Types of Knit Fabrics. The best uses and Guide to choosing them.


There is a lot of Types of Knit Fabrics out there. This type of fabric is ideal for many different garments that usually need some stretch, such as dresses, leotards, swimwear patterns, and of course, activewear.

You will learn what is knit fabric used for, depending on its type and properties so you can choose the best one depending on the knit sewing pattern or project you are sewing.

There are so many types of knit fabrics out there that it can get tricky when choosing which one would be the best for the project you have in mind. So it’s best to learn all knitted fabric uses, or at least to have this guide on hand for when you need it.

Types of Fabrics

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These kinds of fabrics are definitely a joy to use. 

If you have ever sewed with any of the types of knit fabrics, you will also know that they are actually pretty easy and fast to sew. 

And even though it needs some practice at first, once you get the basics to handle it, you will get to make awesome projects with it. 

But the thing is that, as I said in our post 12 Sewing Mistakes you don’t know you are making and how to fix them, choosing the right fabric depending on your sewing project is essential for its perfect finish.

And the same happens with knit fabrics. There are a lot of different varieties of this type of fabric and knowing all of them will help you a lot to choose the perfect fit for your needs. 

Before we get into all the different types of knit fabrics and their best uses and descriptions I would like to answer a question that a lot of you had asked me before on social media and by email.

If you want to improve your knit fabric skills read this after: 20 Knit Fabric Tutorials you need to know today!

What is the best Knit Fabric for Dresses?

Depending on the style of dress the best-knit fabric for dresses is the following.

For a fresh fluid summer dress use ITY Knit fabric.

If you are looking for something with more structure and volume then a Ponte or a Scuba knit fabric is the best choice.

Now, if you want a dress for something a little bit more formal, for work for example use Double Knit, which is wrinkle resistant and holds a great structure.

For all your other dresses or if you are unsure of the end-use, you can’t go wrong with your basic Jersey Knit fabric.

Making a dress with knit fabric is one of the greatest satisfactions a seamstress can get.

This kind of sewing pattern is not only super easy and quick to sew. But they also are super comfortable to wear.

So, now that you know this, the only matter left is to write down the following list.

What is a knit fabric used for?

This fabric is commonly used to make garments such as t-shirts, dresses, sportswear, underwear and so much more. 

They are sewn with serger machines but you can also use your sewing machine to join them together.

All thought is a little harder to use your home sewing machine for this is perfectly possible to achieve good results and avoid puckering on the fabrics.

Different types of Knit Fabrics and the best way to use them.

These are the most common types of Knit Fabrics used on knitwear garments.

  1. Jersey knit
  2. Double knit
  3. Interlock
  4. French Terry
  5. Sweater knit
  6. Ponte
  7. Scuba
  8. Rib-knit
  9. Lycra spandex
  10. Mesh
  11. ITY

After the list: It doesn’t matter if we are making pants, dresses, underwear, or other clothing.

We have to know first the end-game this garment is going to have so we can choose the best-knit fabric for it, depending on that fabric’s properties.

Types of knit fabrics

1. Jersey Knit Fabric

You can find Jersey Knit Fabric made of fibers such as cotton, spandex, rayon, or a blend between them. 

It is the most common type you will find and it is great to use on t-shirts and dresses. 

I highly recommend getting a blend of rayon with spandex because it will hold its shape better than cotton blends. Also, it has a great stretch recovery, which is the ability of the fabric to come back to its original shape after you stretch it. 

Inside this category, you will find other names with different properties such as:

Double brushed jersey knits. Super soft and has a wonderful touch. They usually come with at least 4-way 50% of stretch. You will love to use them on t-shirts, tunics, and dresses. One of my favorite uses for double-brushed jerseys is to use it on my free No-show socks pattern. 

Bamboo Rayon. As its name states it is a blend of rayon and bamboo fibers and it usually comes with spandex too. It’s also soft to the touch but it isn’t as lightweight as the double brushed. The best use for this fabric is to make sturdier t-shirts, loungewear, or fuller dresses.

Use Jersey Knit Fabric with these 2 Free Knit Patterns: Free No-Show Socks Pattern and Free Dress Slip Pattern.

2. Double knit

The double knit fabric it’s a great wrinkle-resistant fabric with more structure and it holds its shape well.

