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Jul 29, 2015

Things I Don't Get, Vol. 15 -- Lycra in Woven Fabrics



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?

Jump in!

72 comments:

  1. I find lycra generally to be a problem. A) it's EVERYWHERE in women's clothing. Everything has stretch. Which is annoying. B) it ruins the reason to buy specific fibers. A few summers back, H&M had cheap men's linen pants. Delightful! They fit me, and I am a pear-shaped woman. I checked the womens' section, since I was there, and it had 15% spandex. Why. Linen is a delightful breathable fabric, and why would you destroy it's primary reason?!

    Ugh. That being said, I wear spandex and lycra in my leggings, knit tights, and a few pairs of jeans. It can be very comfortable. But 90% of the fabrics with stretch don't need it, and shouldn't have it.

    -- Tegan

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  2. I suppose it depends upon the percentage and the quality.

    Cotton prices are volatile (for many reasons: geopolitics, climate, pests, labor, shipping, etc.) while fossil fuel products are fairly stable. Manufacturers are often saving money not only in actual production but also in prediction: knowing how much a unit will cost allows a company to adjust or maintain.

    It's my understanding that man-made fibers lengthen the life of a garment and that's been my experience, particularly re. athletic and outdoor gear with moisture wicking, etc. Many of the t-shirts I see in stores today are made entirely or mostly of lycra, rayon, or some other poly.

    I prefer wearing natural fibers but a little man-made isn't a bad thing for an item that sees a lot of laundering. And that extra bit of stretch and softness as I pull it on is something I appreciate. However, I haven't sewn a skirt and so I guess I won't be calling attention to my lumps and bumps. :)

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    1. Peter, I try to offer something positive and useful when I comment. If you don't want me to, I'll refrain. Just let me know.

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    2. Mouse, please accept my apologies for the comments, which I have deleted, left by the commenter Corey Hill. His comments are no longer welcome on the blog and will be removed if posted.

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    3. Peter, thank you and apologies not necessary (but accepted)! And thanks for a thought-provoking blog.

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    4. I think Rayon is considered a regenerated cellulose. Made from stems and wood pulp from cotton plants. Not really totally natural fabric but not synthetic either. I enjoy sewing and wearing Rayon. When you have a bit of time this article is interesting. http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-rayon.htm

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    5. I learn from Mouse's postings all the time. Useful.

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    6. Sunshine, I looked it up and you're correct. I believe it's considered a semi-synthetic because the fibers themselves are from natural polymers (so it is a 'poly', just not polyurethane). I like rayon, too. I've found it breathes, so it doesn't trap heat and itch. And it can look like silk, or cotton, or linen -- it's pretty versatile.

      Alex, thank you! I like reading yours, too.

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  3. Sewing darts in stretch wovens is the worst thing ever. I think you're probably pretty spot on with it's relation to wanting to fit a wider range of customers with a smaller range of sizes, and I think it's also because so many people have become so accustomed to wearing knits all of the time, they expect all of their clothes to fit as tightly and with the same amount of give. We live in a world where lycra=comfort. I do think that jeans benefit from some lycra content, but for the most part I could do without it in woven fabrics.

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  4. Peter, I haven't commented in awhile, but wanted to thank you for your intelligent and thoughtful writings on sewing. I consistently read your blogs and every now and then your posts are genius. I too have gone back and forth on lycra in wovens, and concur with your assessment. Again, thank you for some of the smartest writing in the blogosphere. XOXOXO, Pam

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  5. "It seems to me that if your clothes are well-fitted, you shouldn't need Lycra in the weave."

    That's kind of the problem, I think. Most people's clothes aren't well-fitted anymore. I'm sure Lycra makes it easier to make a particular garment "fit" more people.

    I've no particular objection to it in RTW as long as it's a small percentage. But once you get into the 10-15% category, it's problematic because the garment will fit when you put it on, but will stretch while you're wearing it and will then be too big after you've had it on for a few hours.

    I've never sewn with a woven with Lycra it it. Good to know about the issue with the darts. Thanks.

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  6. It has its place, I'll choose the lycra/denim for jeans though they will sag with wear. It was great for maternity wear when weight changes were expected and inevitable, but I'm finding I'm not as much of a fan of stretch wovens when I make my clothes as I was when buying ready-made. If I'm altering the pattern to fit me, I don't need the stretch to compensate for not being the exact size/shape the store is offering. Also, if I'm going the stretch sateen route, princess seams are almost mandatory; darts get weirdly pointy, even after washing.

