Many people wonder what the best fabrics are for certain types of pants when buying or making pants. After all, we want anything we wear to hold up for a long time while continuing to look good. Different types of pants, such as trousers, cargo pants, or casual pants, all require different types of fabrics depending on their specific purpose.
The best fabrics for pants are:
- Polyester/Cotton blend
- Polyester/Wool blend
Most of these fabrics are common for different types of pants, although some fabrics are found more than others depending on the season.
Let’s look at specific types of pants that you can make or buy and common fabrics used to make them so that you can make the best choice.
- What Is the Best Fabric for Dress Pants?
- What Is the Best Fabric for Casual Pants?
- What Is the Best Fabric for Cargo Pants?
- What Is the Best Fabric for Palazzo Pants?
- What Is the Best Fabric for Stretchy Pants?
- What Is the Best Fabric for Trousers?
- How Much Material Do I Need for a Pair of Trousers?
- How Do I Choose Fabric?
What Is the Best Fabric for Dress Pants?
Most people wear dress pants in a professional setting, whether in a college internship or the workplace. If you work in a large city where you have to walk to the office or have a long commute, you want your dress pants to be comfortable and wrinkle-free when you get to your office or meeting.
The best fabrics for dress pants are fabrics resistant to wrinkles (for that long commute), water (for walking in the rain), and comfortable for all seasons. Wool and polyester are common fabrics for both men’s and women’s dress pants.
Wool and Polyester
Wool is warm, comfortable, and wrinkle and water-resistant, but maybe too hot in the summertime. Polyester is also water-resistant and dries faster than wool, so it may be a better choice if you frequently get caught in the rain on your way to the office. Polyester is a good choice for dress pants in any season because it isn’t too warm or too cool.
Many women’s dress pants are made of other fabrics such as linen, velvet, or silk. While these fabrics may look nice, they are not as versatile as pants made out of polyester or wool and won’t look nice when wet or wrinkled, so they aren’t the best choice for dress pants.
What Is the Best Fabric for Casual Pants?
Casual pants are the pants you wear all the time. When making or buying casual pants, you will want fabrics that will last a long time and can withstand frequent wear. Here are four common types of casual pants and the best fabrics for them.
Jeans are most people’s go-to pants. They are worn all the time, which is why they are commonly made with heavier fabrics like denim and corduroy. Denim is a good all-weather choice, while corduroy jeans are popular for winter time because corduroy helps to insulate and keep you warm.
Culottes are a type of wide-leg casual pants that usually hit below the knee. This makes culottes a popular choice for summer. Summertime calls for cooling, breathable fabrics. Cotton and linen are popular fabrics for culottes.
Joggers are a type of casual pants that are looser up top with an elastic waistband and elastic around the ankles. They are commonly worn for sports and leisure activities or lounging around the house. You also want joggers to be made out of breathable fabrics like cotton or linen, or a blend of cotton and stretch fabrics so that you can move around easily.
What Is the Best Fabric for Cargo Pants?
The military first created cargo pants to hold all of their necessary supplies. They later became more fashionable, but the original purpose of cargo pants was to be worn for working, hiking, gardening, or other outdoor activities.
The best fabrics to use for cargo pants are fabrics that are tough and durable because of their purpose. Synthetic fabrics like polyester are the best choice because they can withstand frequent wear. You also want them to have a little stretch, especially in the pockets. Using a polyester and spandex blend will give them both stretch and durability.
Polyester/cotton blends and cotton/nylon blends are good choices as well. Cotton helps to make the pants more breathable and easy to clean, while polyester and nylon give them durability. All of those are qualities that you would want for pants that are meant to be worn for working and getting dirty.
What Is the Best Fabric for Palazzo Pants?
Worn for the first time by Coco Chanel, palazzo pants are popular because of their comfiness and versatility. They come in many different styles and fabrics, but one common trend among them is their wide legs. They can be dressed up for a professional look or dressed down for a more casual look. If you want to make your own palazzo pants, here are the best fabrics to use.
For more professional-looking palazzo pants, stiff fabrics like brocade or silk work well, especially for petite women. Chiffon and georgette are also a good choice for all women because they flow well. For more casual palazzo pants, cotton and linen work well because they flow well and are breathable. Whatever fabric you choose, you want to make sure that it drapes well to create wide legs.
What Is the Best Fabric for Stretchy Pants?
Stretchy pants are made with stretch fabric, making them appealing to a lot of people. This is because stretch fabrics flatter figures well. Because of the fabric’s elasticity, pants made with stretch fabric often don’t require much sewing. Besides pants, stretch fabric is used in sportswear and underwear as well.
