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What is Direction of Greatest Stretch (or Pull) in Bra Making?

What is Direction of Greatest Stretch (or Pull) in Bra Making?

A quick blog post today answering the question – what is direction of greatest stretch, or pull, in bra making?

In a woven fabric, grainline indicates the direction of the fabric that has the least amount of stretch. In most cases, patterns are aligned with this line. In bra making however, patterns are cut according to the direction of greatest stretch, which is often shortened to DOGS. So, when looking at a lingerie pattern, lines with arrows indicate DOGS, not grainline.

How do you find the DOGS on your fabric? Pull lengthwise and crosswise. What has more stretch? On stretch fabrics, there is either stretch in 1 direction, called a 2-way stretch, or stretch in all directions, called a 4-way stretch. If your fabric is a 2 way stretch, I suggest marking with chalk or a marker just so you don’t forget and have to recheck every time you cut something out.

How do you determine the percentage of stretch? It’s simple. Take any 10″ length of fabric and stretch it out along a ruler or a cutting mat. Stretch it until it feels like it wants to “rebound”. This is very intuitive. Stretch it a couple of times just to make sure. It doesn’t have to be exact. We’re determining an approximate percentage (30%), not exact (32.35%). Note this measurement and then let the fabric relax. If the 10″ stretched to 13″, then it has 30% stretch. If the 10″ stretched to 14″, then it has 40% stretch. If the 10″ stretched to 15″, then it has 50% stretch. I think you can figure out how much stretch the fabric has if it stretched to 16″.

How does direction of greatest stretch affect fit? I there a right or a wrong way to cut the DOGS? It’s more about using the DOGS to work for you -learning how to use it in your advantage to give support, provide lift, add cleavage, or whatever you your lingerie to do. Generally speaking, the weight of the breasts move in the direction of greatest stretch. So in a minimizer bra, the DOGS runs horizontally, which causes the weight of the breasts to go left and right (instead of up and down) and has a flattening effect.

Even though the DOGS can be cut in different directions, there are a two “rules” that I rarely break:

  1. Ninety nine percent of the time, the back band in a bra or the back panel in a panty has the DOGS running horizontally, or across the body. This allows for breathing and moving comfortably.
  2. Ninety nine percent of the time, the bridge or the frame in a bra has the DOGS running vertically (if it’s not backed by a fabric that doesn’t stretch in any direction). If 90% of the support of a bra comes from the frame/bridge/band, then this has to be stable in order to do its job.

Watch Madalynne’s explanation of DOGS on IG Live – reposted on Madalynne’s YouTube Channel.

2 Comments
  • July 30, 2020

    Hi, I’m confused about the stretch of the Powernet fabric. Is the direction of stretch indicated in the sewing pattern when the holes become larger and the fabric stretches more?

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