Elastane (Spandex)

Description : Spandex is the generic name given to the most widely used stretch fabric. In addition to being elastic, it is also strong, durable and lightweight. It can also be soft. In its pure form, spandex can be stretched up to 500% of its natural length without breaking. Furthermore, it can be stretched repeatedly and still snap to its natural length. It resists sunlight, body oils, perspiration and abrasion. Fabrics may have stretch in the width, length or both directions.
Fabrication : Spandex is a synthetic fibre made from polyurethane.
Subtypes : Lycra is a variant of spandex made by Dupont, whereas Elastane is a variant made in Europe. Other trade names include Glospan, Dorlastan and Crecora.
Dyes, color treatment and washing characteristics : Spandex fabrics should be prewashed at least, as they are somewhat easier to sew after washing. Those that require it should also be pre-shrunk. Spandex fabrics should be hung for 24 hours before being laid out for cutting, to help ensure that they don't stretch after cutting.
Draping properties : It is hard to find a fabric with better draping properties. When wet, however, white or pale colored spandex will become more transparent and hence must be lined to ensure opacity under all conditions.
Cutting properties :
Sewing challenges : Sewing spandex may result in skipped stitches. Also, seams need to be able to stretch along with the fabric itself. This is hard to do with straight stitching - zigzag stitching or overlock stitching is recommended instead. Spandex should not be pressed with a very hot iron, as it is sensitive to heat.
Example creations :
Uses worldwide : Originally used primarily for sportswear and leisurewear, spandex is today introduced in small amounts in almost all types of fabrics.
Origins and history : Introduced in 1958, spandex has revolutionized the garment industry. These days, small amounts of spandex are added to other fibres to give them some stretch and hence better fit and more comfort, often eliminating bagging, puckering and sag.
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