Do you ever wander through athletic clothing stores and feel up their garments, only to take pictures of tags and plot on how you can make them yourself? If so, not only are you not alone, but you’ve probably been seeing a lot of gear lately with either stretch mesh or power net. And if you’re like me, you probably have been wondering what the difference is, where you can get it, and what each type is good for.
I’ve written a guide to help you on your journey, but before we get started, there’s one important thing to know: like most fabrics, there is no official definition of what defines stretch mesh or net. Different brands and sometimes even bolts will have different thicknesses, stretch percentages and recovery. If you have a specific need in mind, be sure to order samples if ordering online.
Power net does not drape and is best used to provide structure or support a part of your body: think bras and compression tights. The best ready-to-wear example of power net can be seen in the shelf bras of high-end yoga gear. While vendors like Spandex World sell different colors of power net, it’s rarely, if ever, found with patterns since it’s designed to support, rather than show.
This is where things get dicey: there’s no true definition of power mesh, or what defines something as power mesh rather than just stretch mesh. Some places might call power net power mesh and others might call a light, drapey mesh power mesh. There are also stores that sell “athletic mesh.” If you come across a listing like that, be sure to check the fabric description and photos. Most athletic mesh is used to make football and baseball jerseys. My advice: find a vendor you trust to answer questions or be comfortable with throwing caution to the wind. After all, the mesh you get that isn’t 100% perfect will add to your stash right?
Now that we’ve gotten that pesky “power mesh” term out of the way, let’s talk about stretch mesh. You’ll find thousands of options for stretch mesh on the Internet, ranging from metallic to prints to solid colors. In my stash alone, I have polka dots, red metallic, bright yellow and neon florals. The best part about stretch mesh is that it can find a home in any project. Want to sew a pair of Inspire or Strides? Add it to the inserts. Make a faux Open Back Pullover with a mesh back. You can even make a Norah nightgown with it. Like I said, the options are endless, which is great, because if you’re shopping online, you might find an amazing pattern or color without knowing its thickness, stretch percentage or recovery.
You’ve probably never heard of glistenette, and to be totally honest, before I started researching for this blog post, I hadn’t either. Glistenette is basically what would happen if chiffon and performance fabric had a baby. The beautiful flowing skirts that figure skaters wear? Glistenette. That solid, yet sheer fabric in ready-to-wear workout leggings? Glistenette. It adds an aura of elegance to gear it’s added to, while still maintaining functionality and performance.
While the list above probably doesn’t cover everything you need to know about mesh and its cousins, power net and glistenette, it’s enough for you to feel courageous enough to go out and buy some and try it out in your next project. Be sure to tell us where you found your fabrics in the comments below!