Readers, have you noticed how many woven fabrics today have Lycra in them?
Now, I totally understand why people would want a little stretch in their clothes, but if you really want a tight fit, isn't that what knit fabrics are for?
I've been working on a straight skirt for my client Susan and the fabric I bought -- how I wish I hadn't -- is a stretch cotton pants-weight cotton. It's perfectly nice looking and a very attractive pale purple. But the stretch factor is making it surprisingly challenging to work with. So much so that I'm going to try to find a non-stretch substitute in a similar color tomorrow.
Darts in particular don't seem to press well when there's Lycra in a fabric (see top pic). The stretchiness makes the end of the darts more visible. The stretch also calls attention to one's lumps and bumps (if one has any and who doesn't?). Also, since my muslin had absolutely no stretch, it's hard for me to evaluate what difference the Lycra will make in the final fit.
Maybe I'm being too much of a perfectionist (my mother thinks so), but it seems to me that if your clothes are well-fitted, you shouldn't need Lycra in the weave. I do get the need for Lycra in knits, mind you. My swimsuits have Lycra, since the material needs to move with my body and not drag in the water.
Coincidentally, I popped into Chic Fabrics on 39th Street only yesterday and, in their remnant bin, found a very similar heavy cotton sateen (with a bit of Lycra) in more of an orchid -- a very wide yard for just $1. For a buck I'll deal with Lycra. I think for tight-fitting pants, this moderately stretchy fabric might work, and shouldn't every middle-aged man own a pair of tight-fitting pink pants?
|Pants courtesy of Steven Alan|
The final issue I have with Lycra is that over time it breaks down, leaving a garment feeling baggier than it would have if it hadn't had Lycra in the first place. Has that ever happened to you?
I'm starting to wonder if Lycra in woven fabrics isn't simply to make it easier for manufacturers to fit a wider range of body types with the same size garment than they otherwise could.
What's your take, readers? Do you seek out Lycra in the woven fabrics you sew with? Does it really make your clothing fit better or just cling uncomfortably on hot summer days?