Discover more about knit fabric, including how they are made, their distinct properties and where you can find knit fabric.
What is knit fabric?Fabric falls into 2 basic categories; woven and knitted. Knit fabric is the generic term for any textile in which the yarn is formed into an interconnecting loop construction. When fabric is stretched along its width, it will stretch significantly, with only slight stretch along its length.
How is it manufactured?Knit fabric is commonly available, and there are 2 generic groups of knit fabric: warp-knitted fabrics and weft-knitted (like jersey and other stretch knit fabric).
- Warp-knitted fabrics: the loops of yarn interlock vertically along the length of the fabric. Warp knits are generally stretchy and tend not to ladder. Fabric made by warp-knitting is machine manufactured.
- Weft-knitted fabrics: made by looping together long lengths of yarn which runs in rows across the fabric. Hand or machine can make this type of knitting. The fabric will ladder down the length of the fabric, if a stitch is dropped.
Purposes of knit fabricBoth weft-knitted and warp-knitted fabrics create knit fabrics with different end uses. Warp-knitted fabrics have slightly less stretch and are very strong, so they are popular for using for apparel such as swimwear, underwear and geotextiles.
Weft-knitted fabrics have a lot more stretch and are very comfortable to wear. Stretch knit fabric and ribbed knit fabrics are commonly used for hosiery, t-shirts, jumpers and other everyday apparel.
Knit fabric is also very popular for sportswear thanks to its elasticity.
Many knit fabrics have the characteristics of exceptional extensibility and elasticity, with equally good recoverability. When you scrunch a knit textile in your hands, it will ball up easily, and when you release it, it will spring back into shape with hardly any wrinkles.
It is comfortable and breathable and comes in a variety of weights and designs, and it is renowned for standing up to physical activity.
Some popular knit fabrics and their properties include:
- Lycra – elastic, form-fitting, comfortable, stretch and recovery
- Jersey – soft, stretchy, warm, insulating, easy to work with
- Velvet – heavy, durable, soft, luxurious, shimmering surface
- Fleece – lightweight, warm, soft, various thicknesses
- Mesh – open weave construction, lightweight, comfortable
- Crochet lace – thicker, slightly heavier than standard knit fabric
- Velour – soft, plush, can be knitted or woven
- Cotton knit fabric – 100% cotton or cotton blend knitted fabric
Advantages of knit fabricA lot of clothing is made from knitted fabric, and with its plethora of advantages it is easy to see why. Fashion designers love using knit fabric, thanks to its main benefits:
- It is comfortable to wear
- It is relatively easy to make and work with
- It has a beautiful texture
- It is resistant to wrinkling
- It has elasticity
Another key advantage of knit fabric is that it is relatively inexpensive to make which makes it a popular choice for makers and consumers.