What is the Best Fabric for Swimwear? Explained

The summer is almost approaching, and if you're like most people, you have plans to spend time at the pool during the season. This blog post is for you if that is the case! We will go over the best fabric to choose for swimwear to prolong its life.

When determining what to wear on your upcoming beach trip, fabric choice is a crucial factor. Swimwear made of polyester, for instance, might be unpleasant and ride up oddly, but cotton swimsuits are sometimes just as unattractive.

Although the ideal material for swimwear relies on personal preference, you may select the finest material for your body shape by following a few simple rules.

Buying swimwear can be challenging, especially with so many fabric variations available. What then is the ideal material for swimwear? Let's investigate!

There are numerous options available. What material works best for swimwear? Whether or not you are satisfied with your suit will depend on the answer. Do you need something more robust or do you want it to be incredibly light?

Summer attire that is at its best is swimwear. However, you must ensure that it is resilient enough to withstand use both in and out of water. Knowing the ideal fabric for swimwear is crucial for this reason. Today's market offers a variety of alternatives, including cotton, nylon, spandex, polyester, lycra, and more!

We'll examine some of the most popular fabrics in this blog post, along with their benefits and drawbacks. We'll also discuss the criteria you should use to select the fabric that best suits your requirements.

Because they are lightweight and stretchable, materials like nylon and spandex are frequently used in swimsuits, but they don't last as long as textiles like cotton or wool.

Despite its tendency to absorb water more quickly than other materials, cotton offers natural UV protection that spandex does not (which means less sunscreen).

You can choose from materials like nylon tricot with lycra spandex or a polyester-spandex combination. Since polyester has a great degree of elasticity, it can be worn repeatedly without losing its shape.

Nylon tricot is more suitable for people who need extra support in their clothing, including pregnant women or people recovering from surgery, as it has a high elasticity but less give than polyester.

What material works best for swimwear? Your particular preferences will determine that. Polyester or nylon are excellent fabric options if you want a suit that will hold up well and be robust.

However, a Lycra-mix of spandex can be more suitable for you if you prefer something softer and more pleasant on your skin.

No matter what kind of fabric you choose, it's always a good idea to choose a suit that has UV protection, since this will ensure that it doesn't lose colour too soon after being worn outside in the sun.

Let's get going!

What Is The Best Swimsuit Fabric?

If you're looking for fabric for swimwear, you need to be aware of the many types of fabric and which one is appropriate for swimsuits. The fabric used to construct swimsuits, their varieties, and attributes will all be covered in this article.

Remember that one fabric is superior than another; rather, the qualities of each cloth make them the finest for particular applications. Additionally, the fabric's quality has distinguished it from competitors.

Let's talk about the numerous swimwear fabric possibilities and their unique qualities. Then, choosing the swimsuit material that best suits your requirements makes your purchase more convenient.

Swimwear materials have a certain degree of stretch, are colorfast, and dry quickly. The majority of swimsuit materials are designed to stretch to fit all of those beautiful curves and enable a secure and comfortable swim.

The best swimsuit material dries quickly and maintains its shape when wet. Elastane fibres are present in almost all types of swimwear fabric, making them the ideal material for swimsuits.

With its elastic properties and ability to be mixed with other synthetic fibres to produce a pleasant stretch, elastane is the ideal synthetic fibre. In the 1960s, the fashion industry developed it.

Depending on the manufacturer and the desired fabric properties, the blend varies, but generally speaking, it is created with 10%–20% elastane to 80%–90% other fibre.

Spandex or Lycra are also known as elastane. Avoid getting too caught up in the branding because lycra, spandex, and elastane are all the same material.

What Kind Of Fabric For Bathing Suits?

Considerations should be made when selecting the best fabric for bathing suits.

  • Durability
  • UV Resistance
  • ​Stretch
  • Opacity
  • ​Feel
  • Drying time
  • ​Ease of Care
  • Chlorine Resistance

And even more importantly…

1. Control 

To be able to go to the beach without feeling slightly exposed in her bathing suit requires a really self-assured woman.

After all, it's probably the closest most of us will ever go to being completely naked in public.

It can make a big difference in how we feel and look in a bathing suit to choose a fabric with just the appropriate amount of control, or in other words, one that won't get too sagging and baggy while you swim and compromise your modesty.

2. Fiber Content 

Natural fibres have their place and time, but your bikini isn't one of them.

