January 08, 2009

Stretch and shrinkage in patterns pt. 2

Some more comments on integrating stretch and shrinkage:

If this is meant for manufacturing, the pants have to fit off the rack and still allow for shrinkage. They also have to look right. The tests may say to allow 10% shrinkage but you can't add that much and have the pants look correct. I guess what I am saying is don't remove or add too much.

In other words, the dreaded hanger appeal. From a technical perspective, if you need to have 10% shrinkage allowance incorporated, you can't add that much. The clothing not only has to look good on the hanger but it also has to fit off the rack. Shrinkage and stretch makes patterns and designs a bit more complicated.

If a fabric shrinks 3% or less, I make no changes. This is true for most wovens including stretch wovens and not so stretchy knits.

If something shrinks more than that, say 5%, than introduce some compensation in the pattern.

If the fabric shrinks 10% or more, the fabric has probably not been finished completely. This is true for a lot of knits as they are dyed or printed on demand.

I treat most stretch wovens the same as regular wovens, completely ignoring the stretch factor. Stretch wovens don't really stretch enough to be truly considered a stretch fabric. There are some funky characteristics of stretch wovens that make them trickier to handle. They are also more expensive. You can remove some wearing ease if you choose.

Anyway, these are not hard and fast rules because every fabric will vary. Your pattern will have to be made for each specific fabric. The only way to know is to test, test, test.

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