Knits are fabrics that are constructed
by knitting yarns together. There are many types of knits on the
market, and to make things more complicated, retailers have created
additional names to further characterize basic knits by either weights,
content or finish.
For the most part, there are 2 types of
knits -- double-knits interlock and rib knit, and single knits -- jerseys
Identifying the type of Knit.
If you can't tell the difference, don't
feel bad -- most clerks in fabric stores cant' either!
The best way to familiarize yourself is to look in your closet. An
expensive knit top ($20 or more) will likely be interlock, everyday tees
will are made with jersey, and girls leggings or men's/boys fitted briefs
with rib knit.
The face looks more or less the same on all
3 fabrics -- they all have have small vertical ribs. Go to the back of
the fabric and and gently pull the across the stretch. Interlock will
look more or less the same on the face and back, jersey has a wavy
purl pattern that runs perpendicular to the face rib. If you're
still not sure, cut a piece from selvedge to selvedge, if it's jersey the
cut edge will curl on itself, interlock and rib will lay flat.
||Everyday Tees, shorts,
dresses, lining, sleepwear
||Elegant Tees, shorts,
dresses, lining, sleepwear
||Tight tees, skirts,
dresses, leggings, underwear, collars and cuffs
when cut, can run (like nylon stockings) from cut edges.
||Stable, cut ends will lay
flat, will not run.
||Stable, cut ends will lay
flat, will not run.
||Durable, less pilling,
||Soft, elegant drape
||Soft, elegant drape
||Not as soft as interlock,
not as warm.
Seams curl, before and after sewing, C/L
blends especially tricky.
|Requires more care in
laundering (to keep pilling down)
||Ribknits with no lycra
may stretch out over time.
Requires more care in laundering (to keep pilling down)
BE SURE TO USE BALLPOINT NEEDLES FOR KNITS- SHARP, MICROTEX
AND UNIVERSAL NEEDLES WILL CAUSE SEAMS TO FAIL OVER TIME. THIS
IS PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT FOR SINGLE KNITS LIKE JERSEY AND JOGGING
FLEECE & ALL KNITS WITH A HIGH NATURAL FIBER CONTENT (COTTON,
RAYON, LYOCELL, CONTENT...)
|Flannels are woven
fabrics, usually made from 100% cotton. They are used for
sleepwear, bedding, jacket linings, and diapers/nappies and as a
construction or absorbent material.
Flannels may be napped on one side,
or both. There are several types of flannels:
Diaper Flannel (obsolete)
The name diaper flannel simply
describes regular flannel woven 27" wide. This was popular way
back because the flatfold diapers of yesteryear were 27" x 27".
This, and the larger 36" widths are obsolete today as they produce
too much cutting waste for modern diapers.
Double Napped Flannel, Super
Flannel that is heavily napped on
both sides. This is available in a wide range of solid colors,
and not usually available in prints as the prints look very fuzzy on
this type of flannel.
This is a flannel made from dyed
yarns. It's the best for shirts, pants and linings since it
pills less, has a softer hand than solids and prints. Yarn
dyeds are available in square plaid patterns.
"pee-u-l" or "pull" is a phrase coined diaper
makers for thermo polyurethane film laminated to a knit or woven
fabric. The primary application for PUL is
hospital curtains and fluid barriers however it has also found a
market with small scale diapers makers.
Polar fleece is polyester fleece
is any polar fleece made with microfiber
Thread, comes in polyester,
cotton, and poly/cotton blends. Polyester thread is the
- Serger Thread
- Wooly Nylon
- Embroidery Thread
- Jeans Thread
Swimsuit or Swimwear Elastic
This is a cotton/rubber or cotton/lycra woven elastic that is soft
and durable. It will break down in when subject to chlorine (swimming
pools, laundry bleach). This has all but been replaced by
Fold-Over Elastic (FOE)
Use it in place of bias tape around the edges of arm and leg
elastic (Lastin / Mobilon)
This is a durable clear sew through elastic that is used on
swimsuits, lingerie, and diapers. You should pre-stretch this elastic
by fully extending it 3 times before sewing.
