Stretch and Recovery Percentage

Stretch percentage

Stretch percentage is very important for the fit of the patterns. Patterns have a certain ease in them. 

To calculate the stretch percentage you will take a strip of fabric of approximatly 10cm. We take 10 cm because that’s easy to remember. If the fabric stretches to 11 cm that’s a percentage of 10%. 

You can also use a normal ruler instead of our graphic or pdf download. You’ll find the free ruler download here. The table if you use your own ruler (cm and inch) can be find below.

You want to calculate the natural stretch percentage of the fabric. It’s important that you don’t overstretch the fabric. Stretch for the patterns is always mentioned in the with of the pattern. It is important always to measure stretch both ways. 

I’ve placed pins at 0 point and 10 cm point, I stretched the fabric light without overstretching. Stretch percentage is a bit less then 30%.

Stretch percentage Original Length (CM) Stretch length (CM) Original Length (INCH) Stretch length (INCH)
0%
10 cm
10 cm
5 inch
5 inch
10%
10 cm
11 cm
5 inch
5,5 inch
20%
10 cm
12 cm
5 inch
6 inch
30%
10 cm
13 cm
5 inch
6,5 inch
40%
10 cm
14 cm
5 inch
7 inch
50%
10 cm
15 cm
5 inch
7,5 inch
60%
10 cm
16 cm
5 inch
8 inch
70%
10 cm
17 cm
5 inch
8,5 inch
80%
10 cm
18 cm
5 inch
9 inch
90%
10 cm
19 cm
5 inch
9,5 inch
100%
10 cm
20 cm
5 inch
10 inch

Recovery Percentage

To measure the recovery of a fabric, you’ll place a pin at the point where you end of the stretched place. After that you will let the fabric loose, if the pins goes back to the orginal 10 cm it’s perfect. This means that the fabric doesn’t loose it shape very easily. 

If the pin stays at 11 cm it means that the fabric looses shape while wearing.

When I measured the stretch percentage I’ve let the fabric loose and it recovered almost perfectly back to the orginal 10 cm strip.

Fabric types and stretch percentage

This table is an indication of the average stretch percentage of fabrics. If you have remarks or add ons to the table, let us know.

Type of Fabric Stretch percentage (usually)
French Terry, Double knit, Interlock, Jogging
20%-30%
Jersey, Terry Knit, Tricot
40% - 60%
Lycra, Spandex
75%-100%
Cotton
0%

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