So “stretch pants” may not be an exciting phrase nowadays, but when the photos at left were taken, spandex had only recently come on to the market. Joe Shivers, a chemist at DuPont, invented “Fiber K” in 1958. Fiber K was the first spandex (an anagram of “expands”) and quickly became a replacement for nylon and rubber fabrics due to its capability to expand dramatically while retaining the ability to return to its original size.
The women at left are demonstrating the stretching capabilities of clothing made in the new spandex fabrics after creating them in Jane Saddler’s class in the Iowa State University Department of Textiles and Clothing (now the Apparel, Merchandising, and Design programs). Make sure you click on the picture to see the students creating their pants.
Learn more about textiles and clothing courses, as well as textiles research, in the RS 12/10 collections.
At left: Students modeling their new stretch pants, 1964. (University Photographs RS 12/10, box 1013)
 David Grant Caplan. “History of Stretch Fabrics: Pulling at Stretch Fibers’ Roots.” WWD 181, no. 117 (Jun 12, 2001): 10. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1434218348?accountid=10906.