There are a lots of different
machine needles available. You project will finish better if
you use use the correct needle type for fabric you are sewing.
Knits generally need
ball point needles. Ball point needles
will not break the yarns so you can all but eliminate pinholes and
runs in the fabric.
- Embellishment on a garment where decoration is made by cutting pieces
of one material and applying them to the surface of another.
Bird's Eye - A fabric woven with a pattern of
Burley Knit Terry,
is not a type of fabric. Retailers serving the home diapering
market use this term to spice up the description of 3-end French terry
knit in 16oz and higher weights.
- A class of yarn-dyed, plain-weave fabrics with a colored warp and white
filling. Most often produced in soft blue tomes (looks like faded blue jean
Chenille - Soft, fuzzy yarns stand out around
a velvety cord on this fabric, whose name comes from the French word for
Chintz - A printed and glazed fabric, usually
Crêpe - Used to describe all kinds of
fabrics--wool, cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics and blends-that have a
crinkly, crimped or grained surface. From the French word creper, which
means "to crimp or frizz."
Crêpe de chine - A fine, lightweight
Crochet - Loose, open knit made by looping
thread with a hooked needle. Used for light, summer sweaters.
Decitex - The international standard for yarn
weight measurement. Decitex is defined as the weight in grammes of 10,000
meters of yarn.
Effect Thread - Yarns inserted into a fabric, that are sufficiently
different to the surrounding yarns, to form or enhance a pattern.
Elastomer - Any polymer showing rubber-like
elastic properties. This includes Lycra and Spandex.
Engineered print - Also called a placed print because it is
integrated into a specific area of the design. Border prints are often
engineered into place.
Facing - A piece of fabric sewn to the inside of a garment for lining
purposes or to add structure to the garment.
Faille - A dressy, flat-ribbed fabric with a
light luster that drapes and tailors well. The ribs are flatter and less
pronounced than in grosgrain. Traditionally used for women's dresses, suits
Feedstripe - Knit fabric where a stripe pattern is produced by the
way colored yarns are fed into the knitting machine. Also know as Yarn Dyed.
- (also called Jogging fleece, or sweatshirt fleece.)
This is a knit fabric, usually in cotton or poly cotton that has napped
terry loops on one or both sides. There are several variations that
and finish types for fleeces.
French terry, French Fleece
- A circular knit fabric with a looped pile back and smooth face. This
constructs like jogging fleece.
Gabardine - Durable, tightly woven fabric
made in a twill weave with distinct diagonal ribs and given a clean finish.
Made of cotton, wool or rayon, gabardine wears extremely well. Commonly used
for sportswear, suits, uniforms and raincoats.
Georgette - A sheer, lightweight plain-weave
fabric with a fine crepe surface. Sometimes silk, sometimes synthetic. Also
called crepe georgette or georgette crepe.
Hopsack - A loosely woven coarse fabric of
cotton or wool used in clothing. Hop growers originally used the fabric for
Intarsia - A flat knit fabric with
solid-colored, geometric patterns. The sides of the fabric are identical.
Interlock - a type of cut and sew knit fabric
that is characterized by the interconnecting of the knit stitches.
Jacquard - Elaborate woven or knitted pattern.
The system for producing these fabrics was invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard
in France in 1801. Some jacquard fabrics have specific names (e.g., brocade,
damask and tapestry).
Jersey - A generic term for a plain knit fabric
without a distinct rib. Originally made of wool, jersey fabric was first
manufactured on the island of Jersey.
Lyocell (aka Polinosic,
and Tencel ), an organic rayon derivatives, spun to create the densest,
tightest, and finest yarn possible. Offers greater color brilliance,
softer hand and more wrinkle resistant than other organic fibers.
Lycra® - DuPont's registered trademark for its
brand of elastic fiber. Same type of fiber as Spandex.
