Lingerie fabrics are fabrics that hold meaning in the fashion industry. They have a soft, alluring feel to them, which is one of the reasons that it has been used as an undergarment for years.
Lingerie is derived from the French word “linge,” which means linen, and directly translates into English as a euphemism for scandalous undergarments. Lingerie has always been a personal matter, highlighting the feminine body and self-confidence.
It is not to be confused with other undergarments made from cotton, as lingerie fabrics are usually stretchy and flexible.
Getting to Know Lingerie Fabrics?
Back in the day, lingerie was used to flatten or squeeze a woman’s bodily features, especially in the Elizabethan era (laced corsets and hoop skirts). However, lingerie is used to accentuate a woman’s shape and provide her modesty while ensuring good hygiene.
Lingerie has not only helped to cover up women’s private areas but also built self-confidence in women while highlighting certain features of their body used to draw men’s appeal.
The fabrics used to make lingerie are floaty and practical, like lace, nylon, silk, Lycra, etc. Most lingerie fabrics are known for their lacey and female properties while also serving the expectations of undergarments (supporting and shaping).
Lingerie uses as a whole keep increasing and covers loungewear, bras, panties, yoga tops, corsets, etc.
There are certain properties common to lingerie fabric, and they include;
Elasticity: Since lingerie serves as undergarments, we must be able to move in them freely. And lingerie is expected to fit and hug the body; therefore, they are stretchy.
Breathability: Nobody wants to wear an undergarment that feels too heavy or stiff, which is why most lingerie fabrics have open net-like and breathable features.
Other properties are also present in lingerie fabrics, such as sheerness and texture.
Lingerie Fabric Production
Lingerie fabrics may be produced in various ways, therefore having different properties. For example, one lingerie’s surface texture or weight may vary from another that is firm to the touch and yet comfortable.
Yarns used to make lingerie fabrics may be natural or synthetic, and they can also be produced in two different constructs; woven or knitted. This will determine the lingerie’s level of transparency.
Knit fabrics, commonly used to produce lingerie fabrics, are made with a knitting machine. The knitting machine is responsible for producing interlocking loops of thread that allow the end-product of the fabric to stretch.
Knit fabrics have various possibilities: draping properties, stretch capabilities, finishes, etc.
The usual jersey lingerie fabric we know is made using knit fabrics. However, that is not the only knit you can use when making lingerie. The knit fabrics may range from tissue thin to strong and sturdy.
Dernier is the official measurement for the weight of a knit. Lingerie fabrics can be produced using knit fabrics in three forms; 15 denier knit fabric, which is very light and sheer. The 30 denier knit fabric, the medium-sized type, and 45 denier knit fabric, a stable knit, are usually used to support bra cups.
Woven fabric is the best option when you don’t need to stretch your lingerie because it can provide it.
Woven fabrics are created on a loom, with the yarns going lengthwise and crosswise simultaneously.
If the yarns used to create the lingerie fabric have stretch, the fabric will stretch, but if it doesn’t, it will not stretch in any direction (lengthwise or crosswise).
While we cannot compare woven fabrics to the stretchiest knit fabrics, they can be substituted for firmer knit fabrics.
Evolution Of Lingerie Fabrics Throughout History
From the 16th to 19th century, women wore corsets that were unbearable and uncomfortable to wear. These corsets were made to shrink the sizes of their waists, and some would even pass out in them.
The 19th-century undergarments primarily focused on modesty, but in the early 20th century began adopting more intimate designs.
By the 1920s, elastic girdles had replaced corsets, and bras had taken a new turn in the 30s and 40s.
During these times, lingerie was primarily made from natural woven fabrics such as cotton and silk. This slowly changed during World War II when the DuPont company introduced nylon. At this time, it was impossible to import silk from Asia during the war, so silk was used to make the stockings worn instead of nylon.
After the war, nylon was still used. Other fabrics like satin and rayon have since been incorporated into lingerie fabric production.
Different Varieties Of Lingerie Fabric
Lingerie fabrics come in so many forms that you can easily select from. Some fibers are artificial, and some are natural, derived from plants and animals.
- Satin lingerie
This lingerie fabric is usually extra light and shiny with a satin weave. This means it is woven with some threads crossing over multiple threads, running in opposite directions.
It is commonly seen in nightshirts, pettipants, chemises, etc.
