Lycra is undoubtedly one of the most popular fabrics in the fashion industry. Sometimes idolised, sometimes overlooked, but what is lycra fabric? Lycra is first and foremost a type of synthetic fabric that is very elastic. We also appreciate lycra fabric made for its durability.

Is lycra breathable? Thanks to its texture, lycra is very much so! 

What is lycra? How is lycra made?

What is lycra yarn? Lycra fibre is the trademarked brand name of a class of synthetic elastic fibers that people call the brand spandex in the US, and lycra fibers are a registered brand for elastane in the rest of the world. Whether called a brand name for elastane, which is an elastomeric polyurethane fiber or the brand spandex fibers, there is no difference in lycra, spandex or elastane fibers. In fact, lycra makes up one of the world’s most popular fabrics for sports clothes.

What do we use lycra for?

We use lycra fabrics for the production of activewear, sports clothes and dance clothes. Thanks to its extreme elasticity, lycra allows movements of the body without any restriction. As we will see, lycra boasts some impressively versatile natural uses. 

Lycra is an extremely stretchy high quality material that stretches up to eight times its size. Lycra is made for sports clothing that require a lot of flexibility, like yoga, pilates and weight lifting.

Stay tuned to find out about all things lycra, including the spandex fiber brand and elastane!


Our choice of elastane and spandex lycra brands

Make sure you’re investing in good quality lycra, whatever apparel you’re considering putting into production. Depending on your needs, you can opt for a synthetic or nylon lycra fabric, including some eco-friendly choices. Check out our types of lycra fabric made with a stretch before you start production.

Add some of maake’s lycra fabrics

  • Active Eco Lycra: Smooth material with fabulous stretch. This fabric is 100% polyester; it’s made for apparel such as activewear, accessories and swimwear. This stunning lightweight material has a smooth surface and stretches beautifully. It’s identical on the print face and backing and colours print vibrantly on its white polyester base.
    • Eco Glitter Dot Lycra: Silver foiled dot effect stretch fabric popular for activewear, dancewear, leggings and swimwear. A combination of elastane and recycled polyester, this stretchy eco-friendly material is ideal for all sorts of activities, making it perfect for all sorts of clothing production. Colours print beautifully and vibrantly on these fabrics; they look simply fabulous paired with its glittery base. It can’t get more fun than this!
    • Heavy Lycra: Our thickest weight, heaviest lycra fabric, perfect for leggings, activewear, accessories like upholstery and cushions and light outerwear. This smooth fabric is made of 82% polyester and 18% elastane, and will be pretty much indestructible. It has a superb stretch: you can pull this material in any direction and it will spring back to shape time after time. 
    • Organic Jasmine Lycra Jersey: Mediumweight organic cotton lycra fabric with jersey properties that boasts with excellent stretch and recovery. Ideal for kids’ clothing, leggings and T-shirts.
    • Poppy Lycra Jersey: Soft medium-weight lycra cotton jersey, great for lycra fabric clothes like leggings, T-shirts and kids’ clothes.
    • Recycled Eco Lycra: Smooth, sustainable fabric with excellent stretch, used for apparel such as activewear and loungewear. As its name implies, this is an environmentally friendly fabric made out of recycled fabrics. It boasts a smooth surface and with its superb stretch, it's no wonder it’s a popular choice for exercise and leisure clothing, including active clothes and loungewear. Created from 78% recycled polyester (rPET), which is made from recycled plastic bottles, and 22% elastane, the material is durable and sturdy with a white base. Colours print vibrantly on this fabric.
    • Single Cotton Elastane Jersey: Very lightweight soft cotton jersey, great for kids’ clothing, leggings and T-shirts.
    • Stretch Lycra French Terry: Soft pile fabric with slight stretch. Made into comfortable clothing like hoodies or a top, sweatpants, sweaters etc, apparel for adults and kids.
  • Single Cotton Elastane Jersey: Very lightweight soft cotton jersey, great for kids’ clothing, leggings and T-shirts.
  • Stretch Lycra French Terry: Soft pile fabric with slight stretch. Made into comfortable clothing like hoodies or a top, sweatpants, sweaters etc, apparel for adults and kids.

    How to print on lycra?


    It is a delight to print on lycra fabrics. The good part about lycra fabrics is that they have good wrinkle resistance, making sure you can see your print in its full glory after production when your products are made. Printing on lycra fabrics results in strong and durable fabrics which hold print and colour beautifully. 

    At maake we print on all of our synthetic base fabrics, including what every lycra company connect produces, using the sublimation printing method. This relatively new print method is ideal for production of polyester and poly blend lycra fabrics; it involves using special thermal paper to print on before the products are made.

    Sublimation printing for lycra and spandex fabric

    Sublimation printing is a chemical printing process where one prints designs on the special dye sublimation paper using special water-based ink to create a mirror image. We use heat and pressure to transfer the design from the paper to the dry lycra fabric. The scientific process involves the ink changing to a gas which then embeds itself into the fibers of the lycra material, creating a permanent print.

    We use no water in the sublimation printing process for lycra company open products. and all inks are certified – they meet Oeko-tex requirements and pass  -EN71-3 certification. Read all about fabric certification of the material a lycra company produces right here.

    And before you start to sew your main content lycra fabric, read our go-to guide on How to sew stretchy fabric.

    Become a lycra fashion designer

    We offer a selection of beautiful prints you can choose from, or you can create your own and embrace your inner fashion designer! Search through 15,300 exclusive designs or unleash your creativity and make your own before you start production.

    You can even do placement prints or print the cut patterns directly onto the lycra fabric, saving you time and allowing you to position the design exactly where you need it to be for each piece.

    Upload your own design and create your unique lycra prints - start here!

    Choose your lycra material here

    Need assistance with lycra fabric?

    If you need more help on choosing lycra material, printing on these stretchy fabrics or choosing a design to print on lycra before your products are manufactured, please feel free to email and we’ll help you come up with a solution to your problem.