Marled yarn - Two single yarns of different colors twisted together.
You see this mottled effect most often in sweaters.
Matte jersey - A dull, flat knit fabric
made of fine crepe yarns. Most popular in travel and permanent press
or easy care dresses, slacks and skirts.
Microfibre - Generic term for any synthetic fiber finer than silk.
Fabrics made with microfibres are soft, lightweight, breathable and durable.
Picot - A small embroidered loop forming an ornamental edging on a
ribbon or lace.
Pinpoint oxford - Lightweight, soft, cotton-like fabric with a small
2x1 basket (rib) weave repeats. High quality. Very smooth surface; used for
Piqué - A knitted cotton fabric with a waffle, or
diamond-shaped, pattern. French piqué knits became an international favorite
when René Lacoste, a 1920's French tennis champion, designed the polo shirt.
Also called Lacoste.
Pointelle - A basic ribknit made with a
pattern of dainty openings. Typically femenine..
Polar Fleece - A generic name for polyester
spun filament fleeces. Most polar fleeces are finished with a velour
good side and a fleeced inside. These fabrics are popular for sleep and
outerwear. Content is usually polyester and often contain recycled
Note: there are a wide range of grades in polar fleeces and no
standard grading or rating system for this fabric. We recommend 10oz and up
for garments, and 14oz for outerwear.
Poplin - A durable, plain weave fabric similar to
broadcloth but with a heavier rib and heavier weight. Made of silk, cotton,
synthetic fibers, wool or blends.
Ripstop - A fabric woven with a double thread
at regular intervals so that small tears do not spread.
Rayon - A manufactured natural fibre made from
wood cellulose. It is soft, absorbent and drapes well. Also known as
Sateen - A
semi-lustrous surface distinguishes this smooth, durable fabric in a satin
weave. Sateen is usually made of cotton.
Schiffli - A type of embroidery characterized
by vine-like floral pattern on sheer/mesh-like fabrics, named after the type
of machine it is produced on (Schiffli machine).
Seersucker - A popular warm-weather cotton
fabric with permanent woven crinkled stripes.
Shantung - Medium weight, plain weave,
silk-like fabric with pronounced slub filling yarns (slub means yarns are
uneven or nubby). Used for dresses.
Sherpa, describes a type of surface texture used as a finish on knit
terry. The term 'Sherpa' comes from the the pebbled chunky finish found on
traditional woven wool and sheared sheepskin fleeces that have been used for
centuries my Tibetan Sherpas. Sherpa is often misused by specialty
retailers to describe thick weight jogging fleece and lightly napped french
terry textiles. This is particularly common in retailers serving
the diaper market who often mix up finishes and local colloquial names for
fabrics to spice up their fabric descriptions. ( and terms like Nantuckut,
Burley Knit Terry etc.)
- A color effect produced in
fabrics woven with a warp yarn of one colour and a weft yarn of a
Tencel (aka Polinosic, Lyocell ), an organic rayon
derivatives, spun to create the densest, tightest, and finest yarn possible.
Offers greater color brilliance, softer hand and more wrinkle resistant than
other organic fibers.
Terry - A fabric with loop pile on one or both
Toile - Light/medium weight, plain weave, fine,
cotton-type fabric, usually with one colored printed scenic design. Used
mostly for home furnishings, clothing, etc.
Twill - A fabric that shows a distinct diagonal
wale on the face (e.g., denim, gabardine, tricotine). Can be knit, but is
Velour - Soft plush fabric with a close, dense
refers to a fabric's tendency to disburse moisture
rather than absorbing it.
- Weft is a type of knitting in which yarns run horizontally,
from side to side, across the width of the fabric.
Velvet - A short, closely woven
cut pile fabric with a rich, soft texture.
Viscose - A manufactured fibre made of
regenerated cellulose. It is soft, absorbent and drapes well. Also known as
Voile - A lightweight, sheer fabric with a crisp,