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Fabric Challenge: Woven vs Knit

WandaJ | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Can anyone tell me what the rule is, if there is one, for using a woven fabric instead of knit when the pattern suggests/recommends “Cotton knits, Lightweight Double Knits and Jersey.”

I would like to use this very lightweight, drapey silk crepe instead of the above fabrics, and ‘think’ it could be pulled-off with the right adjustments to the pattern/fabric during the layout phase.

I am making my first attempt to attach a document, in the form of the pattern (Vogue 2796) I would like to use for this project, and would appreciate your help .  Thanks




  1. User avater
    MrsRussell | | #1

    I love Issey Miyake's designs - he really knows how to create that special 'look'

    I would try making up the pattern in a similar weight, inexpensive drapey fabric, in order to see if this is really the 'look' that you're trying to achieve. You might have to use a 'sew in' silk organza interfacing if the fabric is to 'drapey'

    Good luck,

    shelly in Jerusalem

    1. WandaJ | | #4

      Thanks Shelly, Your suggestion was wise.  I of course, am concerned about the ease factor not only when wearing the garment, but when dressing too!

  2. liselaure | | #2

    Hello Wanda,

    Maybe you could use the instructions available on http://www.leenas.com/English/scaling.html the reverse way.


    1. WandaJ | | #3

      Thank you not only for the suggestion, but the introduction to this website.  I plan to print the suggested section, get a glass of lemonade and head to the deck.  Thanks again.  Wanda

  3. woodruff | | #5

    I've been sewing forever, WandaJ, and my advice to you is not to do it. The designer is no fool, and if he created the pattern using a knit, then a knit is the most advisable type of fabric. Using a woven in this case, no matter how fluid it might be, is akin to trying to outdo Bach with homegrown improv.

    Of course, you may be immensely talented, and the result might be sensational. If you crave a challenge, go ahead, but it would be a good idea to first make a muslin of cheapish fabic with the same characteristics as your fashion fabric, and use really BIG seam allowances. Just a note: You'll get more knit-like characteristics out of wovens if you cut on the bias. That means one and one-half inch seam allowances, with the actual stitching lines thread-marked, and about twice as much ease (wiggle room) as you'd use for a knit.

    1. WandaJ | | #6

      Thank you for your advice.  And, I do 'sew well' however, my patternmaking experience is 0;and, I am not that great on pattern alterations. So, I have concluded that I will take your advice and not do it.  Then, I will wait for that wonderful piece of ice beige knit and make the garment.

      Thanks alot for your expert advice.


  4. MaryinColorado | | #7

    I have made tops from knit fabric first as a  pattern recommends, then tackled them with woven fabric cut on the bias if it seems plausable.  I went up two sizes to do this.  It is alot of work redrafting the pattern as necessary.  It was a fun inexpensive way to try my hand at creating my own patterns.  I still would not tackle an entire dress though.  

    I agree with the other comments regarding this.  Especially that the fabric recommendations on patterns are there so we can succeed in creating the look that the designer intended.


  5. MNohrDesigns | | #8

    I use knits all the time and when i was learning how to make patterns for knits they are sized much smaller than wovens. the common mistake i made was not taking in the patterns enough to accommodate for the knits. I am not sure if anyone has responded- Sorry if I am repeating others.
    Shirts it is harder to make a pull over shirt that doesn't look huge on person. Silk is lovely but also is very fragile when it comes to stress points such as shoulders so i suggest reinfrocing those seams with bias tape or french seams. as for the skirt the manipulating should be easier than the shirt by taking your measurements for your body and the measurements for your patterns and making that match.(don't forget a little ease for you to sit down comfortably) I hope this helps. Let me know if i am unclear about anything.

    1. WandaJ | | #9

      I thank everyone for their input regarding my working with wovens vs knits.  I have learned something new from each of you. WandaJ

  6. carolfresia | | #10


    Are you planning to make the top, skirt, or both? I'd hesitate to make the top in a woven because I'd be afraid you'd have to add too much ease to get it on and destroy the look of the garment. If the skirt has a zipper closure, you can probably substitute a woven and have no problem getting into it; it would be a question of how it would drape.

    Did you visit http://www.PatternReview.com? I'd recommend going there and searching for reviews of this pattern. I recall that a number of sewers successfully made this, but I don't remember if they used knits or woven.


    1. WandaJ | | #11

      Thanks Carol for reminding me of PatternReview and information for this pattern.  I've pretty much decided that I'm not going to make the transition from knit to woven.  It's too much of a chance to destroy the design, and the pattern is too great for that.

  7. mem | | #12

    Hello I would worry about the ease and also the bust fittng properly . I think that you should see what it is about this design that you really like and then get a basic T shirt type pattern made for a woven and alter it to copy the features which you really like in that top. It looks like a fairly basic design to me

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