Is Polyester Stretchy? The Answer Is Simple!

Can you rely on polyester in your project? Our article spills all the secrets about it and tells if polyester is stretchy and how to take care of it!
Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Research Writer
Jean is the brains behind her fashion label. She's a whiz with a needle and thread, and has been sewing since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors. Jean has always read more
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Isabel Misner
Isabel Misner
Expert Consultant
A professional seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step read more
Last updated: August 21, 2023
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There are several different types of clothing material available that you can use to make a variety of items to wear or decorate your home. Of course, some of these fabrics are more versatile and easier to use with your favorite heavy-duty sewing machine than others. One thing sewer looks for is a bit of stretch, which allows your clothing to move without destroying its shape. So, is polyester stretchy?

Yes, polyester is one of the stretchiest materials available, which makes it an ideal choice for clothing since it gives you a full range of motion, stretching to match your movements, and then reverting to its original shape when you relax again. If you’re wondering how this material achieves this amazing function, check out the information below to learn everything polyester has to offer.

What is polyester?

Is Polyester Stretchy? The Answer Is Simple!Polyester is a man-made fabric that is made using a type of plastic that is derived from a synthetic polymer named polyethylene terephthalate or PET. PET is created using a mixture of terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol.

Though you may expect items made of plastic to be hard with little flex to them, the polyester fibers that result from the PET process are actually rather soft. It also has some great characteristics, like water resistance, comfort, and even stretchiness, depending on the density of the material and whether or not it is blended with other fabrics.

Polyester density

The density of any fabric describes the linear density of the threads in it, including the ratio between the weight of the material and its length. The higher the number, the denser the material is.

When it comes to polyester, 300d is a fairly dense material that is usually used for things like thread, yarn, clothing, and accessories. Thicker 500d material is more suited for sporting goods, as well as tents, backpacks, and tarpaulin.

Materials that are 600d are for more aggressive use since they repel water and have low electrical conductivity. 900d materials protect against water and UV rays, letting none of this pass through, which is why this type of polyester is best for extreme conditions. This one is also incredibly strong with the highest amount of elasticity possible.

How stretchy are different types of polyester?

Is Polyester Stretchy? The Answer Is Simple!There are a lot of different types of polyester available, from 100% polyester items to specific blends. The varying fabrics can alter how stretchy the material is, so it’s a good idea to consider what you’re getting before you start any projects or buy any specific clothing.

Polyester alone has an extremely high stretch capability, so it won’t restrict your movements and will still look fantastic since it maintains its original shape. The Gildan Men’s Moisture Wicking Polyester Performance T-shirt is recommended by many users for this reason, plus it includes odor control, snag resistance, and comes in a variety of great colors.

Spandex is one of the stretchiest materials available, so combining it with polyester only adds to its benefits. These two are usually blended for activewear, though they are also great for other items to give you the freedom of movement you need for a busy day. One popular example is the gorgeous Adrianna Papell Women’s Knit Crepe Tie Neck Dress, which is 95% polyester and 5% spandex for easy stretching while still maintaining a sleek look and a flouncy hem.

A blend of polyester and cotton is also quite stretchy, though not quite as much as other blends. This does depend on the blend, though, since more cotton added will reduce the stretch. Rayon is also stretchy, so adding it to these blends can only increase the item’s ability to do so.

Knitted polyester fabric has a moderate stretch to it, though microfiber, woven, or waterproof polyester fabrics all have a low stretch factor, so keep this in mind when choosing your materials or clothing.

How to care for polyester to keep it from stretching?

Though polyester is quite resistant to stretching, some instances can actually cause this to happen without allowing the material to bounce back as it normally would. Taking extra care when laundering your polyester items can help reduce this, keeping your clothing looking its best for as long as possible.

Washing tips

Is Polyester Stretchy? The Answer Is Simple!When washing your polyester fabric, there are a few simple rules to follow to prevent permanently stretching the fabric. The first thing to do is to pre-treat any stains to keep them from setting in and ruining your clothing.

Once you’re ready to wash them, turn the item inside out and place them in the washing machine. Use the warm water setting and a regular or gentle cycle. Avoid using hot water as this will make fibers more malleable, causing unwanted stretching.

After the wash cycle is finished, carefully remove the pieces from the washing machine. Try not to pull on them too hard to avoid accidentally stretching them when still wet. Though this won’t necessarily damage them, it is best to be careful.

Drying/ ironing tips

When drying your polyester clothing, you should avoid high heat as you did with the washing process. Low or no heat is best for this type of material. Don’t dry the clothing completely in the dryer either. Instead, remove these items when they are still a bit damp and allow them to finish this process by air drying. You can lay them flat or hang them if they are not too wet since this shouldn’t cause the fibers to stretch.

Polyester items should be folded or hung immediately after drying to avoid wrinkles. They rarely need to be ironed but if needed, choose a quality iron and set it to low or medium heat. You should also use the steam setting or wet the fabric a bit to avoid damaging the material.Is Polyester Stretchy? The Answer Is Simple!

Final thoughts

Though it isn’t a natural fiber, polyester has a variety of benefits that make it one of the most popular fabrics available Trusted Source How green are your leggings? Recycled polyester is not a silver bullet (yet) | Fashion | The Guardian Demand for sustainable activewear is soaring but without technological improvement marketing appeal will outstrip environmental benefit . First, those asking “is polyester stretchy” will be happy to know that it is, though not in a way that will destroy your favorite items of clothing. This material moves with you, giving you that fantastic fit while still maintaining its proper size when you take it off again.

Polyester can also be blended with other fabrics for additional stretch, plus it is comfortable to wear, resists moisture, and can be dyed any color you like to match your style. It is also easy to care for, making this one of the best materials around.


How green are your leggings? Recycled polyester is not a silver bullet (yet) | Fashion | The Guardian
Demand for sustainable activewear is soaring but without technological improvement marketing appeal will outstrip environmental benefit
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