Mesh fabric has many different applications and is used for both fashion and practical use. However, not all mesh fabric is the same. There are different types of mesh fabric, and each of them has a different function and use that it is ideal for. So what are the different types of mesh fabric?
There are five main types of mesh fabric:
- Polyester mesh
- Nylon mesh
- Power mesh
- Mesh netting
Most mesh fabric is used for clothing and other uses regarding fashion, but some are better suited for practical use.
In this article, we’ll look at each type of mesh fabric in more detail. I’ll explain what each one is used for and its characteristics. And since most mesh fabrics require special treatment, I’ll also explain how to work with and sew mesh fabric correctly to prevent damage to the material.
What Is Mesh Fabric?
We’ve all seen mesh fabric in some form or fashion, but what exactly is it? Mesh fabric is a very loosely woven fabric with an open weave. The fabric typically has a grid-like texture and style. However, how open or tight the weave depends on the exact type of mesh fabric.
Because of the fabric’s open-weave nature, the fibers used to make mesh fabric have to be very durable. The most common fibers used to make mesh fabric are polyester and nylon. Mesh fabrics used for fashion are also not as functional as other fabrics, but they are typically used on top of other fabrics as an overlay. However, the exact function of mesh fabric depends on the type.
Types of Mesh Fabric
Now that you know what mesh fabric is, it’s important to know the different types. That way, if you’re considering using mesh fabric in your next sewing project, you can make sure that you get the right one for your needs.
1. Polyester MeshPolyester mesh is one of the most common types of mesh fabric used for fashion and clothing. It can be used to refer to pretty much any type of mesh fabric that is made from polyester fibers. However, in addition to being somewhat fashionable, polyester mesh is also very functional due to its durability. Polyester is a synthetic fabric, which means that it is designed to be more durable and versatile.
Although it is still made using an open weave, the weave of polyester mesh isn’t as open as other types of mesh fabric. It’s commonly used in athletic wear because the open durability and open weave make the material very moisture-wicking and breathable.
Polyester mesh in different forms is also used as an overlay for other fabric types. Polyester mesh fabric with a more open weave can be used for things such as fishnet stockings or gloves or worn over a bandeau or bra top for more coverage. With a tighter weave, it can be used as an overlay for evening gowns, wedding dresses, and more.
2. Nylon MeshNylon mesh is another one of the most commonly used mesh fabrics. Nylon is another synthetic fiber that is even more durable than polyester. So nylon mesh fabric is better used for functional and technical applications rather than fashionable purposes.
One of the most common uses for nylon mesh is for beekeeping outfits and other such types of clothing that are designed to keep insects away from the body. Another example would be the hats with screens that many hikers, campers, and people working outdoors wear to keep mosquitos away.
Nylon mesh can also be used for clothing and accessories that need a certain level of water resistance. Beach bags, sporting bags, and other bags you would primarily use when outdoors are often made of nylon mesh. Polyester mesh also has water resistance, but nylon mesh is more common for outdoor use due to its durability. However, even though nylon mesh generally lasts a very long time, it can get torn easily if you’re not careful and if it were to get snagged on something.
3. Power MeshPower mesh fabric is one of the most tightly woven mesh fabrics. It is usually made of polyester or a combination of polyester and spandex, depending on the purpose. Power mesh fabric is generally very lightweight and breathable because, despite being more tightly woven, it is still a mesh fabric.
Power mesh is also a bit sheerer than other mesh fabrics. With the addition of spandex, power mesh is also very stretchy. It’s most often used in women’s clothing, particularly for intimate clothing such as bras, panties, and lingerie. It’s also used for pantyhose and shapewear because it provides excellent support. It is also used as a lining for these types of clothing in addition to other fabrics. The elasticity of the power mesh fabric allows it to move with the wearer while retaining its shape.
4. TulleTulle is one of the finest and most delicate mesh fabrics. Depending on what it is made of, it can be considered a type of polyester mesh, but it can also be made from cotton, silk, or nylon. The most common uses for tulle are for elegant clothing and costumes.