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  7. I have an allergy to latex, and spandex is similar enough that wearing clothing containing spandex or lycra makes my skin feel like it is on fire—or worse, it makes it break out. There is only one brand of bra I can tolerate. I have scoured local thrift stores for 100% cotton jeans and will wear them until they fall apart. I hate hate hate stretch clothing and I wish clothing manufacturers would provide a choice for those of us who can't wear it.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head-there's no choice anymore, at least in women's clothes. About 13 or so years ago I bought a half a dozen Eddie Bauer tailored shirts in 100% cotton and they had just come out with their no iron line. A friend thought that I was so extravagant for buying so many but I must have felt the pendulum swinging to all stretch all the time. Now look at women's dress shirts and they all have stretch no matter what the style.

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  8. I have avoided wovens with lycra for a long time, mostly because they are hotter than natural fibres and I live in a hot climate. That said, I have started using them again during my drafting course because I am drafting dresses with slim fitting skirts and the lycra allows for more movement and a sleeker silhouette. Not my favourite, but it has a place.

    When you go to make your orchid pink trousers....my experience is that a crotch curve that fits perfectly in a woven does not look the same in a stretch woven...I got lots of different drag lines and the fabric drapes differently...you may need to make some fit changes.

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    1. That is my problem with lycra, especially in jeans. It is just so hard. Of course, I admit to being past middle age and living in an area of the country that is hot.

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  9. I have been trying for the life of me to figure out how blue jeans from my youth (NO Lycra) were sewn/tailored differently from today's stretchy things. The body (my body and everyone else's) was forced into a predetermined shape, complete with gender specific contours front and back. The jeans WERE the shape. Today, Lycra stretches to fit the body, no matter the shape of the body. Not long ago I saw a gray-haired Earth Mother wearing jeans of old. What a difference. I have no idea where she got them, and I didn't get a chance to ask her. To be fair, Lycra jeans are a fraction the inflation adjusted price of blue jeans prices of long ago. Still, canvas-bagged jeans of long ago -- price not withstanding -- somehow seemed more "natural", like the gray-haired Earth Mother. Today's Lycra blue jeans seem rather a bit like a sausage casing.

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  10. I HATE stretch woven fabric for sewing with, and will not buy it, which makes fabric shopping more challenging. I want my linen, cotton, or rayon wovens to not have lycra added, it makes them more difficult to sew well, difficult to press well, and more difficult to fit well. Plus the few times I have used lycra/woven fabric before making this decision, the garments didn't wear as well, and was significantly warmer than the same fabric sans lycra. I have no problem with cotton lycra knit fabric, but for that I use a pattern designed for knits. That said, I make garments that are not skin-tight/body con, but that skim my figure rather than hug all the ins and outs.

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  11. I haven't really sewn with it, so it's good to know that it's kind of a pain. When I buy RTW denim, though, it has to have lycra so I can sit down. Otherwise I'd have to wear "baggies" like we did in the 80s. (It has to do with middle-aged body shift, when you lose your waist.) If it's a thicker stretch woven (like denim), it holds you in so you don't have to wear Spanx, whereas a knit doesn't hold you in as much. (I'll skip the part about wearing pull-on jeans with a knit yoga-pant waistband...) I've had good luck making skirts out of bottom weight knit ponte, though, so you may want to try that.

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  12. Oh, Lycra in wovens drives me bonkers. It's hard to find jeans that don't have it anymore. It's everywhere. And they wear out faster than non-Lycra versions...I used to get 7+ years out of one pair of jeans; now I'm lucky if they last six months.

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  13. It's true that there are lots of ready-to-wear clothes that include lycra, which really don't need it -- especially jackets which are nearly always lined with non-stretch fabric anyway -- it's crazy! I have to say that I do really love my home sewn jeans/slacks with lycra. I am too old to wear skin tight, so they skim, but wow are they ever comfortable. And I actually find that the lycra content helps the fabric keep its shape at the knees and seat. I have modified my pants and skirt patterns so that they don't have darts, but have shaped waistbands instead. I also love lycra in informal close fitting unlined blazer-type jackets -- again they are so comfortable to wear because they give across the shoulders and arms when I move. I don't think lycra, when we sew, makes up for poor fitting, but it can add qualities of fit and comfort that are especially wonderful, I think, for women, especially "mature" women. No, lycra is not the answer to everything, but sometime it's worth sewing differently in order to take advantages of its special qualities.

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  14. I too suspect it's to make RTW 'fit' well enough that more people will be likely to settle for it and buy it, along with people becoming used to the freedom of movement in knits, and the fact that it's hard to make the skinniest skinny jeans fit properly and comfortably without stretch. But I don't really like it either, and try to avoid it (fabric stores with a deep reserve of old stock and menswear fabrics help). About the dart tips, maybe you can hide them with welt or patch pockets, in styles where those look reasonable. A lot of the RTW I see cleverly avoids darts by using hip yokes instead.

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  15. I don't mind Lycra but only if it's a small percentage and I agree that there is just too much of it. I just find that if a pair of cotton twill pants or linen have Lycra, they just don't feel as cool as they would without it.

    Regarding sewing a dart on a fabric that stretches, what I do is encase the dart in a see through soluble stabilizer, like Solvy, and that prevents the dart from stretching out as I sew. In fact, I recently wrote a post on July 5 about this very topic in case you want more details.

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    1. Cool -- I'd never hear of Solvy!

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    2. Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is great, too. Now I wonder how I ever got by without using water soluble stabilizers for problem areas on stretchy fabric.

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    3. Solvy is awesome! I strongly suggest you try it!

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  16. Lycra and Spandex make me feel very hot and uncomfortable. I avoid them in RTW and never buy fabric that has either so I don't know what it's like to sew with them. I picked up a T-shirt the other day that had 10% Lycra and 90% cotton. It felt as though it were made of rubber. I put it back because I knew I would be miserable wearing it.
    Good luck in your search for the perfect fabric.
    Vancouver Barbara

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  17. It has its place, I'll choose the lycra/denim for jeans though they will sag with wear. It was great for maternity wear when weight changes were expected and inevitable, but I'm finding I'm not as much of a fan of stretch wovens when I make my clothes as I was when buying ready-made. If I'm altering the pattern to fit me, I don't need the stretch to compensate for not being the exact size/shape the store is offering. Also, if I'm going the stretch sateen route, princess seams are almost mandatory; darts get weirdly pointy, even after washing.

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  18. Some pants I made with a stretch twill sometimes make a faint cracking noise in the crotch when I'm walking. I've wondered if this is due to the lycra causing the fabric to stretch and snap. Note that the pants àre not very tight. I'm not a fan of stretch wovens in pants as I find my pants eventually become baggy because lycra loses elasticity with time. I made some jeans in non-stretch denim and they are not baggy by the end of the day and they are not noisy!

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    1. I have made few pairs of jeans with cracking crotch too! One of them is 100% cotton denim jeans. No stretch in fabric but still crack sometimes.
      I always thought it was because my right tigh is slightly bigger than the left one, thus leaving some unfilled fabric under my right cheek.

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    2. Ok, maybe it's not the lycra making the noise. Perhaps the crotch seam shape?

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  19. HATE lycra in jeans! I like them like Alice Cooper described: "They're hard and feeling mean" when they're new, and a loved baby blanket when they're old. Lycra blend jeans feel flimsy to me. I love knits when I want a knit, and woven when I choose that.

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  20. When I sew with woven cottons with lycra I cut everything smaller and tighter. I actually love it!

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  21. I love lycra in jeans/pants as the knees don't bag out. But I avoid it in tops as it sometimes needs ironing...but then often doesn't press well. Not to mention the iron hastens deterioration.

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  22. A little bit of stretch provides wearing comfort and more move-ability.
    I made slacks for myself in a 4way stretch wool blend and I love them so! The pressing and shaping of pants was alot of work but the pants are so comfy!

    The key is to press properly. To dry all moisture of steam out of the fabric. Maybe even try and press the darts dry? I know it's a lot of hassle but I think it pays off at the end.

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  23. I am fine tuning a pattern for my (horse) riding pants which need to be very snug but also have to allow movement, especially around the knee. Finding heavy weight cotton/lycra is just about mission impossible in NZ and quite frankly I'd love to be able to buy a fabric like the skirt fabric here.

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  24. Peter I hate Lycra in woven fabrics! I find that it either hugs is all the places I don't want to highlight while later bagging out in said places. I've made seven skirts for golf with Vogue 1274 and by the end of nine holes I've got some serious "butt springing" going on. You don't even want to image what it looks like after nine. When I find non-stretch woven fabrics I feel as though I've hit the jackpot!

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  25. I've always understood that Women's RTW contains stretch to allow the clothes to "fit" a broader range of sizes. It's a bit of a cop out - and I hate the look of woven clothes with lycra in them.

