How to Spot the Right Side of Spandex: A Helpful Guide

Spandex, a highly flexible and elastic material, is widely used in various garments, including athletic wear, swimwear, and dancewear. While it offers exceptional comfort and freedom of movement, determining the right side of spandex can sometimes be challenging due to it’s uniform appearance. Unlike other fabrics with obvious differences in texture or pattern, spandex doesn't possess such distinct visual cues to differentiate it’s front from it’s back. However, fear not, as there are a few reliable methods to help you identify the correct side of this versatile material, whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, designer, or simply looking to make the most of your spandex outfits.

How Can You Recognize the Right Side and Wrong Side of the Fabric?

Another way to determine the right side of the fabric is to feel the texture. The right side is often smoother and has a better finish compared to the wrong side, which may feel rougher or have unfinished edges. This can be especially helpful when dealing with fabrics that have a subtle or tone-on-tone print.

Additionally, examining the selvedge can indicate which side is the right side. The selvedge is the finished edge of the fabric that runs parallel to the warp threads. It’s usually stronger and more tightly woven than the rest of the fabric. The right side of the fabric is typically on the same side as the selvedge.

Usually, the right side will stretch more smoothly, while the wrong side may feel tighter or show more resistance. This test can be particularly useful when dealing with stretchy fabrics.

In some cases, the right and wrong sides of the fabric may not be visually or physically distinct. This is common in fabrics with a similar appearance on both sides, such as jersey or fleece. In such cases, you may need to rely on other factors, such as the directionality of the print or the information provided by the manufacturer.

Taking the time to determine the right side can help ensure that your finished garment or project looks it’s best.

How to Differentiate Between the Right and Wrong Side of Jersey or Fleece Fabrics.

When determining the right side and wrong side of jersey or fleece fabrics, it can be challenging at first glance. However, by closely examining the texture and appearance, you can easily differentiate between the two. The right side of the fabric typically has a smoother texture and a brighter, more vibrant appearance. In contrast, the wrong side tends to be slightly rougher and less visually appealing, often showcasing more unfinished or loose threads. By carefully observing these subtle differences, you can confidently distinguish between the right and wrong side of jersey or fleece fabrics.

However, there are times when you may accidentally sew with the wrong side of the fabric facing outward. This simple mistake can affect the overall appearance and characteristics of your project. Understanding the concept of the wrong side in sewing is important to ensure a professional and polished finish to your creations.

What Does Wrong Side of Fabric Mean in Sewing?

On the other hand, the wrong side of the fabric will be on the inside and won’t be visible once the project is completed. This is important to consider because certain fabrics have a noticeable difference between the right and wrong sides. The wrong side may have a different texture, color, or pattern that could affect the overall appearance of the finished piece.

Sewing with the wrong side facing out can lead to an unsightly finished product. It’s also important to note that certain sewing techniques, such as basting or gathering, may require you to work with the wrong side of the fabric temporarily. However, for the final construction, the right sides should always be facing each other.

To identify the wrong side of a fabric, you can look for several clues. One of the easiest ways is to examine the selvedge or the finished edge of the fabric. Usually, the wrong side will appear slightly duller or less vibrant compared to the right side. Additionally, the wrong side may have more visible threads or markings from the manufacturing process.

When in doubt, you can also perform a simple test by pulling a thread from both the right and wrong sides of the fabric. The side where the thread pulls out more easily is likely the wrong side.

Taking the time to identify the right and wrong sides of your fabrics and ensuring they’re properly matched while sewing will ultimately result in a more polished and visually appealing outcome.

How to Properly Match Fabric Patterns When Sewing

Matching fabric patterns when sewing is an essential skill that can elevate the look of your handmade garments. To do this properly, start by laying out your fabric and identifying the pattern’s repeat. Take note of any directional designs or motifs that need to be aligned. Next, carefully fold your fabric in half, ensuring the patterns on both sides align perfectly. Pin or baste the fabric together along the folded edge. It’s essential to cut your pattern pieces individually while keeping the fabric edges together and aligned. By following these steps, you can expertly match fabric patterns for a cohesive and professional finish in your sewing projects.

