The Best Outerwear Fabrics

Oct 13, 2021 | News

When designing outerwear, it’s important to keep the end application in mind. A ski jacket facing snow, wind, and inclement weather requires different fabric than a breathable fleece sweatshirt worn for a short hike. While TVF has solutions for both applications (and everything in between) this article will help you select the best fabric for your outerwear needs.

What is the best fabric for inclement weather?
For extreme weather conditions pick a fabric that has good waterproof performance and breathability.  It is also critical that the fabric is comfortable, not too stiff, or noisy, and is rugged enough to handle all outdoor conditions. These types of jackets can be worn for sailing, backpacking, or even in the workplace.

TVF stocks three versatile options for these types of end-uses. Our Mid-Weight Nylon Taslan has a waterproof breathable, microporous coating with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish. Tough and tapeable, our taslan fabric is often used in high-end outdoor jackets and pants for athletes, military, sailing, hiking, police wear, and workwear apron or bibs. Additionally, we offer this style with a laminated tricot lining, eliminating the need for a jacket liner. Last (but certainly not least) our Polyester Midweight Taslan has a waterproof breathable film that can be dye sublimated with your custom print. These fabrics carry strong waterproof ratings needed for extreme weather, with outstanding breathability to help keep you comfortable and move perspiration away.

TVF also offers several coatings and laminates with a variety of fabric styles to choose from.  One exciting offering is bio-based Susterra® from DuPont, a renewably sourced, petroleum-free substance called a “diol,” that can generate less than 50% greenhouse gas emissions over its life. 

We’re also proud to offer an array of customized fabrics in nylon, polyester, recycled polyester, and stretch materials.

What is the best fabric for sweatshirt and fleece outerwear?
Whether you want maximum insulation or lightweight protection, TVF offers a selection of fleece fabrics that cover the spectrum.

Our 3 Layer Polyester Fleece Soft Shell is one of our best-selling fleeces for cold conditions. It’s lightweight and cozy, with a soft-shell fabric that’s perfect for creating personalized looks with dye sublimation. Specially constructed with a DWR face, it also includes a wind/water guard membrane to keep the wind and the rain from penetrating. One thing to note: while the membrane offers waterproofness, it’s not meant for harsh rain conditions on its own. 

Another popular option is our 2 Layer Polyester Fleece Soft Shell, a fashion-forward fabric for breathable, comfortable fleece jackets, sweatshirts, and hoodies. This fleece features a DWR face and is a top choice for dye sublimation.  The 2-layer laminated construction offers excellent snag and pill resistance.

If anti-pill performance fleece is what you’re looking for, check out our USA-Made Montana Fleece. From yarn to knitting, brush and shearing, this highly engineered fabric also boasts an effective wicking finish. Great for activewear sweatshirts and jackets, Montana Fleece dye sublimates beautifully. (We also offer fabric for sleeve cuffs and waist band trim.)

What is the best fabric for lightweight outerwear?
Windbreakers and rainwear that would usually be worn during milder temps and not subjected to heavy or long periods of rain, will typically be made without a waterproof breathable film or coating. However, it’s important to design these jackets with fabric that has a good water repellent and yarn construction; this ensures your apparel will not quickly wet out, while also offering good wind resistance.
 
Our 90/10 Polyester Microfiber Spandex is a very strong water repellent, 4-way stretch fabric, making it a great choice for lightweight jackets that athletes and outdoorsman love. The polyester micro stretch has exceptional comfort and flexibility, lighter weight, and dries quickly for any outdoor activity. This fabric resists snagging, making it a great choice for lightweight hunting jackets and pants.
Take note: the 90/10 Polyester Spandex can be dye sublimated. (This fabric is also available in REPREVE recycled polyester.)
 
Another top choice is our Mid-Weight Nylon Taslan (also available in polyester for dye sublimation). This versatile fabric is perfect for both mild and moderate conditions. TVF also stocks coated and uncoated taffetas and ripstops. These are available in both nylon and polyester, with or without water repellant.
 
What is the best fabric for jacket linings?
For jacket linings and pocketing, we offer brushed tricot, fleeces, meshes, textured polyester and nylon styles, many with a wicking finish. For extra warmth, our extensive selection of fleece styles is recommended.  For technical jackets designed for maximum airflow, venting panels in the underarm, waist, or back are suggested. Knitted mesh fabrics are available in a variety of weights for any application.

If durable elbow and knee reinforcements are what you are looking for, we offer a large selection of woven nylons or polyester fabrics, including Cordura®.

TVF is excited to work with you on your next outerwear project!  To learn about more of our fabrics or to get a sample for yourself, contact one of our sales consultants at 855.618.4500.