Does Polyester Stretch? (How to Stretch Polyester Clothes)

A good stretch is always helpful. It pays to have clothes that will stretch with you and not lose their shape or integrity. That is why when doing sewing projects you need to consider the stretch factor. If the clothes do not stretch well, they won’t be worn often.

Does polyester stretch? Polyester is made to stretch. That makes it an ideal fabric to use when your body is going to be doing more than just walking and sitting. But there is one drawback to polyester’s stretch factor. It is also made to bounce back to its original shape.

To learn all about polyester and its stretching ability just continue to read our article. It delves into the subject to make sure you know all about polyesters stretch and rebound design.

Does Polyester Shrink or Stretch?


This is a good question. Polyester is made in such a way that it should not stretch out of shape like cotton might. Plus, at the same time, it is designed to not shrink. It is a material that can be used for a variety of clothing items that let you move freely without being embarrassed by its inability to retain its shape.

With that in mind, polyester will stretch when you stretch. In other words, when you are doing activities that make you reach to complete them, the polyester fabric should stretch with you. Then it will rebound back to its original size when you are finished stretching. That flexibility gives you worry-free wear.

Does 95 Polyester 5 Spandex Stretch?

The design of the polyester fabric already allows for some stretching but not as much as spandex. When spandex is added to the polyester fabric, you will get some stretch on the bias.

With the spandex added you get a little stretch in 2 directions but not as much as will take place when you stretch on the bias. Now the knitted polyester and spandex will stretch more than if the garment was made from 100% polyester.

The tricot knit polyester and spandex combination will stretch a long way. The stretch you get from this blend will depend a lot on what kind of polyester fabric the spandex is blended with.

50 Cotton 50 Polyester


This fabric blend will probably have the polyester dominate the cotton fabric it is blended with. By that, we mean that the cotton and polyester bend should stretch and reduce as any polyester fabric would.

The garment should not stretch out of shape. The polyester helps make the cotton more durable. Not only that it cleans up easier and should not wrinkle. That is not the only benefit polyester brings to its cotton partner.

With the presence of the polyester, your blended shirt or pants, etc., should not shrink. That is good news when that particular clothing item is one of your favorites. Your blended shirts should last a lot longer and remain in good shape so that they can be worn for years.

Does Polyester and Elastane Stretch?

The polyester won’t stretch but the elastane will. This added stretch allows clothing manufacturers to make slimmer, skinny clothes that tightly conform to the body. With the added stretch blended with polyester, you should feel warmer as well as move any way you want.

One of the better aspects of elastane is that it will reduce like the polyester fabric it is blended with. That means your clothes should retain their shape. For a little while at least. Elastine is known to stretch out of shape even when blended with other materials.

That situation may not occur right away unless the materials used were of low quality.

How Much Does Polyester Stretch?


Different fabrics tend to stretch in different lengths. Polyester is known to stretch between 5 and 15% while under load. That makes it a very useful fabric when webbing is needed for heavy loads.

In comparison, Polypropylene can stretch up to 50% when carrying a heavy load. Polypropylene is a form of plastic and not really made for such tough work. Then there is nylon which can 25 to 30% while holding about 2500 pounds.

To get more of a stretch out of polyester it needs to be blended with stretchable material. Other than that polyester on its own will not stretch. That characteristic is hat makes polyester a good fabric to work with when you do not need a lot of stretch.

Does Polyester Stretch When Wet or After Washing?

That is a tough question as fabrics tend to stretch a little when wet or after being washed. While wetting and washing a polyester clothing item is used to stretch the fabric, it does not necessarily stretch under normal conditions.

Polyester, if you recall, is designed to hold its shape, stretch a little when you need it and then bounce back to its original shape. Simple getting the clothes wet or washing them will not stretch the fabric.

The stretch factor found in polyester is do to the petroleum products used in its construction. Those petroleum products hate the heat and if the polyester fabric is heated up enough you can stretch it somewhat.

Does Polyester Stretch Over Time With Wear?


If it is made of 100% polyester then do not expect your clothing to stretch over time. It is made to be comfortable so it will adjust a little bit to your body but snap back to its original shape.

If you want your polyester clothing to stretch over time, you need to blend it with another material that has a lot of stretch to it. Spandex and elastane are two prime candidates to get polyester to stretch out of shape and not snap back.

The other way to lose the shape of your polyester clothing items is to keep overheating them. Polyester is a man-made product that has its limitations.

Does Nylon Stretch More Than Polyester?

