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Knits—Stretch and Shrinkage Factors
INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .627 STRETCH AND RECOVERY FACTOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . .627 Stretch Factor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .627 Recovery Factor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .627 Variance in Stretch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .627 STRETCH AND RECOVERY GAUGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . .628 CLASSIFICATION OF KNIT FABRICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . .629 DIRECTION OF STRETCH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .629 ADAPTING PATTERNS TO KNITS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .630 The Shrinkage Factor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .630 The Stretch Factor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .631


Variance in Stretch There is a variance in the degree of stretch among knits and the degree of stretch between the length and width of each knit. The patternmaker should be knowledgeable about the special characteristics of knits and their stretch and recovery factors so that a good fit can be achieved with few corrections. • Stretchability: Knits have the capacity to stretch in length. The composition is mainly of elastomer and other stretch fibers. To determine the stretch of knits. stretch and recovery hand. stain resistance. the garment will eventually sag on the body and lose some of its original shape. Knits with good recovery are those that return to their original length and width when released. To remove stretch. or both (in addition to the bias stretch common to all fabrics). crush resistance. use the stretch gauge on page 628. and activewear. . the garment will sag on the figure.) Stretch Factor The stretch factor is the amount of stretch per inch that occurs when the knit is stretched to its maximum length and width. fast drying. Recovery Factor The recovery factor is the degree to which a knit will return to its original shape after being stretched. This is accomplished by modifying the pattern before cutting in knit. or close to it. Knits that stretch in both directions are two-way stretch knits. If the fabric does not return to its original dimension. Its key characteristics are: softness. daytime. • Versatility: Knits are suitable for dressy. the pattern is reduced in its length and width as designated by the stretch of the fabric. The latest-patented process called Lycra® 2.KNITS—STRETCH AND SHRINKAGE FACTORS 627 INTRODUCTION Knits are some of the most popular fabrics in the market today. Buy the type of knit appropriate to the garment’s use. If some of the stretch is not removed from garments made with a blended Lycra®. STRETCH AND RECOVERY FACTOR The ability of a knit fabric to stretch and return to its original shape (length and width) is referred to as the fabric’s memory. width. The stretch factors of knits range from 18 to 100 percent or more.0-Xtra Life® Lycra® fiber was developed for swimwear. and resistance to chlorine and ultraviolet degradation. primarily for the following reasons: • Structure: Knit fabrics are made of natural and synthetic fibers. quick and easy dyeing. (See the stretch and recovery gauge on page 628. DuPont has launched a patented process—Sorona polymer (made from a petro chemical source and also from a renewable source—corn). Many manufacturers and designers devote part or all of their lines to knit designs.

25. and take it with you when testing and buying knits. or maillot. Read the classification of knits on page 629. do not consider using it for a bodysuit. Release the pulled end of the knit to determine its recovery factor. LYCRA 1 2 1 3 Test Sample Lengt h Fold of crosswise grain 5" 4 2 5 Determining the Stretch/Recovery Factor of Knits Figure 1 Crosswise Grain • Fold knit along crosswise grain. If the knit returns to its original location. leotard. leotard. 15 16 17 60% 6 Selvage 7 18 19 20 21 80% 100% 8 Selvage 22 120% ELONGAT 9 23 . • Note the distance the knit stretched beyond its original length—18. 6 7 This method is used for close-fitted and contour-type garments (bodysuit. Suggestion: Copy the ruler. it has excellent recovery. The original pattern is modified (reduced in length and width) to compensate for the stretch. Selvage 3 8 LYCRA 20% SCALE FOR MEASURING ELONGATION OF COVERED YARN OR ELASTI C FABRICS CONTAINING LYCRA 9 10 11 12 13 4 5 Fold of lengthwise grain 5" 14 40% Figure 2 Lengthwise Grain • Repeat process used for crosswise grain. • Holding knit firmly at edge of the gauge. • Place fold of the knit on the stretch gauge. It will sag rather than contour the body like a second skin. If distortion (parallel folds) appear. glue on cardboard.628 Chapter 27 STRETCH AND RECOVERY GAUGE The ruler at the edge of the page is used to determine the stretch/recovery factor of knits. To use the stretch gauge ruler. follow the instructions. Caution: If a knit does not have good recovery. swimwear) in which stretch is the most important factor. stretch without distorting the fabric. relax tension. or 100 percent. 50. Pin-mark a space 5 inches wide. 50 to 100 percent stretch factor in one or both directions.

