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Test Your Stretch Fabric

Do you ever feel confused by stretch fabrics and what works best for a pattern? Many sewing patterns will often include in their fabric recommendations a certain stretch percent (such as 50% stretch), or a percent of spandex (such as 3% spandex). The percent of stretch is a bit more important so let’s figure this out!

How to Find the Stretch Percent of Fabric

To To determine the stretch percent of your fabric, grab a 5” section of your fabric and lay it next to a ruler. (If using metric, grab 12cm.)

Hold the left side at the zero mark of your ruler and the right end at the 5” or 12cm mark. Stretch the fabric across the ruler until it resists being stretched anymore. Write down the amount it stretched beyond the original length.

Test Your Stretch | Cloth Habit

For example, if your fabric stretches to 7.5″, it stretched 2.5″ past the original length. This is 50% stretch. Here’s the calculation:

2.5 (amount the fabric stretched) / 5 (original length) = .5 multipled by 100 is 50%


So now you know your fabric’s stretch percent, and often that is all you need to make an educated decision about what fabric you should use with a certain pattern. In my patterns I like to include additional tips that will help you consider other factors as you grow in experience in working with stretch fabrics!