Motivated by the fabrication of microstructured optical fibres, a model is presented for the extension under gravity of a slender fluid cylinder with internal structure. It is shown that the general problem decouples into a two-dimensional surface-tension-driven Stokes flow that governs the transverse shape and an axial problem that depends upon the transverse flow. The problem and its solution differ from those obtained for fibre drawing, because the problem is unsteady and the fibre tension depends on axial position. Solutions both with and without surface tension are developed and compared, which show that the relative importance of surface tension depends upon both the parameter values and the geometry under consideration. The model is compared with experimental data and is shown to be in good agreement. These results also show that surface-tension effects are essential to accurately describing the cross-sectional shape.