All About Cotton Spandex Fabric

All About Cotton Spandex Fabric

Cotton spandex fabric (also known as cotton lycra or cotton elastane) is a staple in the inventory of LA Finch Fabrics, and it should be a staple in your stash fabric. But why? And if you are a beginner sewist you may be asking, what is cotton spandex fabric?

What is Cotton Spandex fabric?

When people say "cotton spandex" they are almost always referring to a stretchy knit apparel fabric. Cotton spandex is the fiber content of the fabric (what it's made out of), and a simple jersey knit is the fabric type (how it is made). Cotton spandex fibers do come in woven apparel fabrics as well, but they are generally identified by their weave (such as stretch twill) rather than by their fiber composition.

Cotton spandex is different than cotton jersey. They are both in the jersey family, but cotton spandex contains elastane/lycra/spandex. Those are all terms for a synthetic fiber that improves stretch and recovery. 100% cotton jersey does not contain any synthetic material to help it stretch. It has a natural stretch due to the way it is knitted, but nothing extra to give a nice firm stretch.


Cotton spandex is great for tight garments

Photo Angel,

Cotton spandex is soft and stretchy. It can be used for areas that need to stretch and then recover back to their original shape, such as sleeve or ankle cuffs, shirt necklines, shelf bras, or straps. You can make an entire garment from cotton spandex, especially ones with negative ease (finished garment is smaller than the person's body) because it will hold its shape as it is worn.

When shopping online for cotton spandex, pay attention to the weight listed. A 14oz weight is considered heavy, 10oz or less would be considered lightweight.

Cotton is much more breathable than synthetics such as polyester.

Shop the 14oz in black or white

How to Wash Cotton Spandex fabric

Cotton is a plant-based fiber and it does shrink when washed. It is a good idea to pre-wash your fabric at least one time in the highest heat that you expect the garment to go through when it is complete. It is durable and does not need any special detergent or washing method, a regular machine and dryer are acceptable.

How to Cut Cotton Spandex fabric

Cotton spandex knit, like most single jersey fabrics, has a tendency to roll along the cut edges. If you find that your fabric is rolling quite a bit, you can flat it with spray starch. It is also recommended that you use pattern weights to hold the fabric flat while cutting.

Cotton spandex has a stiff drape

How to Sew Cotton Spandex fabric

Cotton spandex is a stretch fabric and should be sewn using a ballpoint needle. A ballpoint needle has a rounded tip that glides through the fabric rather than piercing it, which is important for knits.

Cotton spandex makes excellent bike shorts

Photo @havinsewmuchfun

How to Care for a Cotton Spandex garment

Wash a cotton spandex garment the same way you would any RTW tshirt.


High quality cotton spandex fabric can be hard to find, but you can trust LA Finch Fabrics to only source the best. Find various weights listed in our shop.

Recommended patterns for Cotton Spandex

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