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Choosing the right active wear fabric

Active wear – this could include hiking, camping, running or in my case, biking.  When you select outerwear fabrics they should provide efficient protection without adding undue weight or bulk, especially in hot Florida.  Some of these fabrics may be sold in local fabric stores, like Hobby Lobby, or can be found online.

There are various terms that describe the practical benefits that outerwear fabrics can contribute to the sportswear you sew:

  1.  Breathable fabrics are porous to let perspiration evaporate, an important factor for comfort.
  2. Easy care fabrics can be machine washed and dried without ironing or other special pampering.  Some fabrics dry quickly, a quality that outdoor sportspersons value.
  3. Insulation proof, down proof and fiber proof are equivalent terms describing a fabric that is so tightly woven that high-loft insulations, such as polyester fiberfill or down, will not pass through the weave.  Fabrics without this quality can allow fibers to migrate through the weave to the outside of a garment; this is called bearding.
  4. Strength is important; fragile fabrics will not withstand rugged outdoor abuse.  A fabric may be strong because it is made from a durable fiber such as nylon.
  5. Waterproof fabrics are coated or laminated so that moisture can neither enter nor penetrate the fabric.  But you sacrifice breathability.
  6. Windproof fabrics will not allow air to pass through the fabric, either because of a chemical treatment applied during the manufacturing process or because the fabric has a fine, very tight weave.
  7. Wind resistant fabrics keep much of the wind from passing through the weave.  They are less efficient than windproof fabrics but may offer enough protection if you dress in layers.
About Sally Cowan (50 Articles)
After Keeping You in Stitches for over 45 years, Sally enjoys her memories of events that happened on her way to retirement. Author of 6 books, lectures, teaching, and TV host on PBS and now has time for her many cats and Snuggles, the dog. She also loves playing trumpet in the Anastasia Baptist Church orchestra.

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