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wrinkle-free pants

adon | Posted in General Discussion on

What’s the best fabric to use when sewing pants?  I’m looking for something that drapes nicely and doesn’t wrinkle in the crotch area. 


  1. Teaf5 | | #1

    Most fabrics with a bit of spandex/stretch in them work well for this purpose. (I especially like a cotton/spandex blend.)  While shopping, I always grab a handful of the fabric and squeeze, then release it to see how badly it wrinkles.  The fabric store employees probably hate me for doing this, but I'd rather know the real-life properties of the fabric before I waste all my time and money on it!

    Sometimes, a fabric will act differently after pre-washing takes out any sizing, but the grip test gives me a fairly quick and accurate assessment.

    1. adon | | #2

      Teaf 5:

      Thanks -- good tip.  Is cotton/spandex better than microfiber/spandex? 


      1. Elisabeth | | #3

        I like the rayon/polyester/lycra blends, sometimes called RPL. Usually soft feeling with nice drape and goes through the wash like a champ. Actually, these days many of the blends are poly/rayon/lycra, just a tad more poly than rayon. If you have a Joann Fabrics in your area you can sometimes find a pretty good quality of this blend in the suitings section. Look for something with a twill weave, it tends to be softer than a plain weave.

        1. Ralphetta | | #4

          I too, like rayon/spandex pants.  Your right about how nice they feel.  They hang really nice, without clinging like some stretch blends, and seem to be more flattering on my body than other fabrics. 

          1. User avater
            Thimblefingers | | #5

            I agree that the cotton and rayon blends with lycra are very compfortable but if wrinkle-free is your top priority, poly/spandex or micro-poly/spandex is far superior.  These fabrics can be purchased in fairly lightweight or heavier weight styles to suit different climates and always look nice especially for the office or dressy wear.  I have several pair of pants made out of these fabrics and the bit of wrinkling that occurs hangs out before the next wearing.  Plus they wash up beautifully and I just hang to dry and rarely iron.

          2. Josefly | | #6

            Do you use these spandex blends in regular pants patterns, or only in patterns suggested for stretch fabrics? I guess what I mean is, can these fabrics be used with pants patterns allowing the ease required for wovens, satisfactorily? And do you sew on the fabrics differently if using them with regular patterns?

          3. User avater
            Thimblefingers | | #7

            I usually use them with regular patterns because I prefer the look of a nice dress pant that's not too tight; however, the lycra makes them more comfortable and wrinkle-resistant - also helps to prevent baggy knees and rears.  The special stretch woven patterns usually fit tighter and are OK for casual wear and are harder to find.  I just use the regular pattern, and fit it and sew it up the way I would a plain woven.  I make sure the stretch is going aorund (not up and down - some fabrics have the stretch going lenghtwise on the fabric not crosswise so make sure you check before you cut).  The waistband should be cut on the non-stretchy grain and, if the pattern has pockets, I tape or otherwise stabilize the opening edge so they don't stretch out of shape.  If the waistband is shaped, I tape it as well.  I use a 2mm stitch length (that'd be about 12 stitches per inch, I think) and sew, serge, and press as usual.  If the pants have a crease, I use a clapper as I normally would.  Pretty much the same techniques as usual but the comfort and look are superior.

          4. Josefly | | #8

            Thanks so much for that information, especially the stabilizing tips. You can tell I haven't sewn much on the "new" fabrics; just getting back to sewing in the last year and a half after a long time doing very little except home deco stuff. I'm eager to find a pattern to fit myself, and would like to use some of the new fabrics, though I'm usually a natural fiber person, these pants would be very useful.

      2. Teaf5 | | #9

        Cotton/spandex is harder to find, but it works better in our extreme heat and static-cold climate than the microfibers do, though I love the "hand" of the microfibers. I use both with regular patterns, knowing that I can always leave slightly larger seam allowances if necessary.

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