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Is Polyester Stretchy: You Need to Know More

Our bodies are not static. Since we feed it, we grow or gain weight each day. So, what if you go to your wardrobe looking for your silky, shiny polyester shirt you bought a year back only to find that you do not fit in?

Since you love it, you may desire its stretches so that you can wear it as you had planned. But is polyester stretchy? Peruse below to see if this is possible.

What is Polyester?

What is Polyester

Polyester comes from petroleum. Due to science, a mere plastic can convert into a fabric that you can use for various things apart from making clothes.  And that is polyester.

Manufacturers combine an acid and some alcohol through the polymerization process to form a plastic. The plastic is then transformed into pellets then passed through a nozzle to form solid threads.

Manufacturers can decide to use the material 100% as it is or blend it with other fibers from other materials.

Polyester Pros and Cons

Most people love polyester. It is a good fabric that you can use on most occasions. It is important to note some of its positive and negative sides.


  • It is durable. If you want to forget about buying cloth, you can try this material. It rarely wears out.
  • It is light in weight. Hence it is very convenient for athletes and swimwear.
  • It dries quickly. If you are in a hurry, just wash your polyester and give it minutes to dry. It never disappoints.
  • It does not form creases. You do not have an iron box? No need to worry.
  • It takes color easily. No matter the color you give it during manufacture, it accepts without denial.
  • It is easy to clean. You can rarely stain this fabric. No matter the kind of stain, a quick wash removes it.
  • It is cheap. Unlike other materials, polyester is very cost-friendly.


  • It holds odors. Try to cut the onions with your polyester cloth on; the odor will be with you wherever you are. You must wash the cloth to remove the stench.
  • It is not breathable. This fabric does not let in the air with ease. So, if you want some fresh air, it may not be the best wear.
  • It is static. The best way to remove the static build-up is to use a conditioner when you wash it.
  • Unlike nylon, polyester has poor pile retention when used for rugs or carpets.

Does 100% Polyester Stretch?

Does 100% Polyester Stretch

One hundred percent polyester does not stretch. However, its ability to depends so much on its construction. So, some may stretch while others will not stretch at all. However, 100% polyester will only stretch a bit, no matter how you construct it.

For example, if you take a piece of rope and stretch it, there will be no effect. However, if you weave it into something like a net and try to pull it, it will, without a doubt, stretch. So the fabric will stretch depending on how it is woven. The same way for polyester.

How Much Does Polyester Stretch?

How Much Does Polyester Stretch

The reason why polyester is durable is that it does not stretch at all. It is very rigid and tough hence very strong.

If a cloth is woven with threads passing over each other at a right angle and you try to pull the fabric on any side, it will not give way. However, if woven with threads passing each other diagonally, it will stretch if you pull it.

So, try diagonally cutting the polyester fabric, and you will see it stretching. If you knit the material, it gives more way due to the meshed and loosed spaces. You can compare this to a woven net. No matter its material, since it is knit, it stretches more.

If you acquire a polyester cloth, fitting t-shirt, or legging, you will notice how comfortable it is due to the easy flex it provides.

However, polyester knits still do not stretch that much. That is why manufacturers will always blend it with other materials that combine strength to stretch more. For example, combining polyester and spandex allows it to stretch in all directions.

What Kinds of Situations Does the Polyester Stretch?

When wet.

Polyester does not absorb water like other fabrics such as wool or cotton. So, if you dip it in water, it will not affect its ability to stretch in any way. But just like other fabrics, it will stretch a bit when you wash it.

When the fabric dries, it goes back to its original shape. So, water does not make it stretcher unless you try some other tips.

Will Polyester Shrink?

Yes. Polyester material shrinks under some circumstances. Some include:

  • If you wash it in hot water.
  • If you iron it using a very hot iron.
  • If you soak it for too long
  • If you dry it a very hot drier.
  • If you use harsh detergent to wash it.

Polyester Blends: How Stretchy Are They?

Remember, polyester stretches a little bit on its own. So, the amount of stretch on the polyester blend depends so much on the second fabric. Let us take a look at some of the common blends.

Polyester and spandex blend

Polyester and spandex blend

When you blend spandex and polyester, you get a very stretchy result. Besides, it is durable and tough hence used more often in sportswear, leggings, and most other clothes.

Spandex is also a synthetic material like polyester. It is only that it does not use the same materials as polyester uses during manufacturing. However, it is very stretchy, unlike polyester hence gives it the stretching characteristic when blended.

If you are not sure about how stretchy your poly cloth is, you can always check the label inside it.  For example, sportswear made with 20% spandex will stretch more than those made with 5% spandex.

You will often find 95% polyester and 5% spandex or 92% polyester with 8% spandex blends.

