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Fabric Feels

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How to Incorporate Holographic Fabric in Your Next Project

Any clothing made out of holographic fabric will get plenty of eyes on the wearer, which is why it has become the go-to material for dance and rave costumes. If you’ve ever worn it yourself, then you probably already know what kind of positive attention it brings.

Holographic fabric is truly something of beauty. But does anyone actually know where it comes from, how it’s made, and how to use it in a project? We’ve done our research so you don’t have to.


What is Holographic Fabric?

Holographic is a special kind of sparkly or flashy fabric with printed images or patterns that seem to “jump at you” like 3D images. Technically, this is a type of spandex fabric that’s overlaid with holographic effects with flamboyantly amazing reflections and visuals. This fabulous and increasingly popular fabric comes in a huge selection, including rainbow, wave, avatar, and iridescent, as well as holographic spandex.

Like most popular fabrics like spandex, cotton, satin, mesh or milliskin, you can buy holographic fabric by the yard. It is commonly used to make clothing and activewear for dancing, raving, gymnastics, costumes, and skating.

With that said, if you’re searching for something that is glitzy, flashy and delightfully shiny for your next sewing project, look no further than holographic fabric.

Holographic Fabric


How is Holographic Fabric Made?

Holographic fabric is a fairly stretch material for dancewear that begins as standard spandex or Lycra, which is easily washable.

To create holographic fabric, the manufacturer does something pretty cool with the "base" spandex fabric. At first, the stretchy surface of plain spandex is printed with shiny or metallic color. At this point, the fabric is known as a surface-printed spandex, which can be a little hard to launder, but still pretty easy to hand wash.

In the second step, a layer of holographic effects or visuals is overlaid on the first layer of shiny or metallic colors. This process will result in a reflective hologram on the surface of the fabric. It looks amazing and reflects lights to give off a 3D effect. The resultant fabric, however, is difficult to wash or launder without ruining it. Nonetheless, it is one of the best fabrics to add to your costume or dancewear.


How Do You Wash Holographic Fabric?

Holographic fabric has traditionally been used for making recital and dancewear. In the dancing world, most costumes are meant to be worn a few times, and laundering or cleaning them isn’t much of a big deal. However, when the holographic fabric is included in dancewear that is expected to last for several performances or to be washed many times, this can be an issue.

Knowing the challenges that you can be met with, how do you care or wash holographic fabric? First, when you buy holographic fabric by the yard, ensure that you don’t get an exact measurement. Give it a little leeway for shrinkage during washing.

Before you wash your fabric, turn it inside-out. This way, the more delicate part of the fabric is protected. It’s best to hand wash your holographic dancewear separately in a large basin of cold water. If it is a leotard or unitard that tend to soak up sweat, add a handful of table salt to the cold wash to sanitize and clean the garment. Coincidentally, adding salt will also help in setting the beautiful colors of the fabric so that they don’t bleed or run.

When washing the fabric, don’t let it soak for long. In fact, remove it from the water immediately and lay it out on a towel before rolling it to get rid of the vast majority of the water.

Washing Fabric

A few other tips to keep in mind when washing or caring for holographic fabric include:

  • Don’t expose it to direct sunlight. Hang the cloth to dry using a thick coat hanger.
  • Don’t machine wash any dancewear.
  • Don’t put it in the dryer – EVER.
  • Don’t rub holographic fabrics together or wring them.
  • Don’t use abrasive detergent, fabric softeners or bleach.
  • Don’t dry clean or iron.


Is Holographic Fabric Hard to Sew?

Like all fabrics based on spandex, holographic fabric can be a little difficult to work with. The fabric itself is delicate and stretchy, which can make it difficult to sew. Moreover, if you aren’t careful, you can easily damage the layers of beautiful metallic or shiny colors when you are sewing the material. Check out our tips on sewing spandex fabric here – they also apply to holographic fabrics.


How Do You Cut Holographic Fabric?

Given the stretchy nature of holographic spandex fabric, you have to be extra careful when cutting the material. You can damage the fabric if you use blunt cutting tools. That’s why it pays to pre-wash the fabric and pin it using ballpoint pins before cutting.

However, you can prepare the fabric by pre-washing it, using sharp scissors to cut it, and pinning it with stretch pins. Because you can purchase the fabric by the yard, make sure to add a few more inches to the fabric for mistakes and uh-oh moments. When cutting, ensure to use the sharpest pair of scissors you have in your sewing toolkit.



Tips for Sewing Using Holographic Fabrics

  • Use a serger - The so-called overlockers are great at handling stretchy fabrics. While it might cost extra to add to your sewing machine collection, sengers will help make stretchy fabric’s ends more rigid.
  • Try zigzag stitches to make sure the stretchiness of holographic spandex doesn’t come in the way of your project completion.
  • Pick the right needle - use stretch needle that’s sharp and new. Using the right size needle is also crucial, preferably size 11 or 14.
  • Choose the right thread - standard polyester threads offer a reasonable stretch that’s ideal for holographic fabric. In any case, don’t use cotton threads.

Armed with these tips and tools, you’ll be sure to knock your next holographic project out of the park!

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