Hoodies are one of my favorite go-to wardrobe staples. The fabric is so soft and they feel so cozy next to my skin. I’d like to buy some fabric to sew my own hoodie. But, what should I make it from? What is the best fabric for hoodies?
The best fabric for hoodies is flexible and comfortable to wear. Fabrics like fleece, jersey knits, and sweatshirt fabric are ideal for loose-fitting hoodies. They are warm and allow freedom of movement. For a more slimline look, try a double knit, cotton lycra, or rayon. These fabrics will create a hoodie suitable for cool evenings.
In this article, you’ll learn more about the best fabrics for hoodies, from the properties the material needs to the style each fabric can make. You’ll also discover which fabrics aren’t great for hoodies.
- Best Fabric for Hoodies
- What to Look For When Choosing a Hoodie Fabric
- Can You Use Any Fabric for a Hoodie?
- What Is the Softest Material for Hoodies?
- Polyester Hoodie vs Cotton Hoodie
- How Many Yards of Fabric Make a Hoodie?
- Hoodie Fabric by the Yard
Best Fabric for Hoodies
In this section, we’ll look at different textiles in detail. From their names to their fiber content. That way, you’ll be able to identify them at the store. Better still, you’ll understand why they are the best fabrics for hoodies.
1. FleeceSuper soft and lovely to wear, fleece is the modern alternative to wool. Not only is it warm and cozy, but it’s also easy to care for. It won’t shrink in the wash or stretch out of shape unlike wool. It’s relatively quick-drying too and doesn’t fade.
Made from polyester fiber, fleece is a synthetic fabric available in different weights. Heavier fleece is perfect for winter hoodies, while the lighter varieties are great as summer cover-ups.
Fleece is a type of knit fabric, so its construction can mean it’s more breathable than other synthetic materials. Air can escape through the tiny holes created while it was on the loom.
The downside with that, heat can also escape. Because of that, fleece is better when layered with other fabrics. Therefore, you should consider lining your winter fleece hoodie or wear a shirt underneath and a coat on top. That way, you won’t feel the wind rushing straight through it.
2. Sweatshirt KnitAs the name suggests, sweatshirt knit fabric is designed to make sweatshirts. Many hoodies are actually sweatshirts with hoods, so this fabric is an ideal choice.
A sweatshirt knit has a brushed surface and knitted appearance on the reverse. Easy to sew and care for, this fabric is both warm and breathable. It tends to be made from cotton, although you can get synthetic blend options.
The level of stretch in a sweatshirt fabric can vary from not a lot to moderate. It’s a knit fabric, so it will have some stretch due to its construction. This isn’t a body-hugging fabric, though, so any hoodie made from sweatshirt knit will be more roomy and loose-fitting.
3. Jersey KnitJersey knit fabric has more stretch than a sweatshirt knit. It’s the extra stretch that makes it a great choice for hoodies that need a little more give. This fabric will move with you and won’t feel restrictive on your long hike or jog around the park.
It can be made from cotton fiber or a cotton and spandex blend for additional stretch. Cotton-based jerseys can stretch out of shape and can also shrink. For a more stable option, try going for a jersey fabric with some polyester content.
Due to its stretchy nature, jersey isn’t great at holding structure. It’s a fabric better suited to a closer-fitting hoodie with a casual and relaxed silhouette.
4. French TerryFrench terry, also known as terry cloth, or terry toweling, is a soft and comfortable fabric. It’s normally made from 100% cotton and is a member of the knit family of textiles. One side of the fabric has a surface covered with loops, while the other side has a soft pile.
When used to make sweatshirts or hoodies, the softer pile side is on the inside of the garment—creating a plush, soft texture next to the body. This fabric is incredibly popular for making loungewear and comes in a nonstretch and stretch option.
To create more stretch, the cotton is mixed with spandex or lycra. These days, you can also get terry cloth in polyester blends. It is a versatile fabric with a high level of breathability, thanks to its cotton content.
5. 100% CottonWhen you have a hoodie made from 100% cotton, it’s going to be kind to the skin, lightweight, and has an excellent drape. The amount of drape will depend on the weave or knit the cotton fibers are made into.