Yes, it does. If you look at the figures given above, you will see that nylon stretches about 10 to 25% more than polyester does. That is a big difference between the two fabrics. Also, nylon does not normally rebound back into shape.

If you do not like spandex or elastane you may like blending your polyester fabrics with nylon. It is a strong material that holds up well and provides that extra stretch you want when you overexert yourself doing your different activities.

But nylon doe snot stretch as much as spandex does which is why the latter is used in sportswear more often.

Does Polyester Stretch More Than Cotton?


No, it does not. That is due to several factors. Cotton is a natural fiber that doesn't really have restrictions on how it is shaped. It will shrink a lot more than polyester but that should only happen one time.

A cotton-poly blend should fix the stretch that comes with 100% cotton fabric. Its the best of both worlds as your clothes stay in shape longer and they remain softer. Plus, your clothes should last a lot longer.

The presence of polyester in a cotton clothing item makes wearing cotton items a win-win situation.

Is Polyester Stretchy in Jeans or Dresses

Polyester comes with a natural bias side stretch. Even when blended with denim the fabric does not lose that characteristic. That is why jean makers can make very skinny jeans.

The jeans themselves may be a tight fit, but the polyester denim blend lets you move without feeling restricted by the cloth. Then with polyester heated, cooled, then stretched and added to denim, the polyester becomes more durable and handles harsher punishment better.

It should be no different when you put on a denim dress or skirt that has been blended with polyester. Or any dress that has a poly blend construction.

Does Polyester Satin Stretch?


It will depend on which of the different kinds of satin polyester is blended with. When combined with stretch satin then the answer is going to be a resounding yes. Polyester will stretch like it does when mixed with spandex and other stretchy fabrics.

Polyester does not lose its characteristics once it is blended with another fabric. Its capability to stretch in its limited way allows the blended fabric stretch when you need it to.

The presence of the polyester helps the wedding dress or other item drape just right so you have a great look on your special day. The sating provides the elegance.

Does Shrinking Polyester Ruin Stretch?

The process to shrink polyester shrinking fabric is not difficult or complicated. You just need to use the right heat for washing and drying. You will want to keep the water temperature under 230 degrees F when washing.

For the dryer, the heat should not go above 180 degrees F. After you do this you should have a polyester clothing item that should still stretch like it did before you shrank it.

The natural stretch and rebound characteristic doe snot seem to be ruined after this process. What you need to be concerned about is that you do not damage the overall fabric as you go through this process.

How to Stretch Polyester Clothes (pants or shirt)


There are two basic ways to stretch a polyester shirt or pair of pants. The first is the wash wear and dry method. This is where you wash the clothes on very high heat for the full wash cycle.

Then when the cycle is done and you can stand the feel of wet clothes on your body, put the shirt and pants on. Wear them till they dry and you should get enough of a stretch to comfortably wear the shirt or pair of pants.

The heavyweight method is similar to the wash wear dry system instead of using your body, you use heavyweights. After washing, lay the shirt out flat and attach weights to the area you want to be stretched. Then let dry. Just be careful not to tear the fabric.

Stretching Polyester Dress or Skirt

The heavyweight method may work on these clothing items. The system is designed to stretch your polyester clothes a lot. What you have to watch out for is that you do not tear the fabric and ruin it.

The main problem is that it is very difficult to stretch a 100% polyester dress or skirt. It may not be worth it as you won’t get 2 more sizes out of the method. Since polyester does not shrink, it would seem that anyone wanting to stretch a dress or skirt already bought it a size or two too small.

Just return the item and get one the proper size.

Can You Stretch Polyester Shoes?

Here are some methods to stretch your shoes but whether they work on polyester shoes is another question. With its rebound factor, it may be a wasted effort.

  • 1. Wear thick socks to help stretch the fabric.
  • 2. Stuff your shoes. This is similar to #1 except you are using plastic bags or other items instead of your feet and socks.
  • 3. use your freezer and some old newspapers. It will take three days but you should have good results. Put the newspapers in the shoes before placing them in the freezer.
  • 4. Rubbing alcohol works with plain white paper. Just dampen the interior of the shoes and fill them with white paper. Be careful not to get any alcohol on the outside of the shoes.

Some Final Words

Polyester has been a go-to fabric for many clothes makers because it does not stretch or shrink. While there is an element of shrinking and stretching involved both elements work hard to keep the original shape of the clothing item.

If you want a lot of stretch then you have to blend the polyester fabric with spandex, stretchable satin or elastane. But you may lose the shape of your clothes after a while.

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