Creating a good summer wardrobe can be difficult. You want clothes that look great out on the town or at the beach but, that are also practical in the heat. As our summer gets hotter, the quest for the perfect breathable fabrics gets more intense. We need something to keep us cool and comfortable no matter the temperature. So, what breathable materials should you look for or use in your next sewing project?
Finding The Best Breathable Fabric For Summer
The good news is that there are lots of different materials around that you can try when making your own clothes for summer. Cotton and polyester are among the most accessible, with lots of great prints, but you don’t have to use them if they will be impractical in some way. Below, you can see a wider list of some alternative materials. First, let’s look at the properties of these breathable fabrics.
What Should You Look For When Choosing A Breathable Material?
If you are looking for a new item of clothing for the summer, or perhaps the perfect new material for dressmaking, it helps to keep the following in mind. With the right properties, you can ensure that your garment is not only breathable but, a comfortable choice when there is a risk of sweating.
The Weave Of The Fabric
Typically speaking, the looser the weave, the greater the likelihood of air passing through the gaps. So, a material with thick fibers that isn’t so dense – such as some knits – is quite breathable. The downside to some knits, however, is the weight or the feel of the fibers.
The Fit Against The Body
Some breathable materials will sit close to the body, such as a slim-fit t-shirt or some synthetic activewear. This can offer some greater comfort if you are going to move around because the material doesn’t get in the way. But, you still need to be sure that the fibers are soft against the skin. Other items are more loose-fitting, like summer dresses and trousers, which can increase airflow.
The Ability To Wick Away Moisture
This is another important factor when it comes to choosing the best breathable materials. There are some options that naturally wick away moisture and stop wearers from feeling the effects of sweat. This is important for activewear, where sweat is inevitable. But, it is also a good idea for general wear so there is less risk of any sweat patches and discomfort during the day. Some common materials are great for this and others less so.
Using Mesh In Designs
Finally, you might want to consider the option of adding some mesh to a design when making your own breathable activewear. Mesh is perfect for breathability because while the synthetic fibers are dense and tough in some areas, there are neat unchanging holes for permanent airflow. It is why you see mesh on the sides of tracksuit pants and in lots of shoes.
Some Of The Best Breathable Materials To Choose From.
With these considerations in mind, here are some interesting choices for materials with added breathability. Some are more common and understandable choices than others. But, some of the surprising inclusions could end up being perfect for a specific project.
This is the most obvious choice on this list because cotton is so commonly recommended as a safe and comfortable breathable fabric. It is why underwear tends to be cotton rather than something more restrictive. It is soft and effective but there is the downside of its absorbancy. Sweat can show up here.
By comparison, polyester is a much better choice when looking for something that can wick away moisture. There is a lot of synthetic activewear that may not have a loose weave but is still breathable and comfortable long term. The downside is that it can hold odor, even after washing. This is where cotton can be more practical.
This is another fabric that is very popular with those looking for a natural fiber for summer clothing. The main selling point here is the larger weave, which provides a natural gap for airflow on a greater level than cotton. It is also lightweight and great for travel. The problem is that if it does get damp from sweat, it can take a little while to dry out.
Bamboo is one of those more modern fabrics that people either love or hate. Some are dubious over the true environmental implications, while others love the chance to use this fast-growing natural fiber. The light material is very breathable and has the added benefit of being softer than a lot of other options.
Silk is something you might not expect to be in this guide. It is a denser material that doesn’t feel as though it should be breathable. But the finer threads do help with the airflow. It also feels great against the skin and doesn’t hold moisture or odor in the same way as other options.
6) Merino Wool
There are lots of great properties in wool that make it a comfortable and hygienic choice for clothing. The looser weave of a Merino shirt is also nice and breathable. The downside for summer is finding something light and comfortable enough for long-term wear. Some also find this wool to be too itchy.
Choosing The Best Breathable Fabric For Your Needs.
As you can see, the list above is more diverse than you might have expected. You aren’t resigned to using cotton for a t-shirt, linen for shirts, and polyester for activewear. These are all great picks in the right circumstances, but also have their disadvantages. Don’t be afraid to consider using bamboo or silk in the right project or knitting something light with Merino wool instead.
Have fun playing with different patterns and trying new things! If a material doesn’t work for the cut you want, or doesn’t behave as you expect, learn from that and try something new.
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my kids however, that is typically a challenge with how limited their attention span can be and how messy it gets. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and creating fond memory for all of us.