What is Dazzle Fabric?

Malcolm Tatum

There is a good chance that you own at least one article of active clothing that is made from a material that is known as dazzle fabric. What is different about activewear made with this fabric is not the type of fiber used, nor is it the cut of the pattern. Here is what makes this fabric such a great choice when it comes to casual garments that are meant for use during exercise and outdoor activity.

Baby car seats are sometimes lined with dazzle fabric.
Baby car seats are sometimes lined with dazzle fabric.

Dazzle fabric, also known as waffle material, is distinguished by the pattern of tiny holes in the weave of the material. Often made of synthetic fibers as well as cotton and synthetic blends, the look of dazzle wear is usually somewhat sleek and shiny. To the touch, dazzle wear is soft and somewhat like silk, although it is obviously more sturdy than silk. As a lightweight fabric that easily allows the body to receive ventilation during workouts, playing sports and engaging in just about any outside activity, dazzle wear is ideal for warmer climates and also while working out at the gym.

Dazzle fabric is often used in active wear designed for the gym or other similar activities.
Dazzle fabric is often used in active wear designed for the gym or other similar activities.

Interestingly enough, this fabric is also used in some other applications. For example, baby carriages and car seats are sometimes lined with dazzle fabric. Light summer outfits, such as shirts and shorts outfits, many be constructed from this kind fabric. Sports jerseys that are made for team promotions are often crafted from dazzle fabric. Even some avant-garde decorating experts have incorporated the use of this fabric into window treatments, such as swags and drapery panels.

Along with being lightweight, dazzle fabric also does not tend to stain very easily. Laundering a garment that is constructed with the fabric on the normal cycle is usually enough to keep the article of clothing in top condition. Air-drying or a round in the dryer is usually sufficient to produce a crisp and wrinkle free look. In the event that ironing is required for some reason, using the lowest setting possible is recommended, along with a towel in between the iron and the fabric.

Dazzle fabric is simply a newer incarnation of the older waffle material, which was first developed in the nineteenth century. While it was used a lot for sports clothing early on, dazzle fabric really came into its own in the latter part of the twentieth century and is now part of just about everyone’s workout or running gear. Given that this fabric holds its shape very well, requires nothing other than basic maintenance, and allows the body to breathe during exertion, chances are it will remain a favorite for many years to come.

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Discussion Comments


I'm doing a school assignment on textiles and innovations and I've decided to base it on your Dazzle fabric. Can you please tell me how and where it was developed? Any other information would be extremely helpful.

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