Different Types of Fabric for Underwear and Lingerie

Different Types of Fabric for Underwear and Lingerie

Shubham Anil Jain
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited
Bangalore, India
Email: shubhamajain125@gmail.com


When it comes to choose the right fabric for underwear, it will all depend on the desired usage. From sexy babydolls to the more practical slips for enhancing shape of the body, sometimes lingerie can be worn alone or as underwear. Making your own undergarments is an empowering sewing project, especially to make something perfectly fitted to one’s unique figure. When there is a best fabrics for underwear, the right pattern and own custom printed fabric; the lingerie can be more exciting. The best suitable fabrics for underwear can vary from floaty, luxurious fabrics such as Lucent Satin, Organza and Florence Net, to the more practical and cosy kind of materials like Mulmul, Cotton Satin and Jersey. All are very delicate and smooth against the skin.

underwear fabric
Fig: Different types of bra

Natural Fabric Used for Underwear:

1. Cotton fabric:
Commonly, cotton is a plant fiber that’s particularly made up of a polymer called cellulose. Cotton fabric is one of the best suited fabrics for underwear worn every day for long duration. It is very soft and gentle to the skin and doesn’t cause skin irritation. It is a very breathable fabric that will prevent excessive moisture and heat from building up.

2. Hemp fabric:
Hemp fabric is a textile material extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant. The fibers in the stalks of the plant are prominently used to manufacture the fabric since these fibers are known to be extremely durable and tensile. Because of its some of the amazing properties, it is best material to use for making underwear.

3. Silk fabric:
Silk is a very smooth and shiny fabric produced by silkworms, because of which it is more expensive. Silk has sweat-wicking and moisture-wicking properties and is also an unbelievably soft fabric that will provide optimal comfort.

4. Bamboo viscose fabric:
It is seen that, bamboo viscose is used to make some of the most comfortable and breathable underwear. During the processing the stalks are shredded down into a pulp and further processed through the use of various mechanical spinners that weave them into fine, thin viscose rayon yarn.

5. Merino wool fabric:
Merino wool is extracted from Merino sheep, which is a special breed of sheep that initially originated from Spain and Morocco and that share the characteristics of Arabian as well as European sheep breeds. Merino wool is very durable and has become one of the world’s most popular fabrics.

Synthetic Fabric Used for Underwear:

1. Organza fabric:
This fabric has sheer and transparent with a touch of sparkle and a very beautiful fabric to use to add decorative notes to the lingerie. One can add shaped motifs that subtly catch the light or petticoat layer to the babydoll. Organza is sheer with an ethereal aesthetic, which makes it a perfect choice for lingerie. It can bring a slight firmness without adding any weight, ideal for undergarments.

It has following properties:

  1. Sheer, floaty drape
  2. Net-like construction
  3. Hint of sparkle
  4. Transparent
  5. Smooth and soft all over

2. Florence net fabric:
Florence net fabric is particularly used for panties. They are very fine and fragile looking. Due to this, net fabric is super strong and durable. Because of its 4 way stretch, there’s so much movement making it perfect for making knickers. It is finished with a lace trim to give support and structure as well as Florence Net knickers are so weightless and comfortable. Transparent and breathable fabrics are perfectly suited to lingerie.

It has following properties:

  1. Super stretchy
  2. Transparent with fluid drape
  3. Lightweight and breathable
  4. Gentle on the skin
  5. Non-fray knitted net

3. Nylon fabric:
Nylon is a synthetic fabric that is made from crude oil. Initially, nylon from crude oil is a plastic, after which it undergoes further chemical processing to manufacture the strong, stretchy nylon fibers that work so well as a fabric in clothing.

4. Spandex fabric:
This synthetic fiber is generally composed of polyurethane. It is a highly elastic type of fabric and because of which it can withstand a large amount of wear and tear. Due to its stretchability, spandex is a popular underwear fabric that is best suited to those who live an active lifestyle, e.g., athletes.

5. Polyester fabric:
Polyester fiber is a stretchy and very strong synthetic fabric manufactured from petroleum. It is first a PET plastic and then undergoes a process called melt spinning to form polyester fibers that are used to make the fabric.

Various Fabrics Used for Lingerie:

1. Satin fabric:
Thus fabric is made with a satin weave. Simply, it is a woven fabric with one direction of its threads crossing on top of multiple threads going the other direction. This adds extra light and creates a smooth, lustrous effect. Satin can be made of silk, polyester, rayon, and even cotton. If the fabrics are made from shorter fibers like cotton and rayon then, it is called “sateen,” and has less shine. It us used for making lingerie because it has a smoother hand than plain woven fabric, so it’s perfect for garments that sit close to your skin.

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2. Lace fabric:
Lace fabric is one of the most popular and versatile lingerie fabrics. Either it’s a full fabric or a tiny trim, because of it’s delicacy it is perfect for lingerie. Modern lingerie lace is almost always machine made, often of nylon, with elastane added for stretch as per the requirement. If it requires thicker feel, it’s sometimes made with metallic threads, or even cotton fibers. Lace is usually crafted with floral or botanical motifs, but geometric patterns have become more common over the last few years. Even cheaper lace can elevate a lingerie design from simple to stunning.

lace in underwear
Fig: Lace in underwear

3. Jersey fabric:
This fabric is being associated with the t-shirt drawer, but jersey is everywhere in the lingerie world. The basic underwear in the drawer is probably made of jersey knit, and even the fancier pairs likely have a cotton jersey gusset inside. The front of jersey knit fabric is smooth, while there is a tiny “loops” of the knit closely on the back. Jersey can be made of nearly any fiber. Cotton, polyester, and rayon are commonly used, while wool and silk are more rare. Most lingerie jersey includes some amount of elastane for extra stretch. Because of its stretchy nature, so it can move with the body and it’s easy to fit, it is best suited fabric for lingerie

4. Mesh fabric:
Mesh fabric means any fabric that has space between its yarns. Lingerie often uses a hexagonal mesh. This fabric is named after the six-sided shape of its negative space, and works for so many applications: as a rigid sheer base for embroidery, as stiff tulle trim on a nightgown, or as the stretchy body of a pair of sheer knickers. Lingerie mesh is made from nylon, with elastane added for stretching purpose.  Its softness or stiffness depends on the fiber content, the size of the space between the yarns, and the finish on the fabric. A stable hex mesh called “powermesh” is often used as interlining for bras, as well as in shapewear and activewear where extra compression is desired.

5. Microfiber fabric:
This fabric is made from very thin synthetic fibers, giving the fabric an ultra-soft hand. Microfiber fabrics are in demand, all industries right now, but those made for lingerie are typically a thin knit. They can be made of polyester, nylon, or rayon, usually with elastane added for stretch. Microfiber is often used for activewear undergarments, as it wicks moisture and feels light and airy against the skin. It can also be used for ultra-soft, super-slinky loungewear, nightwear, and underwear. This fabric is also commonly used for a smooth finish on t-shirt bras.

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While buying underwear, one should take a moment to think about what kind of fabric it contains and how it looks and how it fits you. The best, most comfortable, and most healthy fabric for men’s and women’s underwear is cotton. Cotton feels very soft and comfy and provides crucial breathability that keeps you healthy. Synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon is also good for activewear undergarments because they can move sweat from your skin, keeping comfortable throughout the work out.


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  4. Basic Requirements of Bra Fitting | Bra Fitting Techniques
  5. The Perspective of Lingerie as a Women’s Undergarment
  6. Application of Smart Textiles in Intimate Apparels

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