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Mechanical (non-spandex) stretch fabric for use in MYOG Stretch-Paramo knockoff?
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Josh S.
(Stumphges) - F
Mechanical (non-spandex) stretch fabric for use in MYOG Stretch-Paramo knockoff? on 10/30/2009 00:04:00 MDT Print View

I'm looking for a mechanical stretch fabric for use in a Paramo-type jacket and pant. I'll use Paramo's pump liner paired with the mechanical stretch face fabric. I'm hoping to get total softshell performance (wind resistance, breathability, comfort & stretch, and water-proofness) out of this combination.

Mechanical stretch fabrics are the only solution as spandex/elastane used in stretch-wovens absorbs too much water.

Fabric I'm looking for needs:

1. Mechanical stretch. I'm aware of two categories here: crimped yarns (Primeflex/3GT/Inertia) & bias-cut fabrics. I understand that Pertex Equilibrium has some mechnical stretch but am not sure how. The more stretch the better.

2. Air permeability between 3 and 6 CFM.

3. Durability must be good enough for pants traveling through temperate and boreal N. American brush without undue care.

4. Must be ok with being washed in Nikwax. (I've heard Pertex Equilibrium does funny things if DWR gets on its inner surface - anyone know if that's true?)

5. Quiet and soft

6. Light weight, of course. Between 1.5 and 3.5 oz./yard

I'm OK with canabilizing garments if necessary. I've thought of several fabrics used in existing products, but each seems to have something lacking:

Patagonia Ready Mix mechanical stretch (2-way) polyester. Only minimal stretch and relatively poor durability.

Arcteryx Squamish mini-ripstop mechanical stretch (crimped yarns) 1.5 oz. nylon w/ air permeable PU coating on inner face. May not be durable enough at this weight; PU coating may absorb water in same way as spandex would.

Montbell Stretch Ballistic Nylon used in their Stretch Light series has 2-way mechanical stretch (cut on bias, characteristic of the weave). May be too light for durability; may be snag-prone.

Inertia fabrics from Cloudveil are made of 3GT/Primeflex, a form of crimped polyester yarns conferring mechnical stretch. Being polyester may not be durable enough; may not be woven tightly enough/too permeable; may be too heavy.

BPL's SUL form of Pertex Equilibrium used in Thorofare line. Maybe too lightweight/not durable enough; maybe not enough stretch; possible problem with DWR on inner face.

Basically I'm trying to build a waterproof version of a Polartec Powershield jacket or similar. Close-fit, durable, good feel, wind resistant, breathable, but Waterproof to boot.

Anyone who's suffered through reading this long post happen to have a suggestion for a suitable fabric come to mind??

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Spandex/elastane used in stretch-wovens absorbs too much water? on 10/30/2009 07:08:01 MDT Print View

Moisture Regain %

Spandex ~1%
Polyester ~2%
Nylon ~4-4.5%


Edited by richard295 on 10/30/2009 07:10:38 MDT.

Josh S.
(Stumphges) - F
Re: Spandex/elastane used in stretch-wovens absorbs too much water? on 10/30/2009 10:15:15 MDT Print View

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the info! I'd always read that spandex absorbs a lot of water, leading to long drying times for stretch-woven fabrics. I'd assumed this was the reason that some companies, especially Patagonia, have moved away from spandex-core stretch-woven fabrics for their more durable 'softshell' garments. Patagonia especially seems to favor polyester mechanical stretch fabrics, from the Krushell/Ready Mix garments from several years ago into their current offerings.

Do you think too much has been made of spandex absorbing water (the info you provided would suggest so, certainly)? Perhaps the heavier-weight nature of stretch-woven fabrics with spandex is the real reason they hold more water and take longer to dry?

If spandex is really not to blame, then maybe moisture management is not the reason for Patagonia moving away from it. Perhaps the real reason is air permeability. All of the prominent stretch-woven fabrics - Schoeller, etc. - have air permeability of ~15+ CFM. Are you aware of any spandex-core stretch woven fabrics with air permeability in the range I'm looking for (3-6 CFM)?

Jeremy Cleaveland
(jeremy11) - F

Locale: Exploring San Juan talus
Mechanical (non-spandex) stretch fabric for use in MYOG Stretch-Paramo knockoff? on 10/30/2009 11:24:39 MDT Print View

I don't have any recommends, but sounds like a really sweet project.
I am a proud Paramo abuser from the US and a MYOG nutcase, so am very curious how this project turns out.
Did you pirate the Paramo liner out of one of their jackets, or pawn the fabric off of them?

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Spandex/elastane used in stretch-wovens absorbs too much water? on 10/30/2009 11:56:48 MDT Print View


Time to dry is determined by the fabric thickness

Josh S.
(Stumphges) - F
Drying times & Revised criteria on 10/30/2009 20:05:18 MDT Print View

Thanks Richard, I'm convinced. Therefore I've revised the criteria for the fabric I'm hunting:

1. Mechanical or spandex-enabled stretch woven. The more stretch the better.

2. Lightweight - between 1.5 and 3.5 oz./sq. yard

3. Air permeability from 3-6 CFM

4. Durable and snag proof

5. Soft and quiet

Does anyone know of, or can suggest where to look for, a fabric that fits these criteria?

Edited by Stumphges on 10/30/2009 20:09:18 MDT.

Josh S.
(Stumphges) - F
Jeremy on 10/30/2009 20:07:48 MDT Print View

Hi Jeremy,

This will likely be a long-term project, if only because it may take a while to find the right face fabric.

