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Knit differences

BBush | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I’m confused about the different knits.  Can someone explaint the differences to me on the following & give examples of what you would use each for in making garments?  .

Jersey knit

Interlock knit

Lycra knit

Thank you.



  1. sewchris703 | | #1

    From Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide  (c. 1989):

    Jersey knit:  identified by vertical ribs on the face and horizontal purl loops on the back, it is made with one yarn fed to the needles, not unlike hand knitting....Most jerseys are lightweight, supple and elastic.  They pleat, drape, and gather well.  This makes them a good choice for soft, fluid designs.  Lingerie, cotton underwear, evening wear, T-shirts, blouses, dresses, soft jackets and coats are just a few ideas.

    Interlock knit:  A weft knit with fine ribs on the front and back, the interlock is a form of double knit.  It lloks the same on both sides--smooth.  Interlock knits have little elasticity in the width with good elasticity in the length.......Although interlock knits are suitable for dressy designs, lingerie, and evening wear, they are used most frequently for casul garments--T-shirts, dresses, blouses, palazzo pants, and unstructured jackets.  Soft, fluid designs, unpressed pleats, gathers,  and roll-up sleeves work well....most interlocks are not suitable for "knits only" patterns.

    Lycra knit::  Shaeffer doesn't have a specific lycra knit entry.  Lycra is discussed under several headings:  action knits (leotards, bathing suits), power net (foundation garments--bras and girdles), and stretch wovens.


    1. BBush | | #2


      Thanks for the info.  This helps. 


    2. HelgaPataki | | #4

      jersey - interlock - lycra

      Jersey knit is like a T-shirt or cotton underpants.  It doesn't really stretch but is smooth on the right side and bumpy on the other side (the wrong side).  its the type of knit that souvenir T-shirts are made from.

      Interlock knit is a stable knit that doesn't stretch much.  It is similar to scub outfits.

      Lycra knit is something for 2 or 4 way stretch bathing suits, or girdles.  when lycra is used for woven fabrics, the woven fabric is stretch and maintains it shape more.  Lycra is a brand name, the other brand name is spandex.  it is an elastine that is invisible elastic thread.

  2. User avater
    Thimblefingers | | #3

    Knit differences

    Lycra knit means that lycra (spandex) is one of the fibres in the fabric.  Lycra is not used by itself but with another fibre such as nylon, cotton, viscose, or polyester, which helps to increase the stretch of the fabric and its ability to return back to original shape after being stretched.  Generally, the higher the % of lycra, the more stretchy the fabric; however, it will also depend on what type of knit it is and if it is 2-way or 4-way stretch.

  3. User avater
    kimbatwl | | #5

    more on knits

    Single jersey is knit on a circular machine. /the fabric comes off the machine (loom) in a tube. If you have a striped jersey fabric you will have trouble matching the stripes at the side seams. This is because the horizontal rows (courses) of knit stitches are formed in a spiral. The larger the stripe, the more difficult it is to make the stripe match. Manufacturers compensate for this by splitting the tube so it is flat and  treating the fabric with various mechanical and chemical finishes designed to straighten or stabilize the fabric. None of these treatments is permanent,. That's why T-shirts and inexpensive knit fabric garments tend to twist. Once you wash the garment a few times the finish wears off. Single jersey fabric curls when you cut it.

    Interlock is knit on a  circular loom too, but the spiraling effect isn't quite as bad. Interlock tends to shrink vertically. It doesn't shrink much horizontally, or it may even stretch. Interlock is a type of rib knit.

    I'm talking about 100% cotton fabric in both cases. There are also flat bed weft knitting machines, but I've only seen them used for sweater knit type fabrics. 

    Then there is warp knitting, (as opposed to weft knitting discussed above), which is another animal completely. Tricot knit is the fabric used for slinky lingere. Raschel machines produce laces, netting, thermal underwear or waffle knit fabric and power knit for activewear. Maybe this is what you were thinking of with the term "lycra knit".

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