Lycra is a synthetic fiber that is highly elastic and commonly used for workout clothes for this reason. Whether it’s some running leggings, yoga pants, or a cycling outfit, lycra comes out on top when physical exertion and flexibility are required.
However, unlike with many other fibers, due to its unusually elastic nature, repair patches aren’t as frequently talked about. Whereas you can buy say a denim patch to fix up your jeans, it doesn’t seem quite as likely that you’ll find something to patch up damaged lycra.
This is a problem, first and foremost because all it takes is a stray branch, a fall, or something else innocuous to tear your lycra and leave you feeling like there is no fix.
So what should you use to fix lycra? There is a range of solutions available to you should you happen to damage your lycra clothing. Some as simple as making a homemade patch yourself using material from another part of the pants for example, and others more complex like sewing the affected area back up.
The 3 Types of Lycra Patches
If you’re worried that your lycra is permanently ruined and your morning bike rides will have to take a backseat, don’t fear, we’ll get you back in the saddle as soon as possible.
Likewise, if you can’t run or workout without your favorite lycra getup, then stay tuned, and before you know it you’ll be breaking a sweat again in your newly fixed up lycra.
1. The Professional Repair Patch
This is an expensive option compared to the other two fixes.
The professional repair consists of finding a tailor with enough skill working with lycra, who can restore the garment to its former glory. You will have to vet the tailors in your area, and with a bit of detective work, ascertain which of them are in the best position to make repairs to lycra and sports clothing.
The next best thing if you can’t seem to find someone who specializes in repairing lycra, is to look for someone who deals with gymnastics or dance clothing. This is due to the similarities in the fabrics and experiences the tailor will have had with elastic fibers like lycra.
One bonus of going with this method is that you might even be able to retain the same colors and/or logos on the lycra, especially if it is a cycling jersey.
The professional repair then is a good solution for those who lack the ability to sew, and perhaps don’t have the time to invest in repairing the lycra themselves. You know you’ll get a quality repair if you go for this option, so there’s definitely something to be said for that.
2. The Homemade Repair Patch
Aside from the professional repair, what can you do if you find yourself lamenting the lack of lycra repair patches out there to fix up your lycra garment? Make your own, of course.
This homemade repair is all about working with what you’ve already got, and showing some resourcefulness. It also requires some rudimentary sewing knowledge, so that’s worth keeping in mind. Then again, so do most fabric repair jobs, so I’m sure you will be in a position to have a go at this one.
First things first, in order to start working towards the satisfaction of repairing your own lycra, you’ll need to get a hold of some lycra fabric. Spare lycra is maybe not something that you will have readily available, however, if you’re smart about it, you can scavenge it from your existing garment.
If it’s your tights that are the affected garment, then you might be in luck. Check if there is a key pocket or any pocket that you don’t use. If there is then you can go about removing this to use as your spare lycra. Genius, right?
Take your spare lycra, and cut it to be an inch wider and longer than the rip or tear in your garment.
Now comes the challenging part: the sewing itself. Position the patch so that it’s behind the tear or hole in the garment. Next, using your sewing method of choice (I’d recommend using a serger sewing machine and some stretch thread), go ahead and start sewing the patch on as you would a normal fabric patch.
3. The Gear Aid Repair Patch
If the homemade repair patch sounds like too much of an investment for you, and you’d prefer something that requires less time and effort, then the Gear Aid fabric patches might be just the thing you’re looking for.
What’s great about these Tenacious Tape patches made by Gear Aid is how easy they are to use, and how simple of a solution they provide to your lycra tearing woes.
While you may notice that they aren’t specifically made for the purpose of patching up lycra clothing, they are fit for the job.
This is due to their flexible nature, which means they can blend in seamlessly with lycra fibers, and provide the same stretch that you are used to with your workout clothes.
The patches are made with Gore-Tex fabric, making them highly durable and high quality too. They are adhesive and heat-sensitive, meaning they can be applied with the use of a hairdryer, making them a relatively easy fix, especially when compared to the previous solution.
It also means that this is an incredibly quick fix, so if you can’t go a day without getting a workout in, then this is the fix for you.
Here’s how to apply the Gear Aid fabric to your garment:
- Lay the garment flat on a table or ironing board, and make sure the affected area is clean and dry.
- Now remove the back of the patch to reveal the adhesive side of the fabric.
- Press the patch firmly onto the tear or hole, and smoothen it out with your hand, to make sure it is in the right position.
- Now all you’ll need is your hairdryer to go over the newly placed patch and seal it well with heat.
- Once finished, you’ll be left with a patch that is weather-resistant, and it should blend in perfectly with the lycra.
The Best Equipment
The success of this process is going to depend largely on the materials you use for sewing, since lycra isn’t like most fibers, and has its elasticity, which needs to be retained for the garment to work well with rapidly moving limbs.
As I’ve already mentioned, your best bet for equipment is to use a sewing machine, since it will prove far more difficult with just a thread and needle.
As for the needle, you will be best served by a ballpoint needle. This is because it won’t go through the threads, and unlike a sharp point needle, it won’t cause the fabric to tear after the fix.
The type of stitch you should aim for is either a serger stitch or a zig-zag one. These two types of stitches are ideal when dealing with stretchier fibers like lycra, since they are stretch stitches, meaning they will adapt to the material and won’t fall apart when pulled in different directions.
As for the thread, use a stretch thread like polyester, something which will be able to take the strain of elasticity and constant movement. Cotton thread is one to avoid for this type of repair.
That’s all you need to know to get your lycra back into shape, without requiring the services of a professional tailor. It’s much more satisfying when you fix things up yourself, so this is a great option if you’re daring enough to give it a go.
How To Prepare For Sewing A Patch
Now that you’ve assessed the issue, and gathered your very own lycra replacement/repair patch, we’re ready to start with the repair. Immediately after, or as soon as you’ve realized that your lycra has been damaged, you should try to hand wash the garment.
You should wash the lycra as delicately as possible since you don’t want the tear or hole to get worse. Handwashing with cold water is preferable since a cycle in the washing machine could leave it looking worse for wear.
We need to wash it to ensure that we get all of the muck and dirt out of the garment, so as not to sew that into the clothing later on.
Once you’re done with this, you’ll want to set your lycra aside, or maybe even hang it up to let it dry before you get to work on it.