A Guide to Knit Fabrics
If you're new to stretch fabrics or sewing, you may not know much about them - or even what the term 'knit fabric' means! We're here to explain all...
What does 'knit' fabric mean?
A knit fabric is basically any stretch fabric. The term 'knit' comes from the way it's made - the fibres are knitted on a warp and weft in a specific way to create the stretch. Many also have added stretch fibres like elastane or lycra, but they can also be made from 100% cotton or other fibres too.
Specific types of stretch fabric have their own names, such as jersey or french terry, which have their own individual qualities too.
Common knits: Jersey
Jersey is probably the most popular stretch fabric, as it's so versatile! It can come as single or double jersey, but generally it's the stuff your t-shirts are made of; a medium-weight fabric with a good amount of stretch. It is usually either cotton-based or viscose-based (or a sustainable alternative to each such as tencel/modal) - cotton-based jerseys tend to be more structured and hold their shape, while viscose-based jerseys have more drape and swish to them.
Most jersey is 4 way stretch, which means it stretches both sideways and up and down - making it very versatile for a whole host of projects from tops to dresses to leggings!
Common knits: French Terry
French terry sounds very confusing, but it's actually very easy to recognise - it's often a similar weight to jersey, but with a distinctive backing made of lots of tiny little loops, a bit like the surface of a towel.
The loops make it lovely and breathable, and also a bit more warm than regular jersey, so it's great for warmer tops and cover-ups like dresses, cardigans, jumpers and hoodies.
Common knits: Sweatshirting
Possibly the snuggliest of all stretch fabrics, sweatshirting is a thicker stretch fabric, known for it's soft fleece backing. It's usually got less stretch than jersey or french terry, and it's thicker weight makes it ideal for warm clothes like hoodies, jumpers and winter dresses.
Common knits: Ponte Roma
We know the name doesn't give much away, but ponte roma is another favourite fabric for making; it's like an extra thick jersey, with a lovely smooth finish. It tends not to be quite as drapey as jersey, so it's good for newbies and also for transitional or winter items.
The best thing is it doesn't crease very easily! Use it for dresses, skirts, trousers and tops.
Want to know more about ALL types of fabrics?
Get your hands on one of our specially-made fabric sample guides, with 52 samples of common fabrics, plus info on how to use them, needle type, weight and composition.