Stretch fabric can be a collective name for fabrics made of elastic fibers like lycra, spandex, or elastane. These elastic fibers increase the resistance of clothing to wear and tear. According to Tissura, lycra, spandex, and elastane are different names for the same fabric. What the fabric is called depends on where you live. It’s spandex in Asia and North and South America, elastane in Europe, and lycra in Australia.
Other Popular Stretch Fabrics
Besides lycra, spandex, and elastane, there are other types of stretch fabrics that are popular. Their use for clothing depends on if the fabric is a 2-way stretch fabric or 4-way stretch fabric.
2-way stretch fabrics are comfortable but don’t return to their original shape as 4-way stretch fabrics do. 4-way stretch fabrics can stretch in all directions, making them popular for sportswear.
Here are some popular stretch fabrics and their uses:
- Stretch cotton- breathable; good for summer shirts and dresses
- Stretch jersey knit- 4-way stretch; good for dresses, skirts, and shirts
- Cotton jersey knit- 2-way stretch, good for trousers and dresses
- Stretch wool- durable, wrinkle-resistant, warm; good for trousers, skirts, and jackets
- Stretch silk- holds its shape well; good for trousers and jackets
What Is the Best Fabric for Trousers?
Trousers are considered to be less casual pants than jeans or joggers. They can be dressed up or down, but some people prefer to wear trousers in a workplace or business setting. No matter your preference for wearing trousers, you want fabrics that are made to last and will continue to look nice over time. Here are the best and most commonly used fabrics for trousers.
Cotton is the most commonly used fabric for formal trousers and suits. Cotton makes trousers feel softer and more comfortable. It is versatile and can be worn year-round. The downside to using cotton for trousers is that cotton will shrink if not cared for properly.
Like cotton, linen is another good choice for trousers because it is comfortable. It is a great choice for summer because it is very breathable and will keep you cool. The downside to linen is that it can sometimes look too casual, making it a better choice for more loose-fitting, informal trousers.
Wool is an extremely durable fabric and can be used for both formal and loose trousers. It is soft, absorbs moisture well, and will keep you warm in the winter. The downside to wool is that it is more expensive and doesn’t stretch as much as cotton.
Silk is luxurious fabric and is commonly used for making very formal trousers and not trousers that you would want to wear to work regularly. Silk doesn’t shrink and is very figure-flattering. The downside is that it is expensive and can be difficult to clean, so it is mostly used for making suits for formal events that aren’t worn very often.
How Much Material Do I Need for a Pair of Trousers?
If you want to make your own trousers, you may be wondering how much fabric you need to buy. Usually, the pattern you choose will tell you how much fabric you need, but you want to make sure you choose the right size pattern. Choosing the right size means taking accurate body measurements. Here’s how to do that.
Taking Accurate Body Measurements
Before taking body measurements, you might want to get someone to help you accurately read them. You also want to make sure to wear only underwear or something tight-fitting to ensure that the measurements are correct. Wearing loose or bulky fabric can cause the measurements to be inaccurate.
The measurements you should take are:
- Your height
- High bust circumference– measured 2 inches above the bust under your arms
- Full bust circumference– measure around your body at the widest part of your bust
- Waist circumference– measure around your waist at the narrowest part
- Hip circumference– measure around your body at the widest part of your hips
- Torso length– measure from your shoulder to your waistline
Note that the measurements you will need for trousers are your height, waist and hip circumference, and torso length. You can subtract your torso length from your height to find the length of your legs. If you need a visual for taking your body measurements, watch the video below.
How Do I Choose Fabric?
When choosing fabric for making clothes, there are three main factors to consider. These factors are weight, stretch, and drape. There’s a reason that certain fabrics are better choices for certain clothes. It all depends on those three characteristics of the fabric. Let’s look at the three characteristics in more detail.
Fabric weight is measured in grams per square meter. Weight is based on thickness. There are generally three categories of fabrics based on weight: light-weight, medium-weight, and heavy-weight. Here is a list that details which commonly used fabrics fall into which category.
- Light-weight fabrics- cotton, linen, polyester, rayon, and chiffon.
- Medium-weight fabrics- velvet, chambray, and sateen.
- Heavy-weight fabrics- twill, denim, canvas, wool, and brocade.
When choosing fabric based on weight, consider what type of clothing you want to make and for what season.
For example, if you’re making shorts for the summer, you don’t want to use a heavy fabric like wool because heavier fabrics retain heat. Even denim shorts can be too hot in some places during the summer.
Likewise, you don’t want to make long pants that will be worn in the winter out of linen. Linen is a light-weight fabric and won’t keep you warm like wool or twill. Consider the purpose of your clothing and choose a fabric based on that.
Fabrics have different levels of elasticity. The elasticity determines the fabric’s ability to return to its original shape after being stretched. The level of the stretch of fabric can determine how your clothing will fit you.
