The paper presents a method for determining forming limit curves based on a combination of experiments with finite element analysis. In the experiment a set of 6 samples with different geometries underwent plastic deformation in stretch forming till the appearance of fracture. The heights of the stamped parts at fracture moment were measured. The sheet - metal forming process for each sample was numerically simulated using Finite Element Analysis (FEA). The values of the calculated plastic strains at the moment when the simulated cup reaches the height of the real cup at fracture initiation were marked on the FLC. FLCs for stainless steel sheets: ASM 5504, 5596 and 5599 have been determined. The resultant FLCs are then used in the numerical simulations of sheet - metal forming. A comparison between the strains in the numerically simulated drawn - parts and limit strains gives the information if the sheet - metal forming process was designed properly.