You’ve selected a sewing pattern and you can’t wait to get your sewing machine ready so you can create your masterpiece; but first, you need to choose a sewing fabric. As you look over the instructions on the patter, you notice that it says “only suitable with knit fabrics”, you might be left scratching your head. What does that mean?
The pattern is referring to one of the two classes that fabrics are designated into: knits and wovens. Knowing the difference between these two classes is one of the most basic sewing essentials that every seamstress needs to know. Why? – Because if you can’t differentiate between the two, you could end up having some serious problems with everything from sewing a seam to sewing a straight line. In other words, your project probably won’t come out like the pattern you’ve selected.
Here at Teach You to Sew, our mission is to provide you with the sewing help you need so you can become a master seamstress; or at least successfully turn faux leather, felt, flannel, fleece, or whatever type of fabric you’re working with into something beautiful – and of course, knits. Below, you’ll find the answer to one of the most commonly asked questions amongst novice sewers: How to tell the difference between knits and wovens?
Identifying Knits and Wovens
In order to tell the difference between knits and wovens, use the following tips:
- First, you’re going to want to look at the fabric to see if there are loops or grains. The primary difference between these two fabrics is the yarn threat that they are made of. Knit fabrics are comprised of a single yarn, which is continuously looped, creating a braided look. Woven fabrics are made up of multiple yarns, which cross over one another at right angles, creating a grain-like effect.
- The stretch test is crucial for differentiating knits and wovens. Knits stretch a lot over their width, while they only stretch slightly across their length. Wovens have hardly any stretch along the width, and stretch only slightly along their length.
- The difference in wrinkling will also help you tell the difference between the two fabrics. When scrunched up, knits will bounce back to their original shape, leaving very few wrinkles. Woven fabrics, however, wrinkle quite easily.
- Check the edges. Look at the edges of the fabrics. Manufacturers apply glue or starch to lengthwise edges of the fabric in an effort to stop them from curling; therefore, the cut edges of knit fabrics don’t fray. With woven fabrics, however, no glue or starch is applies to the edges, and as such, the lengthwise edges of the fabric frays.
Using these tips, you can identify the difference between knit and woven fabrics, so now you can stock up your sewing room with the right type of fabric for the projects that you intend to work on. For more handy tips and tricks, be sure to check out the rest of the informational articles on Teach You to Sew. Happy Sewing!
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