What Is Stretch Denim?

What is stretch denim fabric

People always talk about denim as a versatile and durable fabric that has been used for centuries. This 100% cotton fabric is made of tight weave and distinctive diagonal twill pattern with no elasticity cotton fabric generally used by work class people.

However, traditional denim is missing some important features: flexibility and softness. Now people adding some fiber to make denim fabric flexible, softer, and popular again in the world. Stretch denim fabric is famous for its comfort, durability, and ability to adapt to any body figure denim fabric will deeply affect people. Look at the most welcome item: jackets, skirts, jeans, and even handbags and shoes. Name one item that may have not been made with denim fabric before that is a mission impossible.

In this article, we will be focusing on these three frequent ask questions below.

  • What is stretch denim fabric?
  • Which fiber is added to denim fabric to give stretch?
  • How to care for stretch denim items?

Let’s go now!


What Is Stretch Denim Fabric?


Stretch denim is a denim fabric that is woven by mixing small amounts of synthetic fibers like spandex or elastane etc. The addition of this synthetic fiber gives the fabric stretch that stretches, molds to your body, and provides comfort as you move. Typically, stretch denim is 98% cotton and 2% elastane or spandex.

Cotton provides durability and strength to the fabric, while the addition of elastane, or spandex, provides elasticity. Stretch denim on the market today comes in different levels of stretch, from low stretch to super stretch.

Here’s a quick question, before we add synthetic fibers to denim fabric, how to stretch denim fabric? Okay, I believed many people know it. Yes, for sure!

    • – Wet your denim jeans with slightly warm water
    • – Put your jeans on when it’s fully wet
    • – Making movements like squats, sitting, lunges…
    • – Wear it until dry. Or if you do not like the idea of wearing it till dry, you can take it off and air dry it by hanging it.

Luckily we have now made stretch denim by adding in elastane fibers, people do not need to use this manual jeans stretching method for every pair of jeans.

  • Advantages of elastic denim fabric

Stretch denim is popular with fashion designers and consumers not only because it can be suited for making various clothing design, but also because it’s providing more comfort and flexibility than traditional denim.

The added stretch allows for easier movement, and the stretch denim allows for a long time wearing without feeling too tight.

What’s more, stretch denim is perfect for slim fit and skinny jeans, which is better shaping your body shape. This characteristic has made stretch denim popular among those who want to be comfortable and stylish at the same time.

Stretch denim is also less likely to wrinkle, making it easier to care for.

  • Application of elastic denim fabric

Stretch denim is used to make various kinds of clothes, including jeans, jackets, skirts, shorts, and dresses. It is also used to make accessories such as bags and hats.

Stretch denim fabrics have grown in popularity in recent years as consumers demand more comfortable and flexible clothing options.


How Is the Elasticity of Denim Fabric Realized?


Spandex/Elastane Is the Most Commonly Used Elastic Fiber in Denim Fabric
Spandex-Elastane Is the Most Commonly Used Elastic Fiber in Denim Fabric
Spandex-Elastane Is the Most Commonly Used Elastic Fiber in Denim Fabric


  • Introduction of Spandex/Elastane

Spandex was invented back in 1958, by chemist Joseph Shivers at DuPont’s Benger Laboratory in Waynesboro, Virginia, US.

Spandex, also known as elastane, is the fiber most commonly used to provide stretch to denim. Spandex is a kind of synthetic fiber made from a polymer named polyurethane. When added to denim, spandex provides extra stretch, making the fabric more comfortable and flexible.

  • Benefits of Spandex/Elastane

Spandex has high elasticity and is very suitable for stretch denim fabrics. Spandex can be pulled up to five times its original length without losing its elasticity, this feature making it a durable and long-lasting fiber. Spandex is also resistant to damage from chlorine and sweat, making it ideal for clothing worn during physical activity.

  • Challenges of Using Spandex/Elastane

One of the main challenges of using spandex in denim is its tendency to pill and fray. In the process of time, the fabric also stretches till loses its elasticity. To relieve these problems, fabric manufacturers must balance the amount of spandex/elastane used in the fabric, and make sure that can provide stretch without compromising the stability of the fabric.

  • How does Spandex/Elastane Blends with Cotton to Make Stretch Fabrics?

To create stretch denim fabric, manufacturers blend spandex with cotton during the fabric-making process. The amount of spandex used depends on the degree of stretch desired. Usually, stretch denim fabric should mix with 2% to 4% spandex, but some fabric may contain up to 10% spandex.


Other Elastic Fiber You Should Know


  • Polyurethane (PU)

Polyurethane is a synthetic fiber that can also be used to provide stretch to denim. Its feature is like spandex the most, but when it comes to being a stretch fiber, but not common use in fabric manufacturing. Polyurethane fibers are blended with cotton during the manufacturing process to create a stretch denim fabric, just like spandex.

  • Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic fiber commonly used in clothing fabrics due to its durability and affordability. It is also used to provide stretch in denim. Polyester can be blended with cotton to make denim elastic, but the stretch performance is not as good as spandex or polyurethane fibers.

  • Rayon

Rayon is a man-made fiber commonly used in clothing fabrics. It is made from wood pulp, making it a natural yet synthetic fiber. Rayon fibers can be blended with cotton to make stretch denim. Just like polyester, it’s not as stretchy as spandex or polyurethane fibers. So it is not that suitable for garment fabric which needs a high stretch.


How to Care for Stretch Denim?


Stretch denim requires proper care to maintain its ability to hug the body. As a rule of thumb, always follow the care instructions on the clothing label. The following washing tips will help you keep your stretch denim in great condition.

  1. Always turn your jeans inside out to prevent color bleeding, and fading, and to protect fibers from damage.
  2. Wash the stretch denim in cold water. Hot water can shrink the fabric or damage the spandex fibers, causing the garment to lose its stretch.
  3. Use a mild detergent when washing the stretch denim fabric to prevent excessive wear and prolong the life of the fabric.
  4. Air dry the stretch denim to prevent the heat from the dryer from damaging the fibers.

Try not to hang your stretch jeans to dry, but putting them on a flat surface will be better to avoid the deformation and overstretch problem.




People started to use synthetic fiber in denim fabric 20 years later, after the invention of spandex. The first stretch denim jeans were introduced to the public by an English fashion designer named Peter Golding in 1978. From then on, spandex/Elastane is now widely used as stretch fiber in denim fabric. This stretchy fabric will always walk on the front line of fashion as time goes by.

If you want to know more information about stretch denim fabric, please click on the stretch denim collection.

Hope you enjoy this article and for more stretch denim fabric introduction, please leave us a message, we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Happy reading!



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