If you don't want to wander around the beach with a soggy, droopy bottom, you'll have to get used to the thought of covering yourself in synthetic materials, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes you feel.

Natural fibres may be lovely, breathable, and full of other wonderful things, but when it comes to bathing suits, synthetics rule the roost.

3. Opacity  

Unless you're eager to flaunt your assets to the world, you should probably make sure your swimsuit fabric is opaque.

Get a swatch really wet, spread it out as far as it will go, and then check for transparency to see how it works. Even if it's not quite as opaque as you'd like, you don't necessarily have to rule it out; you just need to make sure it's lined well.

4. Print 

Your bathing suit will probably become wet unless all you ever do is wiggle your toes in the water. A lot. You're looking at a significant challenge for colour and print when you throw in some chlorine and sun. Therefore, when selecting swimsuit fabric, search for one that won't lose its pattern or colour.

Swimsuit Fabric Types

Swimming suits are, of course, the most comfortable clothing to wear outside; if you maintain your composure at sea and look attractive, consider your task completed. Swimwear's toes, which blur the border between function and fashion, give it a subtly sophisticated air.

The fabric of a well-made swimsuit should be sturdy, light, and water-resistant in addition to looking attractive. Many suits, including those for men and women, combine diverse fabrics, including those made of natural and synthetic materials, each of which has unique properties.

1. Nylon Fabric for Swimwear

There is a considerable likelihood that a swimsuit rack you take contains nylon. The lightweight nylon spandex fabric used in swimwear has numerous stretches to spread the moisture, resulting in faster drying times. On the other hand, nylon swimwear is susceptible to shrinking or fading after prolonged sun exposure.

While straight nylon swimwear is available, it can also be blended with spandex to enable improved stretching.

Typical forms consist of 80–90% nylon and 10–20% spandex, with the spandex being bigger and the swimsuit being more body-hugging.

2. Lycra Fabric for Swimwear

Spandex and Lycra are both familiar terms, but did you realise they are interchangeable? As far as architecture is concerned, there is no distinction between Lycra and the brand of spandex produced by Dupont Company.

Spandex has the excellent capacity to advise on big quantities before reverting to its previous state, as anyone who has ever worn it will know.

In order to increase flexibility, spandex is typically blended with other fibres. For example, when coupled with nylon or polyester, it produces swimming gear with outstanding control, stretch, and durability. Just keep in mind that it will be more figure-hugging if the spandex content is higher.

3. Polyester Swimsuit Fabric Blends

Lycra (or spandex) and polyester mix to create highly durable swimwear materials. But the most popular type is stretch polyester.

Numerous fabric mills produce hundreds, if not thousands, of different chemicals. The ratio of spandex to poly will vary to some extent for each variety.

Even though it is not the only fabric, spandex swimsuits greatly influence contemporary swimwear. Soft and flexible spandex, which is part of a combination of fabrics, improves the stability of the swimsuit; more spandex in a suit significantly shapes the body.

As a result, it plays a crucial role in competitive swimwear. Spandex slims the form, but over time, chlorine damages its elasticity.

Additionally variable are the knit's elasticity and firmness. The quality of the thread used in the fabric mill to create the cloth is what makes the difference in quality the most noticeable. Because of this, polyesters come in a far wider variety of looks and textures.

Usually, the cloth used for the thick thread will have a thick feel. A thin, silky thread will result in a silky, smooth sensation. Before selecting the final option, it is imperative that you feel the fabric and stretch it yourself.

When looking into swimwear mixes, the words "Lycra," "Spandex," and "Elastane" are frequently used. However, there isn't much of a functional difference between swimwear made with any of these three and swimwear made with any of the other name-brand elastane fibres you might discover.

Best Swimwear Fabric for Performance

1. PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate)

PBT can be compared to a better-quality version of Lycra.

PBT and Lycra are both polymeric fibres from the polyester family. PBT, however, has a matte texture and is less slick than Lycra. Like Lycra, it also stretches, although not as much.

A bad rep for polyester?

PBT is a member of the polyester family. Is that a mistake? not quite.

However, polyester has advanced significantly since its invention in 1941, along with science, despite the fact that most people still identify it with phrases like unpleasant and cheap.

For instance, PBT was altered to keep its finest features while enhancing its less useful ones.

PBT is the perfect fabric for competitive swimming and other sporting apparel due to its exceptional qualities.

