How to Break in Spandex: A Comprehensive Guide

Spandex, a stretchy and form-fitting material, has become increasingly popular in various athletic and fashion applications. However, breaking in spandex to achieve the perfect fit can be a daunting task. Fortunately, there are effective methods that can be employed to ensure optimal comfort and flexibility. One such method involves soaking the spandex fabric in a warm water bath, maintaining a temperature range of 120–140 °F (49–60 °C) for approximately 30 minutes. This process allows the material to expand and become more pliable. Once the soaking is complete, carefully wring out the excess water from the fabric and proceed to stretch it manually or utilize a machine set on low speed. By applying controlled force and gradually stretching the spandex, it will ultimately return to roughly one-third of it’s original size. This breakthrough technique is essential to mold the spandex to your specific body shape, providing a superior fit and enhanced comfort.

Is There Any Way to Stretch Out Spandex?

There are various methods you can try to stretch out spandex if you find it’s become too tight. One effective method is to soak your spandex material in a warm water bath. Fill up a basin or sink with warm water that’s around 120–140 °F (49–60 °C) degrees.

It’s important to be gentle during this process to avoid damaging the fabric.

If you choose to stretch it by hand, start by pulling the fabric gently in all directions. Gradually increase the force and tension as you go along. Be cautious not to pull too hard, as it might cause the spandex to rip or lose it’s shape.

If using a stretching machine, make sure it’s set to a low speed or gentle cycle. Place the spandex material on the machine and let it run for a few minutes. The stretching action of the machine will help to expand the fabric.

It’s always a good idea to follow any care instructions provided by the manufacturer and to test a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding with the entire fabric.

How to Store Spandex Garments to Maintain Their Shape and Elasticity

  • Avoid folding spandex garments and instead hang them up to prevent creases and maintain their shape.
  • When hanging spandex garments, use wide, padded hangers to prevent shoulder bumps or indentations.
  • Avoid overcrowding the hangers to allow adequate airflow around the spandex fabric.
  • Store spandex garments in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and discoloration.
  • Avoid storing spandex garments in plastic bags or containers as they can trap moisture and potentially lead to mold or mildew growth.
  • Instead, consider using breathable fabric garment bags to protect spandex garments from dust and dirt.
  • If necessary, gently hand wash spandex garments using a mild detergent and lukewarm to cold water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach.
  • After washing, gently squeeze out excess water and avoid wringing or twisting the fabric to maintain it’s elasticity.
  • Lay flat or hang the garments to air dry instead of using a clothes dryer, which can cause shrinkage and damage to the spandex fabric.
  • Avoid ironing spandex garments as they’re heat-sensitive. If needed, use a low-temperature setting or consider using a steamer instead.

When it comes to working with spandex, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind in order to successfully cut the fabric without causing damage. By taking certain precautions such as pre-washing, using sharp scissors, and secure pinning, you can easily cut spandex without ruining it’s stretchiness or overall integrity. Let’s delve into the details of these techniques to ensure a seamless cutting experience.

Can You Cut Spandex Without Ruining Them?

When it comes to working with spandex, the stretchy nature of the material can sometimes present challenges. Sewing with spandex requires careful attention to prevent damaging the fabric. However, if you need to cut spandex without ruining it, there are a few steps you can take to ensure success.

Before cutting, it’s recommended to pre-wash the spandex to remove any sizing or chemicals that might be present. This helps to prevent any shrinking or puckering of the fabric after cutting.

Dull scissors can cause the fabric to fray or become jagged. It’s best to invest in a quality pair of fabric scissors to ensure clean and precise cuts.

In addition to using sharp scissors, another helpful tip is to pin the spandex with ballpoint pins. These pins are designed to glide smoothly through the fabric without catching or damaging it. By using ballpoint pins, you can securely fasten the fabric together before cutting, allowing for a more accurate and controlled cutting process.

Instead, lay the fabric flat on a smooth surface and apply gentle tension, if necessary, to ensure the fabric is taut. This will help maintain the integrity of the spandex and prevent any distortion or warping during the cutting process.

Sewing Techniques for Working With Spandex: Discuss Specific Sewing Techniques That Can Help Prevent Damage to Spandex Fabric, Such as Using a Stretch Stitch or Using a Walking Foot.

Spandex is a delicate fabric that requires special care when sewing. To avoid damaging it, there are specific techniques you can use. One method is to use a stretch stitch, which allows the seams to stretch with the fabric. This stitch typically has a zigzag pattern or multiple rows of stitches. Another technique is the use of a walking foot, which facilitates even feeding of the fabric through the sewing machine, preventing stretching or shifting. These methods ensure that the spandex fabric remains intact and are commonly employed in garment construction involving spandex.

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Transition: When it comes to hemming spandex, there are various techniques that can be used, whether you’ve a basic sewing machine or a serger on hand. However, it’s crucial to pay attention to how you handle the spandex fabric while feeding it into the sewing machine or serger.

Can Spandex Be Altered?

The tension needs to be adjusted properly to prevent any unwanted stretching or puckering. It’s recommended to use a ballpoint or stretch needle when working with spandex to avoid damaging the fabric.

One common alteration for spandex is hemming. You can accomplish this by using a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch. The straight stitch provides a clean finish and is ideal for spandex with less stretch. On the other hand, the zigzag stitch allows for more flexibility and movement in the fabric.

For those who own a serger, there are even more possibilities. A serger can create a professional finish by trimming the raw edge of the fabric while simultaneously binding it with a stitch. This method works well for spandex as it prevents fraying and adds durability to the hem.

Source: How to Hem Spandex


By soaking the material in a warm water bath and then stretching it manually or using a machine, the spandex fabric can be effectively broken in and regain it’s elasticity. This process allows for a more comfortable and flexible fit, enhancing the overall functionality and longevity of the garment. Remember to exercise caution and follow the recommended temperature and time guidelines to maintain the integrity of the spandex material. With these steps, you can successfully break in your spandex and enjoy the benefits of a well-fitted and resilient garment.