Is polyester stretchy? 


Polyester is the most popular synthetic fabric that is used to make different cloth items. Most people are not aware of how many polyester clothes they have in their wardrobe in the form of blends. But today’s topic is not to count how many polyester clothes you should have, it’s about –  “is polyester stretchy?” The question in itself sounds technical and as its answer will. 

A lot of people are concerned about this question when I was recently crawling through the forum. And I thought, I have the answer for that, and I can clear your confusion. So if you are one who wants to know, is polyester stretchy? Then keep reading articles.

Is polyester stretchy? 

Due to its crystalline nature, Polyester is stretchy to some extent. The molecules of the polyester are tightly packed which prevents the fabric from stretching long. Polyester and the cotton blend provide great stretch to the material. 

However, polyester is used as dry-fit fabric by many sports brands. The reason for that is its nature to return to its original shape. It also prevents moisture and sweat. 

Polyester is often used with cotton fabric to add some breathability to the garment. However, the fabric used for dry-fit clothes is mostly polyester. 

The crystalline nature of polyester is very effective in preventing wrinkles and creases in clothes. 

However, polyester is a poor conductor of heat. It melts easily at high temperatures. So, you need to keep it away from high temperatures. 

Polyester also doesn’t absorb that much dirt. And it doesn’t require bleaching.  Chlorine bleaches can be used sometimes. 

Polyester is also resistant to bacteria and that is also the reason why it is used by many sports companies. The weather in the field may get absorbed in cloth, but because of the tight chain, it protects the cloth from bacteria and microorganisms. 

Does 100% polyester stretch? 

No, 100 percent does not stretch. However, it will stretch a little, if the crimp is used while Yarning. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is made of petroleum, so it will stretch at high temperatures. 

100 percent polyester is used very rarely. More often, it is used as a blend with cotton and other fabrics. 

However, there are some exceptions in the textile industry where 100 percent polyester is used. 

There are some pros and cons of using 100 percent polyester, to make any item that we will discuss today. 

Pros of 100 Percent polyester

  • ‌100 percent use of polyester in any piece of cloth or item provides it more durability and will last longer than any other material. 

  • ‌The second pros of 100 percent cotton are that it demands very little care if we compare it with blends or any other natural fabric. 

  • ‌100 percent polyester is moisture-wicking as it does not allow the moisture to absorb. 

  • ‌100 percent makes the cloth water-resistant as the fibers of polyester are tightly packed which does not allow the water to enter inside easily. This is the reason why most of the gym and outdoor wear are made of polyester. In the outdoors polyester prevents the rainwater from entering inside. 

  • ‌The use of 100 percent of polyester prevents shrinkage in the cloth. 

Cons of 100 percent polyester

  • ‌The first con of using 100 percent of cotton is condensation or suffocation inside the material. 100 percent polyester doesn’t allow the air to pass through the fabric which makes it bad for clothes and garments as Breathability of the material is very important, especially in summers. 

  • The production of polyester is time-consuming and has a bad impact on our environment. During its production, many harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases are emitted. 

  • Another main disadvantage of polyester is that it is non-biodegradable. 

  • Wearing a 100 percent polyester garment can also be bad for your own health as it produces phthalate chemicals in the air. Some researchers argue that it can lead to health issues. 

Is polyester stretchier than spandex? 

No, polyester is not stretchy than spandex. Spandex is the most Stretchable fabric out of all fabrics, as it contains elastomers. 

The elasticity of spandex is famous for providing comfort. Moreover, spandex also provides more freedom to body movement. 

If we spandex with normal fabric then it can stretch 5 to 6 times more. 

Spandex is often confused with the name of some brand but in reality, it is a fabric that goes through several processes. It is also popular and known by other names such as Lycra, and elastane. 

If we talk about its use in clothes and garments then you will be surprised that 100 percent spandex is not used to make any garment or clothes, instead, it is used with other fabrics like polyester to provide elasticity to the garment. 

Spandex is also used with cotton to provide elasticity to the garment. Because of its ability to stretch 6 to 8 times more than its original size, it is a highly demanded fabric in the textile industry, which makes it supremely expensive. 

