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Know Your Knits - your guide to knitted fabrics

knitted fabrics sewing

Wendy Ward's brand new book, A Beginner's Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics is out TODAY and we are very excited! A lot of people are nervous about making clothes with knitted fabrics, but with Wendy's help you can make stylish and comfy clothes much easier than you think.

The book is full of advice and techniques, so for today's blog we are handing over to Wendy to tell us the basics about knitted fabrics...

 

sewing with knitted fabrics

What is a knitted fabric?

The main quality of a knitted fabric is that it stretches, much more than any woven fabric—even those with spandex (elastane).

The difference between a woven fabric and a knitted fabric is in their construction; woven fabrics have two lots of threads at right angles to each other, and if you look closely you will see some variation of a grid pattern formed by the threads going over and under each other. Knitted fabrics are made from interlocking loops and I often describe it to students as looking like hand knitting on a tiny scale.

 

Different types of knitted fabrics

Knitted fabrics can vary wildly and so it’s good to be armed with some basic knowledge of the different types of knits, how they behave, and what they’re best used for. I’ve divided them into two groups:

sewing with knitted fabrics

Light and medium-weight knits:

Single jersey

Interlock

Rib/ribbing

Common fibers used:

Cotton

Viscose

Silk

Wool

Spandex (elastane)

Best used for:

Tops and dresses in draped and fitted styles, lightweight drapey skirts and pants.

If you want to have a go at making sportswear, look for fabrics with an spandex content of 10%+, labeled as “4-way stretch” fabric.

 

Medium- and heavyweight knits:

Sweatshirt, Loopback (or brushed back)

sweatshirt/French terry

Ponte roma

Scuba

Cut & sew knits (sometimes called “Sweater knits”)

Boiled wool

Boucl. wool

Common fibers used:

Cotton

Viscose

Wool

Polyester

Spandex

Best used for:

As some of the fabrics in this group tend to have less stretch and are often referred to as “stable” knits, they’re great for more structured/boxy styles such as loose fitting jumpers and dresses, loose fitting garments, and outerwear.

 

 SUMMARY OF FABRICS AND FIBERS AND THEIR BEST USES:

 

For more advice and techniques, as well as projects and templates in a range of sizes, check out A Beginner's Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics by Wendy Ward.



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