How to Choose the Best Knit Fabric

We often see our customers asking the common question over email and across social media, “what knit fabric is best for my project?” and in response to this question we always guide our customers in selecting the most suitable knit fabric for their project that perfectly matches their needs. You can find several guides related to what knit fabrics are, how to sew them and how knit fabrics are made. Today we are going to focus on different kinds of knit fabrics and based on this, will distinguish how to use them best.

 

There is a huge range of fabrics available that are superb for sewing up many different wardrobe items such as sweaters, T-shirts, hoodies, tops, dresses, pants etc. Here we will show you the best types of knit fabrics and their characteristics.

 

Cotton Jersey Knits

Cotton jersey knit fabrics are 100% cotton or blended with fibers such as rayon or polyester. They are fully made of cotton with minimal stretch due to the knitting process. Cotton jersey blend knit fabrics with rayon or polyester content provides an additional stretch. Jersey fabric thickness varies from lightweight to medium weight, so it is really important to choose the right knit fabric for your sewing project. Just take an example of lightweight knit to know more about the selection of fabric. A lightweight knit is not suitable for pants because it requires more stability and structure that is found in cotton jersey knit.

Jersey knit fabrics are very inclusive as they have stability and small stretch similar to a cotton spandex knit. You can use these Jersey fabrics in a variety of sewing patterns designed for both woven fabrics and knit. We’d suggest staying away from patterns with complicated structure or zippers etc.

 

Cotton Spandex Knits

 

Cotton spandex knits also known as cotton lycra, have a great amount of stretch due to lycra fiber. Cotton lycra fabrics usually have a 4-way stretch and are also excellent for bottom weight application due to their stretch. Cotton spandex knit fabrics blends with rayon and other fibers to provide a loose, drapey hang while still providing good stretch and recovery.

Cotton spandex knits are very erratic for use in sewing bottoms and tops that includes undergarments, socks and much more. While selecting the right cotton lycra knit for your sewing project it is necessary to see the amount of stretch that is required for the pattern. If the fabric has extra stretch then it is difficult for you to get the desired result from your garment. Too little stretch can be a problem as well.       

 

Hacci Sweater Knits

Sweater knits are also known as Hacci. Hacci has a more loopy and open-knit texture than regular cotton fabrics. Sweater knits also have the same feel and characteristics as jersey knits. That is why they are very versatile. The best part of this sweater knit is that they sew up just like regular knits.

 

 

Hacci sweater knit fabrics have a more drapey and open weave and are best for making scarves, sweaters, gloves, hats, and socks. Hacci is also good for stylish tops, skirts and beautiful dresses.

 

Ponte de Roma Knits

Ponte de Roma knit fabrics are a double knit fabric made of rayon, cotton and spandex blend of fibers. They are very stable, midweight, and very easy to sew. Ponte de Roma fabrics resist wrinkles and also have a good stretch. This fabric has a horizontal texture that gives a high-end look. This is a double knit polyester blend so make sure that you select appropriate sewing projects for Ponte de Roma knit fabrics.

 

 

Now you can sew a great collection of wardrobe items including jackets, pencil skirts, pants, and dresses. Ponte de Roma knit are also used to make other accessories and work awesomely well when blended with cotton spandex knits.

 

Bonus Tip: Characteristics of Knit Fabrics

 

Here is a quick short guide to knit fabric and a small experiment to know the different characteristics of this fabrics.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=582jqw0J1Vw

 

There are four things that you must keep in your mind while choosing the knit fabric that are: Weight/thickness, recovery, stretch, stability

Weight and Thickness

Weight and thickness are different things in fabrics. Weight is about how light or heavy the fabric is. T-shirts can be made from lightweight knits to the thicker jersey knit.

Recovery

Recovery is how efficiently a fabric comes back when stretched that helps to give you a tight shape while wearing. Fabrics that have good recovery consist of high elastane content. This is perfect for body fitting T-shirts etc. Fabrics that do not return to its original shape after stretching have a poor recovery warp.

 

Stretch

Stretch is how much percentage your fabric can be stretched. Knit fabric naturally has stretching properties but it can be stretched more with the inclusion of elastane/spandex/lycra in the fiber makeup of the fabric.

 

Most of the T-shirt patterns need widthwise stretch but other knit patterns need both lengthwise and widthwise stretch. It depends on the fabric and how hard or soft it is to stretch.

 

Stability

Stability (also called shear) means how translucent the fabric is. This basically is how much a fabric warps and twist. Fabrics that retain into their original shape have good stability and the fabrics that distort have poor stability.

 

Stretch and recovery shows how stable a fabric is. Ponte knits are extremely stable as they have a good stretch but they are not suitable for T-shirts. They are perfect for knit patterns.   Unstable knits easily drape around your body but it is hard to sew them because of their changing shape.

 

Stof Fabrics grey bear knit fabric

Stof Fabrics grey bear knit fabric

pink Stof Fabrics crab knit fabric

pink Stof Fabrics crab knit fabric

blue Stof Fabrics whale knit fabric

blue Stof Fabrics whale knit fabric

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