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  26. I haven't sewn the few stretch woven in my stash, but I bought them in the hope of making zero-ease garments more comfortable. As someone else said, sometimes you just want a sleeker silhouette (especially when one's not model proportion). With pure woven additional ease would be unavoidable. But the reason I don't just resort to knit for this purpose is because most knit will just mold to my figure, exposing any extra doughnuts I had! I'm hoping stretch woven works more like shapewear. Maybe it doesn't but I can only hope & experiment.

    There seems to be a lot of anti-synthetic sentiments amongst sewists. I wonder if a blind test would yield the same judgment or is it sometimes a case of per-determined bias against synthetics, maybe based on past experiences with low-quality and/or older version of those fibers.

    Also, I thought it's the lycra that helps with stretch recovery rather contribute to bagging. I definitely have had 100% cotton pure woven slim pants bagging at the knees permanently. So I was hoping that slim pants in stretch woven would bag less.

    Anything with lycra would definitely have to be cared for properly. As I understand it, heat destroys the elastic property of lycra faster. Just reading up about lycra now it seems like you are right: eventually - even with proper care - it will lose elasticity. So not for something that's meant to last forever I guess. But for RTW where they depend on you to replace your wardrobe every season that's probably a plus - additional built-in obsolescence! ;-)

    As for darts & sewing problem, thanks for the heads up. Maybe princess lines would work better. I prefer pencil skirt with princess lines anyway - visual slimming without the hard work of dieting! ;-)

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  27. In the RTW industry, it often looks like manufacturers are 'solving' fitting issues with stretch. And most of their audience has come to expect this. You'll often see people, mostly women in the street who clearly think that whatever they can squeeze into is their size. A practice which would be extremely uncomfortable without all that lycra.
    Personally, I only seek out woven with stretch for projects which really ask for it, like slim-fitting trousers and jeans. Generally, I'm a big believer in fitting things well so I don't need stretch.
    One thing I have to add though: The behaviour of any woven-with-lycra depends on the actual percentage of stretchy fibers. Up to 5% means the fabric has a bit of give but otherwise behaves normally, between 5 and 10% is clearly stretchy but still behaves mostly like a woven so you should, if you sew and press carefully, not have issues like you are having with those darts, more than 10% and you are looking at an almost knit-like amount of stretch, for such fabrics, you should consider using some kind of stretch stitch and it's better to avoid darts. Oh, and they way the lycra fibers are integrated into the weave also makes a difference. Fabrics with visible little threads of lycra are annoying to cut and wear out easily (that's when you get those little see-through threads sticking out near the seams. This is the old-fashioned way of adding stretch so nowadays, you are only likely to find this if you buy from places which sell a lot of old stock.

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  28. I avoid it like the plague. It was something I never gave a thought to until I made my safari jacket a few years ago. I couldn't press the stuff to save my life. Now I do a "stretch check" on every fabric I buy. Finding a bottom weight fabric without stretch is like finding a needle in a haystack!

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    1. The organic twill from Mood is excellent, 100% cotton!

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  29. Well I like it! I think it's the comfort factor, and with trousers, it does help to avoid knee bagging...
    On the whole, I'm with SMP I think, perhaps it IS a middle aged woman thing, or just for those of us with little discernible difference between 'waist' and hips. I've recently made up the StyleArc 'flat bottom Flo' trousers in 2 weights of stretch woven, and also in ponte. They all fit well, all are comfortable, and all have very different looks. I don't rule out any fabrics these days!

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  30. YES, to the pink pants! I had a pair of jeans that had lycra in it and they were really clingy so if you want that sort of fit thats the fabric to use. I guess it depends how much lycra is in the woven fabric often it tends to make the fabric heavy to me and if there is too much it kinda feels sort of rubber bandy. I'm wondering if one of those walking foot attachments for the sewing machine would help with that, also I wonder if the pressure on the presser foot could be eased off to keep from stretching the fabric too much.

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  31. Ok, I like lycra in wovens for pants. It helps prevent bagging and sagging in key areas. But I agree, it seems hot in shirts and dresses and definitely works against the natural flow and drape of a fabric. I think it's just a matter of fit to purpose, like so many things.

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  32. I think there is a time and a place for lycra in woven fabrics. I've made the same pencil skirt in wool and in cotton with lycra. The cotton/lycra version is infinitely more comfortable. I have not made a pencil skirt in a knit because it's more casual, and therefore not work-appropriate (where the cotton/lycra is). I don't find the cotton/lycra that I've sewn with to be particularly bad for showing lumps and bumps, but maybe that's just the fabric I've chosen.