Two-way stretch. When combined with Lycra spandex or Lastex latex. Lycra (spandex) is a manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is a long-chain synthetic polymer comprised of at least 85 percent of a segmented polyurethane. Moderate-stretch knits. however. Combines characteristics of both stable and stretchy knits. or any fabric containing spandex or latex. maillots. knits can generally be classified in the following ways: Stable (firm) knits. Example: cotton/spandex. the maximum stretch should encircle the figure when knits are used for dresses. Across the back—flex movement from 13 to 16 percent Elbow Flex Length—35 to 40 percent Circumference—15 to 22 percent Seat flex: Across—4 to 6 percent Knee Flex Length—35 to 45 percent Circumference—12 to 14 percent There are single-knit and double-knit fabrics. and nylon. Rib knits are dependent on the knit pattern as well as on the fibers used. cotton/latex. leotards. leotards. Example: double knit in any fiber. pants. and skiwear. (example: 5 inches will stretch to 7 1/2 inches). and leotards. nylon/latex.” . to name a few. A stretch factor of 100 percent (1 ϫ 1 ribs will stretch less than 2 ϫ 2 or 3 ϫ 2). Used for tops and banding (example: the “knit two. and tops.6 pounds per square inch to ensure good recovery under wet and dry conditions. Spandex has the ability to spring back to its original shape when stretched (referred to as its memory). it shows only a small increase in length. Lycra spandex may be combined with antron. stretchy knit drapes well and is used for garments that contour the figure. “Swimwear. nylon/ spandex.6 ounces per square yard to ensure working stretch. and degree of stretch and shrinkage. Stretch yarns run lengthwise. bodysuits. purl two” traditional wristband stitch). The maximum stretch should go up and down the figure for bodysuits. This type of knit is suitable for bodysuits. A stretch factor of 100 percent in the lengthwise and crosswise grain (example: 5 inches stretches to 10 or more inches). Super-stretch knit. Stretch yarns run in both the length and crosswise directions. the fabric will vary in weight. direction.5 percent elongation • Must withstand power of at least 0. Because it is stretchy and light-weight.” and Chapter 30. Stretch yarns run crosswise. After repeated stretching. jackets. “Activewear. Example: nylon tricot. and skiwear to allow for maximum mobility.KNITS—STRETCH AND SHRINKAGE FACTORS 629 CLASSIFICATION OF KNIT FABRICS Knits come in many fibers: cotton. To utilize the built-in stretch of knits. as well as tops. Rib knits. antron. This type of knit has a limited degree of stretch and will retain its original shape well. DuPont (the leader) has issued standards for Lycra spandex for activewear garments: • Must have a minimum of 12. nylon. See Chapter 29. leotards. Filling stretch. A stretch factor of 25 percent on the crosswise grain (example: 5 inches stretches to 6 1/4 inches). Its excellent stretch and recovery make it suitable for bodysuits. The DuPont Company introduced the first spandex fiber called Lycra in 1958. Fit DIRECTION OF STRETCH Knits can also be classified by the direction of stretch in the following ways: Warp stretch. • Must have a Lycra content of at least 0. and clinging dresses and tops (provided the knit has an excellent recovery factor). Stretchy knits. • Must have zero pullback after 3. Examples: Any fiber blended with spandex or latex. Lycra allows the body to move with complete freedom when in a flexed position: is similar to that of a garment cut in a woven fabric.000 flex cycles. jumpsuits. and cotton for swimwear. A stretch factor of 50 percent on the crosswise grain with 18 to 50 percent on the straightgrain. A stretch factor of 18 percent on the crosswise grain (example: 5 inches will stretch to 5 7/8 inches). texture. Generally used for sportswear when stretch is used for comfort and a close fit but should not be used for garments contouring the figure. The elastic fiber of this type of knit can stretch many times its length and yet return to its original measurements.

