s meant to be sewn with a good recovery fabric.
As always, if you ever need help with this or anything else, please feel free to leave comments below or join us in our Facebook group for camaraderie, help, tips, and sewing eye candy! Happy sewing!