I love sewing, using knit fabrics whenever I have the time for it. I usually buy the knits online as there is always limited stock in the knit fabric section of my local store. But it can be difficult to know what you are buying, because you cannot feel the material online. It is very disappointing when you find that the fabric just won’t work. So I always buy from the best stores, the most reputable ones. You should also have some idea about the different types of knits available. This will give you the understanding of what to expect from them each, and also the clothing they are good for.
Knitting is the method of manipulating the yarn for making a fabric or textile that is used in different garments. Jersey fabrics are probably the most popular knit. Jersey is a single knit fabric, which is elastic and drapes well. It is used in home décor, and clothing is also made with jersey fabrics, such as your soft cotton t-shirt.
Cotton Jersey Knit
There are all types of jersey fabrics, composed of silk, linen, viscose, wool, wool blend, and viscose blend, but it is cotton jersey, which is the most popular.
Top quality cotton jersey knit fabric is very fluid and soft. It is a great fabric for many types of garments, but in my opinion it works best in t-shirts. Always consider the weight when you are buying this. Cotton jersey can be very lightweight where it is about 5 oz or it can be heavy as well, sometimes going up to 12 oz. I personally prefer it lightweight. But make sure that it isn’t too lightweight and see-through. Around 7.5 – 8 oz should be good. Extremely lightweight materials can get stretched out quite easily.
Cotton ribbed knit is popular with necklines and cuffs as it is very stretchy. But the material also looks good on tees for the kids.
Cotton Ribbed Knit
This knit can be identified easily because of the lines or the “ribs” that go up and down the fabric. This kind of knit is usually used for necklines and cuffs as it is very stretchy. But in my experience, I have seen that it is very good for tees meant for the kids too.
Cotton Thermal Knit
There are also cotton thermal knit for the cold season. The thermal material will keep you warm during the colder months. Underwear’s are often made with this. Long sleeve shirts with this also look good on kids. The fabric is slightly clingy, so it won’t work that well in a shirt.
Cotton Interlock Knit
This is also a common type of knit that you should be able to find easily at your local fabric shop in different types of solids, and sometimes also in prints. Interlocking is a very good knit for sewing for beginning. This is usually more stable and thicker than other knits. I like to use it for dresses or skirts. It is also good for blankets, and is very soft too. Besides, you also get a very high quality feel.
The knit fabric here is of medium weight. It looks usually the same on both the sides, and it is less stretchy too than single knit fabrics. On first glance, it may seem as if the two knit fabrics are kept together, as thus the name. It is fluffy and thick thanks to the unique two needle construction. Many types of fibers are used for making double knits, such as rayon, wool, and cotton among others. Synthetic fibers are also used. Rayon double knit is often preferred as it is extremely soft.
Other Jersey Knits
Jersey knit is a great option for drapes garments like tops for women and evening dresses. And like I have mentioned before, it’s a great choice for the winter. For instance, while cotton jersey is used to make suits and dresses, wool jersey is used for jackets and suits.
This is one beautiful fabric for making garments with. The fabric here combines the elasticity of knit and the beauty of lace very well. However, maintaining it may not be all that easy. Be particularly careful when you are washing it.
Sweatshirt Fleece Knits
Soft and cozy, this is a sturdy fabric, and it has a brushed soft fleecy wrong side and a smooth knit top side. Sweatshirt knits work very well for sweatshirt tops or the traditional hoodie. They can also be used for jogging bottoms and sweat pants, for both children and adults.
There is also Hacci sweater knit, which feels so soft, almost like a sweater material. It is however much lighter than the sweater you will find at stores. The material is stretchy and soft, and it sews up very easily, like normal knits. The fabric works best even for oversized sweaters, which are trending at this time. So you can consider buying wool jersey and wool blend jersey knits as well.
There are other knit fabric types as well, such as jersey rayon spandex, sweatshirt fleece, french terry knit, and lycra spandex knit.
Most of the tops you may have at this time are probably in this fabric. It offers the comfort of polyester or cotton, and the ease and stretchiness of knit. These are spandex or lycra knit blend fabric (elastene). It is very soft, but sewing with them isn’t always easy. The fabric is a great choice for making sleepwear as it is very comfortable.
Lycra Spandex Knits
Nylon spandex or lycra is often used for swimwear or active wear. You will usually find with a rayon, spandex, nylon content, it has an extremely smooth hand, and there is a four way stretch. This is a great fabric also for making dresses, dance wear, tops, yoga pants, and others.