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Thread: "softening" pants with stretch in the fabric?

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    "softening" pants with stretch in the fabric?

    Hi folks, I don't like fabrics with stretch, but it's getting harder to avoid them. I am sure some of you have noticed that, now that many/most pants have a small percentage of stretch added, the fabric tends to be stiffer and harder to iron. (Let's not even get into the fact that some of them make noise when I walk...) Has anyone had any luck making such pants feel less stiff? I have never used fabric softener, so maybe the question seems silly from your POV—but I never had to use it. I have one pair of L.L. Bean corduroys that I got about a year ago, and I just noticed this past week that they are starting to feel a little less stiff, so it could be that wearing and washing them 25 times or so did soften them somewhat. I have also found that Gap seems to be doing the best at incorporating stretch while keeping the feel of the pants about the same as 100% cotton. Any suggestions will be helpful, thanks.

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    I'm confused. Stretch makes pants stiff? Imo, it does the opposite.

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    Okay, specific example: the L.L. Bean 5-pocket cords used to be 100% cotton, but a couple of years ago they added 2% spandex. When I got a pair of the newer ones, the first thing I noticed was that the fabric was stiffer, and after washing them they are much harder to iron to a state that looks presentable. I have Levi's cords that are the same way. It's not just corduroy, but khaki and twill fabrics too; I've noticed it other places, just handling pants in stores.

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    I don't necessarily agree with you that adding spandex to fabrics makes them stiffer, but i do agree that it often makes them harder to iron. Then again, I've never bothered ironing corduroy or twill pants, since they're inherently casual.

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    the weaves of the fabrics are very different. flatter and lighter usually, and never a very durable weave, but i haven't seen that they're 'stiff' per se. i'm not sure what you are seeing?


    edit: also i'll agree with OP i hate stretch fabrics and I can not wait for them to go away. They probably won't go away
    Last edited by evanparker; Yesterday at 08:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evanparker View Post
    the weaves of the fabrics are very different. flatter and lighter usually, and never a very durable weave, but i haven't seen that they're 'stiff' per se. i'm not sure what you are seeing?
    Agree with this. I think it's the type of weave and not that is has stretch fabrics added in. For example, two of my dress shirts are both 100% cotton (one oxford weave and one twill). The oxford is significantly stiffer and harder to iron than the twill. It also comes out of the dryer a lot more wrinkled than the twill shirt.

    I also have several of the stretch bonobos chinos and I find them to be significantly softer than some of my non-stretch 100% cotton chinos.

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    I’m not sure you’re supposed to iron stretch fabrics. I would definitely iron them on very low heat and with corduroy especially, inside out, if at all.

    Pants made with stretch fabrics are typically casual items that don’t require ironing normally (jeans, chinos, 5-pockets, etc.)

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    I think ironing on low heat is okay. One thing I would not do it put anything with stretch in the dryer. It will make the fabric age faster and it will lose its stretch. I always air dry anything that has elastane (or similar).

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