You will find polyester garments in the market that have some amount of spandex in them to provide the extra stretch to the garments. 

The blend of both these are often used in sports underwear for men and women. Besides polyester, spandex is usually used with cotton because cotton is the most used fabric in the textile industry. 

Is polyester and cotton stretchy? 

Yes, polyester and cotton when used as a blend provide stretch to the cloth or garment. 

Cotton alone is not a stretchable fabric, however, it stretches very little, in contrast to some natural stretchable fabrics like spandex. 

Just like denim and polyester blend is used to provide the stretch to the cloth, similarly, polyester is used with cotton in most of the cotton made clothes and garments to provide elasticity. 

Polyester when used with cotton not only provides the cloth to stretch but also makes sure that it returns to its original position after the stretch. 

However, it is not that cotton is not stretchy at all. There is some natural stretch in the cotton which allows it to stretch according to the body shape. 

The only reason that 100 percent cotton is not used is that once it stretches according to the body shape, it doesn’t have the ability to return back to its original shape. Also, 100 percent cotton is not stretchable if we compare it with a blend of polyester and cotton. 

Is polyester stretchy in jeans?

Yes, polyester is stretchy in jeans, that is the reason why jeans are made with a blend of denim and polyester. Denim in itself is not a stretchable material, but adding polyester provides the stretch and gives the body more freedom to move. 

A lot of you may don’t know but because of polyester used in jeans, we feel comfortable in skinny jeans. If polyester would not be used in skinny jeans then it will lose its stretch and resist body movement. 

Besides the fact, that polyester is used to provide elasticity in jeans, there are other reasons also why it is used in jeans. 

Polyester is used in jeans to cut down the cost of the jeans, as polyester is the cheapest material because it is man-made and produced in large amounts. 

The second reason why polyester is used in jeans is to make the jeans more durable, as polyester is a tough material. 

How to make polyester stretchy? 

Making polyester stretchy is not that easy task, as polyester is a synthetic material which once shaped, remains permanent. However, you can stretch the polyester a little bit by using some techniques that we will share below. 

Use warm water

  • Take a bucket of warm water and put the cloth or garment in that water. 

  • Take out the garment and stretch it as hard as you can with your hands. 

  • You can also use the washing machine. For that, you have to put the garment inside the washing machine and set the cycle. You can use vinegar instead of detergent to avoid fading. 

  • After that, take out the garment outside and stretch it as hard as possible. 

Use water and conditioner

  • If the above process is not an effective option, then use a conditioner with warm water. 

  • Add one tablespoon of conditioner in the water and wash the garment in that. 

  • You can also spray the mixture over your garment. After that, stretch the polyester garment and you will see the stretch in polyester. 

  • Using a conditioner is the best way to stretch the polyester as it softens the fabric and makes the stretching process too easy. 

Just know that the stretch is not permanent. So, to make sure that the garment fits you well, wear it immediately after stretching. Don’t bother if the garment is wet, wear it so that it can take the shape of your body. You can also do some stretching or work to speed up the process. 

Is nylon stretchy than polyester? 

Yes, nylon is stretchier than polyester because the fibers of nylon are packed loosely than polyester which allows the nylon to absorb water or moisture, hence increasing the elasticity of the fabric and making it stretchy. 

However, nylon is not too stretchy like spandex because it is a synthetic fabric that goes through the same process as polyester.

We compared both polyester and nylon, and both have their pros and cons. Let’s find out which has more pros

Pros of nylon

  • ‌Nylon is stronger than polyester and that is why it is used to make outdoor gear like tents. It is also used in making athletic sportswear. 

  • It is highly tensile, just like polyester which makes it a stretch-resistant material. 

  • Nylon is also very light in weight. 

  • Nylon is a cheap material, but costlier than polyester. 

Cons of using nylon 

  • Just like polyester, nylon also melts under high temperatures. However, it melts immediately while polyester first catches fire. 

  • Nylon is not a good material for casual wear, especially in summers. It also has more shine in it than polyester. 

How to take care of polyester? 

Polyester is a synthetic fabric, which means it demands less care than natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk. However, taking care of polyester adds durability to the garment. 

