Good quality knit fabric is not hard to find, if you know where to go. More importantly, sewing with good quality knits will make a huge difference in your finished item and your sanity. If you are new to knits, there are a few things you’ll need to know about fabric before you start.
- Directional Stretch – What direction will your fabric stretch
2 way stretch meas in only has either vertical or horizontal stretch, not both. 4 way stretch means it has stretch in all directions.
You can test this by simple trying to stretch the fabric. Which way(s) is it stretching?
- % of stretch– How much stretch does it have
You can have 50% stretch 2 way fabric or 50%/ 20% 4 way stretch and anything in between. This is important to remember, just because it says 4 way stretch, doesn’t mean it will stretch equally in all directions. In fact, all fabric will have more stretch in one direction or another. It is just the nature of fabric.
You can test this by cutting a strip and stretching int over a ruler. To get your stretch % plug your number in here:
X = the original width ; Y= the width after stretching ; X(Y/X) * 100 = stretch percentage
4×1 inch strip, original
5×1 inch, stretched Your math looks like this: 5-4=1 1/4= 0.25 0.25 x 100= 25%.
**If your knit has less than 20% stretch you need to use a pattern designed for woven fabrics. **
- Recovery– How well does it return back to the original size/shape after being stretched
If you are making things like leggings, neckbands or anything that will be stretched a lot, you want good recovery. If you make leggings( Pants) from a fabric with poor recovery, you will end up with saggy knees and butt area. And no one wants that.
You can test the fabric by cutting a 4″x4″ square and pulling it across a ruler . How well does it go back to the original 4X4 shape?
- Weight – The weight of knits or any fabric really will tell you how thick/heavy it is. Good knits are hard to find in the big sewing chain stores, so on line shopping is almost a must. But it can be hard to order if you can’t touch and feel the fabric. Knowing what to look for makes ordering so much easier. Check out the product info in the listing, and look for the weight.
Light weight knits – 0-7oz Medium weights knits 8-12oz Heavy wight knit 13oz or more
Remember not all knits are created equally. The better quality knit fabric the easier time you will have sewing with it. When I first started sewing knits, I ran out and bought discount priced knits to “learn on” I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money “testing it out”. I was so frustrated and had the worst time ever. Why was it so hard? Because of my fabric choices.
You don’t need to spend a ton on fabric to get great quality knits to “learn” with. Here are a few fabric shops with great quality knits at affordable prices:
- Purple seamstress Fabric
- Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop
- Girl Charlee
- Euro Girls boutique
- So Sew English Fabrics
Use code RAGAMUFFIN10 for 10% off your total So Sew English order.
Read more about sewing with knits here.
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