Sew your own yoga leggings part 2: fabric!

Ok, so you’ve picked your yoga leggings pattern and now you need to find your fabric (and, let’s be honest, that’s every sewist’s favourite part of the hobby).

The fabric can really make or break your leggings. It needs to have enough stretch for your pattern to ensure that you have all the range of movement you need to graciously transition from one pose to another (whether that’s the splits or a simple forward fold). As someone who wore a pair of too-tight handmades to a rocket yoga class, I can definitely say it was incredibly uncomfortable!

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on fabrics here; for that I will defer to Melissa Fehr and an article she wrote for Seamwork, which has a detailed description of what to look for. She also has an excellent book, which I definitely recommend if this is a topic you are interested in.

Instead, here is my list of favourite fabric suppliers and/or fabric brands.

Funki Fabrics

Funki Fabrics is the mecca of activewear fabrics. If you’ve ever admired my unicorn or star-print leggings, this is where the fabric is from. It’s rather expensive (and has an annoyingly expensive delivery charge) but it has any design your could possibly ever want (pineapple leggings anyone?). Plus a few different base fabrics to choose from.

I like the Titan base better then the Flex one:

  • It is thicker and more likely to avoid the dreaded VPL (or worse!) in your Down Dog!
  • I think it has more stretch and better recovery

They also have a recycled plastics base called Life, which is worth investigating. I tried it once and it was a bit of a failed experiment as it didn’t have enough stretch for Peg Legs and I ended up feeling like a sausage in them (yes, that was the aforementioned rocket yoga class).

This galaxy print is on a Flex base

Modelo activewear fabrics

You may recognise these Modelo fabrics from my own leggings. Technically they are swimwear fabrics but they work just as well as yoga leggings fabrics – just buy a bit extra and make yourself a bikini with the leftovers 🙂

They are certainly more affordable that the ones from Funki Fabrics and have some cool designs to play with too. What I like about them is that they have incredible stretch and recovery, and I (perhaps deludedly) think they make my legs look slimmer.

They are available from a few online suppliers, including Minerva Crafts and Sew Me Sunshine. The Hantex website lists more suppliers.

Tissu fabrics

Tissu fabrics stock Supplex, which is a popular type of activewear fabric. Personally, I wasn’t a fan (this is the fabric that revealed all cellulite through the leggings), but they are way more affordable at £7.99 p/m and come in different colours if you are a fan of plain leggings instead.

Bamboo

All of the above are man-made fabrics, which not everybody likes. If you prefer natural fibres, bamboo is a really lovely fabric that works well for leggings. There are more options these days, but the one I have tried is Raystitch, which has a great selection of quality bamboo fabric.

The one thing I would say about bamboo though is that it is not opaque in my experience. For my two pairs of bamboo leggings I have created a little skirt to cover the bum and ensure no VPL!

What are your favourite fabrics for making activewear? Any I have missed?

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