What Is Chinlon Fabric? Does Chinlon Shrink, Stretch, Breathe

Since there are so many varieties of natural fabrics, the synthetic variations were not far behind. Chinlon, a combination of the terms China and nylon, is usually made for swimwear but not the kind you go swimming in. It is more to have people look at you than anything else.

What Is chinlon fabric? Chinlon is a variation of nylon. It is not as durable as nylon but it is smoother. It will have a smoother feel to it than either nylon or polyester and it is vulnerable to crinkling especially when folded too many times.

To learn more about chinlon and its properties just continue to read our article. It has the best information possible describing this fabric and how it can be used. Do not expect it to breathe very well as it is a synthetic material.

Is Chinlon Polyester?

We could be philosophical here and say what synthetic fiber is not polyester. Many different synthetic fabrics are all made from the same chemicals as polyester is so technically, they are all polyester in some form.

Chinlon is a variation of nylon so expect it to have the same characteristics as that fabric. Its durability is questionable and although it is made into swimwear, it is not really that good to swim in.

Chinlon is more of a lounging fabric that doesn’t breathe that well even though it stretches like nylon. Most likely, unless it has been treated to prevent it, this material will shrink like nylon shrinks.

Chinlon vs Polyester


This is not an easy comparison to make as very few people are talking about chinlon as a separate fabric from nylon. The reason for that may be that chinlon is a form of nylon and has the same characteristics even though it is not as durable or as strong as that fabric.

It should be as strong or stronger than polyester though since nylon is stronger. Plus, you should have some excellent stretching ability when wearing this material over other synthetic fabrics.

The smooth texture makes chinlon a nice material to have next to your skin and helps give your figure a great look. As for care, you should treat it like nylon and wash it according to the laundry label attached to the fabric.

Is Chinlon Fabric Nylon?

The best answer we can give here is yes it is. It is not as thick as regular nylon but it is made from the same ingredients as that fabric and is a form of it. Chinlon is to nylon-like muslin is to cotton.

There are differences but essentially they are the same fabric in different textures and quality. This is good because you should not see a lot of pilling when washing Chinlon and you get a lot of stretch room when you move.

Plus, the material is soft and comfortable to wear. When you are not in the mood to get wet, this material is an excellent option when you want to sit by the pool and get some sun. Also, the material should resist snags when you wear it.

Chinlon vs Nylon


It is possible to say that Chinlon is a nylon upgrade. Polyester and nylon have difficulties feeling like real fabrics. While they can get smooth, there is a lot of roughness and artificial feel to both materials.

What the makers of Chinlon have done is to apply new technological advances to make this upgrade smoother than nylon. While made from the same ingredients as nylon, Chinlon can be seen as an ‘Egyptian cotton’ variation to regular cotton when compared to nylon.

They all have the same properties, but one is just better and more refined than the other. Chinlon would be the refined nylon over nylon. Hopefully, that gives you a clear picture of what Chinlon is when compared to nylon.

It is possible that you may get more stretch out of Chinlon than you do nylon but that would depend on the quality of the material.

What is Chinlon Fabric?

To be blunt, Chinlon is a nylon fabric with a few added adjustments that make it a finer material while being nice and smooth next to your skin. To describe Chinlon accurately, one can say that regular nylon is like the old 1960s Volkswagon Beetle vehicle and Chinlon is the new 2000+ Volkswagon beetle.

It is the same car technically but the newer model has many more improvements than the older version. There are two drawbacks to this material though. it does crinkle when folded and it is not as durable as nylon or other synthetic materials.

Let's put it this way, the modern VW Beetle is an improvement over the older version except it is not made from real steel anymore. It is made from a nicer, lighter metal that does not have the same strength as steel has.

Definition Chinlon Fabric


The best way to define Chinlon is to say that it is an upgraded nylon fabric that has a specific purpose and should not be used for other activities outside of that specific purpose.

The problem of making a variation of one fabric is that all the positive qualities do not make the transition. Chinlon, while a good material to wear, does not have the strength of nylon and it may not have the UV resistance that nylon has.

Plus, the negative characteristics seem to make the transition easier than the positive ones so while you can use nylon in the water, it is not a good idea to do the same with Chinlon materials. This fabric may be good for some sewing projects but use it carefully as it is not exactly the same as nylon is.

Is Chinlon Stretchy?

Being made from nylon, it will have some stretch to it. How much stretch you get will be up to the manufacturer and the quality levels they adhere to. With some unethical manufacturers in the fabric industry, it is more like trial and error to find the right Chinlon fabric that stretches as nylon does.

One thing is for sure, it will be more stretchy than regular polyester which does not have a lot of stretch to it at all. Nylon has a great stretching ability so you should be able to expect the same performance out of Chinlon up to a point.

Variations are not always equal to the original fabric. Changes in the manufacturing process make sure that the variation is either better or worse than the original. Until you buy and wear it you won’t see those differences.

Is chinlon Fabric Waterproof?


Synthetic fibers, which Chinlon is made from, usually do not absorb water. they repel it and that behavior provides the user with the idea the fabric is waterproof. But waterproof only goes so far in the fabric world and you can say that just about every fabric is waterproof to a certain point.

Once that point has been reached then the fabric will be saturated with water and you will get wet. Let's just say that you will remain dryer longer wearing Chinlon than you would if you wore cotton or other natural materials.

