Skip to main content

My favorite thing about the Sybil Illusion skirt is the hidden control top panel. I got the idea from my favorite pair of leggings from Lysse. Finding the right fabric was more challenging than drafting the pattern but I have found at least 4 different fabrics that work perfectly. All the leg work is done for you!

The inside of a pleated skirt with the hidden control top.

The inside of a pleated skirt with the hidden control top.

To get an idea of what I was looking for I looked at the fabric content on my leggings as well as some shapewear I already owned. The common denominator was a high content of poly or nylon and a good amount of spandex/lycra. Weight was also an important factor. You don’t want something heavyweight that will add bulk when you’re trying to take away bulk!

I’ll share with you three fabrics I tried that I would NOT recommend for shapewear and four fabrics that will work very nicely.

First off, this DryTech Stretch Compression Lycra/Spandex from ebay is just too heavyweight and not enough lycra. It has a cushy feel to it which adds to bulk (not good for shapewear!)

DryTech Compression Spandex

I know you’ll be tempted to run to Joann Fabrics and get their Power Mesh. Let me save you a trip and some money- the power mesh from Joann’s basically feels like pantyhose. It’s pretty worthless.

Joann's Power Mesh

I initially thought a heavyweight power mesh would be perfect. Nope, not good. This power mesh just doesn’t have enough stretch and would not be comfortable. It’s scratchy as well. You may be able to tell in the picture how stiff and unforgiving it is. Skip this one.

Heavyweight Power Mesh

Now to the gems. I’ll list them in order of my preference, with my favorite listed last. These will all do nicely for shapeware and I would recommend them for the control top portion of the Sybil Illusion Skirt Collection.


Moleskin from Spandex World. This was a little thick for my preference but otherwise it’s still a good choice.



Shaper Mesh from Mood Fabrics. This is most similar to what my store-bought shapewear feels like. Does the job and feels nice. The hand is not smooth like the others I recommend but a mesh which makes it more breathable.

Shaper Mesh


Milliskin from Spandex World. This one is very similar to #1, just a little bit less stretch (~75%).



Max-Dri WIcking Anit-Microbial Performance Spandex. This one was most like the panel my favorite leggings has. It’s a nice light weight, has the perfect amount of stretch (~80%) and a smooth hand so it slips on easily.


To sum it up, when shopping online look for keywords: Shapewear, Miliskin, Compression with qualities like lightweight, smooth, breathable. Choose a blend with at least 10% spandex/lycra with the other component poly or nylon. This is not a job for cotton.

Some testers also had good results using swimwear fabric so that’s a great option as well. You could even check our your local thrift shop to see if they have any activewear/compression-type shirts that would work.

A smooth waistline thanks to the hidden control top.

A smooth waistline thanks to the hidden control top.

Tami Meyer

Author Tami Meyer

More posts by Tami Meyer

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Hope says:

    Hi. I’m a big gal looking to make a cute swimsuit. Would your number one recommended fabric work for the boy shorts and briefs that I want to make?

    • It could be used as a swimsuit lining, but not as a single-layer for swimsuit (actually, all swimsuits should be lined – reason is because many 4 way stretch fabrics become see through when wet, so you need the second layer to make it not see through). If you look at the video on Mood Fabrics’ product page, the lady holds up the fabric and you can see her through it. Given the texture of the fabric, you could use the Max-Dri WIcking Anit-Microbial Performance Spandex as your lining and then a nice 4 way stretch lycra in solid or print for the “public” side of the bathing suit.

  • Kim says:

    Thank you so much for this! I have been so confused by all the options and this helps clarify things a lot.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.