Can You Stretch Silk? (How To Stretch Silk Clothing)

No matter what subject you want to learn about, you will find that not everyone agrees. There is always one person who will disagree. The same holds true when it comes to fabrics like silk. There will always be someone who says the opposite thing.

Can you stretch silk? This is a topic that has people on both sides of the fence. Some say yes and others say no but the good news is that it may be possible to stretch some silk fabrics. One method is the baby shampoo water method. Soak your silk in this mixture for up to an hour then gently stretch the fabric.

To get all the details on how to stretch silk just continue to read our article. This article explores the issue so you have the facts. Making sure your favorite silk clothing item fits is important.

Is Silk Stretchable?


A silk fabric may not be stretchable. But silk thread and silk fibers are. Some say that the silk must be cut on the bias before it will stretch at all and then it might not stretch too much.

Then some people claim that to get silk to stretch it needs to be blended with spandex or some other stretchable fabric. There are fabrics called stretch silk satin and stretch silk crepe which may stretch some but not a lot as well.

The single fiber can be stretched up to 50 times its length but that characteristic does not seem to transition very well when it is woven into a fabric. What we have been able to find out is that silk can stretch about 20% more from its original length.

There is some difficulty with silk stretching though. It may eventually break its fibers and gradually lose its elasticity. Just don’t count on silk being like spandex or lycra which always stretch

Why Does Silk Stretch?

The reason silk stretches is that it is made from natural fibers. These fibers have properties in them that allow them certain functions. A little stretch is just one of those functions. Also it may not be all styles of silk that will stretch.

A lot of the stretchy nature will depend on how the fabric was woven together and the quality of the fabric itself. You would have to check the label to see if there are any warning signs or information about the clothing item made from silk and if it will stretch at all.

Even though it is made from natural fibers, that does not mean that it is a very stretchy material. Some people have reported that they do not get any stretch from silk or that they can even stretch the fabric.

If your silk clothing stretches then it is possible that you got a good quality blouse, shirt, or dress. We have seen reports where you are told you can’t stretch a silk dress.

Does Silk Stretch When Wet?


It seems that silk can stretch when it is wet. There is a process where you soak the item in baby shampoo and water for between 30 to 60 minutes then you have to gently pull on the fabric to get it back to its original size.

Also, if you use that technique you should do the stretching while the item is underwater and has soaked for 30 minutes. But you need to be really gentle as silk fibers weaken when they get wet and it is possible to break them during this process.

As for stretching when it rains, it is possible. The fabric will stretch up to 20% so anything can happen. When you try to stretch silk you are not really unshrinking the clothes, you are just relaxing the fibers so that you can stretch them back into shape.

One of the reasons why you may not get a lot of stretch out of silk is because the fabric is made with tight weaves

Does Silk Stretch Over Time?

Silk may stretch over time. It is a natural fiber and it does possess some stretching capability. How much it will stretch will depend on several factors like quality and how it was woven.

But do not think that just by hanging it in your closet on a hanger the silk clothing item will stretch and be in perfect shape to fit you when you take it out. You will have to wear it and help the fibers stretch to fit your form.

Use is one of the best ways to get a silk gown, blouse, or shirt to stretch out the way you want it to. It is also the best way for you to be comfortable in silk. With the fabric stretching to fit your form you know your body won’t be tight or uncomfortable for very long.

Your experience may differ from other people’s experiences and how much your silk items will stretch is anyone’s guess. There is no absolute answer to this topic.

How To Stretch Silk For Painting


The first step in this process is to measure your wood frame and then cut the silk a few inches larger than the frame. Oh before we go any further you do need two people to do this task.

Next, you need one person pulling the fabric tight on one side of the frame while the other person stables it into place. Then the same person pulls the fabric taut over the other side of the frame with the person stapling tacking it into position.

Just keep pulling and stapling until all sides are tight, and have no wrinkles in them. The last thing to do is stretch the fabric diagonally so you get the fabric as taut as it can be and there are no openings.

