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3 Tips for Sewing with Activewear Fabrics

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

Hi Guys! We are so excited to have performance wear fabrics in our store selections. Having a great stretchy knit with amazing recovery is a must when making an activewear/swimwear garment and we have some amazing options in stock now. With the new fabrics, we wanted to offer 3 tips for sewing with performance wear knit fabrics.

1. Check Stretch & Opacity

It's so important to check the stretch and recovery of the fabric you intend to use for performance wear garments. You want the fabric to be able to move with your body, while remaining comfortable.

- Look for fabrics that are high in spandex. 2% won't cut it, we want 20% or more Spandex in the contents of the fabric.

This is really our TOP tip here....make sure it is not transparent. Your fabric may meet the stretch requirement for your project but if you're making leggings, you probably don't want it to be transparent, or semi-transparent.

- Hold it up to light to make sure its opaque AND do a stretch check to make sure if the design is printed onto the right side of the fabric, it doesn't show white from the wrong side of the fabric when its stretched.

2. Your Needle Matters

Using the same needle you used to make your winter coat is not gonna work for your performance wear fabric. For knit fabrics, we want to always use a ballpoint/jersey needle or a stretch needle. We actually love stretch needles for activewear fabrics and recommend getting a multi packs to test out the different sizes on your fabric.

3. Test Your Stitches

Before diving into your project, we highly recommend testing different stitches. From a zig zag stitch, to a stretch stitch, flat lock stitch on a serger, and coverstitches if you have that machine…TEST them all, even decorative stitches!

- With a new needle and scraps pieces of your fabric, test to see what will work best, look best and feel best when wearing your garment.

These are 3 tips we recommend but please know there are others that will help when sewing with performance wear fabrics. So take time to watch tutorials, read some blog posts, and check out some books! We’ve listed some of our favorites below!


- Guide to Activewear Fabrics: How to Sew Your Own Workout Wear: The Last Stitch

- Simplicity Sew Along: Mimi G Pattern 8392


- Erica Bunker wrote a wonderful post with a few of her tips here.

- We love this set made by The Corny Rainbow! Check it our for tips she used while sewing.


Check out our new nylon spandex fabrics and start sewing your own performance wear garments today!

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