J&O Fabrics Top 10 Knit Fabric Tips

jandofabrics, jersey knit, knitsFrom Coco Chanel’s influential use of jersey knit fabric in her suits from the early 1900′s, to the iconic wearing of body-skimming knit sweaters by sex symbols like Lana Turner and Jane Russell in the 1940′s, the use of knit fabric has constantly found its place in the realm of sportswear and high fashion well into the era’s. The new millenium is no exception.

If you put a premium on comfort and breath-ability in your fabrics, then cotton and blend knits are the way to go. From sportswear, pajamas, and bedding, to casual wear, dresses and more, with knits the possibilities of your wardrobe are endless! Stretchy, breathable, versatile and comfortable, cotton and blended knits are the ideal dress fabrics for traveling or simply lounging around. For ease in construction when creating garments and accessories made with this fabulous fabric,  check out our J&O Fabric Store top ten tips below!


Top 10 Knit Tips


1.  Construction counts

When selecting a knit fabric, keep in mind that there are two kinds…single knits and double. Single knits are usually lightweight and have more stretch. Double knits (interlock)  are usually heavier and more stable.

2. Weight matters

When cutting drapey knits like matte jerseys or slinky, use weights rather than pins to keep the pattern pieces and fabric layers aligned. Pinning thru the layers can often cause the fabric to shift and errors to occur when constructing.

3. Stretch factor makes a difference

Knits vary in terms of stretch and ability to recover afterwards. They also vary between whether they carry a two-way (horizontal only) and four-way (horizontal and vertical) stretch. Patterns are designed with this difference in mind so pay close attention to the stretch gauge on the pattern envelope when selecting your knit fabric.

*Note: knit fabrics made with synthetic fibers often have better recovery than natural fibers.

4. Hang Factor

Knit fabrics are designed to stretch, so they have a tendency to ‘grow’ if left hanging. Growing can cause inaccurate cuts and distorted seams. When cutting a knit fabric, don’t allow excess fabric to hang over the edge of your cutting table. Instead, support as much of your fabric as possible to prevent such occurences.

5. Making the Cut

Accuracy is vital when cutting knits. Use sharp, burrfree scissors and/or a rotary cutter to prevent snags, stretching, and bunching. Follow the ‘with nap’ instructions to lay out the pattern.

6. Pre-wash

Because knit fabrics have a tendency to shrink and are not pre-washed when purchased, it is a good idea to do so prior to construction. This allows you to get the shrinkage factor out of the way to ensure proper sizing of completed project.

7. Added Yardage

As mentioned above, since knit fabrics tend to shrink some (especially natural fibers), purchase slightly more yardage than required for your project to cover the slight loss in inches that may occur.

8. Needles & Thread

To avoid skipped stitches and popped seams, use a ball-point needle and polyester thread to sew knits. Ballpoint needles have a rounded tip that’s designed to slide between rather than pierce the knit fabric loops. Polyester thread is stronger than cotton and more flexible as well so it stretches with the fabric.

9. Smooth Stitching

There are many different methods for stitching smooth knit seams depending on fabric and machine tension. Stitches that stretch with the fabric, longer straight stitches, or even very narrow zigzag stitches work well with knits. Try several ways to determine which works best for you.

10. Fitting fusible

To add stability to a knit fabric, use a compatible knit interfacing. Woven and non-woven fusible interfacing are usually too rigid and cause the knit fabric to bubble and pucker after fusing. A better choice would be a Tricot knit interfacing. It’s lightweight and stretchy attributes make it less noticeable when fused to a knit fabric.

cotton and blend knits

polyester knit

dress fabric

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply