Considering we are the leaders in LYCRA®, we thought it would be appropriate to blog about Elastane, what it does for your garment, and what Elastane technology is available.

Elastane or Spandex is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity.  LYCRA® fiber is the most recognized and popular brand of Elastane throughout the world.  It actually has a global brand awareness of 80%, which is pretty amazing.  No wonder we have people ringing up saying “I would like to order some LYCRA®” when LYCRA® on its own doesn’t actually exist in a fabric form.

Artworks image by Rowen Mersh

LYCRA® was invented in 1958 by a team of scientists originally as a replacement for rubber in corsetry.  Before LYCRA® fiber was invented, consumers endured saggy, baggy, stretched and bunched clothes.  But when the DuPont scientist Joe Shiver perfected a revolutionary new fiber – code named K - that all changed.  Specifically revolutionizing the face of swimwear, garment designs have never been the same.

Some images sourced by Stylesight

Garments made with LYCRA® have a number of advantages besides being able to stretch.  LYCRA® adds comfort, fit, shape retention, durability and freedom of movement. In addition, it is easy to care for, and is wrinkle resistant which saves time and looks fantastic.  All of this leads to a high-end quality garment.

There are many brand names for Elastane that you will come across:

LYCRA® - Invista (formerly DuPont)
CREORA - Hyosung
ROICA - Asahi Kasei
DORLASTAN - Asahi Kasei
LINEL - Fillattice
ESPA - Toyobo







An interesting point to mention that you may not know, is that the LYCRA® itself doesn’t actually stretch the fabric, that’s the knit construction.  The construction allows the fabric to be pulled out, and the LYCRA® is what brings the fabric back into place.  LYCRA® can be stretched up to seven times its initial length before springing back to the original position once tension is released. 

The modulus or the power is also an important factor to mention, especially when it comes to compression garment fabrics in the performance sports wear industry.   When the elongation of the fabric is shortened due to the knit construction and a high LYCRA® content is added to the mix, this considerably increases the modulus of the fabric, or the power behind the fabric when it returns to its original position. This power helps to reduce the athletes' muscle fatigue through garment support, in turn decreasing muscle strain and improving the athlete’s performance.

INVISTA carries out continual research and development in fiber technology. This is supported by an understanding of the market and ever changing industry trends and technology, coupled with an awareness of developing your wants and needs.

To name a few LYCRA® developments relevant to our industry, plus the products we stock supporting these features, have a browse through the below links for additional features and benefits:

  • Black LYCRA®:  To assist in grin through issues in stress areas of garments
    -  We recently did a trial on our Supplex® in Black using Black LYCRA®, it turned out quite nice.  We would love to get your feedback.  Do you think we should change over to Black LYCRA®?
  • LYCRA® Prime:  Chlorine Technology
    -  Matt Nylon LYCRA®
    -  Bright Nylon LYCRA®
  •  LYCRA® Sport:  High Modulus and LYCRA® content
    -  Atlanta Plus

Here are some links that I came across while preparing this blog that you may find interesting:

    -  Rowen Mersh using stretch fabric as an artistic feature:
    -  Invista, the developers of LYCRA®:
    -  Pattern School blog, testing some of our stretch fabrics:

In summary, the development of Elastane has revolutionized the industry, and is continuously evolving as our technology does.  There are many types of Elastane available, so make sure you do your research and select the one best suited for your application.

What are your experiences with using different Elastane types?  We would love to network and share knowledge with our clients as we consider this very valuable.  Fabric technology is continuously evolving, and even though we have been established for 24 years, we also learn something new everyday.

Don’t forget to comment below and give us your input on changing our Supplex® LYCRA® in the Black colour to Supplex Black LYCRA®.  Your input is valuable to us.  Or pop a suggestion in our suggestion box.

Until the next post.


And don’t forget …stretch your imagination…