Pros

  • PBT is a very resilient fibre that can withstand the effects of the sun, chlorine, saltwater, and stretching. In fact, it is more durable than nylon and any other type of swimsuit fabric combined.
  • PBT is incredibly breathable, making it resistant to perspiration and humidity, unlike spandex, which absorbs moisture.
  • PBT is one of the greatest materials for manufacturing UV-resistant swimwear since it can withstand UV rays. Additionally, it can maintain its colour for a longer period of time and won't quickly fade while worn outside.

    Cons 

    • I venture to declare that PBT does not have any drawbacks outside its higher price. It is the ideal fabric for swimming competitions because it is strong and stiff in terms of strength and durability, yet so light and comfortable when worn.

    Verdict 

    You won't find a better fabric than PBT if you're an avid swimmer who needs a swimsuit that checks off all the boxes for light weight, comfort, and durability.

    2. Neoprene

    Technically speaking, neoprene is a synthetic rubber. This indicates that the sewing technique is different from that of a cloth used for "normal" swimwear.

    Pros

    • Excellent insulation: Neoprene is the finest fabric to use for manufacturing dive suits because of its superior insulation over other textiles. Generally speaking, a thickness of 2 to 3 mm is most suited for effective insulation.
    • More buoyant than polyester: Since neoprene is a rubber, it is technically created with tiny air bubbles, which makes it a naturally lighter, more buoyant, and flexible swimsuit material. A competitive swimmer could not ask for more.
    • Durable: It is very resilient and resistant to a wide range of damage and temperature, just like polyester. It can also keep its shape well.
    • Latex-free: The less expensive polyester fabrics are frequently produced with latex. Unfortunately, some individuals have latex allergies. This issue is resolved by neoprene's lack of latex.

      Cons

      • Wear neoprene only when it is necessary due to its lack of breathability. On a hot summer day, you can still wear a neoprene bikini. Possibly not a wetsuit or one-piece, though.

      Verdict 

      If preventing hypothermia is your first goal, neoprene is the ideal material for swimwear.

      If you require high-performance swimwear but are allergic to the latex in polyester, this latex-free option is a fantastic substitute. But make sure to only purchase from wetsuit/scuba suit manufacturers.

      Best Swimwear Fabric for Fashion

      1. Spandex (Lycra® / Elastane)

      Did you know that while Lycra and spandex are both familiar terms, they are truly interchangeable?

      There is no difference between Lycra and the brand of spandex manufactured by Dupont Company in terms of its physical characteristics.

      Anyone who has ever worn spandex is aware of its astonishing ability to stretch by great distances before returning to its original shape.

      In order to increase its flexibility, spandex is typically coupled with other fibres. When combined with either nylon or polyester, it produces swimwear with outstanding control, stretch, and durability.

      Just keep in mind that it will be more figure-hugging if there is more spandex in it.

      Pros 

      • Imagine spandex as a rubber substitute that is more pliable, robust, and elastic. If you go through your closet and look for anything that stretches, chances are it contains spandex. It's all over.

      Cons 

      • However, it is not a good idea to make a swimsuit out of 100% spandex. In the water, this is a bad idea because it has a slick finish and tends to slide off areas where you should sit and stay there.
      • Second, because it is impermeable, moisture is trapped. The possibility of yeast infections and skin blistering is increased by trapped moisture.
      • Third, it is heat-sensitive. Spandex permanently puckers when dried by a machine or pressed. As a result, you can only hand wash it and let it air dry.
      • Finally, because a 100% spandex swimsuit hugs your body closely due to its great elasticity, it can draw attention to your imperfections, such as flab rolls and cellulite dimples.

        Verdict 

        Spandex is excellent for giving swimwear more flexibility. BUT AVOID PURCHASING 100% SPANDEX. It's risky as well as uncomfortable and unsightly.

        2. Nylon (Polyamide)

        One of the most popular materials for swimwear is nylon, and for good reason. It offers exceptional stretch, a soft feel, and is water-repellent in addition to being rapid drying, durable, and simple to maintain.

        Although it is possible to get swimwear made entirely of nylon, the material is more frequently combined with spandex to provide improved stretch. A typical swimsuit will contain 80–90% nylon and 10–20% spandex; the higher the spandex content, the more body-hugging the swimsuit will be.

        Pros 

        • It's reasonable to assume that nylon is the material that the fashion world adores the most. Why not, then? Nylon first gives the body a pleasing hug. Unlike spandex, which grips the skin, it flows over it. It is cosy as well. Not to mention its supple, opulent finish, which nearly resembles silk.

