Activewear & Econyl - All you need to know

We're passionate about fabric at Sew Me Sunshine. Here's our guide to everything activewear & econyl, and tips on how to sew with this type of dressmaking fabric.


Activewear fabrics are technical materials that help to keep you comfortable during exercise. Activewear fabrics tend to have a good amount of four way stretch and a good recovery, when sewing swimwear or leggings you need a fabric with a 4 way stretch with at least a 60% stretch.

Activewear fabrics are most commonly made from nylon with added spandex. Nylon is derived from petroleum. It is smooth, durable, moisture wicking and fast drying. These fabrics can also be used to sew your own swimwear, they hold their colour and are resistant to chlorine. Nylon is made from non-renewable resources and is made in an environmentally unfriendly way.


We stock a large range of recycled nylon ECONYL® fabrics, this type of fabric boasts the same features as virgin nylon fabrics in terms of performance, but has the added bonus of being manufactured in a sustainable way. 

They rescue waste such as: fishing nets, fabric scraps, old carpets, industrial plastic. This waste is then sorted and cleaned to recover any nylon. They then recycle and regenerate this into nylon yarn that has the same properties as virgin nylon yarn. This type of nylon has the potential to be recycled infinitely without it ever losing its quality.  


  • Pre wash your fabric 
  • Use a Cora Ball or GuppyFriend bag in order to reduce microplastic pollution
  • Use a ballpoint needle when sewing on a standard sewing machine, this will avoid skipped stitches 
  • Use a walking foot - this ensures that your fabric doesn't stretch when sewing, which will result in rippled seams
  • If you are sewing on a regular sewing machine then use a zigzag stitch (narrow with a stitch length of 1.5)
  • Always test your stitches on a scrap piece of fabric. Stretch the test seam and if the stitches break then make the zigzag stitch narrower, or you can topstitch your seams (see below)
  • You can sew faux flatlock seams using a standard sewing machine - sew the seam with a narrow zigzag stitch, press the seam allowances over to oneside, then on the right side you stitch over the seam (make sure you pick a stitch that allows for stretch - triple zigzag, standard zigzag, twin needle, lightening bolt, coverstitch)



If you have any questions or want to learn more, you can contact Team Sunshine at

You can find all of our activewear and swimwear fabrics on our website.

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