Choosing the Right Knit Fabrics for the Right Project

 A lot of people have fear of knit fabrics.  


Maybe because they stretch.  Maybe because grandma never taught you how to sew on knit.  Or maybe, it's just because you haven't taken the leap and tried.

Pile of knit fabrics

There is NOTHING to be afraid of.  Knit fabrics are so easy to sew and your creations will come out AMAZING.  I promise once you start sewing with knits you'll never go back.

Today we are going to talk about the most important step in sewing with knit fabrics.  That is fabric choice.

Choosing Knit Fabrics By GYCT Designs
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When deciding on a knit project you first need to make the correct choice of what type of knit fabric to choose.  Not all knits are the same.  And not all knits are created equal.

So here is a little beginners guide to using some common knit fabrics.

Fabric Content
To start, make sure you look at the fabric content of your knit fabrics at the store.  Remember the part where I said "not all knits are the same".  A knit fabric that contains lycra or spandex is going to have more stretch than one that does not.  So you may have a Jersey knit that has more stretch than an Interlock.  However, it still may not be the right weight for the project you are planning.  

Jersey Knits 

Choosing Knit Fabrics By GYCT Designs
Good Stretch

Jersey fabrics are knits that can have very little stretch to a lot of stretch depending on fiber content.  They also vary in weight, meaning they can be very lightweight, or almost see through, to heavy weight.

Jersey knits tend have a very soft and smooth surface.   The most common use for Jersey knits are for tops and t-shirts.  They do have great drape so are perfect for dresses or flowy tops.  Just check the thickness first.

Choosing Knit Fabrics By GYCT Designs

Interlock Fabrics
Choosing Knit Fabrics By GYCT Designs
Medium Stretch

Interlock is probably my preferred choice for knit tops.  It has a great weight, or thickness.  It stretches well but not too much.  It is soft and comfy.  It drapes fairly well, but not as well as Jersey.  So you wouldn't want to use an interlock for a flowy top or dress. 

Interlock has a good structure so it is a good choice for skirts  But it is perfect for something like our Tinley Tee or Rival Raglan.

Choosing Knit Fabrics By GYCT DesignsChoosing Knit Fabrics By GYCT Designs

Ponte Knit Fabrics
Choosing Knit Fabrics By GYCT Designs
Small amount of stretch
Ponte knits are a double knit fabric which means they tend to be heavier weight.  They do not have much stretch unless combined with a lycra fiber.  Ponte knits are sturdy and great for skirts, cardigans or jackets. They work for tops like a t-shirts.  

I have found they tend to pill more in washing, meaning they get little fuzzy balls on them after so many washes.  So you may need to handwash or just wash and lay flat to dry.  

Choosing Knit Fabrics By GYCT DesignsChoosing Knit Fabrics By GYCT DesignsChoosing Knit Fabrics By GYCT Designs
 Rival Raglan in ponte and and Tinley Tee 

Rib Knit
Rib knits have great stretch and recovery.  They are the most common knit used for neckbands and cuffs on t-shirts.

Cotton Lycra
Cotton Lycra is a 4-way stretch knit fabric.  This means that no matter which direction you pull, it will stretch.  Lycra fabrics are great for layering.  Lycra fabrics are perfect for sewing leggings, skirts and flowy tops.  

Knit Skirt in Cotton Lycra

Nylon Spandex
Nylon Spandex knit is most commonly used in swimwear and dancewear.  Nylon Spandex has a 4 way stretch which allows for great stretch and recovery.  And because it is a synthetic fiber, it is designed to withstand the moisture and chemicals from swimming pools.  

Fleece (Polar)
Another fabric that is brought up a lot when talking about knit fabrics is fleece.  It is comfy and cozy and kids LOVE the feel of it.  The biggest downfall for fleece, when it comes to sewing knits, is stretch.  Fleece has very little stretch.  Which means it is not an ideal choice for sewing a top that needs to stretch over a head.  However, fleece is great for jackets or sweaters with large necklines.

Fleece Jacket
Denali Fleece Jacket

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Knit fabrics


  1. Thanks for the info it's helpful for us that are just starting to sew with knits

  2. Thanks! I just happen to buy a yard of Jersey Knit for a comfy pencil skirt, when I got home I felt that maybe I grabbed the wrong kind, it looked so thin.

    1. I love jersey knit dresses Wendy. Will be super comfy and fit perfect. Happy sewing!

  3. Thanks Chelsea, that has clarified a couple of things I was not sure about. Great blog, I love it.

  4. Thank you. My brain feels bigger already

  5. Great information here. I wish it could be in printer friendly format.