Learn about different types of material for leggings, including where to buy leggings fabric to sew your own leggings.
Hey y’all, as promised today I have a review of different fabric types you can use to sew leggings. We’ll talk about which fabric is best for leggings, so that you can pick the perfect one to sew your own leggings. Because the last thing you want is to spend your time making custom leggings, only to go to the gym and end up feeling wet from sweat or saggy in the knees.
Fiber vs Fabric
Before we get into a deeper discussion of leggings materials, we need to make sure we understand the difference between a fiber and a fabric. This is mostly so I don’t get the question, “Can I make leggings out of cotton?”
Fabric is the combination of fiber and the construction method that turns threads into cloth. Cotton is a fiber. Wool, nylon, spandex, etc are also fibers. Cotton is not a fabric. Knitting and weaving are the two main methods of fabric construction, and some names like jersey, interlock, twill and sateen refer to specific types of knitting or weaving methods. Cotton (fiber) jersey (knitted construction method) is a fabric. Cotton (fiber) twill (woven construction method) is also a fabric. Of these two fabrics, cotton jersey might be suitable for leggings, but cotton twill definitely is not.
Properties of Good Leggings Fabrics
- 4 way stretch. Fabrics that only stretch 2 ways will not be comfortable for such a close fitting garment. Four way stretch is created through a combination of fiber and construction methods.
- At least some lycra, spandex or elastane content – these fibers help with recovery, so the fabric doesn’t stretch out and sag after workouts. Recovery is the ability of the fabric to return to its original shape, and synthetic fiber generally has better recovery than natural fiber.
- Thick enough not to be see-through when stretched. In other words, you can do squats without putting anatomy on full display.
- Appropriate for use and climate – i.e. don’t use stretch fleece to make leggings for summer in Texas, use fabrics with sweat-wicking properties instead. A good pair of leggings has to be made from comfortable fabric.
Check out the video below or on YouTube here to see which type of fabric I recommend.
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So in summary, to pick the right material for your leggings, consider the following:
- Use. Cotton spandex might be great for lounging leggings, but for workout leggings you probably want something with more moisture wicking ability.
- Climate. Especially consider this if you’re making leggings for outdoor use in the winter months in a cold climate. Something like tech fleece would be worth the investment for this.
- Comfort. Fabric blends that are quick drying and resistant to odors (like athletic performance knits) are a good choice for most leggings.