Does Polyester Stretch? Everything You Need To Know About Polyester

does polyester stretch

No, Polyester does not Stretch at all. They are actually quite stiff and resilient. The fabric is strong and durable because of this toughness.

What Is Polyester?

While Chemistry 101 states polyester is a category for polymers, generally, the term is used to describe a synthetic material made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fibers. Yes, most plastic water bottles are made of the same material.

We’ll get back to the fact that it was invented in 1929, but the 1970s saw a huge increase in its popularity. Designers and manufacturers fell in love with it because of its cost-effectiveness, durability, and versatility.

Today, polyester is primarily used to create fabrics for clothing, including cozy hoodies, activewear, and outerwear. However, because polyester is so resilient, the list goes on. Ropes, air filters, and liquid crystal displays (LCDs) are just a few examples of household and even commercial products that can be made with them.

Density Of Polyester

Den is an indicator of the linear density of threads in a fabric, the ratio between weight and length. 1d is 1 gram of thread per 9 kilometers.
Density increases with increasing numerical indicators.

  • 300d – is a fairly dense fabric that is widely used in sports and tourist equipment, clothing and accessories, threads, and yarns.
  • 500d – is a dense material from which equipment for various sports is made. Furthermore, it is employed for tents, bags, backpacks, and truck tarpaulins.
  • 600d – resistance to an external aggressive environment. Good water resistance and low electrical conductivity. The fabric’s application range is the same, but the end products are of a higher class.
  • 900d – this density of the fabric does not allow not only water to pass through but also ultraviolet rays. Extreme conditions can be handled by high-quality equipment. Incredible strength and elasticity are achieved by fusing polyester and nylon.

Is Polyester Fabric Stretchy?

Polyester fibers don’t have any elasticity by default, so 100% polyester fabrics are not stretchy. They were designed to maintain their shape and withstand more severe use. If the cloth is damp but not quite enough to see a noticeable difference, they might yield. There are two ways you can achieve some movement and stretch with pure polyester:

  1. Knitting the fibers gives them a stretch along the width of the fabric.
  2. Crimping the fibers creates elasticity.

Mainly though, when people talk about stretchy polyester, they refer to a polyester blend, aka poly blend, where polyester is combined with a different type of fiber to achieve specific characteristics. Typically, spandex, also referred to as lycra or elastane, is added to create a stretchy fabric.

How Much Does Polyester Stretch?

Stretching is completely absent in polyester fibers. They are actually quite rigid and tough. The fabric is strong and durable because of this toughness.

If you simultaneously pull on a traditionally woven fabric from the top and bottom or from side to side, it won’t stretch because the two sets of threads interlace over and under each other at right angles. But when pulled diagonally, almost all fabrics will stretch. Because of this, even 100% woven polyester that isn’t stretchy will give slightly when cut diagonally.

Conversely, knit fabric has much more stretch than other types of fabric. Think of the fishing net again! ), and knit fabrics’ loose, mesh structure allows for more give.). In a tight-fitting t-shirt or pair of leggings, polyester knits offer that slight ease of flex that feels comfortable.

Even knits made of polyester won’t stretch very much, though. Manufacturers frequently choose to combine another fabric with polyester to achieve a generous amount of stretch, resulting in a material that combines the benefits of both materials.

Stretch in all four directions is possible with a polyester and spandex blend, for instance. 100% polyester may have some give depending on the design and weave, but it won’t stretch as much as polyester and spandex do in all directions.

does polyester stretch3

Does Polyester Stretch Over Time With Wear?

Even after extended use, polyester does not stretch. In fact, it is so durable that many clothing manufacturers started blending it with other materials, like cotton, because the polyester will stop the cotton from stretching out so easily!

How long-lasting is polyester, and why? Well, the recovery rate of this material is astounding. This means that even if you grab a handful of your polyester t-shirt and stretch it as far as you can, it will immediately return to its original shape after you let go.

Clothing manufacturers frequently use this material for items like pleated skirts or fancy collars because it maintains its shape remarkably well. Even after stretching or washing, the fabric’s fibers will return to their original shape.