        Other characteristics:

        • Fairly durable (with proper care)
        • Care: Hand wash and air dry for longevity
        • Dries quickly
        • Lightweight and comfortable

        Nylon and spandex are frequently combined, with the typical blend being 80–85% nylon and 15–20% spandex. You get the finest of both textiles with this ratio.

        Cons 

        Unfortunately, nylon loses its colour more quickly than its substitutes (like, say, polyester). Its colour tends to bleed and blur when continually exposed to chlorine and seawater.

        However, you can halt this deterioration by washing your swimsuit as soon as you get out of the water with freshwater or a Suit Saver Solution.

        Verdict 

        If you want to look absolutely flawless at the beach, a nylon and spandex blend is your best bet. The proper regions on your body will be hugged, and your trouble spots will be hidden. Additionally, it is soft and cosy.

        But be cautious while purchasing them in prints. After the first wash, low-quality nylon will probably blur and bleed, so picking a reputable swimwear brand is essential.

        Organic Fabric for Swimwear

        Wearing the organic material is great and will certainly bring you good karma. However, it won't make you a really good swimwear.

        Organic textile manufacturers take pleasure in their lack of synthetic content. That means no spandex, polyester, or nylon—the very three materials that, in fact, make the best swimsuits. Could you not do it unless you find it impossible to imagine having anything other than 100% natural contact your skin?

        Hemp Fabric For Swimwear

        Do not misunderstand me; hemp makes excellent fabric. It maintains colour beautifully, is breathable, strong, antimicrobial, and has unmatched environmental credentials. It's not a fantastic option for swimwear, though.

        Because hemp wrinkles rapidly and readily, the swimsuit will eventually lose its shape. Although it might be acceptable if you never actually want to swim in it, there are better options available if you do. Hemp swimsuits aren't made to last.

        Fabric weaves

        Fabric should not be confused with fabric weave. Fabric is just that—fabric. However, fabric weave is merely the fabric's final texture after the yarns are interwoven in a certain pattern.

        Nylon will always be nylon, to put it simply. However, based on the many ways that its strands are interlaced, it may produce a whole new set of fabric looks and finishes.

        Although there are many different fabric weaves, the swimwear sector focuses on the following fabric weaves to reach its target market.

        It should be noted that these weaves can be used with any type of fabric (nylon, polyester, etc.).

        1. Ribbed

        Knit and purl stitches must be alternated in order to give the fabric a ribbed appearance and ridges. For ribbed weave, designers frequently employ nylon, while polyester is also widely used.

        Pros 

        Ribbed cloth has the advantage of having incredible abrasion and wrinkle resistance. As a result, it may maintain its shape fairly well. Additionally, it is soft and cosy to wear, making it an excellent weave for swimwear.

        Cons 

        You need to be careful where you sit because it could fray easily.

        2. Velvet

        Velvet is already starting to make its way into the swimsuit market from evening wear. And that makes sense. Both the wearer and the onlooker experience velvet's exquisite gloss and incredibly soft touch. It's effortless and lovely.

        Cons 

        The upkeep is extensive. The only effective approach to wash velvet and maintain its composition is to dry clean it.

        3. Mesh

        Mesh is transparent, making it perfect for making cover-ups because it dries rapidly. However, inventive designers are combining mesh with swimwear. To generate contrast and intrigue, they frequently use mesh.

        Lace Fabric for Swimwear

        Wear a lacy bikini if you want to lounge poolside admiring people while drinking a beverage. Choose another activity if you want to do something other than lie around and look lovely.

        Lace lends itself nicely to bridal veils, gowns, and tops thanks to its delicate, ethereal character. But it doesn't work well for swimwear. Skip the lace if you anticipate getting your swimwear wet at some point.

        4. Crochet

        Knit and crochet textiles were once only utilised for the winter. However, by incorporating uniqueness into their designs, fashion designers created crochet swimwear. It draws attention and keeps the eyes focused.

        Knitted Fabric for Swimwear

        It is unclear whether knitted fabric is appropriate for swimwear because the term relates to a garment's construction rather than its fibre composition.

        It won't be the ideal option if it is a cotton knit. On the other hand, if it's made of nylon and spandex or a mixture of polyester and spandex, it's a great one.

        Tricot, a unique form of warp knitting with vertical ribs on the face and horizontal ribs on the back, is one of the most typical knits you're likely to encounter in the swimsuit industry.

