Does Lyocell (Tencel) Fabric Stretch or Shrink?

Tina Miles
Have you ever wondered if lyocell (Tencel) fabric has stretch to it? Discover the stretchiness of Tencel lyocell fabric and whether it can retain its original shape after stretching in this post.

If you are seeking out a perfect fabric that combines comfort, style, and sustainability, I know that lyocell (Tencel) fabric is probably on your radar. This type of fabric is made from wood pulp that has been processed in a way that is gentle on the environment, making it an attractive choice for people who are conscious of their impact on our planet.

However, one question that usually comes up is whether or not lyocell fabric is stretchy. In this article, we'll help you answer the question, "Is lyocell (Tencel) fabric stretchy?" Read on to find out.

Table Of Contents

Does Lyocell (Tencel) Fabric Stretch or Shrink?

Lyocell, also known as Tencel fabric, maintains its shape even when stretched. Although it can shrink about 3% after the first wash, it generally resists further shrinkage. In rare instances, it might shrink in the washer or dryer, but not to the extent of fabrics like cotton, wool, silk, or linen. Typically, you can expect a maximum shrinkage of 3% in the initial few washes. It's safe to wash Lyocell with hot or regular temperature water. Given its slight initial shrinkage, it is recommended to pre-wash it before sewing.

What Is Lyocell Fabric?

Lyocell, also commonly referred to as Tencel, is a type of semi-synthetic fabric that is made from wood pulp which undergoes a process of conversion into usable fiber. The fabric is not only known for its comfort and durability but also its soft texture that is gentle on the skin. Lyocell is also moisture-wicking, meaning it can help keep you cool, making it a great choice for activewear.

Pros of Lyocell Fabric

Cons of Lyocell Fabric

Is There a Difference Between Tencel and Lyocell?

A Little Backstory

Lyocell was first created in 1972 by a team of researchers at the American Enka Company. The now-defunct facility tried to commercialize the lyocell process, but unfortunately, the fiber did not gain much success at the time.

In the 1980s, another company called Courtaulds Fabrics developed the fiber under a new name, Tencel. And in 1991, the lyocell process was finally commercialized at Courtlauds factories in Alabama. Soon after, an Austrian company Lenzing AG started producing lyocell fibers, and in 2000, the company acquired the brand name Tencel.

The Difference

Basically, Lyocell and Tencel are the same. Tencel is just a brand name for lyocell fibers produced by Lenzing AG. Other top companies that produce lyocell fabrics include:

Does Lyocell Fabric Stretch?

Yes, lyocell fabric does have some stretch. In fact, this amazing fabric has excellent shape retention and will hold its original shape even after stretching or wearing. However, lyocell fabric is not as stretchy as some other fabrics, such as spandex, nylon, and elastane. The fabric can stretch up to 5%.

How to Stretch Lyocell Fabric?

You can stretch your lyocell fabric to get a better fit by wetting it or pulling it by hand. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Fill a clean washtub with lukewarm water and add a cupful of hair conditioner or baby shampoo. Shampoo and hair conditioner relaxes lyocell fibers for a better stretch.

Step 2: Mix well, and then submerge your fabric.

Step 3: Let the lyocell fabric soak for about ten minutes.

Step 4: Gently squeeze out excess water. However, don't rinse the fabric, as this will get rid of the conditioner.

Step 5: Lay the garment flat on a clean and dry towel. You should then roll the towel up with the garment inside.

Step 6: Gently press the towel to remove the remaining water.

Step 7: Lay the lyocell fabric on a flat surface and carefully stretch it to your desired stretch.

Step 8: Allow the garment to air dry to maintain its brand-new shape.

Is Lyocell Stretchy In Jeans?

Jeans are a staple in almost every person's wardrobe. These pants are typically made of a special type of fabric called denim. Denim is made from 100% cotton. However, some denim manufacturers have started incorporating lyocell fabric.

Tencel Lyocell is a good material to incorporate into denim because of the fabric's softness and breathability. Lyocell is also a bit stretchier than cotton denim.

As we've mentioned before, lyocell can hold its shape even after stretching, so you won't have to worry about Tencel lyocell jeans losing their shape or becoming baggy over time. This is unlike cotton denim which tends to lose its shape and stretch out with regular use.

Does Lyocell Fabric Shrink?

Lyocell fabric does shrink, especially when exposed to high temperatures during drying or washing. To prevent your lyocell fabric from shrinking, follow the below recommendations:

Step 1: Hand wash your fabric in cold water

Step 2: Avoid using harsh detergents

Step 3: Avoid machine washing, but if you must, please ensure that your machine is on a gentle cycle

Step 4: Air dry lyocell garments to avoid the heat of the drier

Step 5: When ironing your Tencel garment, use a lower heat setting

Is Tencel Lyocell Fabric Sustainable?

Tencel lyocell fabric is definitely sustainable. The fabric has earned a reputation for being eco-friendly, making it a popular choice among consumers who are looking for sustainable clothing options. In fact, Tencel has received several awards for its eco-friendliness and innovative production process.

Tencel lyocell fabric is made from natural materials, and it’s produced using a closed-loop process. This means that over 99% of the solvents used to manufacture the fabric are recycled and reused. Tencel lyocell is also biodegradable and can naturally decompose without causing harm to the environment.

Summing Up

Lyocell (Tencel) fabric has a lot to offer when it comes to clothing. The fabric is soft, long-lasting, and highly breathable. Lyocell is also stretchy and can hold its shape after being stretched. So, if you're searching for a stylish top or a new pair of jeans, consider opting for a Lyocell fabric for a comfortable and sustainable fashion choice.

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