When the stapling is done, make sure to tap in any staples that have not gone all the way into the frame. You do not want the fabric tearing on the arms of the staples. Then you trim off the excess and you should be ready to go.

Does Silk Thread Stretch?

Yes it can stretch. There is a handy way to handle this task. All you need is some solid wax. You run the thread through the wax till a groove appears. Use the same groove 2 or 3 more times as you put wax on the thread.

A little tension on the thread as you do this is okay. Just do not pull it so tight that the thread breaks on you. Once you are done you can wipe the excess wax off and get down to stretching the thread.

You should only stretch the thread one foot at a time. Too much pull may damage the thread and ruin your efforts. Depending on the brand of thread you may stretch it a little more.

That is another thing. Not all thread brands are the same and some may break easier than others. Check your brand and hope for the best. If it breaks easily it may be time to change brands.

How To Stretch Silk Thread For Beading


The reason you stretch silk thread before you do jewelry or beadwork is that if you don’t the silk may lose its shape or lose its tension. The silk will stretch naturally but you have no control over the material and you may run into problems when you work with silk.

There is a very simple way to stretch silk for beading and if the thread breaks here it will break at knotting time. All you have to do is remove the silk from its location and wrap a little bit around each hand.

Usually you want o stretch about 18 to 14 inches at a time. After you have wrapped the thread around each hand, just gently but firmly pull the thread in opposite directions. The pulling continues till you feel there is no more give in the thread.

There is a rumor that the thread breaks due to the dyes used to create it and its color. There may be other reasons like pulling too hard or the thread is old.

Can You Stretch Silk Clothing?

It is possible to stretch silk clothing. As a natural fabric, silk should have about 20% stretch to it so when the fabric shrinks or is too small, you may be able to stretch it out a little.

Keep in mind that there is no ultimate control over how much silk will stretch. Your results may be satisfactory for you but do not expect the same results or larger stretch with all your silk clothing. The fabric will stretch depending upon its weave and the quality of the material.

Also each article of clothing may not stretch up to the full 20%. It is anyone’s guess how far the item will go. If the silk garment is too small, it may be wiser to just go out and buy one that fits.

Stretching also carries no guarantees that you will not ruin the item. You will save yourself a lot of frustration as well.

How To Stretch Out a Silk Shirt


The process is not that difficult to learn or to due. Just do not hold any unrealistic expectations when you follow this procedure. The first thing you need to do is gather the silk shirt, baby shampoo, and some water.

Use 1 tablespoon of hair conditioner or baby shampoo for every gallon of warm water you put in a bucket or sink. Stir until you get a soapy texture look to the water. Then add the shirt you want to make larger.

Let the shirt soak for about 30 to 60 minutes. You can start stretching it while it is still underwater at the 30-minute mark if you want. Or you can wait till the hour is up. After the hour is up, gently rinse the shirt off.

Hang dry without wringing. Gravity should help the stretching process. Once dry press with a cold iron. This procedure works with soft water homes. It is unsure if it will work in those homes that use hard water.

How do You Stretch a Silk Dress?

It is possible to use the same procedure as described above. Dresses are not that much different from shirts that they need a different process to get them to be a little larger. The same warnings apply as well.

There is no guarantee that the stretching process will even work. While you have a 20% stretch capability there is no guarantee the dress will stretch out that much. Another way to stretch the silk dress is to wear it while it is still wet.

If you do not like that idea then you can put the wet dress on a dress form and let it take all the moisture for you. How much stretch you will get is uncertain. There is no way to control the amount of stretch.

If the dress is too small, it is better if you went out and bought yourself anew one. That way you get one you like and one that will fit comfortably.

Some Final Words

Silk has some stretchability. That is a good ability to know about as silk may shrink on you at the wrong time and you will need to stretch it back into shape. The procedures are simple, not difficult to do and they may get you the stretch you are looking for. Then again, they may not.

With no control over the fabric and its ability to stretch, you may get a little or you may get a lot. Plus when the silk dries it may shrink back a little as well. The fibers will be weaker after these processes so the silk item may not last as long as before you tried them.

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