See this for the inspiration for this project:

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Traverse on 10/31/2009 10:46:48 MDT Print View

I reckon the fabric Patagonia uses in their Traverse products fits this to a T.

Josh S.
(Stumphges) - F
Re: Traverse on 10/31/2009 21:29:09 MDT Print View

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the suggestion. It's a little on the heavy side, but the real snag might be the air permeability - they market this as a fast-movers softshell, which ususally means 10+ CFM, but I'll contact Patagonia and find out.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Cioch Fabrics on 10/31/2009 22:01:42 MDT Print View

There is a custom-order company in Scotland that makes Nikwax Analogy clothing. THey use Paramo's proprietary fabric, but also some others. Take a look at their materials page

You may also want to take a look at this.

Edited by butuki on 10/31/2009 22:21:18 MDT.

Josh S.
(Stumphges) - F
Re: Cioch Fabrics on 11/02/2009 11:42:27 MST Print View

HI Miguel, thanks for the suggestion. I actually linked to the Red Yeti blog post above. Cioch is my source for pump liner.

Several of your posts on BPL convinced me to try Paramo, thanks. But like I mentioned in the first post, I'm a bit attached to stretchy jackets, so I'm looking to do this MYOG-style.

BTW, on your Paramo gear is the pump liner pretty close to the face fabric? Do you think close proximity between liner and face is necessary for the system to work properly?

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Cioch Fabrics on 11/02/2009 16:13:44 MST Print View

Yes they are close. The liner slides against the face fabric. It is rarely separated much anywhere. I think that means you have to make sure to match the patterns on both sets of fabric. I'm not sure, though, how necessary it is for the proximity. Not even entirely sure how the system actually works, though I think it's necessary for the pump liner to be accessible to the face fabric so that the moisture can be wicked from the ends of the fibers facing outward in the pump liner to the outer fabric and dispersed.

I'd forgotten that you wanted a stretchy fabric for the outside. Sorry about that.

b hitchcock
(slowoldandcold) - F
cioch on 11/02/2009 17:12:05 MST Print View

i have made to measure trousers made by cioch---helpful people---give them a ring if you have any queries

Josh S.
(Stumphges) - F
Re: Re: Cioch Fabrics on 11/03/2009 22:01:27 MST Print View

Thanks for the info Miguel!

Josh S.
(Stumphges) - F
Re: Drying times & Revised criteria on 11/03/2009 22:04:52 MST Print View

Still looking for fabric suggestions. Patagonia traverse fabric is too heavy and air permeable (CFM ~ 8-12)

BTW, I've heard that Pertex Equilibrium's denier gradient wicking function can be mucked up if the fabric is treated with too much DWR - apparently if the DWR gets on the inner face it will repel moisture rather than wick it to the outside. Can anyone confirm this?

BTW, does anyone know a source for Pertex STRETCH Equilibrium?

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Stretch fabric outer on 11/03/2009 22:09:42 MST Print View

Water can be forced through Paramo fabrics under pressure. If you kneel on wet ground for instance. The pump liner soon pumps it out again though. Possibly this is why Paramo don't use a stretch/close fitting outer shell themselves. Maybe something to bear in mind?

Josh S.
(Stumphges) - F
Re: Stretch fabric outer on 11/04/2009 10:04:03 MST Print View

Mike, do you mean that Paramo may choose a looser cut to keep the liner further away from the body to reduce any perception of wetness if the liner becomes saturated, as it does in the kneeling example you mention?

I have no experience with Paramo gear myself, but I did notice that the company Finisterre, which produced garments using Paramo pump liners until this year (they've now switched to a proprietary version of the pump liner) make a jacket, the Storm Track, which appears to have as close a fit as possible without utilizing to stretch fabrics.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Paramo on 11/04/2009 10:16:29 MST Print View

I was just thinking aloud, Josh. I don't know the science behind the fabric seperation.
I've had a few Paramo things over the years, and love them for cold/wet conditions. It is possible to force water through the fabric under pressure, such as kneeling on wet ground. The HH isn't high enough to prevent this, but is high enough to prevent rain getting through.
Maybe the loose cut of most Paramo jackets is simply down to a designer with no sense of style! :)

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Stretch fabric outer on 11/04/2009 13:47:30 MST Print View

Just curious why the requirement for stretch fabric? The taslan outer of the Paramo style garments is soft and quiet enough, and very tough wearing.

Josh S.
(Stumphges) - F
Re: Re: Re: Stretch fabric outer on 11/05/2009 21:19:34 MST Print View

Hi Lynn,

I guess I just have a thing for stretchy fabrics. I end up taking softshells when my scale says I should be taking an UL windshirt. This is down mostly to my preference for close-fitting jackets that don't bind or flap or crinkle. The whole point of stretch-woven fabrics is to have the comfort and freedom of movement of a knit sweater in a more durable, weather resistant woven fabric.

The crinkle factor has kept me from going eVent, but the soft and quiet DriDucks isn't durable enough. Thus I've been thinking Paramo, and then thinking, "why not a two piece shell and pump liner (since pump liners can be got from Cioch)" - this way I could use only the shell as a windshirt and pair it with the pump liner (as a replacement for R1 hoody or other base) in gnarly conditions. Then I thought, "Why not make the shell component from a stretch fabric and make a truly waterproof softshell?" - this would give me all the aesthetic and tactile benefits of a stretchy softshell but allow me to ditch the Dri Ducks, justifying the weight of the heavier shell and satisfying all my performance requirements in the bargain.

Well, there's my thought process;)