Knowing how to calculate a fabric's stretch percentage can be confusing if you are new to sewing. Well today I {Mel} will take out all the guesswork on how to Calculate a Fabric's Stretch Percentage for you.

Sewing patterns for stretch knits will often stipulate the fabric stretch percentage required to suit the pattern. It is important to have enough vertical and horizontal stretch in the fabric to ensure your finished garment fits well and is comfortable. 

So, in order to work out how to calculate a fabric's stretch percentage, gather the following items:

  • Test square of fabric (I like to use 10cm x 10cm)
  • Ruler
  • Basic maths skills, or a calculator

Here's a step-by-step guide to calculating the stretch percentage of your fabric, explained in a simple and easy-to-understand manner:

Step 1: Find a flat surface and place your ruler horizontally on it.

Step 2: Measure the width of your fabric in its unstretched state. Write down this measurement.

Step 3: Take one edge of the fabric and align it with the zero mark on the ruler. Gently stretch the fabric along the ruler as far as it can go. Note down this stretched measurement.

Step 4: Now, let's do some basic math. Divide the stretched fabric measurement (from step 3) by the unstretched fabric width (from step 2). Then, divide the result by the unstretched fabric width again. Finally, subtract 1 from this quotient. The resulting value is the stretch percentage of your fabric.

By following these simple steps, you'll be able to determine the stretch percentage of your fabric accurately.

For example, if you used a 10cm x 10cm square of fabric the equation will look a little like this:

15cm (stretched) ÷ 10cm (unstretched) - 1 = 0.50

Therefore your stretch percentage for this particular fabric is 50%. 

Repeat the above process to calculate the horizontal and vertical stretch percentage of the fabric, as both are equally important to take into account for garment construction. 

I highly suggest checking the stretch percentage required in any pattern and calculating the fabric you wish to use, as it only takes a few minutes and will save a lot of heart ache and tears. 

Have any questions or comments? Drop me a line on the Melco Fabrics Facebook Page. This is also where I share discount codes, tips, tricks and new fabric drops. 

Click here to shop the Melco Fabrics range of stretch fabrics.  

I hope you can now Calculate a Fabric's Stretch Percentage with ease!