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Everything You Need to Know About Stretch in Knit Fabrics

Knit fabrics are one of the most avoided fabrics in the sewing community but sewing with knits is actually really easy and extremely rewarding. Knits are a staple in every woman’s wardrobe. Because they are so easy to wear and maintain, it is available in a variety of patterns, styles, and weights. Take a look in any closet and you will be sure to find at least one piece of clothing made of a knit fabric.

Sewing with knit fabrics has been deemed as a scary process by many. Knits are sometimes unpredictable. If incorrect thread tension is used, the fabric puckers. If the wrong needle is used, tears occur in the fibers.

While these problems are common when working with knit fabrics, there are many ways to avoid them and sew a beautiful garment. Most of these problems occur because not much is known about the stretch in the knits, how the fibers are weaved together, and what type of thread, needle, or tension level should be used. To avoid some of the common pitfalls of working with knit fabrics, you should learn about the stretch in the fabric first. Before starting a project, first take a sample piece of the fabric and try out different stitches, thread tension levels, and sewing pace and see how the fabric reacts. Here are some important things to remember about certain stretch knits and how to work with them.


There are basically four different types of stretch in knits: Firm, Moderate, Two-way, and Super.

Firm Stretch

The least stretchy of all the fabrics, firm stretch knits have up to about 20% stretch across the grain. By rule of thumb, they are the easiest to work with because there is so little stretch. Most fabrics have a medium to heavy-weight and include double knit, sweatshirt knit, and boiled wool.


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