This time we would like to tell you a little bit more about making clothes and what are the basic rules and laws of clothing, especially concerning activewear; what you can expect from your clothes, and what are their limitations.
We at Népra aim high in creating activewear that functions and lasts in demanding conditions. When we move in our activewear, the items stretch thousands of times; an abrasive barbell rubs against the fabric over and over, and the rough flooring materials of the gym take a toll every time you do exercises on the floor. Our basic clothing won’t go through the same strenuous use, so while there are many things to consider when we create new activewear it is fair to say after you buy it you need to think about looking after it, too.
We, as an activewear creator, can do our best in choosing suitable materials and designing an appropriate fit for each item. For us, it is important that the material feels good on the skin while also being fit for the purpose we are planning the item for. We create the patterns so the seams don’t disturb the training, or are placed in a way that limits longevity. We discuss the sewing methods with our manufacturing team to make sure we choose the most long-lasting ways to produce Népra activewear.
All these decisions matter when creating perfectly fitting activewear. There are a couple of rules and limitations though, and we would like to discuss them.
Seams should always be the weakest point in a piece of clothing. If a piece of clothing stretches to its limit, the seam must break first, otherwise, the fabric will break and the item cannot be effectively repaired. If only the seam fails, you can still repair it and continue using the item.
There are a couple of reasons why the seam can tear. Firstly, there might have been a weak spot in the thread and it cuts. Secondly, it can be that the seam was weakly sewed during production. And finally, if the seams are under continuous stress and stretch when putting the clothing on a little too enthusiastically, the seams are not simply going to last.
Choosing the right size can be tricky especially when it comes to activewear. We all have heard the sales personal advising to choose the as small size as possible when buying stretchy jeans but please forget this when you choose your Népra tights size. Our tights won’t become looser. In general, sports clothing is very flexible and it is highly likely that you can fit in a too small size because the item will stretch. You are supposed to move in your activewear and there should be enough place for the seams and fabric to normally stretch. If you chose a size that is simply too small, in some movements the item stretches too far, and the seam tears.
Our activewear fabrics are a mix of polyamide and elastane. We choose fabrics that feel soft while being suitably strong enough for the item’s expected use. In three years we have noticed that even in the long term, our fabrics stay in good shape, don’t lose colour and, most importantly, they don’t stink! The longer you want to use your activewear, the more it matters how you take care of it. Choose the right washing temperature, don’t use fabric softener, don’t hang it out in direct sunlight, and don’t tumble dry.
Our items can handle a good amount of abrasion, especially our items where the use is targeted at demanding training, like weightlifting and CrossFit. However, activewear items are still made of knitted fabrics which means if the fabric hits a small stone or something else that is sharp, it sticks to the fabric and can create a hole. A hole in the middle of fabric is seldom due to the poor quality of fabric or production. Most of the time it’s just bad luck. Even the fabric of a raincoat or pants can tear if you fall down on a rough surface.
Elastane is the most sensitive part of the fabric. There are a couple of things that can kill the elastane in fabric and thus ruin the item's shape and ability to stretch, or making it stretch back.
Fabric softener and tumble drying damage the elastane. And, while colours fade when drying your clothes in the sun it degrades the elastane as well.
It is important to wash the item shortly after use if it is really sweaty after working out. The sweat weakens the elastane and fabric if it stays in the fibres for too long.
For the next post, we have made a little checklist for you about how to take the best care of your Népra activewear, so stay tuned!
Ama and Essi
Edited by Alex Burchell
This blog post was a part of our #takecare campaign in autumn 2018.