Once it has reached its saturation point, expect to get wet and uncomfortable. But outside of a dry suit do not expect many fabrics to keep the water off your body for long.

Does Chinlon Shrink?

Most likely this upgrade to nylon will shrink if heat is applied to the material. That is the way it is with synthetics as they are merely different forms of plastic and plastic melts when hot.

So instead of shrinking, you might see melting and deformities when you put the fabric in the dryer or use hot water to clean it. But, and it is a big but, some manufacturers may treat the material with a chemical to help prevent shrinking or melting.

It is hard to say if they do it for this fabric as it is usually an expensive process and adds cost to the finished product. Check the label to see if the Chinlon based item you want to buy has been treated for shrinking or not.

How to Shrink Chinlon


This is going to be a risky task to perform as plastic doesn't always do what you want it to do when you apply any heat. That is the best way to shrink Chinlon. Add enough heat to soften or loosen the fibers up and re-shape the fabric.

Boiling water on your stove then adding the material to that water for a few minutes. Then place the material in your dryer and turn up the heat. Make sure to turn your material inside out if you can before doing these steps.

15 to 20 minutes in the hot water should be enough soaking time and one cycle in the dryer should do it. Just dry it alone when you try to shrink it. If you do not get the amount of shrinkage you want, you can repeat this process 2 to 3 more times.

But words of warning are needed. Do not assume that your chinlon fabric will behave as you want it to. it is still a form of plastic and it may deform or melt on you when you place it in the hot water.

Does Chinlon Stretch?

Since one of its primary purposes is for lounging swimwear, expect the material to have some stretch to it. It is made from nylon so stretch will be part of its positive attributes.

How much stretch depends on the quality of the finished product and if it was woven as a knit or a regular weave. Each material may have its own limits with some being longer than others.

The amount of stretch you get will also depend on what type of clothing item you turn the fabric into. If you are an avid sewer and want a challenge then you need to buy this material and see what you can make from it.

The material may be slippery to work with as it is a form of nylon.

Is Chinlon Breathable?


The rule of thumb is that the tighter or more snug to the body the less breathable the material. Since Chinlon is made from a very tight and snug fabric, do not expect to get a lot of airflow or breathing ability. If you do, be grateful as nylon is not very breathable.

Then since this fabric is usually made into swimwear it is not a good fabric to wear on a hot summer evening or to a formal event. use it at the beach where breathing is not a vital factor in how you look or feel.

It is better to use this material for those active events where you are more physically involved like cycling, running, and so on. Or use it as a base layer when you need to stay warm in the winter.

Is Chinlon Vegan?

If chemical ingredients are considered vegan then you can consider this fabric to be right for that group of people. There are no animal products involved in creating this fabric and the same harsh and toxic chemicals used to make polyester, nylon, and other synthetics are involved in the manufacture of this fabric.

Check the manufactures labels to see what was used to make this fabric to be sure. Who knows, they may have tried to slip in some animal products to make the fabric smoother, softer, and better than other synthetic options.

According to one website, nylon is considered vegan so you can conclude that Chinlon is vegan as well. That nylon variation is not mentioned on that extremely long and detailed list.

As we said, double-check to make sure. Don’t assume as anything is possible in the fashion industry.

Is Chinlon Safe?


If you mean by the word safe, will Chinlon rise up some night and strangle you when you are not looking, then yes it is safe. Chinlon doesn’t perform any violent acts against you or any member of your family.

But since this fabric is made from harsh and toxic chemicals then you can consider it to be as safe as any other synthetic fabric. There is always the risk that those chemicals will be absorbed into your skin and cause health issues.

Then, environmentally speaking, if Chinlon degrades like polyester and other synthetic materials, it is not safe for the environment and should be recycled not thrown into a landfill.

Expect those harsh and toxic chemicals to leech into the ground as the material takes up to 200 years, approx., to degrade and disappear. remember synthetics are another form of plastic and that material is not easy to get rid of.

Chinlon Bathing Suit

This seems to be the primary purpose of this fabric. We have found no other use for it in our research but it may be used in active or sportswear along with swimwear. With that said, though, this is not a material you want to go swimming in.

Its durability is questionable and you may want to avoid potentially embarrassing situations by changing out of this material and into one that works better in the water. The reputation for this fabric as swimwear is that it is better for sunbathing and lounging and not actual swimming.

Your experience may be different and different situations will provide different results. There are always exceptions to the fabric rules. Give the material a test in private to see what will be your results before going public with your new swimsuit.

Where to Buy Chinlon Fabric

We would love to provide you with a long list of wholesalers and retailers that carry this product. But it seems Chinlon is a state secret as no one but Alibaba is admitting to selling this fabric.

And that confession is only for Chinlon eyelash lace which is most often used for wedding dresses. You can try this link as it has a lot of Chinlon made bathing suits on sale. Just do not get jealous of the models.

Then eBay has some more lace for sale and you can see their selection at this link. It is possible that this nylon upgrade may be going by several names which is why we cannot find any information on this material.

But as it stands even Amazon does not sell this fabric and they are supposed to be selling just about everything. Check with your local fabric shops, both individual and national, to see if they have any of this material for your next swimwear sewing project.

Some Final Words

When push comes to shove, expect Chinlon to be a lot like nylon and other synthetic materials. Only smoother to the touch and nicer to look at. Until it is declassified it remains a secret material few people admit knowing about.

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