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Your Guide to Fitness Fabrics

By FunkiFabrics, 14 August 2020

Sewing your own activewear gives you the ability to find a perfect fit; your activewear should make you feel limitless! Staying dry and comfortable are two of the biggest challenges for anyone looking for top-quality activewear, and both of these are directly affected by the fabric you choose.

There are more fitness fabrics than you think, both natural and synthetic, and understanding the different benefits of each fitness fabric can help you choose activewear that meets your needs.

What Are Fitness Fabrics?

Not all fabrics are cut out for fitness. When you’re working out, whether it be going for a run or doing gentle yoga, your activewear needs to be flexible enough to not get in the way of your mobility and ability to control moisture. Fitness fabrics (sometimes also known as technical fabric) offer a variety of stretch factors, coatings and moisture-wicking properties that make them perfect for sewing your own activewear.

Are Fitness Fabrics Easy To Sew?

Fitness fabrics are no more difficult to sew than any fabric, so if you’re handy with a sewing machine you’ll still feel confident with your creation. Once you have a pattern that works for you, it’ll be simple to make multiple copies using your preferred pattern and know that your activewear is going to fit perfectly to your shape.

What Kinds of Fitness Fabrics Are Available?

Fitness fabrics fall into two main categories; natural and synthetic. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, it’s up to your personal preference and needs to decide which is right for you. We’ll talk you through some of the materials that appear in these categories to help you decide which fitness fabric you might like to use to sew your activewear!

Natural Fitness Fabrics

These are fabrics made from natural fibres. There are two natural fibres that are compatible for use as fitness fabric, but it is strongly advised against the use of cotton. Cotton can hold up to 25 times its weight in water and takes an extremely long time to dry. Once cotton is wet, it will start to chafe in hot conditions, and if you’re in cold conditions, it could even lead to a serious health risk like hypothermia. You may want to try out one of these fabrics instead of cotton.


While we may think of bamboo as a plant, once it’s pulped it can actually be processed into a viscose fibre that’s perfect for use as fitness fabric. Bamboo fabric is super soft to the touch, it’s antimicrobial, long-lasting and wicks away moisture. It’s a great eco-friendly alternative to synthetic fibres if you’re environmentally conscious. Be wary that over time, you might find that your bamboo fabric stretches out a little, especially if you’re wearing it frequently.

Merino Wool

Wool is typically known for being a little itchy and irritating, but merino wool couldn’t be more different to traditional wools. Offering the same moisture-wicking and antimicrobial properties as bamboo fabric, merino wool is also really breathable which makes it a great choice whether it’s warm or cold outside.

Synthetic Fitness Fabrics

Sewers used to be drawn to using natural fibre fabrics because synthetic fibres used to be so poor to wear, but they’ve come a long way in the past few decades! Synthetic fabrics are the primary choice for most ready-to-wear activewear brands, and you can certainly reap the benefits too.

Using synthetic fabrics means you’ll have access to fibres specifically designed to wick moisture away from the body, plus other useful benefits such as waterproofing – imagine you’re out for a run and get caught in a downpour, your synthetic fabric activewear can keep you dry on the outside without steaming up under your clothing.

Technical fabrics such as this are perfect for activewear, and while yes they do offer the main properties of being breathable, flexible and great for wicking away sweat, they can also be as soft to wear as natural fibres. There are a few trademarked synthetic fabrics that are commonly used as fitness fabrics…


One of the most commonly known synthetic fabrics, Lycra fabric is super stretchy, recovers its shape really well, and is often used in a fabric blend (such as polyester Lycra and matt nylon Lycra) to create all kinds of ready-to-wear activewear.


Meryl is a nylon microfiber that offers benefits beyond being comfortably stretchy such as odour control – a hugely important element to consider when creating your own activewear!


Perfect if you love colourful activewear, Supplex fabric is fantastic for colour retention. In addition to being breathable, Supplex is also incredibly fast-drying.

Ready to start sewing your activewear? We offer a broad range of synthetic fitness fabrics here at Funki Fabrics – just look in our collection of plain fabrics to find one that will suit your needs, and remember that using our Colour Me service, we can help you create activewear that feels truly personal to you!


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