Does Acrylic Stretch? How to Stretch Acrylic Sweater Easily

There are different holiday seasons throughout the year. Those special occasions allow for people to eat more than they should. When that happens clothes begin to shrink on them and stretching them back to their ‘original’ size is vital.

Does acrylic stretch? Yes, acrylic does stretch but don't expect it to stretch like nylon, spandex, elastane, or other stretchy fabric. One of the ways to stretch acrylic is to apply some heat to it. or you can use a blocking method that requires some water to loosen the fibers up.

To learn how to stretch acrylic fabric just continue to read our article. it gives you the tips and tricks you need to know about to make sure your stretching of acrylic goes smoother. it may not always be successful though as there is no on or off switch to stretching.

Does Acrylic Stretch?


It can but it will depend on how the fibers were woven. If the acrylic fibers were woven into a knit fabric, then you should see some stretch to it. Whether that stretch is 2 way or 4 way remains to be seen and depends on what the makers did to it.

Then if the fibers were woven in a straight warp and weft method, you can only expect some stretch to appear on the bias. if you want to avoid stretching, then you need to read those laundry instructions on the label and watch how you launder the material.

You may not want to use your iron either as the heat from that device can loosen up acrylic fibers and have them stretch while you work. One tip for when you wash the acrylic sweater is to wash it on delicate and with at least 6 more items in the load.

Those included items help keep the sweater from losing its shape. If the sweater does wrinkle, use a steamer and not for very long.

Does Acrylic Yarn Stretch When Washed?

When you use warm water, the acrylic yarn tends to stretch out a little. This is good news for those who thought their clothing shrank over the holidays. Just pop the sweater, blanket, etc., into the wash and turn the water temperature on warm and hopefully, you will get enough stretch to feel comfortable again.

This should not be a large amount of stretching but every yarn is different and when knitted into a clothing item, etc., it should not lose a lot of shape. The dryer may be a different story and you should not use high dryer heat when drying acrylic yarn or items made from acrylic yarn.

The higher the heat the more risks the acrylic yarn is faced with. You could get permanent wrinkles, or melt the yarn. That is one of the weaknesses of acrylic fabric. High temperatures tend to ruin the material.

Watch how you launder acrylic if you want to keep it at its original size when it went into the laundry basket.

Does Acrylic Yarn Stretch When Blocked?


Yes, acrylic yarn can stretch and you can use blocking carefully to regain some size if the acrylic made item was shrunk a little when it encountered high heat levels. When you block an acrylic beanie, hat, sweater, and so on, you need to either soak it first then pin it to the size you want it to be.

Or you can pin it first then soak it with water using a spray bottle. either method should work for acrylic clothing items and accessories. When using pins, the best ones to use are T pins as they are easier to place.

Then if you are doing a hat that needs to be larger it is best to use a human block form that is the size or approximate size of the head that will wear it. Or you can use a nice ball you have around the house. as long as it is close to the actual head size it should work.

Remember stretching is usually permanent with acrylic so make sure you reach the size you want or you may not be able to wear the item.

What is Stretched Acrylic?

This material may be better used by artists who paint or draw. It is perfect for canvases and keeps the fabric taught so that there are no wrinkles, creases, or crevices that will ruin the look of the painting.

Once it gets over the canvas frame it is smooth and tight making sure your brushes flow over the surface without a problem. The material should be pre-stretched during the manufacturing process to make sure it bounces back to its original size when it is accidentally shrunk.

Once stretched the material is then made ready for shipping and you have another fabric option to consider. There should be no felting when washed and the stretched acrylic may not shrink that much. If it does the process to stretch it back is the same as it is for any other acrylic fabric style.

How to Stretch an Acrylic Sweater?


We have already mentioned 2 of the blocking methods you can use when you need to add an extra inch or so to the size of your acrylic clothing items. Wetting with water is a good method if you can pin the material as close as possible to the size you want.

Another method to use also involves a form of water. your steamer is a good option to get the acrylic fabric to stretch out. You can pin the material dry and to the shape and size you want, then carefully go over the fabric with your handheld steamer nozzle.

