We get a lot of questions about knit fabrics since most our patterns are drafted for a stretch knit! We’ve done a few other blog posts trying to answer those questions that get asked most frequently like, What fabric pairs best with this top pattern?” We have our P4P Shirt Fits Explained blog about all the P4P top patterns, their intended fit and what my favorite fabrics are for them. We also have Different Fabric, Different Fit post all about drape, thickness and stretch and how it can affect the fit of your top/dress.
Now I bring you a Knit Fabric Cheat Sheet– this is a printable, quick reference guide to knit fabric types that are popular. I did not encompass every kind of knit fabric available, but I tried to put all the knit fabrics you might see at local stores and what most of us will be ordering online for home apparel sewing.
Sometimes different textile companies like to name/call fabrics by different names as well- so in turn the fabric shop will call it that name. It can get confusing, but often if you ask the shop what it’s most like in terms of a more popular/well known fabric you will be able to find something to compare it to on this list.
For example: Liverpool. Liverpool is something that I personal had never heard of in my years of fabric shopping until about a year ago. It began popping up and becoming popular in LA fabric shops that buy from local textile companies directly and sell in their shops. It is what the textile companies were calling their “textured polyester” (this is what you’re most likely going to see it labeled as at a Joann) and so it’s what the fabric shops were calling it as well. If you walked into a Joann and asked for “Liverpool” they most likely will not be able to point you in the right direction.
So in short, the fabric industry is constantly finding new ways to create fabrics and each textile company is going to name it what they want 🙂 If you learn the most popular knit types, what the fibers feel like and act like (poly, cotton, rayon, ect), terms like stretch percentage, drape and what that means, different ways to tell the weight/thickness of fabric it will be easier for you to order knit fabric online and know exactly what you’re expecting to receive in the mail! I added some notes at the very beginning of the print out about stretch percentages and weights of fabrics to help as well!
I still recommend going to your local stores and feeling as much knit fabric as possible. Here I am walking into a Joann Fabrics and looking through a big chunk of their knits. I tried to grab a variety and talk about them for those who are new to knits:
Same thing at a local Wal-Mart and their knit selection:
I will try to do a few more local stores and maybe some unboxing from online shops one day! 🙂
Here is your printable Knit Fabric Cheat Sheet again. You can save on your phone or computer and pull it up when trying to order online and are feeling unsure or print it out and take it to your local store to make sure you’re getting what you need for a certain project!
I hope this helps everyone out there just beginning to dip their toes into sewing knit garments! I LOVE my knit pieces for myself, kids, even hubs gets some from time to time 😉 They’re more forgiving with fit, quicker to sew, comfortable to wear and usually require no ironing in the morning! 😉 I’ll try to make knit lovers out of all you!!! <3 <3 <3
I could really use this but have no printer and can’t download. But I thank u for doing for all of us that need b it. U r all awesome
Wendy Lucas says
This is AMAZING Judy! Fantastic job. 🙂 I” in the process of setting up my new sewing space in our new house and this just might be printed to hang on the wall next to my fabric for a guide when I’m picking fabric. ❤️
Ann Thomas says
Thank you for going out of your way to explain all of this!!
Maybe if I hear it enough, it will sync in I have sewn since I was 10…new fabrics, new content and the Internet has really changed things!
I printed out your cheat sheets, now to plan a trip to Joann’s and the time to just explore.
How do they wash and how do each wear? I can’t stand peeling, balls, rubbed look. Many times around the armpit or around the neckline will get bumpy and I can’t stand that. What attributes to that? Fabric content? % of the contents? Temp of washing? Drying?
I know you love rayon but I have never owned a rayon maxi that didn’t quickly turn into a hot mess.
Rayon usually pills a bit. It helps if you wash inside out without other fabrics that will rub it (towels, jeans, ect) and line dry rather than dryer. Rayon doesn’t like the heat of the dryer.