We’ve already looked at three types of fabric made from 100% cotton. Sweatshirt knits, jersey knits, and French terry. This just goes to show how perfect a 100% cotton fabric can be for hoodies.
A material made from cotton with no other additives like polyester is the best choice for hoodies designed for children. Especially if they are babies. As babies can’t regulate their own body temperature, a hoodie made from synthetic fabric can be dangerous. Synthetics don’t breathe and your baby could overheat, or worse, become too cold.
Cotton nixes those possibilities in the bud. Capable of keeping you cool and warm, 100% cotton is a good all-around material for a hoodie.
6. Stretchy Fabric: Polyester or Nylon Spandex MixPolyester and nylon are both synthetics known for being durable and resilient to bugs, mold, and stains. Cheaper than cotton fabric, they can be used to make the same kind of garments. Albeit with less of the benefits you get from cotton.
Woven synthetic material can feel uncomfortable and clammy, especially next to your skin. If you go for a knit version, you’ll get a touch of breathability. This is due to the way knit fabrics are made. Add spandex or lycra to the mix and you get a super stretchy fabric suitable for athletic hoodies. Particularly if it’s a nylon/spandex blend.
A hoodie made from stretch fabric will allow full flexibility of movement coupled with a slimline, figure-hugging silhouette. These hoodies are suitable for working out, going for a jog, or just looking great.
7. WoolWool fabric is a traditional material for sweaters. Although it has lost out in the popularity stakes compared to fleece, wool is still an excellent fabric for hoodies.
Soft and strong, wool fibers are incredibly durable and yet extremely light. Wool is an often-overlooked wonder fabric with a built-in resilience to fire, water, and general wear and tear.
It has to be said; some wool is scratchy and uncomfortable. That’s one of the reasons it’s not everyone’s first choice as a hoodie fabric. Wool from lambs or alpacas can be incredibly soft and comfortable.
Most wools used for hoodies are blended with another fiber to counteract the less than attractive downsides of the fabric. Like stretching out of shape or shrinking in the wash. Rayon goes nicely with wool, creating a lightweight hoodie with durability and drape.
8. RayonAs a semi-synthetic fiber, rayon has it all. Lightness, breathability, and the ability to absorb moisture from its natural side. Resistance to mold and bugs from its synthetic half. Rayon isn’t just a good match for wool. It also plays nicely with its synthetic cousins.
A spandex and rayon blend will give you an extra stretchy, durable hoodie ideal for sportswear and trips to the gym. Better still, it will be more comfortable than a polyester/spandex mix due to its natural base of wood pulp.
9. Ponte de RomaA double knit fabric, like Ponte de Roma, is a fabric that looks the same on both sides. Also known as a stable knit, the fabric has limited stretch. Fabrics like Ponte are perfect for a loose-fitting hoodie designed for comfort and style.
The stability of the double knit structure gives the hoodie a relaxed drape. Rather than being baggy, a Ponte will create a softer outline that skims your body shape.
Ponte is perfect for lightweight hoodies worn on cool summer evenings or those slightly chilly early fall days. Keeping you warm and yet still adding elegance to your outfit, a Ponte hoodie is all about casual sophistication.
What to Look For When Choosing a Hoodie Fabric
Hoodies are a versatile part of any wardrobe. They can be worn in any season and come in various styles and thicknesses. From the chunky, warm hoodies designed for those cold winter days to the lightweight coverups keeping cool, summer breezes away from bare shoulders.
The fact that hoodies can be used anywhere means they are garments made from almost any fabric. Ultimately, the material choice is down to what you want your hoodie to do.
Are you looking for a lightweight hoodie for warmer weather? Or do you want your hoodie to keep you warm in winter? Both options require different types of fabric. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics a hoodie fabric should have.
The importance of breathability depends on the purpose of your hoodie. If you are using it to wear after strenuous activity, like jogging or a trip to the gym, you will need something to absorb perspiration. The hoodie needs to be breathable to help you cool down.
