Not all metallic fabrics are created equal

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throughfare
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Not all metallic fabrics are created equal

Postby throughfare » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:04 am

Just wanted to pass on some information I got from a lady who runs a lycrawear store.

It turns out there are 2 ways to make shiny "metallic" lycra material:

1) The cheaper method, almost always used by Chinese manufacturers, is to use a hot iron or roller to heat-treat the lycra on 1 side so that it kind of melts or fuses into a shiny surface.

Unfortunately, this heat treatment dramatically reduces the stretch of the fabric, and reduces its strength, so you get suits that feel 'constricting' unless you get them a little loose, and they tend to pull apart at the seams.

There's some more discussion about this on Ani's blog:

http://aniadventure.livejournal.com/7965.html?thread=25373#t25373

both she & I had Chinese metallic suits tear seams due to lack of stretch & strength (see http://aniadventure.livejournal.com/7965.html )

2) The more expensive method is to take nylon lycra material and put a thin coating layer on it of a very stretchy polymer that is also reflective. This material should not be confused with PVC or Lack material. PolyVinyl Chloride doesn't have nearly the stretch that this polymer has. I've taken a little piece of the polymer and stretched it. It is very soft and can stretch out to 3x it's original length. It doesn't return to its original length very quickly, though, but presumably the lycra material springs it back when they're together.

Anyhow, suits made out of this material are as stretchy and comfortable as ordinary nylon or cotton lycra suits. I got some material from the store and have made a couple of suits- we love them! They're nothing like the chinese suits, they fit like a dream, and when they get warm on your body it's kind of uncanny- they start to feel like you have nothing on.

OTOH, this polymer-coated material is much less permeable than the heat-treated metallic material. You can't see or breathe through it very well at all, which you can in the Chinese metallic suits, and IME you need to make eye &/or mouth/nose holes.

But the polymer-coat is also windproof, it's way warmer than the regular lycra in cool weather, and mosquitos can't bite you through it. In the summer I actually saw a mosquito try to punch a hole through the material and it couldn't do it- its nose kept bouncing off! :amuse:

Hope this has been helpful,
TF
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Postby mrmucox » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:57 am

Any idea where we can get suits made of the polymer material? All the ones I've had have been the cheap Chinese, and have been ruined, or I'm too afraid to wear them!
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Postby catsuitzentai » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:49 am

When I order a metallic suit, i orde a bigger size.
I have size L for not metallic suit, but have to ordere an xl for an metallic suit.
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Postby zenntaill » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:50 am

Thank you for these complete and clear explainations !

I like metallic-like catsuits and I got 2 of them a long time ago : silver and gold. (zentai suits didn't even exist or were not easily available). The metallic coating was on white and yellow lycra respectively. Both a ruined now, but that was almost 20 tears ago...
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Postby Emjx » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:53 am

A really good article! Can you recommend anywhere to buy suits made of the polymer-coat material?
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Postby throughfare » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:45 pm

The only place I know to be sure you're getting a good kind is to go to a specialty fabric store that carries extensive amounts of lycra fabric (ones that cater to the costume trade tend to carry the polymer-metallic lycra)

Some places call it "swimsuit fabric" even though lycra made specifically for swimsuits is supposed to be treated with a chemical that protects it from chlorine, and the polymer-metallic lycra is not chlorine resistant, as far as I've been able to tell. That's why non-swimsuit lycra tends to fade & fall apart so fast when you go in swimming pools with it.

Anyhow, if you find it in the store, you can check its quality by stretching it yourself. The good stuff will stretch in all directions just as much as regular lycra.

Then, of course, you have to make your own suit or get one made from it by someone else.

The metallic suits by BalTogs use a polymer material, but I looked at some in a local dance store, and while the material they were made of was better than the Chinese stuff, it wasn't nearly as good as the fabric I got from the fabric store this lady runs here.

There are 2 people you could write to about getting a good suit made:

1) Nadia http://www.stretchstyle.it

2) Loreen http://www.spandexwear.com

They have access to good lycra of all types & I'm sure they would work with you, for a price.

There is an online lycra store that claims to carry good quality metallic lycra:

http://www.spandexworld.com/

but I haven't ordered any from them.

BTW, the matallic material I bought in the store here cost $25/yd, way more than regular lycra, and the lady was giving me a good deal, it's usually around $30-$35 per yard.
pb104

Postby pb104 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:16 pm

As others have said: THANKYOU for the explination. I was wondering that myself. I too have a cheap metalic suit that only lasted a few months. I kept seeing great metalic suits on the web and wondered if they were the same low quality as mine. Now I know what to look for. Thanks
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Postby modyf » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:55 pm

I also would like to find a nice shiny reflective zentai. I have tried several kinds over the years, and I suppose the ideal one for me would be flexible/not too tight and not lose its shine too soon. But I guess you cant have everything, right?

The suit in my avatar is a discontinued model from bodyweaver.com. It was real nice and I loved how it looked... for a while. I think the shine was created by coating the outside of a regular zentai with small pieces of glitter. Eventually they started to wear off, and shiny dust came off... like a disco ball had been ground down, and the dust spread out all over my room.

I also tried the "liquid" gold suit from spandexman.com, and another gold one from a Chinese ebay seller. I was happy with both, but thought they were kind of tight, and to me, that took away something I liked about my earlier zentais.. the smoothness and how it felt when putting them on.

So I stopped being interested the metallic suits for a while. But they do look great. If I were to find a dark grey metallic suit somewhere I'd have a hard time protecting my wallet. (If anyone knows where to get one... please let me know :blink1: )
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Postby throughfare » Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:46 am

modyf wrote:If I were to find a dark grey metallic suit somewhere I'd have a hard time protecting my wallet. (If anyone knows where to get one... please let me know :blink1: )


you might want to contact Nadia ( http://www.stretchstyle.it/ )

have a look at these 2 suits:

http://www.stretchstyle.it/gw1/pages/140DenMicroDarkSilver.html

http://www.stretchstyle.it/gw2/pages/10DenShinyTightsBack.html

TF
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Postby gaz_a » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:08 am

For unsual fabrics I would recommend Spandex House in NYC, they have dozens of rolls of coated spandex of all types, I took a few swatches and took a photo of them a while back, I'll dig it out and post it sometime. Next time I go back I'll buy a few yards of each and try and get a zentai made from them. Some have coatings that look rugged enough to withstand zentai use.

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