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Sewing with Knits

busybee | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Hallo All,

I,ve got myself confused !!  Have got into the world of BWOF which is great , but find that many tops are stretch fabrics which I dont have much experience with. Some patterns say knitted fabrics others say jersey fabrics with 2- way stretch.  What is the differece between the two if you have a bargain bin in front of you with no indication of the type of fabric. That said I am working on a top in an unidentified very pretty knitted fabric picked up at just such a place. The pattern said jersey but its working out OK so far. I know there.s nylon in it because it melts !!! I,m now going to look at Sandra Betzina,s Fabric Savvy which I had forgotten about …..lol. Still would be glad to hear from you. All the best to you all,  Busybee, Winifred ( UK )


  1. jjgg | | #1

    I hope I can help a little here,

    Jersey is a type of knit, - a single knit, so often it will run when pulled. It is usually lightweight, slinky and can be lovely to work with. The fiber content can be anything from wool to silk, cotton, rayon and synthetics. It can be a mixture of, oh lets say rayon & lycra, or cotton and poly etc.

    A 2 way stretch knit will stretch is only 2 directions (usually along what you would think of as the crosswise grain - side to side.) when sewing up, you need to have the stretch going around the body. 4 way stretch knits will stretch in both longitude and latitude directions - lycra will do this.

    The thing with stretch fabrics is that some stretch more than others. There is usually a small chart on the pattern envelope that says, "take this amount of fabric, will it stretch to here - you pull the fabric to see if it will stretch all the way to the end of the arrow.

    Some knits will stretch only 25% some will stretch a lot more.

    One good way of checking knit fabrics before you buy is to
    a) stretch at a cut edge and see if the fabric ravels (unravels?) If you like the fabric in all other aspects, but it does easily ravel, then you just need to be careful

    b) give a good stretch to the fabric and see how the 'recovery' is. Does it go back to its original shape or stay stretched out. Lycra helps the recovery process, If it stays stretched out, you probably don't' want it, it will bag and sag on you.

    1. busybee | | #3

      Hi All

      Thanks very much for your help -very worthwhile. I suppose I ultimately want to know if these fabrics ( jersey and knits ) are interchangeable with each other ? Given the guidelines you mentioned of course  Busybee

  2. Tatsy | | #2

    My fear of knits evaporated years ago when one of my friends said she just loved knits because they were so forgiving.  They really are.  Just lay them out.  Line the straight of grain up with the line of the stitches. Put weights on the fabric (soup cans will work) and cut out.

    Cotton knits will roll up, so you may want to use very narrow seams. It's important to use ball point or universal needles so you don't get holes in the seams.  Relax and enjoy.

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