Polyester fabric where the

Does nylon fabric stretch

Stretch velvet: More of a novelty than most other lingerie fabrics listed, stretch velvet can be a fun addition to your lingerie wardrobe. The plush nap is soft and fun to wear, making great robes, leggings, or slinky slips. Be aware that stretch velvet does add bulk due to the pile, so opt to use it on garments that are not meant to be hidden beneath fitted clothing and that have minimal seams.

Woven fabrics

You don’t always want or need stretch when sewing lingerie. Woven fabrics can give you both options. Woven fabrics are created on a loom, with yarns going both lengthwise and crosswise. Unless the yarns themselves have stretch, the fabric will not stretch in either of these directions. However, it will stretch along the bias at 45 degrees, so cutting pieces on the bias is an option for adding stretch (see our article on bias sewing in Seamwork issue 02).

If the yarns of woven fabric are created with spandex, the fabric will have stretch. Though stretch wovens don’t typically have the same high stretch capabilities of the stretchiest knits, they can often be substituted for firmer knit fabrics. For example, try swapping a stretch silk/spandex blend for a firm interlock knit. Test the stretch before you sew to determine if the swap will work.

Almost any lightweight woven fabric can be used to create gorgeous lingerie and loungewear. Here are a few options and possible applications to get you thinking.

Chiffon and georgette: These sheer fabrics are incredibly light, flowing, and delicate. Chiffon is the lighter of the two, and has an ethereal quality. Layers of chiffon can be used to build up different colors and tones within a garment. Georgette is similar, but has more texture and opacity. These fabrics are commonly made from silk, but can also be found in polyester. They make lovely kimonos, or can form a sheer skirt on a nightie.

Organza: Organza is a magical silk fabric that is both light and sheer, yet stiff and strong. It tends to stand away from the body and creates volume. While this stiffness is not ideal for most comfortable lingerie, organza makes a perfect interfacing when you don’t want to add a lot of bulk and don’t want any stretch.

Charmeuse: Silk charmeuse is one of the most luxurious fabrics to wear near the skin. It has a satin weave that gives it a high shine and almost liquid appearance. It’s been popular in lingerie since the early 20th century, and is still used consistently in high end lingerie. Many special occasion designer bras are created using a silk/spandex blend, also known as stretch silk charmeuse.

China silk: More commonly used as a lining fabric, china silk (otherwise known as habotai) can be a relatively inexpensive choice for undergarments such as slips. It’s smooth next to the body and very thin, so it does not add bulk.

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