Polyester, silk, spandex, and rayon commonly make satin lingerie. However, cotton, which has less shine, can also be used.
- Lace lingerie
Lace lingerie is an excellent fabric for making lingerie because of its delicate nature. The modern lace lingerie is usually made of nylon and spandex added to add stretch, if necessary. Some metallic fibers and cotton fabrics are often used for a firmer feel.
It is often used to produce night dresses, corsets, and brassieres.
- Mesh lingerie
This lingerie fabric has little space between its yarns, hence the name. It is named after its negative space’s six-sided (hexagonal) shape and can serve different purposes in lingerie fabrics.
Mesh is usually made of nylon, but spandex can be added to add stretch. Mesh lingerie is used in body stockings, hosiery, negligees, etc.
- Jersey lingerie
Jersey is not only associated with your t-shirt drawer, and most of the underwear that you would use on a typical day is made from jersey knit and probably have a cotton jersey gusset in it for fancy pairs.
Jersey lingerie can be made with almost any fabric, mostly cotton, rayon, and polyester.
Silk and wool can be used too, but they are rare. Spandex may be added for stretch.
Some other lingerie fabrics include microfiber, rayon, organza, bamboo, tricot, chiffon, georgette, charmeuse, crepe de chine, habotai(China silk), challis, etc.
How Much Does Lingerie Fabric Cost Per Yard?
Typical lingerie fabrics cost around $4 to $70 to purchase online. However, you can also find cheaper and more expensive lingerie fabrics, depending on your budget and material of choice.
Some lingerie fabrics are sold for about $200, and those kinds speak of luxury.
When choosing lingerie fabrics to purchase, there are certain factors you should look out for. The stretch, texture, and weight of the lingerie fabric are essential because this will determine the outcome of the lingerie garment.
Certain undergarments should have a good amount of stretch in them, while some can go without much stretch. It is crucial to take out time to understand the kind of lingerie apparel that you want to make.
How Is Lingerie Fabric Used?
Lingerie fabrics are commonly used to make women’s undergarments for practicality and beautification. As long as it is comfortable and supports the figure, it is a suitable lingerie garment.
Lingerie fabric can be used to make:
- Stockings and underwear
In the past, lingerie was made of woven cloth, but it can now be made with knitted wool, cotton, nylon, or silk. They are used to produce stockings and corsets, which are made to naturally shape the body by reducing the waist size and exaggerating the bust and hips.
There are numerous kinds of panties like bikinis, string, g-strings, high-cut or control tops, boy shorts, briefs, etc. They are produced from various materials such as lace, satin, polyester, leather, cotton, etc.
This piece of clothing was designed to cover, shape, or support the breasts, and it is considered a foundation garment and an undergarment.
Initially developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to replace corsets, brassieres have become the most popular undergarment for the upper body, although chemises and camisoles are slowly becoming popular.
Different types of bras, backless, plunge, strapless, push-up, multi-way, etc., can be used for different situations and worn while wearing certain outer garments.
Lingeries like camisoles, chemises, and materials like satin and mesh are popular among many females because of their ease and comfort.
Some other undergarments lingerie fabrics can be used to create include; garter belts, thongs, shapewear, waist cincher, swimwear, activewear, hosiery, tights, diapers, mid-thigh shapers, bustiers, singlets, knee highs, pantyhose, bodysuits, romper suits, robes, bralette, slips, leggings, etc.
Tips For Caring For Lingerie Fabrics
The way you treat your lingerie fabrics and your method of care for it can be factored into their durability and look.
Whether expensive or affordable lingerie, you should know the best ways to care for your lingerie fabrics and protect them adequately.
- When washing your lingerie undergarments, do not wring out excess water or twist it until it gets dry. Instead, use a dry towel to soak the excess water before drying.
- Don’t leave your lingerie fabric in water for too long. At least an hour is enough to hand wash. If possible, hand wash your lingerie fabrics rather than machine washing.
- Check the care label, as some fabrics can only handle cold water and cannot withstand temperatures of over 30°C. When washing, it would be best to separate white, black, and colored lingerie undergarments.
- Do not put your lingerie fabrics in the tumble dryer, as its hot temperatures can lower their lifespan. Always use alcohol-free detergents to wash your lingerie fabric after every 2-3 wears, and then air dry them.