Combining Different Fabric Types for Best Performance

Fabric Types that Work Together

One of the best aspects of sewing for yourself is the freedom to create custom performance garments to handle specific environmental conditions.  A quick walk through a high-quality outdoor retail store can provide hundreds of inspiring ideas that perhaps challenge conventional sewing techniques. 

Many top brands create technical garments (tops, bottoms, vests) that combine different fabric types such as a highly wind resistant fabric on the front with a highly breathable fabric on the back.  Combinations like this are ideal for high output aerobic activities on cool/cold days as they block the wind created by your own speed on the front while venting excess heat and moisture generated during activity on the back.  By combining different technical fabrics within one garment, we can take the best features of each fabric and let them shine.  The combination often makes an incredibly functional piece of outdoor clothing that is more useful than a garment created by a single fabric. 

Here are some of our favourite brand name cycling, running, Nordic skiing garments along with some suggested Discovery Fabrics to create your own.  While these are just a few suggestions to get you started there are many more possibilities, so get creative!

Combining Fabrics for Performance Garments

  black cross country ski jacket made of different fabrics

This Craft brand jacket combines a quilted front for warmth with wind and waterproof sleeves and lower front.  The back of the jacket utilizes a polyester jersey back for enhanced breathability.  To recreate this jacket using different fabric types consider Quilted Alpha with Lightweight Windbloc 6627 or Lightweight Power Shield Pro 6631 or 6633 for sleeves/lower front and Power Stretch Jersey 9490 or Northern Lite Athletic for the back.  

black cycling jacket made of different fabrics This cross country ski jacket by Swix offers similar design details to the jacket above by combining a light quilted insulated fabric in the upper portion with a lightweight stretchy softshell for the waist and lower arm fronts and stretch jersey for the back and arm backs. You can create a similar look using the fabric types noted above or you could use a Midweight Power Shield or Sherpa Windpro Stretch in place of the quilted fabric for a different (smooth) look.
blue and black running or cycling pants These Patagonia pants combine a wind and water repellent fabric (blue) with a breathable stretchy tights fabric in the waist, side panels and back of leg (black) providing weather protection as well as ease of movement and enhanced breathability.  Suggested fabric types include Lightweight Windbloc 6627, LW Power Shield Pro 6631 & 6633 combined with Northern Lite Athletic, Polartec Power Stretch Jersey 9490 or Polartec Power Stretch Fleece Backed 6421
black cross country ski pants The SportHill Super XC pants offer similar design features to the Patagonia pants above by combining a midweight stretch knit softshell with a DWR finish (durable water repellent) on the front with a soft and stretchy wicking knit on the back.  Fabrics noted in the Patagonia example will work well for these pants or you could create a cold weather version by using Polartec Windpro Stretch or Polartec Power Shield Midweight for the front with Polartec Power Stretch Fleece Backed for the backs.

Some of our Fabric Types that Work Well Together