Or you can use the steam function on your iron. The danger of using your iron is if the hot metal touches the fabric, the latter will melt on you. acrylic is still plastic and plastic and heat do not get along.

Heat is another good method to use and we are not talking about wet heat using steam. Dry heat should loosen the fibers up enough to allow you to stretch them back to their original size.

But this has some risks as well and too high of dry heat will ruin the material as well. Plastic does have a melting point and it is risky to use any type of heat with acrylic. The key is to be gentle when you manipulate the fabric if you use your hands instead of pins.

Also, keep in mind that any stretching you successfully get is usually permanent. That means if you shrink in size, do not expect the fabric to shrink with you.

Can You Stretch Acrylic Beanie?

Yes, you can and the first two blocking methods we mentioned already can be used with acrylic beanies. Acrylic beanies are not that hard to stretch and it usually takes a little time to get the job done right.

Make sure you have enough space to freely work so that your cramped positions do not influence how the beanie stretching turns out. also, make sure you have all the tools on hand and within easy reach so you do not have to repeat any steps or lose any time.

Take your time as you run the risk of ruining the acrylic beanie if you are not careful. The wrong water temperature or touching hot metal to the fabric will end up with a melted portion in the beanie.

As they say, haste makes waste so dop not be in a hurry and make sure the time you block out for this task is not filled with distractions.

How to Stretch Acrylic Beanie


First, when you use water, you can either pin the beanie up dry and then soak it in water but that method can be hard to remove any excess water that may have gotten on the fabric.

Or you can soak the beanie in a bowl of water, depending on the size of course, and pin the beanie up after you have patted the excess moisture out of the material. Then pin it to the size you want and let dry. Use T pins as those are the easiest to work with.

If you can use a head form or a ball that is close to the actual head size of the person wearing the beanie that is the ideal over the blocking methods just mentioned.

Or you can use the steam function on your iron or the nozzle of your steamer to add moisture. The danger here is that too much heat or anything hot touching the fabric will melt it. The plastic does not endure the heat very well.

The good news is that when the beanie is dry you can check the head size to see if you got it right the first time. if not, you can redo these procedures until you do.

How to Stretch Acrylic Yarn

The easiest way to stretch acrylic yarn is to wash it in warm water. The temperature level is just warm enough to loosen those fibers and stretch them without you having to do a thing.

But we should add a few words of caution here and for other acrylic stretching methods. First, be sure you want to stretch the material as it will be next to impossible to fix if you go too far. You may continue to add stretch but removing it is not an option.

Second, watch the heat level. Acrylic is acrylic no matter what form it has been turned into. That means acrylic yarn will melt on you when the heat gets too hot. That means you should not use your dryer to stretch your acrylic yarn.

If you do the mess you have to clean up may not look pretty. or you may get permanent wrinkles or creases in the yarn that will not come out. Handling acrylic in all of its forms is a delicate matter and you need to work with care.

Sometimes it is best just to go out and buy a new clothing item or hat in the new size than it is to stretch it out. The risks are not always worth the effort.

How to Fix a Stretched Acrylic Sweater


The best answer we can give is that you can’t fix a stretched acrylic sweater. Those fibers usually stay stretched once the process is over and they do not shrink. They may melt if you try to shrink them so fixing them with dryer heat or hot water is out of the question.

The only option you can try is to undo the seams and alter the size by taking in the fabric a little bit. This may not always work because the material may stretch width-wise as well and not just lengthwise.

When your acrylic sweater gets stretched out too far the only real option you have is to go out and buy a new one in the right size. Then donate the old one to a recycling plant that handles fabrics.

This is why we do not recommend the purposeful stretching process no matter which fabric you need to make larger. There are no controls to help guide you and mistakes happen more often than not.

Just be careful when laundering the material and be prepared for stretching as acrylic fibers will also stretch over time as you use the clothing item.

Some Final Words

Acrylic is an interesting alternative to wool. It feels smooth and soft as well as comfortable when bought in the right qualities. Plus, it is great for those people who have wool allergies.

But it is a risky fabric to buy as it can remain stretched too far when stretching the material goes too far. You can stretch acrylic but it has to be done carefully or it won’t serve any good purpose other than being a nice kitchen or workshop rag.

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