A Beginner's Guide to Cotton Lycra

A Beginner's Guide to Cotton Lycra

If you are new to the sewing community, you have probably heard the word Cotton Lycra being thrown around like you should know what it means.

A beginner's guide to Cotton Lycra is going to give you an overview of the fabric base and what you can create with it.

Cotton is the most recognizable fiber in America, and quite possibly around the world. We are blessed to have cotton farms right here on American soil. Most notably in the Carolina's which makes it an easily accessible fiber to create into beautiful and soft fabric. Woven cotton creates a stiff and sturdy fabric. Luckily, if you blend cotton with other fibers, you can turn it into something thick and fluffy, or stretchy and breathable. 

Cotton Lycra is a stretchy and breathable Cotton blend. Cotton Lycra also know by the acronym CL in the sewing community is a cotton and elastane aka spandex blend. CL is a knit fabric which identifies the method used to construct the fabric.

You can find CL in a variety of Cotton to elastane ratios. WayMaker Fabrics has a soft, and breathable Cotton Lycra that is 92% cotton and 8% Elastane. The percentage of elastane also known as Lycra (Lycra is a brand name for elastane) determines the stretchability of the fabric.

Cotton Lycra can come in either 2-way stretch meaning it only stretches one direction either vertically or horizontally or 4-way stretch meaning it stretches both vertically and horizontally depending on how the fiber is knit together. WayMaker Fabrics Cotton Lycra has a beautiful 4-way stretch. 

This base is great for tops! One of the most common things made with CL is your everyday T-Shirt! It is breathable and drapes beautifully! It has a slight amount of structure to it, so ruffles will hold and look beautiful. It has great movement, so you can feel confident in letting your kids run around in it without fear of ruining it.


Dresses, skirts or rompers are another great use for Cotton Lycra. The slight amount of structure gives these garments the perfect level of movement and stability.


Another, less mentioned use for Cotton Lycra is underwear. 

The stretch of CL and the softness and breathability make it the perfect choice for underwear! Additionally, natural fibers are so nice in undergarments!


Some people use CL for leggings which works great if you love natural fibers, and don't need the compression that an athletic knit provides. If you plan to exercise regularly in your leggings, I would not recommend Cotton Lycra for your athletic wear.


Cotton Lycra is probably the most diverse fabric base to use. You really can't go wrong with a Cotton Lycra purchase. I can guarantee you have at least one pattern that calls for a light to medium weight knit, and Cotton Lycra will be the perfect choice!

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