Source: Sewing simple seams and basic terms – Guthrie & Ghani

Solid color fabrics without a distinct texture can sometimes pose a challenge when trying to determine their right side. Unlike fabrics such as velvet or corduroy, which have an obvious texture on one side, these smooth solids may require a closer inspection. Let’s delve into the nuances of identifying the right side from the wrong side of solid fabrics, even if they lack a noticeable texture.

Do Solid Fabrics Have a Right Side?

Solid fabrics, unlike patterned fabrics, don’t possess distinct visual cues to indicate a right or wrong side. Instead, the determination of the right side is often a matter of personal preference or practicality. Some solid color fabrics exhibit a noticeable texture, such as velvet or corduroy, which naturally implies that the texturized side is the right side. This can be discerned through touch or visual inspection, as the texture is more apparent on one side than the other.

In these cases, factors such as fabric sheen or finish might provide some guidance. For instance, satin fabrics often have a smoother and shinier surface on the right side. By observing the way light interacts with the fabric, one can easily identify the right side as the side that reflects the light more intensely.

In some cases, the right side of a solid fabric may be selected based on practical considerations. For example, if you’re sewing with a solid-colored fabric and plan to add embellishments or decorative elements, you may choose the side that provides the desired aesthetic or functional outcome.

It’s advisable to examine the fabric closely, perform touch tests, and consider it’s qualities to select the side that best suits your project or design intentions.

Tips for Choosing the Right Side of a Solid Fabric Based on Practical Considerations

  • Consider the weight of the fabric:
  • You should select a fabric with a heavier weight if you need durability or protection.
  • Choose a fabric with a lighter weight if you require breathability or comfort.
  • Think about the texture of the fabric:
  • A smooth fabric is ideal for easy cleaning and low maintenance.
  • If you prefer a more luxurious and visually appealing look, go for a fabric with texture or a pattern.
  • Consider the color and pattern:
  • Choose a color that complements your existing decor or color scheme.
  • If you desire a timeless and versatile fabric, a solid color is a safe option.
  • However, if you want to make a bold statement or add interest to a space, consider a fabric with a pattern.
  • Think about the durability and ease of care:
  • Consider a fabric that’s stain-resistant or has a protective finish if you’ve children or pets.
  • Ensure the fabric is easy to clean or can be professionally cleaned, depending on your lifestyle.
  • Consider the intended use of the fabric:
  • If the fabric will be used for upholstery or heavy-duty purposes, choose a fabric with high abrasion resistance.
  • For drapes or curtains, select a fabric that hangs well and provides the desired level of light filtration.

When working with Lycra fabric, it’s essential to identify the right side for a more professional finish. By examining the rib lines on the fabric under good lighting, the more defined rib lines on the right side can be observed.

How Do You Know Which Side of Lycra Is Right?

On the right side, the rib lines appear raised and give a textured appearance, while the wrong side appears smoother and flatter. It’s crucial to identify the right side of Lycra fabric before sewing or working with it for optimal results. Additionally, the right side is usually more vibrant in color, while the wrong side is slightly duller.

When in doubt, it’s advisable to consult the fabric manufacturer or a professional who specializes in the particular type of Lycra fabric you’re working with. They can provide guidance and clarify any confusion regarding the right and wrong side.

Different Types of Lycra Fabric and Their Characteristics

Lycra fabric, also known as spandex or elastane, comes in various types, each with it’s own unique characteristics. One type is called two-way stretch Lycra, which stretches in both width and length, providing excellent flexibility and comfort. Another type is four-way stretch Lycra, which stretches in all directions, making it perfect for athletic wear and form-fitting garments. Then, there’s power mesh Lycra, which is lightweight and breathable, ideal for adding a breathable element to clothing. Finally, heavyweight Lycra is a thicker fabric that offers more support and structure, often used in shaping garments. Each type of Lycra fabric has it’s advantages, catering to different needs and preferences.


Although certain spandex blends may present challenges, taking time to observe and analyze these factors can lead to accurate identification. Embracing these methods not only ensures the optimal utilization of spandex fabric but also enhances one's understanding of textile properties, emphasizing the importance of tactile experiences in navigating materials effectively.