Choosing fabric for Safran

Written by Eléonore
September 5 2016 | Inspiration, Safran

Today, for #safranseptember, we’re going to talk about fabric!

To make the Safran pants, you will need a woven fabric, medium weight (6oz/yd² minimum), with 20% to 30% stretch. The stretch factor is really important, as it ensures you will be able to put on your pants, bend your knees, sit down, and do all kinds of other useful activities 😉

To have enough stretch and recovery, the fabric needs include lycra/spandex in its composition. Unfortunately, the stretch factor of a fabric depends of a variety of parameters: weave, composition, thickness… and the spandex percentage is not proportional to the stretch factor (we have found fabrics with 25% stretch that only have 1.4% spandex, and others having 4% spandex with only 10% stretch).

If you already have stash fabric that might be suitable for Safran, or you want to buy some in a shop, here is how to measure its stretch percentage:

Measuring the stretch percentage

At home


Cut out a rectangle of fabric that is 10cm (or 4″) wide in the direction of stretch, and at least 5cm (or 2″) high. Hold both ends firmly, stretch the swatch as much as possible, and measure its new width: it should stretch by 2 to 3cm, or 7/8″ (10cm x 20 / 100 = 2cm).

In a store


Obviously, you can’t just cut out your own swatch in a store! Bring a ruler with you, and pinch the fabric between your thumbs and index fingers, placing your thumbs 10cm (or 4″) apart in the direction of stretch. Keeping hold of the fabric, spread your hands as much as possible and measure the new distance between your thumbs.
This method will give you a good idea of the stretch percentage of your fabric, but keep in mind that the swatch method is more accurate 🙂

Buy fabric online

If you can’t find the right fabric locally, you might be tempted to buy it online. Unfortunately, as we have seen, it is not possible to use fabric composition to evaluate the stretch percentage! Most online stores do not indicate the stretch percentage (or get it mixed up with spandex percentage), so we have done some research and put out a call to online stores to create this list of tried and true fabrics!

All the fabrics in this list have been tested either by us, by the sellers we have contacted, or by our customers. If you run into a problem with one of them, please let us know so that we can update the list!

North American Stores



European Stores

Little Fabrics
Mondial Tissus

In an upcoming post, we’ll be talking about what notions you will need for Safran, and where to find them!

5 commentaires

francesca, September 9 2016

So useful! Thanks for this, Eleonore:). Littlefabrics is sending me two lots of fabric and your pattern right now:)

Patricia Barbieri, October 3 2016

Does anybody know if MONDIAL TISSUS ships to the UK? I tried to register and although it lets me pick the correct country it doesn’t seem to like my postcode 🙁

    Camille, October 3 2016

    Hi Patricia, unfortunately it looks like they only deliver to France, Belgium, and some French overseas territories (according to their FAQ in French).

    Patricia Barbieri, October 3 2016

    Thanks for letting me know. It is a shame as the polka dot fabric is very cute!

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