How Much Of The Various Polyesters Stretch?

  • Cotton Polyester fabric: Moderate stretch factor
  • Microfiber Polyester fabric: Low stretch factor
  • 100% Polyester fabric: High stretch factor
  • Woven Polyester Fabric: Low stretch factor
  • Blended: With Rayon or Spandex – Moderate stretch factor
  • Knitted Polyester Fabric: Moderate stretch factor
  • Blended: With Rayon or Spandex – High stretch factor
  • Waterproof Polyester Fabric: Low stretch factor

Different Types Of Polyester Blends

There are various types of poly-blends. Each of them must accomplish a particular objective. Some are water-resistant and made to last. Others must be flexible in order to move freely with the body. Fabrics with various properties can be created by combining polyester with both natural and synthetic materials.

The three most typical poly-blend types will be examined in more detail.

Poly-cotton Blends

The most popular natural fiber among synthetic fibers, polyester, when combined with cotton, produces a fabric that combines the best qualities of both. While polyester ensures the fabric will last for a long time, cotton adds breathability.

Both the touch and wrinkle resistance of the garment are excellent. But the stretchiness of this polyester clothing is lacking. It won’t give much, even if it’s a knitted polyester fabric.

We advise choosing a poly-cotton blend if you want your products to incorporate both artificial and natural materials. The prints come out much more vibrant and colorful when cotton fibers are present, compared to fabrics solely made from polyester fibers.

Check out these poly-cotton Printify products:

  • Hoodies
  • Towels
  • Custom Sweatpants

Polyester And Spandex Blends

That this polyester blend is the best option for activewear is a consensus among most designers. Given its ability to stretch and rebound after being stretched, spandex aids in the garment’s ability to fit closely and move freely with the wearer. Because polyester is a moisture-wicking material, it keeps us dry. It makes for the ideal combination for intense workouts at the gym or cozier days at home.

You only need a tiny bit of spandex to make polyester stretchy; a little bit goes a long way with spandex. Even a small amount of spandex—10%—can stretch the entire fabric to almost double its original size.

Popular polyester-spandex blend products on Printify:

  • Leggings
  • Custom Blankets
  • Swimsuits


You guessed it: rayon, polyester, and cotton are the three different fibers used to create a tri-blend fabric. The first two are already well known to us, but rayon frequently eludes our notice. It’s a semi-synthetic fiber created using both natural and synthetic materials, such as cellulose from wood and other plant fibers.

Although rayon is a lightweight, breathable, and moisture-absorbent material, Tri-Blend fabrics have a distinctive feel due to their exceptional softness and drape. This fiber trio, which combines the durability of polyester and the coziness of cotton, produces clothing that is incredibly comfortable.

Browse Printify Tri-Blend products like:

  • T-Shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Long-sleeve tees

Polyester Fabrics Care 8 Tips

There are no special requirements for the care of polyester, but in order to preserve the original characteristics of the product, simple rules must be followed when washing and ironing it:

  1. Check the label first
  2. This is really important for clothes with special properties f.e heat and moisture protection
  3. Remembering how many degrees polyester clothing can withstand is crucial when selecting a washing mode. Polyester can usually be washed at 104 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Hotter water will deform the fiber, and the thing will lose its shape
  4. Selecting a delicate or synthetic washing mode is recommended.
    Bleach cannot be used on the fabric. Clothes with tough stains can be dry-cleaned
  5. Hand washing is advisable for particularly delicate fabrics
  6. It is better to wash things, turning them inside out so as not to damage the front side
  7. Certain types of polyester, such as knitwear, must not be twisted too much after washing
  8. To prevent the fabric from wrinkling, you need to hang the product on a hanger after washing and straighten it well

History Of Polyester

When Wallace H. American scientist Carothers made the initial discovery that carboxylic acids could be combined with alcohol to produce synthetic fibers, which led to the development of nylon.

For a brief moment, polyester was overshadowed by people’s fascination with nylon. When PET was patented in 1941, everything changed. The initial polyester fibers appeared shortly after this discovery.

