I hope everyone had a happy, safe 4th of July!
Summertime is full of fun, sun and play but depending on the climate where you live, the mercury can really start to rise! Whether you lead an active lifestyle, enjoy spending time outdoors or have to brave the heat just to pick-up the bare grocery necessities; we all love to wear clothing (especially ME MADE) that is comfortable! We want those fabrics that lend well to light layers and versatility. I’ve gathered some of my favorite, light and breathable knit fabrics to help you stay cool this season!
What makes a fabric “light & breathable?”
Fabrics, either woven or knit can vary in fiber content as well as weight. Fabric weight is often expressed in grams/m2 or GSM. The lower the GSM, the lighter the fabric, the higher the number, the heavier the fabric. Content as well as the type of weave or knit can affect weight. Many fabrics can have identical fabric content as well as percentages, but look, feel and behave very differently from one another. Natural fibers such as cotton, rayon (which includes bamboo and modal), linen or any blend of these will create a fabric that is more breathable, dries more easily and does not tend to retain body heat. If you’d like to take a closer look to understand the properties of knit fabrics, check out my video:
Let’s begin with a family of knit fabrics known as Rayon. Rayon is a man-made fiber from natural materials. Rayon may also be known as viscose, which refers to the manufacturing process of the rayon fibers, rather than the origin of the materials. The rayon family of fabrics includes a few different types:
- Rayon (viscose) – “regular” or “traditional” rayon, fibers created from wood pulp (cellulose)
- Bamboo – fibers are created from natural bamboo
- Modal – fibers are created from natural beech trees
*REMINDER - Rayon should be treated gently due to the types of fibers. Any rayon or blend containing rayon, can pill with friction and heat. This is not a flaw of the fabric, but rather a natural tendency of short fibers exposed to the mechanical action of friction aided by heat. Most commonly, this will occur in a clothes dryer with too high of a heat setting, or from laundering with harsh items like towels or denim. We recommend caring for your rayon items by turning inside out, washing on delicate and either lay flat to dry or tumble dry low or no heat to extend the life of your garments. If pilling does occur, gently sweeping over the areas with a sweater shaver will remove them.
RAYON SPANDEX (RS)
Rayon spandex is a very common, lightweight knit. It has 4-way stretch and drapes beautifully. The disadvantage is that it does not recover very well. You can make tops, tees, dresses, cover-ups, rompers, scarves, skirts and more! Anything you’d like a light, breezy and flowy feel; look to one of these rayons!
Bamboo spandex is a step above traditional rayon spandex. It behaves and wears in much the same way, yet it has a bit more of a luxurious feel and slightly better recovery. Still not suited well for things like waistbands or leggings but check out that beautiful drape! It is also naturally anti-microbial making it well suited for work-out tops!
Modal spandex is what I like to call the champion of the rayon family! It is ever so slightly thicker than the former two but just feels expensive! So smooth, stretchy and recovers much better than the others. It also has a neat, unique property that it feels cool to the touch! Modal is also more naturally resistant to pilling!
I had mentioned that choosing natural fibers or a blend of them can work well for the warmer season. Blending fibers can give a fabric additional and combined attributes that can enhance the properties such as stretch and recovery as well as give the fabric a more stable hand. For instance, if I’m creating a nice wardrobe staple t-shirt, I may reach for something that still drapes very nicely on body but not quite as flowy as a rayon spandex. If I am making a fitted tank, I’d need something with a better recovery to hug my body and a little substance to the fabric.
A blend of cotton, modal and spandex. Wonderfully soft, stretchy and with great recovery. This is probably my ALL TIME favorite fabric for basic tees! Very easy to work with since it has just a little body thanks to the cotton, but not stiff or crisp in the least! Be sure to grab some during the Ready Cuts sale! ;)
I know, I said ponte… and you’re thinking I added this by accident! No way! Modal ponte is a hidden treasure that I’d love to keep to myself because it is THAT AMAZING! This isn’t structured or super thick like you’d imagine with a name like ponte! It is so soft and smooth! Think of this one like a really luxurious interlock knit! There’s enough recovery for a fitted tank or tee but not quite what you’d need for a waistband. It’s a good weight but has such a gorgeous, soft drape making it well suited for all kinds of tops, tees, dresses, jumpsuits/rompers, skirts or even some pants. Try some! You’ll thank me! :)
Anyone else run warm at night? Maybe not just in the summer, but year-round?
Almost all my sleepwear is MVC! Such a great fabric that borrows its smooth hand, it’s cool touch from modal and with the addition of cotton, it becomes a more stable hand and drape. This one is so easy to sew, great for beginners and takes top-stitching so beautifully! Awesome choice for tops, tanks, tees, sleepwear and even underwear!
A 50/50 poly/cotton blend jersey similar to a triblend but a bit lighter, a softer hand and more drape. This is that perfect fabric for light tees, t-shirt dresses and more. It reminds me a lot of the favorite boyfriend style tees I used to buy – but softer!
Don’t run and hide! Cotton spandex can be wonderfully soft! Amanda curates only the best and softest fabrics and makes them available to us! Also known as Cotton Lycra, this works very well for tops, tanks, tees, sleepwear and underwear. This is a very popular choice for children’s clothing!
What in the world is this?! Cupro is a unique knit that you will often discover in some designer clothing and in stores like Anthropology! A poly/modal blend that behaves like cotton as far as breathability but has the most amazing and unique sandwashed, velvety – almost suede-like texture on the face. It is very light, regulates body temp and drapes so beautifully when worn! It is anti-static and a great vegan alternative to silk!
All of these fabrics pair so well with one another to create easy layering outfits to take the chill off your shoulders for when you finally get a chance to duck inside the A/C, grab a cold glass of lemonade and drive fast and barefoot!
Check out some of the options we have in these various types of knits and be sure to add them to your cart during the 4th of July sale to beat the heat the rest of summer in your new handmade wardrobe!