March 16, 2015

Girl Charlee Fabrics :: Knit Fabric 101

When out shopping for clothing you may notice that so many easy to wear and stylish fashions are made with knit fabrics.  You may also think to yourself, "I know I could make that myself, but I have no idea what kind of knit fabric to use!".   There is a wide range of knit fabrics available that are perfect for sewing up many different everyday wardrobe items.  T-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, dresses, tops, pants, bathing suits... even underwear!  To get you started we have a put together a breakdown of the main knit fabric types and the best uses for them.

Cotton Jersey Knits :: Cotton jersey knit fabrics can be 100% cotton or blended with other fibers such as polyester or rayon.  100% cotton jersey is commonly used in t-shirt type of applications as it has a sturdy hand and wear with a minimal stretch.  Cotton jersey blend knit fabrics with polyester or rayon are very popular knits as they provide a more fluid drape and added stretch, making them suitable for a wider range of uses like tops, dresses, and more!

Cotton Spandex Knits :: If you are looking for a sturdy fabric that is good for leggings cotton spandex is a great "bottom weight" knit fabric choice with a high percentage of cotton combined with a small percentage of spandex for stretch and recovery.  Cotton spandex knit fabrics also come in blends with rayon and other fibers that allow for a looser, drapey hand and stretch that allows for a more wide range use in apparel and accessories.

Cotton Ribbed Knits :: Ribbed knits have wales or vertical rows of stitches that form ribs on both the face and the back of the fabric making both sides appear the same.  Ribbed knit are usually 100% cotton, but can also come with spandex and other fiber blends, and have a natural stretch that make them very useful for cuffs, bands, and necklines.  Rib knits are also popular for use in infant wear and tops and dresses.

French Terry Knits :: French terry knit fabrics have a regular smooth jersey top side with a varying loop piling on the back (from long in length to very short).  French terry is typically 100% cotton, but can also be found with spandex and other fibers for increased stretch and recovery.  French terry knits are extremely popular currently and can be found used in many fashion applications in women's clothing, while traditionally used for swim coverups and athletic bottoms due to its moisture absorbing capability.

Sweatshirt Fleece Knits :: Cozy and soft, sweatshirt knit fabric is a sturdy fabric with a smooth knit top side and a brushed soft fleecy wrong side.  Sweatshirt knits are great for the traditional hoodie or sweatshirt tops, and are also good for sweat pants and jogging bottoms and shorts for both adults and children.

Hacci Sweater Knits :: Sweater knits, also known as Hacci, have a more loopy, open-knit texture than regular cotton knit fabrics and are usually made of blends of cotton and wool, polyester, or spandex. They are wrinkle resistant and sew up just like regular knits!  The perfect knit fabric for making sweaters or cardigans, and trendy flowey tops and dresses.


Lycra Spandex Knits :: When you think swimwear and activewear applications Lycra or Nylon spandex are the knits you want to use!  Usually found with a nylon, rayon, spandex type of content these knits have a very smooth hand and a four way stretch.  Also a great fabric for making yoga pants, dresses, tops, dance wear and much more!

Ponte De Roma Knits :: Ponte de Roma knit fabrics are a double knit fabrics usually made of a cotton, rayon, spandex blend of fibers.  Ponte knits are stable, easy to sew knits as they are a good weight, resist wrinkles and creases, and have a soft hand and good stretch. Great for many different types of seasonless applications including jackets, tops, bottoms, dresses, skirts and more!

Specialty Knit Fabrics :: There are a lot of different types of knit that are suitable for more specialty types of uses just as vegan leather, lace, techno scuba, stretch knit denim, stretch denim, twill, and many more.  These fabrics all have different fiber contents that give them the characteristics you need to sew up items such as jackets, jeans, and other specialty items.  Just check the pattern instructions to determine the type of fabric you need, and most importantly if you want to use a specialty knit test the stretch and make sure it will work for your pattern!


Happy Sewing!
~ Heather & The Girl Charlee Team

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