Manufacturers use power mesh for control-top pantyhose, control slips, long-line bras, long-line panties and other garments designed to smooth the figure. Although more common in women's undergarments, pot-belly control undershirts and other contour garments for men use power mesh fabric, as well. This lightweight, four-way stretch fabric has strength, body and resilience and works well for home decor, such as for cushions and swags. Stretched over a recessed light source, power mesh fabric can even cast a soft glow in an entryway.
Power mesh fabric retains its shape and allows the skin to breathe. Due to the mesh texture, it allows moisture to escape, offering greater comfort than thicker stretchy fabrics such as spandex. It comes in white, black, cream and many skin tones from pale peach to dark brown. It also comes in many colors used in lingerie, such as pink, blue and red. It's generally color-fast, although as with any dark or bright fabric, it's safest to wash deep colors of power mesh alone for the first few washings.
Power mesh also works well for holding stuffing for homemade pillows or cushions. For example, sew two squares of power mesh together, leaving a 3-inch gap. Stuff the mesh with cotton batting or other filling. The mesh creates a firm, yielding surface that you can cover with any fabric. It also creates a smooth cushion or pillow surface by holding the filling firmly so it doesn't bulge or bunch against the pillow's outer fabric.
Sewing and Decorating
Lay power mesh fabric flat on a table for measuring, and avoid stretching it to get an accurate measurement. You can use either a universal needle or a ball-point needle to sew power mesh fabrics since it isn't as prone to snagging as softer knits. Guide power mesh fabric when you sew it with a sewing machine to avoid puckers and gathers. Hold the fabric flat with one hand, and guide it slowly under the sewing machine's foot. Hanging power mesh over a window creates a durable, translucent curtain with attractive draping. It creates a thick, lush swag over the top of a window or French doors.
People with latex allergies should avoid skin contact with power mesh fabric. In addition, applying cornstarch to the skin makes it easier to get into tight power mesh garments such as power mesh body suits. Avoid exposing power mesh to heat, such as in a dryer or direct sunlight, because heat breaks down rubber products. Also, wash power mesh in warm water with mild soap, and hang it dry or use the air-dry setting in the dryer.
Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.