Tulle is a common mesh material for bridal veils but also as an overlay for evening gowns. It’s especially common as an overlay over silk or satin, and is also used for lingerie and things such as dancewear, ballerina tutus, and other costumes.
Despite being very delicate, tulle also has a functional purpose. It can be used for decorative purposes, such as accents for wreaths and floral arrangements. It can also be tied or made into bows and is a common decoration at weddings, showers, and other formal events. However, it can snag and tear very easily, so it’s important to be careful when using or wearing it.
5. Mesh NettingMesh netting is typically made from nylon but can also be made from polyester. This type of mesh fabric is not necessarily designed for clothing use, rather, it is used for functional purposes similar to nylon mesh.
The main difference between mesh netting and nylon mesh is that mesh netting is rarely used for clothing, and it can come in various types of weaves rather than being a tighter weave like most nylon mesh has.
The main use for mesh netting is for outdoor equipment, such as basketball goal nets, soccer goal netting, etc. It is also used for screening for keeping insects away, such as tent screening and door and window screens. Mesh netting tends to be a bit thicker than other types of mesh fabrics. Depending on the purpose, it may or may not be as flexible.
Is Mesh Fabric Durable?
Remember that mesh fabric tends to have an open weave and is very lightweight. That said, mesh fabric is less durable than tightly woven and heavyweight fabrics. How durable it is just depends on the type of mesh fabric and what it is made out of.
Polyester and nylon mesh are the most durable types, including power mesh and mesh netting made from these materials. Tulle is generally the least durable, especially if it is made from cotton or silk rather than polyester or nylon.
But the durability of mesh fabric also depends on the type of weave. Mesh fabrics with a more open weave are more likely to get snagged than mesh fabrics with a tighter weave. And the biggest problem with mesh fabric, regardless of weave type, is that they all can pull and get snagged easily, causing the fabric to rip or tear. And most mesh fabrics (except power mesh) are not super stretchy, so it’s easy for them to lose their shape if pulled on.
Can You Sew Mesh Fabric?
Mesh fabric is one of the more difficult and finicky fabrics to work with for sewing projects, but you can sew it if you use the right techniques and tools. I’ll break down everything you need to know about sewing mesh fabric so you can do it without any issues.
Cutting Mesh Fabric
For starters, it’s important to know how to cut mesh fabric before you can begin sewing with it. Because of the way that scissors can pull at fabrics when cutting, it is not recommended to use them to cut mesh fabric. Instead, using a rotary cutter and a cutting mat on a large surface is better. You don’t want to mess up the cut by pulling and stretching the fabric.
Using the Right Tools
Next, it’s important to use the right tools and materials when sewing mesh fabric. The recommended needle to use is a ballpoint needle. Since the end of the needle is rounded instead of sharp, it will glide through the fabric more easily without getting caught or snagged or potentially cutting and slicing the fibers in the process.
It is also recommended to use polyester thread when sewing mesh fabric. Polyester thread is stronger than cotton thread. It won’t break as easily and will hold the fabric in place. It’s also recommended to have a twin-needle sewing machine or a serger to sew and finish the seams.
Sewing the Fabric
Again, using polyester thread and a ballpoint needle is recommended when using a sewing machine to sew mesh fabric. For the stitches themselves, a zig-zag stitch is the best choice for mesh fabric because it is durable and will feed through the machine easily. When working with delicate fabrics, you also want to use a shorter stitch length so that the stitches will hold better.
Use loose foot pressure and go slowly but steadily so that the fabric doesn’t stretch, pull, buckle, or bunch up underneath the needle, which could damage the fabric. Also, ensure you don’t pull on the fabric at any point during the sewing process. Remember that it is easy for mesh fabric to lose shape due to pulling and stretching.
All mesh fabrics aren’t the same, and there are five main types of mesh fabric. Each of these fabrics has different purposes, but many can be fashionable and functional. Although mesh fabrics generally aren’t durable, some are more durable than others. They are also very breathable and lightweight. I hope this article enabled you to know which mesh fabric to use for your sewing project and how to sew with it properly.