    I do get that you don't always want it though - especially in linen as one commenter above mentioned!!!

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  33. Lycra "hides" otherwise mediocre fabric. Pure cottons can have stretch, which comes from the weave, and not the presence of stretching fibers.
    As a general advise (silhouettepatterns.com), prepare muslin from the fabric you are planning to make the garment of = no unpleasant surprises.
    Good luck

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  34. Peter- I generally believe that Lycra leads to the early demise in my pants, I do love it in my shirts. I have a rather large...bosom, shall I say?...for my size but a small frame. It means that I am a medium in the shoulders and a XL to XXL in the chest. I can either choose a shirt that fits loose in the chest but looks 3 sizes too big elsewhere, or something that fits well but is a wee bit smug in the chest. I generally choose the second option. Lycra helps. A lot.

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  35. I would choose lycra in my cotton wovens any day. There are lots of times when a knit isn't the look I want but I also need complete freedom of movement from my clothing. I wear all my clothes to their fullest extent. They must be able to go from work to play without changing. I never know when I'm walking, sitting, squatting, climbing, doing a yoga stretch in the park or at the beach, etc. I've had the opposite problem - having a harder time finding wovens with lycra in colors I want on the upper left coast. When I do find one, I choose to buy the best quality I can because I find that a higher quality fabric is less likely to break down and get baggy. None of my RTW wovens with Lycra are baggy. They do stretch out a little, just like any of my standard cotton wovens (think Jeans or similar weave), but that's just what fabric does when worn a time or two.

    I also like that I can get a closer, more fitted look with cotton-lycra. I have bumps and fluff, but when I choose the right cotton-lycra, none of that shows through, the fit is slim and flattering my extreme highway 101 curves, and I can move and sit comfortably for however long, or where ever I desire.

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  36. Wow great blog topic! For me I hate "stretch" in my jeans - I am old school and love my jeans just right tight - not so tight I have camel toe and muffin top but hugging my body with the right amount of ease to sit and eat and be comfortable and they are not "baggie" anywhere, wear well and hold up all day without baggie knees - no need for any stretch. I haven't worked much with wovens with lycra in them but have some in my stash so your post comes timely, very timely for me. I hate to shop for RTW now many women's clothes has some stretch in them and oh how I hate that but I think it is to as you said accommodate many body types with RTW sizing. I loved loved loved reading this blog.

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  37. Lycra all the way. If you're female and you want to wear a button-front shirt, you either need stretch or an oversized garment. If you're female and you have wide shoulders naturally and you lift weights, you really need stretch in your clothes. (Ask me how I know!)

    Also, I bike a lot and I'm not thin. Between the bending of knees involved in the biking and the fact that parts of my body squish around a bit when I'm bent forward on my bike - let's just be honest! - I need pants that stretch, or else I need to wear really loose ones. And given that I have wide shoulders and a big frame even at my thinnest, oversized clothes on me are oversized indeed - I look like a linebacker. Also, they're difficult to find. Stretch clothes are certainly made by manufacturers who want to accommodate more body sizes in fewer clothing sizes, but they're a godsend to anyone with unusual proportions.

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  38. don't believe I have ever commented before :) as for lycra in wovens, a big yes! I think there is a time and place for it, perhaps it takes a good bit of experience to decide which patterns can be made with a stretch woven and those that shouldn't but I love it, it definitely reduces wrinkling which I happen not to like. Some wools with a touch of lycra are great, look good and perfect for travel. I have made things with stretch corduroy and love them. Cotton sateen with lycra is good for dresses and cotton poplin with stretch is fantastic for shirts, so comfortable. I think one key to working with stretch wovens is to use the appropriate interfacing to stabilize areas where you want to remove the stretch factor (waistbands, zipper area etc) So count me as a fan of lycra.

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    1. Nice try, sister, but I've seen the likes of you before!

      It was on January 13, 2014 at 11:40 PM, you posted about your mother's custom made satin gown (see the link below).

      Ya, I remember it like it was a year and a half ago.

      http://malepatternboldness.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-mystery-of-vogue-4742.html

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    2. Testy, I hope my readers get your sense of humor. ;) I for one am flummoxed by your encyclopedic memory!

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    3. I recall her face, the rest was a quick Google search.

      Glad you "get" me.

