If identifying a knit fabric has always been a source of befuddlement to you, you are not alone. Confusion in this area has long been a source of consternation, creating problems for many sewing projects.

The difficulties often arise when trying to identify a knit fabric. Unlike woven fabric, where straight threads are crossed together like a basket, knit fabrics use a single yarn to form a series of interlocking loops to look like rows of braids. There are numerous types of knit fabric available and a few tricks you can use to spot them.

What to look for

Try stretching the material to see how much give there is. Knit fabrics stretch across their width, which makes them so comfortable to wear. Scrunching the material is another quick and handy test. Other materials will crease, but knits will spring back into shape with very few wrinkles.

The interconnecting loops in knit material prevent fraying, so when looking at rolls of fabric, if it doesn’t fray where it’s been cut, you’ve got the right one. There are often starch or glue dots along the material’s length to prevent curling.

If you are purchasing from somewhere such as http://www.higgsandhiggs.com/, which supplies a variety of materials such as woven, knit and cotton fabric online, it isn’t possible to carry out these quick checks. It is therefore important to have a good idea of what you’re looking for. For a useful visual guide, will point you in the right direction.

Different types of knits

The sheer variety of knit fabrics can be daunting but they all fall into two categories: weft knits and warp knits.

The main weft knits are rib, jersey, interlock and purl knits.

Interlock knits are ideal for creating t-shirts and comfortable childrenswear, while jersey, one of the few knit fabrics with little stretch, makes for perfect figure-hugging dresses, blouses and skirts. Purl knits are best for sweaters, while rib knits not only make attractive clothing but are also used for trimming due to their elasticity.

Warp knits include fabrics such as Milanese and Tricot, which can be good for more delicate items such as lingerie and gloves.

It is certainly worth getting to know your knits as once you’ve mastered selecting and working with them, they make for great comfort, fit, and style.