Similarly, hoodies designed to keep you warm in winter need breathability so you can regulate your temperature. Being too hot with sweat trapped next to your body can be dangerous in cold climates. Ensure your hoodie fabric is a natural fiber like cotton so it can absorb moisture and keep your body comfortable.
Synthetic fibers can be used for hoodies. Just make sure you keep them for occasions where breathability isn’t as crucial. A polyester blend would be ideal for an amble around your local shopping complex or relaxing in front of the TV.
Hoodies tend to get a lot of use. Simply because they are so comfortable and soft to wear. It’s like wearing a big hug. Because of this, you need to make sure the fabric is durable enough to survive being worn.
Being able to withstand numerous washes in a washing machine, a quick spin in a dryer, and bashed against other clothing in a closet, are essential features for any viable hoodie fabric.
So too is the elbow factor. We shouldn’t do it, but we all lean our elbows on tables. The friction between the hard surface and the textile of the hoodie can cause the elbows on your garment to wear out.
A delicate material like silk isn’t going to last long under those conditions. Stick with robust fabrics like jersey or cotton lycra. Particularly if you have an active lifestyle.
Whatever you want to wear your hoodie for, one thing is an essential must-have. The fabric you choose has to be comfortable. It should also allow freedom of movement.
Hoodies aren’t meant to be restrictive or structured. A hoodie isn’t a garment for attending a board-level business meeting. Rather, they are casual garment designed to keep you cozy in your downtime.
Any fabric you choose has to match the laid-back style hoodies are popular for. So you can relax and unwind in comfort. Hoodie fabric should be soft and flexible enough to move with you, not hinder you or prevent you from lifting your arms.
Loose or Close-Fitting
The fabric you choose will alter the overall appearance of the hoodie. Think about the silhouette you are looking for before you buy your material.
For a figure-hugging hoodie, you will need to pick a stretchy fabric. Something with a bit of lycra content will pull the hoodie in closer to your body. This style is popular with athletic and sportswear. It can also be flattering as it enables the hoodie to follow your curves.
If a loose-fitting hoodie is more your thing, you should go for fabric with little or no stretch. A cotton jersey or fleece material will give you a sweatshirt style hoodie. Oversized, comfortable, and roomy. This type of hoodie is ideal for hiding your lumps and bumps. Or for just being super comfortable to lounge about in.
Last but by no means least, you need to consider your personal lifestyle. Whatever fabric you choose for your hoodie needs to suit you and your body. It’s no good going for a polyester blend if you have an allergy to polyester.
The more active your lifestyle, the more resilient you need the hoodie fabric to be. Constant washing, for instance, can cause some fabrics to fade or pill. The last thing you need is for your hoodie to start falling apart after a couple of trips to the laundry. Especially if you need it to keep you warm through the coldest months of winter.
Can You Use Any Fabric for a Hoodie?
Unfortunately, not all fabrics can be used to make hoodies. Although you can use a range of fabrics to make your hoodie, some materials don’t have the qualities a decent hoodie needs.
As we’ve seen in this article, hoodies work best in warm, stretchy, lightweight fabrics. Some of the best fabrics for hoodies are fleece and other knit textiles like jersey. The reason knit fabrics, in particular, work so well in hoodies is the comfort factor.
Knits are naturally stretchy and mold to the contours of your body. They have many other qualities needed in a hoodie, including being easy to wear and care for.
Not all fabrics have those properties. Let’s take a look at some fabrics unsuitable for hoodies and the reasons you should avoid them.
Heavyweight Woven Fabrics
Woven fabrics can be too heavy and stiff to make the perfect hoodie. Denim, for instance, although it’s a popular fabric for casual clothing, can be a little too rigid and inflexible for a roomy loose-fitting hoodie. Heavy denim doesn’t drape particularly well and isn’t soft to wear.
Figure-hugging hoodies are also a bit of a challenge if you’re thinking of using a heavy fabric like denim. The more rigid the weave, the more tailoring the garment will need to pull the fabric around your body. Hoodies are supposed to be easy-going. A highly tailored garment is going to feel more like a suit jacket.
Lightweight Woven Fabrics
Lightweight woven fabrics include things like linen and silk. Linen is great for loose-fitting summer dresses. Silk is an elegant fabric used for blouses and ties. It has a hint of luxury about it.