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  39. FYI -- At the fabric store today it was pointed out to me that since my sateen's stretch is only on the weft (i.e., width-wise), if I cut my fabric on the cross grain, the stretch will be in the length, where it won't be as prominent (as opposed to across the belly or across the darts).

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    1. And hence less effective of its intended purpose; to add ease when you crease.

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  40. What a timely blog. I've spent the last day or two wondering what's happened to my old favourite jeans - all of a sudden they are saggy and baggy (even stright out of the wash) - particularly around the knees. DOH.... the lycra has given up!
    I do like a bit of lycra in my wovens - it gives the look of a woven but the comfort of a knit.

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  41. I give Lycra/Elastane a big thumbs down in sewing projects and typically for RTW too. The decision was made with one of my earliest makes - a shirt that I was supremely happy with but for the pesky fabric (cotton/Lycra). No joy to be had from working with or wearing it. Down with Lycra!

    Spud.

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  42. You wrote: "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?"

    Yes, Yes, YES! My first pair of jeans was made with stretch denim that I bought by mistake, but used anyway because it was going to be a "wearable muslin". It was difficult to work with and gave me some of the same sewing problems as knits, such as wavy seams.

    I wear them, but a year or two later the garment is stretching out in some odd ways.

    Never again will I work with stretch wovens. I make a point now of stretching the fabric on the bolt to double-check first.

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  43. I have a complete and utter loathing of stretch woven fabrics, and like Mainelydad check (and double check) every single fabric I buy to make sure it isn't. Mind you I also only wear natural fibres and rayon as it behaves like one.

    It doesn't breathe, and in a hot HUMID climate that's more than one step too far. I hate it more than pockets, and seeing as I have called pockets an abomination unto the lord my hatred of it is pretty solid.

    I'll tolerate a cotton or rayon lycra knit with at most 3% stretch, it seems to not feel like wearing a plastic bag as the woven stretch.

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  44. Hi Peter,
    I work with stretch wovens all the time! I find I don't need darts. StyleArc patterns has a great pant pattern, Elle, that's a pull-on pant in stretch woven that fits like a dream. I've made it up 3 times, worn them and worn them and they stay looking new. Cold wash and hang dry is my recommendation, after pre-washing and drying the fabric, of course.

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  45. And, of course it depends on the quality of the fabric you buy.

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  46. My sewing machine doesn't like stretch woven fabrics.

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  47. Wow! Lots of comments :) Now for my two sence...I love Lycra in my woven materials at times. I think of it as yet another option. Sometimes I do not like the drape of a knit but want a little more freedom of movement. This is when a woven Lycra comes in handy. It's not a perfect fabric. It does bag in the seat of jeans if the Lycra percentage is too high but if a lower percentage, the jeans look and feel wonderful all day!

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  48. Huge resounding yes to shirting fabrics with 5% lycra. I'm a woman with square shoulders, a broad back, and an E cup bust, and I hate to feel constrained by my clothing. If I make a close-fitting button down shirt, I absolutely need that extra bit of give for ease of movement in the shoulder and arms. A gesture as simple as holding the car steering wheel can cut uncomfortably. Sure, I could wear a woven that is tailored to provide ease, but then I'd be wearing a baggier silhouette.

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  49. A small amount of lycra can be helpful, especially to allow movement for a curvy woman. I have to agree that lycra bottomweigt can be miserably hot. One pair of jeans looked great, but once I wore them to a football game on a hot, humid day and they felt like rubber firefighter pants. Definitely wash and hang dry lycra jeans.

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  50. yes, Lycra allows manufacturers to fit a wider range of bodies, and no matter whether I weigh 105 or 125, the waist is not small enough and the a$$ is not big enough unless the pants have lycra or are custom made(by me or by the tailor, except in the olden days of wide pleated pants. and here in Austin it is too hot for pants in the summer anyway, but yeah it can be a little nasty

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  51. I've got my reasons for liking some lycra in my pants at times. I ride my bike as my primary form of transportation, but I don't like biking-specific clothing. A little lycra in some ordinary pants goes a long way towards making the ride comfortable. Until a few years ago, I struggled with chronic pain from endometriosis and I found that the give that my pants had with lycra helped relieve my pain, if only a little. Back then I was happy to take whatever pain relief I could get.

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  52. As someone who is muscular, wouldn't you sau the lumps and bumps showing of a woven stretch might actually be visually pleasing on a muscular person, accentuating the veins and lines?

    What do you think?

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    Replies
    1. If I wanted that kind of fit, I'd probably opt for a knit, but maybe that's just me.

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