Fabric Suggestions for the Vancouver Collection: Part I

If you’re wondering where you can find fabrics appropriate for the Vancouver collection, this post is for you! We’ll be splitting this up into a few posts. Today I’m talking about the Pacific Leggings and Dunbar Top.

Pacific Leggings

These leggings call for a knit with at least 50% stretch both horizontally and vertically (some people refer to this as 2-way stretch, some as 4-way stretch – the important part is that is stretches and recovers well in both directions). We have a handy stretch guide on the pattern envelope, but if you are in a fabric store empty handed, it’s easy to figure out. You can borrow a ruler from the shop or from one of the cutting tables. If you hold 10cm of fabric between your fingers, it should stretch to at least 15cm.

We recommend a nylon/spandex or cotton/spandex blend. Nylon is going to give you a more performance/athleticwear vibe and a tight fit, while cotton will be more casual and possibly fit a little bit looser, so keep that in mind. You might find a nylon/spandex blended with viscose, rayon, or polyester. This could work too! Some “industry” names to look for: tricot knit, Supplex, luon. Be careful with tricot, look for a tricot knit with lots of spandex in it. The term tricot is used pretty loosely in the textile industry and can also refer to a non-stretch sheer nylon lining, among other things!


The Pacific leggings above are out of a cotton knit, you can see the fit is a bit more casual.


Here they are in an athletic knit with better recovery.

Whatever blend you choose, you want to look for knits that have good recovery. This means that if you stretch the knit, it will bounce back to it’s original shape/size. If you are shopping in person, don’t be shy to give the fabric a good tug and see how it reacts. If you’re shopping online, look for something with 10-20% spandex content if you can (or something that is specifically recommended for leggings)! Generally, more spandex means better recovery.

Another important thing to look for is opacity. Nobody wants a see-through bum! Stretch the fabric and hold it up to the light to see how much you can see through it. A bit of light coming through is normal, but you don’t want to see details through the fabric. If you’re shopping online, make sure the fabric is recommended for athletic leggings.

One last tip! Don’t shy away from fabrics labeled for swimwear. While they won’t be the best for intense exercise, they will be just fine for regular workouts. If you expand your search into swimwear textiles, you get to use some really fun prints! Look for a blend of 80% Nylon / 20% Spandex and it should be perfect for these leggings.

Here are some fabrics that I found online that I think would work really well for the Pacific Leggings.

Fabric Suggestions for the Pacific Leggings

Pacific Leggings Fabrics

  1. Black Supplex from Spandex Depot
  2. Heather Grey Cotton Spandex Laguna Knit from Fabric.com
  3. Taupe Splatter Print Cotton Spandex from Girl Charlee
  4. Speckles Nylon Spandex from Harts
  5. Magenta Activewear Knit from Fashion Fabrics Club
  6. Olive Supplex from Spandex House
  7. Violet Purple Matte Milliskin from Girl Charlee
  8. Black Tricot Knit from Imagine Gnats
  9. Pink Tricot Knit from Imagine Gnats

Dunbar Top

If you’d like, you can use the same fabric as the Pacific leggings for your Dunbar top, and have a matching set! You can also get a bit more creative with fabric options, since you can go with something a little bit lighter weight, and mix it up with mesh at the neckline if you’d like.


You want to focus more on athletic fabrics for this top, so nylon/spandex blends are the best way to go, or other synthetic blends with nice stability. Cotton? Not so much here.

You’ll also need to get some power net for the bra lining or shelf bra. You can go with something lightweight (like a power mesh), or something a little heftier if you’d like a bit more support (like a firm power mesh).


An example from my stash. Left: Firm power mesh. Right: Regular power mesh. You can see the difference in density, opacity, and weight, just from the photo! 

Fabric Suggestions for the Dunbar Top

Dunbar Top Fabrics

  1. Animal Print Swimwear Knit from Harts Fabric
  2. Cherry Red Activewear Knit from Fashion Fabrics Club
  3. Bright Clouds 4-Way Stretch Poly from Spandex House
  4. Black Firm Power Mesh from Blackbird Fabrics
  5. Purple Matte Milliskin from Spandex House
  6. Jade Power Mesh Knit from Imagine Gnats
  7. Wysteria Matte Lycra from the Remnant Warehouse
  8. Pastel Clouds 4-Way Stretch Poly from Spandex House
  9. Seafoam Power Net from Spandex House

Do you know any good sources for athletic wear fabrics that I missed?

Next up I’ll be going over fabric suggestions for the Cypress Cape & Seymour Jacket!

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14 Responses to Fabric Suggestions for the Vancouver Collection: Part I

  1. Barb Barna January 19, 2016 at 6:58 am #

    Peak Fabrics in Calgary. Excellent service!

  2. Karin Kiltz January 19, 2016 at 7:37 am #


    All they sell is knits. It’s awesome.

  3. Renee January 19, 2016 at 8:30 am #

    I was going to suggest Suzi Spandex in Montreal http://www.suziespandex.com/

    • Barb Barna January 19, 2016 at 9:55 am #

      Last time I contacted Suzi Spandex, they said I would have to special order through Fabricland….has this changed?

      • Renee January 19, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

        Hmmm, I don’t know. The last time I ordered from them was over the phone from the US about 18 mos ago. Prior to that I was in store.

  4. PsychicKathleen January 19, 2016 at 8:40 am #

    I’d really like to see a list which includes more CDN online sellers of these fabrics :) The cost of them plus shipping in USD is getting astronomical for us.

  5. Jenny January 19, 2016 at 9:34 am #

    In the UK, funkifabrics.com . I made the Pacific leggings with their “shiny nylon lycra” – it’s not *too* shiny and they also do matt nylon lycra, both 80% nylon, 20% lycra. They also do some incredible patterned nylon lycra.

    • Vanessa January 19, 2016 at 10:38 am #

      Thanks Jenny – I was feeling a bit lost in the UK so it gave me a lift to see your suggestion!

    • Vanessa January 19, 2016 at 10:41 am #

      …….Meant also to say high five to Caroline Amanda for great advice and inspirational pics and patterns – thank you.

    • Tash January 21, 2016 at 10:38 am #

      Thanks Jenny, good to know what is in the UK too :)

  6. Miranda January 19, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

    In Australia/New Zealand, I highly recommend The Remnant Warehouse. They have a wide range of cotton, sports, matte and shiny lycra as well as power net and sports mesh and a range of other fabric in the ‘Dance and Theatrical Fabric’ section. I just purchased some lycra from them for my Dunbar Top and leggings and I was very happy with the service and fabric quality.

  7. Annemarie January 20, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    I’ve made three pairs of leggings but still haven’t received a response to my question about the yardage required for the two color version.

  8. Dale February 4, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

    I’ve been curious about the ChitoSante fabric available online from the Victoria Gala Fabrics website. Looks like a great option for athletic wear.

  9. Margaret February 10, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    I ordered the Taupe Splatter Print Cotton Spandex (3rd listing in the Leggings Fabric Suggestions) and was surprised by how lightweight it is, almost transparent with my hand under one layer, even though it is described as 8.5 oz.medium weight. Not sure if it will be leggings after all……

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