Polyester and cotton

You will often find this blend with most people due to its good qualities. It is sturdy, comfortable, and allows in air, unlike plain polyester.

You will often find half cotton and half polyester blend, which sells so well especially t-shirts. There is also 35% polyester and 65% cotton, which is also not bad. Though t-shirts are the most common, most people prefer this blend in leggings because they tend to be very comfortable.

However, the blend is quite expensive due to the cost of growing cotton as well as processing it. Besides, due to the composition of natural and synthetic materials, the products pill off fast.

Polyester and rayon

This blend is not as common as poly-cotton. However, it is smooth and soft hence good for some clothes. Rayon comes from a natural material, wood pulp. However, it is very silky and light due to the lots of processing it goes through. Hence many people doubt if its source is true.

Polyester stretches more than rayon. Hence, if you combine these two, you will not get a very stretchy product.  The only thing rayon does is to add its lightweight quality to polyester. You will often find this blend in most blouses, dresses, and other light garments.

How to Stretch Polyester Clothes

Would you like your polyester shirt, dress, or any other dress to become wider? The tips below can help you. Though cumbersome, you can try them. However, the best thing to do is get a new, fitting polyester or expand the one you have if you wish it to fit you well.

Polyester is quite a rigid fabric. It does not stretch with ease. There are some ways that you can try to stretch it out. The common one is water, though it depends on how you use it. So, if you want it to stretch a bit, water is the deal. All these tips use it.

1. Use warm water

Fill your bottle with warm water, then place your cloth on a flat surface. Spray one side, then turn over to spray the other side. Ensure that you do not spray too much water to wet the fabric. Pull the fabric outward as you spray each side, starting from the top to the bottom.

You can also put your hands inside the cloth to stretch each side. Once you are through, hang the cloth on a line to dry. Your cloth will be a bit larger.

2. Conditioner and warm water

A conditioner relaxes the fiber, making stretching easier. Put water in a basin, then add some hair conditioner. Deep your cloth in the water, then leave it for half an hour. Remove the cloth from the water, then wring to squeeze water from it.

Hold the cloth using one hand on one side and the other hand on the other side. Stretch the cloth, paying more attention to tight edges. Lay the clothe on a flat surface and let it air dry.

3. Use your body

Your body is the ideal stretcher, even though not the most comfortable way to stretch the cloth. However, if you wish to widen your poly, you can try this method out.

Pour warm water in a basin, then deep in your cloth. Allow it to soak for some minutes. Please remove it from the water, then wring out excess water, and then wear the cloth. Aww, quite uncomfortable!

If it is a shirt with buttons, you can fasten them to allow optimal stretching. Continue with your house or home activities as you allow the shirt to dry on your body. If you want it to stretch more, you can stretch your body or do some mild exercises.

4. Use a washing machine.

If you do not have much time to stretch using your hands, you can try the machine. Turn your cloth inside out, then place it in your machine on a warm water cycle. Make sure to include some vinegar in the machine to prevent the cloth from fading.

When washing completes, remove the cloth from the machine then lay it on a flat surface. Place a heavy item on its edges as you stretch them. Please leave it to dry, then pick it later.

Polyester vs. Cotton: Which one stretches more?

Polyester vs. Cotton

Just like polyester, cotton is also a sturdy material that does not stretch. When cotton is woven, it only interlaces threads in a straight line that is not stretchy. Hence, the fabric will not stretch.  However, knit cotton stretches due to how the threads mesh together.

So, the knitted cotton gives the best draping dresses or leggings that feel very cozy and flexible. So, we can conclude that both fabrics stretch depending on their construction.

Polyester vs. Nylon: Which is more stretchy?

Polyester vs. Nylon

Since nylon fibers absorb water or moisture, they become more elastic, unlike polyester. However, nylon does not stretch even when woven.

The process of manufacturing nylon is quite similar to polyester since they both involve polymers. Nylon has a shinier texture and is lighter, unlike polyester. So whether any fabric stretches or not, what matters most is how each performs. There are areas in which nylon does best and others that polyester does better. So, it is always up to you to choose what you love.

How to Care for Polyester Fabrics

When you buy a fabric, it always comes with a tag showing how to take care of it. If you wash it with your hands, you will need to use cool water. Remember, hot water shrinks it.

Some labels may show that you can wash it using a machine and warm water. You need to tumble dry it on low heat. High heat damages the fabric.

You don’t need to wait until it is dry to remove it from the drier. Always remove it when it is damp to prevent the formation of creases and static build-up.


I think you now understand if is polyester stretchy or not. The construction of the fabric is what dictates whether it can stretch or not.

If you need good sportswear or something breathable, it would be best you go for a blend of polyester and spandex. They make a great combination. Remember, the choice is yours depending on your taste.