All though you can use it for tops I will recommend it better for bottoms such as skirts, leggings or pants. Because it is more like a medium-weight fabric. They are also perfect for jackets, lined blazers, or coats. Between the variations of this fabric, you will find Liverpool, Scuba, Ponte de Roma, and Telio.

3. Interlock

Interlock fabric type

With these types of knit fabrics such as Interlock knit is more stable to sew than the others but it has almost no stretch (10%-20% crossed grain).

That’s why it’s easier to sew but it also limits a lot of the ways you can use it. The most popular fiber for Interlock knits is cotton which makes it perfect for babies or kids garments such as tops or bottoms. Always, always pre-wash this fabric before cutting your pattern, because it will reduce.

Did you knew you can do this with your serger: Blind Hem with your Serger Machine Tutorial.

4. French Terry

Same as with Interlock, French Terry fabrics have limited stretch and they often come in cotton, polyester, and spandex fibers. Depending on the weight they are good to use on skirts, loungewear, or baby and toddler clothes.

5. Lycra Spandex

lycra spandex

My other favorite! Lycra Spandex is used on swimwear, dancewear and some sport wear such as leggings.

This is because this fabric has an amazing stretch recovery and allows movement. I love to use it on leotards, and all kinds of swimming garments such as our Kelani Bikini pattern. Its 4-way stretch with at least 75% of stretch cross grain and between 30 and 50% on the grain.

6. Mesh

mesh fabric

It could be plain, printed, or laced. Mesh fabric is perfect to combine with swimwear fabric on the areas you want it to be see-through or simply add a delicate touch.

It is very hard to sew by itself or without the help of tissue paper to avoid puckering. At least in my opinion.

7. Scuba

Scuba Knit fabric is perfect for making skirts, pants, some activewear, jackets, and even bags. The more weight it has the ticker it will be and the sturdier too.

I think of this fabric as the perfect fit for some garments that are fitted to the body but where you still need some room to stretch and movement.

Think of a high-waisted pair of pants or a blazer, where you need the fabric to stretch a bit when you sit or move. It also holds its shape wonderfully. You will be able to find it with Satin finishes or brushed more matte finishes too.

8. Ponte de Roma

ponte de roma fabric

This type of knit fabric is sturdy and medium-weight. It has limited stretch but is very resistant. It is best used for athletic shorts and pants, jackets, and even professional uniforms.

I don’t find this fabric easy to handle because of its thickness. But it has the benefit that it doesn’t stretch as much as others while you sew.

9. Rib Knit

rib fabric

You will most likely find Rib knit fabrics on the cuffs and neckband of commercial t-shirts or polo shirts.

It’s ribbed vertically on both sides and it stretches cross grain. It can also be used for lightweight sweaters or cardigans if you find them on a lighter weight and made with softer fibers.

10. ITY

It stands for Interlock Twist Yarn. It’s usually medium weight and available in a lot of prints and colors.

ITY fabric is soft and very comfortable to wear and has a nice fluid drape. These types of knit fabrics come on stretched percentages between 30-50% and they are perfect to make dresses, tops, tunics and skirts, and jumpsuits. Some of it also has vertical stretch which helps it to fit better to the body.

11. Sweater knit

sweater knit

At the risk of sounding redundant, this is the knit fabric you want to use for sweaters and cardigans.

It has a super wide variety of finishes, colors, and textures like cable knit or ribbed. It sews as a regular knit fabric and it has a stretch percentage between 10-30%.

I hope this guide gives you a better idea of what kinds of knits you want to use for your projects. If you have a question you can post it in the comments box below.

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12 thoughts on “Types of Knit Fabrics. The best uses and Guide to choosing them.”

  1. It’s nice to know that knitwear can also be ribbed. I’d like to find a good wholesale knitwear clothing line soon because I’m interested in having more clothes in my wardrobe that have long sleeves. I think that knitwear will be the best option for that.

  2. Which fabric should I use for tight but stretchy tanktop, sort of transparent but not too much! So you could also wear without a bra. But also fabric that doesn’t look cheap when u look close, because mesh sometimes does. Also print that you could also put a print one after the tanktop is made.

  3. This is a great article and very useful. Is it available anywhere as a download? I would love to have a copy to keep in my sewing room.


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