People were astounded by its durability and resistance to normal wear and washing; you could own clothing that would last you for a long time and exhibit no signs of wrinkling and damage.

How Is Polyester Made?

With today’s technology, polyester can be produced either entirely from scratch or by recycling old plastic. Both techniques result in a robust, wrinkle-resistant, and adaptable material that can be used to create products ranging from t-shirts to pet bandanas. Let’s examine each technique in more detail.

Polyester Made From Raw Materials

The following chemistry terms will sound great if you enjoyed your school’s spelling bee.

The primary component in creating polyester from scratch is ethylene glycol made from petroleum. Ethylene glycol is then combined with dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) to produce a monomer, which is then combined with DMT once more to produce a polymer.

The polymer is melted after that and put through an extrusion process. Long strings are formed, and these strings are later broken down into tiny PET pellets. This is the same substance that is used to make plastic water bottles.

To create the large threads, the small pellets are melted and forced through a device resembling a sieve that is oversized. When they are twisted together after they have cooled, polyester yarn is the result.

Polyester Made From Recycled Plastic

Plastic recycling not only cuts down on landfill waste but also offers a more environmentally friendly method of producing polyester.

Although the final steps of the process used to create polyester from recycled plastic are comparable to those described above, the source of the material is very different.

Consider plastic bottles as an illustration. They are the first shredded to ensure that there are no liquids still inside. The following sorting into clear and colored plastic, the caps and stickers are removed in special baths. The remaining pieces are then dried, and the process is repeated with melting and extrusions, just like in the earlier technique.


After Washing, Does Polyester Shrink Or Stretch?

Regular washing, even in warm water, does not damage 100% polyester fabrics because polyester fibers were made to be incredibly durable. Remember, it’s essentially plastic, so as long as you keep it out of extremely hot environments, it can withstand almost anything. Imagine it as the Ring of Power, which was only capable of being destroyed by lava.

But if they are not properly cared for, polyester blends can lose their shape over time. All clothing items on Printify come with comprehensive care instructions in the product descriptions, so you can make sure they bring happiness to your customers’ lives for many years to come.

If Polyester Is Made Of Plastic, How Can It Be Stretchy?

The elasticity of polyester fibers is nonexistent. Polyester cannot be stretched naturally; instead, it must be crimped, knit in a special pattern, or blended with elastic fibers to produce a fabric.

The most popular combination for producing cozy, supple, and incredibly stretchy clothing is polyester and spandex. The garment can expand to double its original size in any direction with just 10% more spandex added to it.

Are All Polyester Blends Flexible?

No, each polyester blend was developed with a purpose in mind. Some have elastic construction. Some are waterproof, while others are made to be strong. For instance, designers, producers, and consumers all love polyester-cotton blends despite the fact that neither cotton nor polyester fibers is naturally elastic. Although not stretchy, they are strong, smooth, breathable, and soft.

Polyester-nylon blends are the same. The formula used to make seat belts for cars is this combination. In these situations, rigidity and strength are preferable to flexibility and resilience.

Can You Burn Polyester?

Polyester fibers are not easily ignited and require more heat than most fabrics. However, it does begin rapidly melting and dripping at high temperatures, just like plastic. Polyester melts at about 428°F (220°C), and it ignites at temperatures between 809.6° and 910.4°F (432° and 488°C).

Keep in mind that polyester is frequently blended with other types of fibers, which can affect how quickly the fabric ignites and burns. If you come across burning polyester, take caution because the fumes it produces are poisonous to both people and animals.

Do Clothes Made Of Polyester Eventually Lose Their Shape?

100% polyester clothes tend to last a lifetime if properly cared for. To ensure that the clothing retains its original shape after washing, clothing manufacturers specifically use polyester. The fact that this material doesn’t quickly fade in the sun is another fantastic feature.

Despite having one nemesis in high heat, these fibers are incredibly resilient. Remember that plastic, of which polyester is a byproduct, can deform by melting or shrinking when exposed to high heat.

Make sure to include cleaning instructions with all of your polyester-based products, and remind customers not to iron, tumble dry, or wash them in hot water.