Follow the instruction on the tag or label

The first thing is to always read the instructions that are given on the cloth tag or label. 

If the instructions are absent on the label, then you can search online on the brand website. Most brands give care instructions for the cloth on the label. It is very important to read the instructions because the clothes are made of different blends.

Prevent using iron 

If you have a garment or any piece of cloth that is made mostly of polyester then you should avoid ironing. 

In case if cloth or garment has wrinkles because it is made of any blend such as cotton and polyester blend then, first ‌you should first set the press setting to polyester. 

‌Put the towel over the garment or cloth. You can also place any other cloth, which is made of any natural fabric. It protects the polyester from heat. 

‌Then next, you should iron the garment by starting from the top and stop at the end. ‌You can also use steam or spray before ironing if the wrinkles are too much. 

For more on ironing polyester I recommend you to read this- Can you iron polyester?

Do not fold

Though polyester does not shrink or wrinkle, still folding it, may give lines on your clothes, which can be very hard to remove. Removing lines is very hard, even with iron. 

Avoid heat

You should avoid any heat like giving hot steam as it will destroy the fabric. Polyester is a fabric that heats and cools down very fast. Polyester catches heat very fast, and you should avoid applying any heat on the cloth or garments that are made of polyester, or in the case of blends the polyester percentage is more. 

Wash in cold water

The best is to wash polyester in cold water to avoid any harm to the fabric. However, washing your polyester garment in warm water provides stretch to the garment, as discussed above. 

But I will not recommend that, except if you want to stretch your garment. Washing polyester regularly in warm water can ruin the fabric and fades the color. 

Why is it important for the fabric to stretch? 

The stretch in a fabric is important to provide freedom to the body movement. Stretchable fabric allows you to increase body movement, which helps you in performing day-to-day activities easily, such as sitting, exercising, etc. 

The gym wear and outdoor wear are made stretchable, so that person or athlete can perform the activities easily. There is a scientific reason why it’s so. When a person does any movement, it stretches the skin by 50 percent. The fabric or cloth should compile with the stretch. If the fabric is not stretchable then it will resist the body to perform a movement. 

Moreover, there are some benefits of stretchable fabric that everyone should know. 

  • ‌The stretchable fabric fits well to the body. The stretchable fabric is easy to wear, as it can compile with the shape of the body. 

  • ‌The stretchable fabric is more durable than other fabrics. 

  • ‌Stretchable fabric is good in moisture management

What makes a fabric stretchy? 

The stretchable fabric is that, which provides enough elasticity to the cloth or any garment so that it can compile with the body movement and after that returns to the original shape. 

  • Increase in fabric loop
  • Direction of loading

How good is polyester for garments

Polyester is a very good material that is used to make garments. However, 100 percent polyester is not the best option. The blend of cotton and polyester is the best and most used worldwide to make garments. 

To know how good is polyester and cotton blend, read this –Is polyester warmer than cotton?

There are various benefits of using polyester in garments. It helps in preventing shrinking in the garments or cloth. Polyester also provides wrinkle-free, water-resistant properties to the garment. 

When it is used with other fabrics in the garments, it makes a soft, comfortable, and stretchy garment that will adapt to the body shape and also become more durable.

Prevent buying garments made of pure cotton or any other fabric as it will shrink easily, does not offer you durability, and cost you more money than if you buy a blend of cotton and polyester. 

Using polyester for sewing

Yes, you can use polyester for sewing. Though polyester is usually sewed by using a machine, but you can also stitch is it by hand. 

Polyester is hard to sew with hands if we compare it with natural fabrics. To use the polyester for sewing, you need a sharp needle. Size 8 needle works fine with polyester. 

Before sewing polyester, first, let it stretch naturally. For that, you need to hang it for one day. 

Use the zigzag and close pattern to stitch the polyester. 

Conclusion- polyester has a limited amount of stretch, but you can stretch it more by using hot water and stretching it hard. However, the stretch in polyester is very limited if we compare it with other fabrics. 

Hi, gurbi is a fashion blogger, designer, and fashion consultant. He is 25 yrs old man who love the world of fashion.