630 Chapter 27 Figure 1 Guideline C Guideline B A ADAPTING PATTERNS TO KNITS There are two reasons for adapting a pattern to knit fabrics: The shrinkage factor requires the size of the pattern to be enlarged. (The torso and sleeve are used as the example. and the stretch factor requires the size of the pattern to be reduced. • Reducing the pattern for stretch: Trace the A patterns. Guideline waist Enlarging the Pattern Figures 1. True the patterns when cut. White (A) ϭ cloth pattern. Place on paper. and the outside white area indicates the new enlarged pattern [C]. blending curved lines.) • Enlarging the pattern for shrinkage: Draw guidelines out from the corners of the fabric pattern and working patterns. the pattern is enlarged to compensate for shrinkage. Guideline TOP FRONT Center front The Shrinkage Factor For loosely fitted garments. the shrinkage factor must be known.) • Wash and dry the fabric. (White area indicates the garment part [A]. the shaded area indicates the original pattern [B]. aligning the center line and waist of the torso and the grainline and biceps line of the sleeve. Note: Placement of garment parts on the pattern may look different from the illustrations. Shaded (B) ϭ original pattern. Place the cloth pattern on top of the paper pattern. but the process for developing the enlarged pattern remains the same. Guideline Figure 2 C Guideline B A Guideline Guideline Guideline SLEEVE Guideline Guideline Guideline Guideline . Therefore. shrinkage is considered to be the most important factor. To do this. Use these measurements to mark the distances out from the working pattern at each location. Measure the distances from the cloth pattern and the working pattern at each guideline. 2 • Cut the garment parts. The choice is determined by the type of knit and the use of the garment. White (C) ϭ enlarged pattern. Pin to secure. Draw the new pattern by connecting lines from one mark to the next.

For knits stretching beyond 25 percent but less than 50 percent. follow the examples and measurements given for knits with a stretch factor from 18 to 25 percent.) Figures 1. Walk all seams and mark notches. • Elbow dart: Reposition 1/4 inch up. and pant are illustrated and should be used as guides for Figure 1 Figure 3 1/4 " 1/4 " 1/4 " Figure 4 1/2 " 1/4 " BODICE FRONT SKIRT 1/4 " PANT FRONT New crotch level 1/2 " 1/4 " 1/4 " 1/4 " Figure 2 1/4 " 1/2 " 1/4 " New biceps level 1/2 " 1/4 " 1/4 " 1/4 " Figure 2 Sleeve • Biceps: Raise 1/2 inch. • Dart points: Raise 1/4 inch where shown. Repeat for the back. Knits shrink when washed. Three methods are discussed. • Hemline and waistline: Remove 1/4 inch (parallel with the original hem or waist of the pattern). • Hem: Remove 1/4 inch (parallel with the original hemline of the pattern). The back neck is not adjusted unless the neckline is deeply cut.KNITS—STRETCH AND SHRINKAGE FACTORS 631 The Stretch Factor Knits with varying stretch and recovery factors (firm knits and stretch knits) require different methods for reducing the pattern. Example: 1/2 inch for trouser. • Crotch: Raise 1/4 to 1/2 inch (amount depends on style of the pant). Blend. Blend. Bodice. Skirt. add 1/8 inch to all measurements. • Armhole: Raise 1/2 inch. Repeat for the back. (Broken lines indicate original patterns. Repeat for the back. sleeve. all similar pattern modifications. • Side seams: Remove 1/4 inch (parallel with original line of the pattern). The measurements are general and may require additional adjustments at the time of the fitting. 1/4 " . 3. Pants • Neckline: Raise 1/4 inch. skirt. • Walk sleeve to armhole. 2. Blend. 1/4 inch for slack or jean. Modifying the Pattern To determine how much a pattern’s length and width should be reduced. • Underarm seam: Remove 1/4 inch (parallel with the original line of the pattern). Remove 1/4 inch from the inseam of the pant. The basic front bodice.