If you are making your own clothes, consider the pattern you are using and the type of clothing you are trying to make. For example, you will want more stretch in a pair of pants for a flowy blouse.
Some fabrics like spandex are intended to be stretchy and work well for a pair of leggings. But fabrics like cotton and denim have a certain level of the stretch as well.
If you use store-bought sewing patterns, they often recommend a certain stretch percent when choosing fabric for the finished product to fit right. To check the amount of stretch fabric has, follow these steps.
- Lay a 5-inch section of fabric beside a ruler.
- Position the left side of the fabric over the zero mark and the right side over the 5-inch mark.
- Stretch the fabric down the ruler until it doesn’t stretch anymore.
- Calculate how much the fabric stretched past the 5-inch mark. (Ex. If it stretched to 6 inches, then it stretched 1 inch past the original length.)
- Divide how far it stretched by the original length of 5. (In the example above, 1÷5=0.2)
- Multiply that by 100 to figure out the percent of stretch. (0.2×100=20%)
A fabric’s drape determines how flowy it is. Many people think that heavier fabrics have less drape, but this is not always the case. The stiffness of the fabric determines the amount of drape.
Fabrics with a lot of drape work well for skirts, dresses, and wide-leg pants. If you are making trousers or other type of pants, stiffer fabrics are better choices. See the list below for the stiffness and weight comparison of common fabrics.
- Stiff, heavy-weight- denim, brocade, canvas
- Stiff, light-weight- organza, twill
- Drapey, heavy-weight- gabardine, wool
- Drapey, light-weight- silk, chiffon, georgette
What Is the Most Durable Fabric for Clothing?
The last thing you want when making or buying clothing is for the fabric to tear or fall apart shortly after wearing it. Some fabrics are more durable than others, and clothes made with these fabrics tend to last longer.
Generally, synthetic fabrics are more durable than fabrics made with natural fibers because they are engineered to be stronger and last longer. Synthetic fabrics like polyester and rayon are two of the most durable fabrics out there.
Cotton/Polyester blends are durable fabrics, especially if the percentage of polyester is higher than the percentage of cotton. Cotton/Polyester/Rayon blends are also very durable. Cotton by itself may or may not be durable, depending on the quality.
Thinner, more delicate fabrics like chiffon, georgette, and silk usually aren’t as durable. These fabrics will tear easily if they get snagged on something or scratched. Take extra care when buying or making clothes out of thin fabrics.
What Fabrics Last the Longest?
Durability and longevity often go hand-in-hand. Clothes made with durable fabrics will last longer than clothes made with thinner fabrics. This means that polyester, rayon, and polyester/cotton blends last the longest and hold up better with more wear.
Heavier or thicker fabrics like denim and wool also last a long time, especially if they are taken care of properly. Thinner fabrics can sometimes last a while if you’re careful and don’t wear them too frequently.
What Is the Most Expensive Fabric?
Many fabrics are considered to be luxurious and therefore more expensive. Here are the most expensive fabrics in the world and why they are so expensive.
Wool from a vicuña is the most expensive fabric in the world. A vicuña is a relative of llamas and alpacas. What makes vicuña wool so expensive is its rarity. Vicuñas are hard to catch and when they are caught, wool can only be shorn from them once every two or three years. Alpaca Collections sells 380 grams of vicuña fabric for $3,800. Jackets made of vicuña wool can cost up to $21,000.
Guanaco wool is similar to vicuña wool and is considered the second finest natural fiber. The wool has a similar softness to that of cashmere and the wool’s undercoat makes it extremely warm. It resists dirt, water and is extremely durable.
Mulberry silk is the highest quality of silk available, making it another expensive fabric. The silkworms that make mulberry silk feed exclusively on mulberry leaves, making it the most refined silk in the world. The silk is pure white, hypoallergenic, and 100% natural.
Cashmere is one of the softest fibers in the world. It comes from the cashmere goat found in the Himalayan mountains. Because of the negative temperatures, the goats’ coats grow extremely thick and warm. It is expensive because the fibers can only be collected once a year and each goat only produces around 200 grams of cashmere.
The fur is expensive due to its elegance and softness. Fur has been used to make clothing for centuries. Chinchilla, mink, Russian sable, and rabbit fur are all commonly used for making fur clothing, but leopard fur is the most expensive. But due to their endangered status, it is illegal to sell leopard fur today.
Hopefully, you found this guide helpful. Overall, the best fabric for pants tends to be cotton, polyester, wool, or a blend. For stretchy pants, spandex or another type of stretch fabric is the best choice. As long as you take proper care of any fabric, it has the potential to last a long time. Leave a comment if you found this information useful and share it with others who might enjoy it as well.