        Tricot is quite good at maintaining its shape and won't sag or billow, but it is worn frequently. As long as it's composed of that holy combination of spandex and polyester/nylon, it works well as a bathing suit.

        ITY Fabric For Swimwear

        A slinky, flowing fabric called ITY is created by knitting stitches on the right side and purling threads on the wrong side (the ITY stands for Interlock Twist Yarn, in case you were wondering).

        It may not be a popular option for swimwear, but it has the ideal blend of synthetic materials (polyester + spandex in variable amounts) to function.

        Cons 

        Regardless of the material used, crochet is very heavy when wet. Because of this, it's ideal as a trendy swimsuit but not for competitive swimming.

        Which are sustainable?

        The fact that most swimwear fabrics are synthetic—like polyester, nylon, and spandex—is an issue. They do not decompose and rejuvenate for the ecosystem, in other words. They instead end up in the landfill. In addition, they have negative impacts both before and during production.

        Fortunately, fabric companies are increasingly making efforts to decrease the damaging effects of the fashion sector on the environment, including ECONYL® and REPREVE®.

        While REPREVE® makes its swimwear fabric from recycled plastic bottles, ECONYL® recycles nylon. However, it is unclear whether all plastic types are recycled or simply the colourless ones.

        Nevertheless, it's a crucial step in influencing consumers' purchasing decisions and applying pressure to fabric producers who haven't yet made an attempt.

        Nylon Versus Polyester

        The majority of swimsuits are constructed from nylon or polyester blends. Although both materials have excellent qualities, which one takes the prise for the top swimsuit fabric? Let's first examine how they fare in the important categories.

        1. Absorbency 

        Nylon barely edges out polyester in terms of water absorption. A swimsuit that absorbs the least amount of water is ideal.

        Although a fabric that absorbs moisture like a sponge may be better for breathability, it will only make you feel heavier after a swim. Nylon is a master at repelling water, but polyester is just moderately effective. Nylon comes out on top.

        2. Stretch 

        Nylon triumphs once more in this instance. When combined with a small amount of spandex, a nylon swimsuit will hug and stretch about the body far better than a polyester one, and it will maintain its shape no matter how much it stretches. Nylon comes out on top.

        3. Resistance 

        You'll probably be wearing your swimwear when it's sunny unless you're a truly bold soul. Consider using a fabric with UV protection if you don't want the colour or design to fade.

        Polyester triumphs in this case thanks to its greater radiation resistance and, as an added benefit, its improved chlorine resistance. The Winner: Polyester.

        Can You Use Scuba Fabric For Swimwear?

        A brief description of scuba fabric will be given before examining whether it may be used for swimwear.

        It's a term that's frequently used to refer to neoprene, a kind of synthetic fabric that, in recent years, has gained popularity in both diving and fashion circles.

        Neoprene has gained popularity as a material for skirts, dresses, tops, and swimwear because it is structured and form-fitting.

        It is strong and resilient, like other synthetic materials, and will return to its original shape no matter how much it is stretched. Additionally, it is completely opaque, making it a fantastic choice for individuals who want to maintain as much of their modesty as possible.

        Why Is Polyester Swimwear Fabric Best For Swimsuit Fabric? 

        The following characteristics of polyester fabric are especially important for swimsuit fabrics:

        Due to its durability, polyester is a highly suggested fabric for swimwear. Both in and out of the water, it maintains its shape effectively. Additionally, it prevents pilling (the little balls of fuzz that can appear in the crotch and armpit areas).

        Additionally, both dyes and prints keep colour quite well on polyester. Although not quite as soft as nylon, new poly textiles have improved significantly and become quite soft.

        Conclusion

        The fabric that makes the most sense for your needs is the one that works best for swimwear. We favour lightweight printing capabilities and robust polyester when it comes to use. Additionally, I think polyester's environmental impact may be better managed than nylon's.

        Nylon still doesn't have the same feel or finish as polyester, though. Although polyesters are becoming more and more common, there are still few ways to match nylon's appearance and feel. Additionally, 100% Nylon has no water immersion, thus after dipping, it won't scale (or swim) on the ground.

        If you're looking for a swimsuit's material, try to find one that is lightweight and can accommodate your needs.

        Avoid the temptation to use cheap fabric because it may hurt your skin and rip, run, or tear before the suit is completely worn, negating all of your hard work in producing it.

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