The Ultimate Guide to Ponte Fabric
Ponte is a durable, wrinkle-resistant, easy-to-maintain fabric blend. Originally developed by knitters in Italy, it is sometimes referred to as “Ponte di Roma” (meaning “Roman bridge”) for its interlocking stitch construction. Today, ponte is commonly found on the racks of contemporary and business-casual retailers, and is a popular choice for professional, feminine garments. It also makes excellent athletic and leisurewear with two- or four-way stretch.
Ponte is a double knit and heavier than, say, a typical legging. This makes it versatile for use in office attire and casualwear, offering a range of styling possibilities. Though at least one part synthetic, it’s more breathable than polyester. Ponte is also more flexible than denim, but just as easy to style. It’s an excellent addition to just about any capsule wardrobe.
Follow our guide to help you navigate purchasing, sewing and caring for this sewist-friendly fabric blend.
What is Ponte Fabric Made Of?
Ponte is known for yielding smooth, strong, comfortable garments. The fabric itself is typically a knit blend of synthetic and natural materials. It often contains either nylon, spandex, rayon or polyester, combined with cotton or linen. Its quality and weight can vary by manufacturer, from heavy to light in an array of patterns and blends. Your choice of fabric will depend on the needs of your project.
Synthetic materials like polyester are often associated with lower quality, uncomfortable garments from decades past. However, the yarn blends in most pontes are smooth, comfortable and easy to wash or mend. Nylon, a common component of ponte, is regularly blended into the fabric to make it softer to the touch.
As with any fabric, it is certainly possible to find lower quality pontes on the market, so take the time to examine fabric samples and discuss with the retailer before making a purchase. Thankfully, quality ponte fabric is typically an accessible and affordable optionfor most sewists, even those on a budget.
At Zelouf Fabrics, we offer complimentary fabric swatches and we’re always happy to advise shoppers in our showroom, by phone and via email.
How Do I Work with Ponte fabric?
Ponte is an excellent fabric for beginners because it’s especially forgiving, and it hardly wrinkles. Holes made in this kind of double knit will be permanent, but as a rule ponte is difficult to tear, flexible, and unfussy on a sewing machine. You might think of ponte as a heavier, sturdier jersey. And as a bonus, it’s reversible!
Because of its soft texture, ponte may not be the obvious choice for structured garments. As a guideline, most beginner sewists will be better off using ponte for projects with minimal tailoring. But that doesn’t mean tailoring is always off-limits. In the right hands, this “miracle fabric” can perform beautifully as a jacket or structured pant.
What Issues Might Arise with Ponte?
Ponte garments can sometimes pill with age, often a consequence of fiber blends that contain a high percentage of polyester. Pilling – the fuzzy texture that occurs when shorter fibers pop out of the yarn – can also be caused by the material rubbing against itself during the spinning process.
Tip from Zelouf: Though it may be tempting, resist pulling pills off your clothes! This could create a snag. We recommend using a fabric brush instead.
Which Ponte Fabrics Should I Use for My Project?
Ponte is one seriously versatile material, and it is figure-flattering to a broad spectrum of shapes and sizes. Consider these ponte selections from Zelouf Fabrics when planning your next project.
For going out, costumes and dancewear:
Lurex is metallic and adds a glittering luster, while the Stardust Foil creates a gorgeous sheen that catches the light. These fabrics will add texture and dimension to your garment without weighing it down. They’re glamorous for special occasions, yet they retail at an affordable price point.
For workwear, day-to-night, or athleisure:
Scuba ponte is a “techno fabric,” which means it incorporates new functionalities and technologies into traditional textiles. Zelouf Fabrics’ scuba pontes drape beautifully and offer great stretch, so garments remain cozy, professional-looking, and durable. It’s no wonder that it’s one of our most popular fabrics!
Where Can I Buy Ponte Fabric?
Zelouf Fabrics offers pontes in a vast array of prints and colors. The more you browse, the more informed you’ll be, and the better you’ll set yourself up for successful sewing. After all, that’s our ultimate goal.