The main problem with fabrics like silk, they are too delicate. Their lightweight weave makes them prone to snagging or ripping. Hoodies are casual garments designed for any activity, including highly active sports. Silk and other lightweight wovens won’t be able to take the beating.
Although linen is a durable, breathable, and lightweight fabric, it has a few quirks that make it less ideal for hoodies. Linen isn’t an easy-care fabric. It’s highly susceptible to wrinkles and needs a gentle touch in the laundry.
Not particularly soft or cozy, linen needs tailoring techniques like darts to give it form. It’s a floppy material used to create shapeless garments. Your hoodie will look like an oversized, ill-fitting tunic with a hood.
What Is the Softest Material for Hoodies?
The softest material for hoodies is cotton. As a natural fiber, cotton is both breathable and soft. It has the added advantage of getting softer when worn and washed.
Cotton fibers can be woven or knitted to create very different fabrics. Each different type will enhance the inbuilt softness of cotton, making it one of the softest materials in the world.
For hoodies, there is no better textile than a cotton-based sweatshirt knit. Also known as sweatshirt fleece, the fabric is super soft inside and smooth outside.
Although sweatshirt fabric used to be 100% cotton, these days, they tend to be cotton blends. Mixing the cotton with polyester and a hint of spandex not only gives a softer fleece-like feel to the inside but also improves durability and stretch.
Polyester Hoodie vs Cotton Hoodie
Both polyester and cotton can be used to make hoodies. Each fiber will bring its own unique characteristics to the garment.
A hoodie made from polyester can feel soft and smooth to the touch. They can also feel cold as polyester is synthetic. Because it’s synthetic, it doesn’t breathe, so hoodies made from the fiber can feel clammy and uncomfortable, particularly after any strenuous activity.
Cotton absorbs moisture, regulates temperature, and feels soft to the touch. Cotton can also be warm and cozy depending on the weight and construction. It does, however, have some annoying properties. It can shrink and is prone to mold.
The best choice is a blend between the two fibers. A polyester and cotton mix will benefit both, resulting in a more durable, resilient, and comfortable hoodie.
How Many Yards of Fabric Make a Hoodie?
The number of yards it takes to make a hoodie depends on several factors. Your size is the first thing you should consider. Next, the style of hoodie you want to make will play a large part in determining fabric yardage. Baggy hoodies will need more material than a slimline style.
Choosing a patterned fabric or a solid color on your material will also make a difference. Patterns need to be matched and use more fabric, particularly if it is a pattern with a large repeat.
Next come pockets and seam allowances. You’ll need to allow extra fabric for special finishes like felled seams. Cuffs, collars, and waistbands will also add to the fabric yardage requirement.
Then there is the width of the fabric. If you choose a material measuring 45 inches wide, you will need more yardage to be able to cut all your pieces out. On average, the general yardage is around 3 yards.
A 60-inch wide fabric will require less yardage. You could be looking at just 2 yards. The biggest factor is the size of the hoodie you want to make, so always check the fabric requirements on your pattern.
Hoodie Fabric by the Yard
The price you’ll pay for hoodie fabric by the yard depends on the material you choose. As hoodies can be made from cotton, polyester, or a mixture of the two, the cost of the fabric can vary a lot.
Quality, weight, and pattern are all considerations for material costs. So too, is your location and where you choose to buy the fabric from.
Top brand names may offer better-made textiles, but they will come at a higher cost than a generic material. You may also find online stores give better discounts than some local retail stores.
It pays to shop around for the best price before purchasing any fabric. That way, you can be sure you can find some at a price you can afford.
As a ball-park figure, sweatshirt knits can be anywhere between $8-$25 per yard, depending on the fiber content. A 100% cotton version will be at the higher end of the scale. For fleece fabric, you can pay anything from $3-$15 per yard.
The best fabric for hoodies is soft, comfortable, and flexible. You can choose from a polyester fleece or a cotton-based sweatshirt material. Sewing your own hoodie is simple and a lot of fun. Now you know what fabrics to look for, why stop at one? Make a closet full for different occasions!