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Portland Fashion Institute is a nationally accredited private nonprofit career institute of higher learning and Portland’s only accredited fashion design college.

NOTE:  No classes Memorial Day weekend (Saturday-Monday).  Enjoy the holiday!

Do you know knits? Here’s a guide!

We all love wearing knits – the stretch makes it comfortable to wear and forgiving if you gain or lose a few pounds. The fit makes all the difference.  That’s why buying fabric online can be so difficult. You can’t feel a knit fabric before you buy it.  You don’t know how much it can stretch.  It can be hard to know what you’re getting. It’s disappointing to order fabric for a project and realize when it arrives that it just won’t work. It’s hard enough unless you go to a fabric store such as PFI Supply and have knowledgeable hep
To help make sure you get what you want when buying knit fabric, here the main types of knit with a guide to tell you what you can expect from each of them, as well as what clothing items to make from them.
JERSEY – Single knit.  Flat vertical ribs on right side; dominant horizontal courses on wrong side.  Little lengthwise stretch.  Used for skinny T-shirts, pullover tops, lingerie.
DOUBLE KNITS:  Firm, stable knits that are medium to heavy weight.  Little to moderate stretch.  Used for jackets, suits, pants, dresses.
INTERLOCKS – Fine rib on both sides.  Light to medium weight.  Moderate crosswise stretch.  Watch out for runs!  Used for heavier T-shirts, sportswear, sleepwear.
SWEATSHIRT FLEECE – Flat vertical ribs on right side; softbrushed surface on wrong side.  Stable with little stretch.  Used for sweatshirts, sweatpants, hoodies.
SWEATER KNITS: Smooth and lightweight to lofty and bulky.  Stable without much stretch.  Can be sold by the yard or as sweaterbodies with built in ribbing.  Has a nap and may run.  Used as sweaters or coats.
RIBBINGS – Prominent vertical ribs on both sides.  Have significant stretch.  Used for collars, hems, cuffs.
4-WAY STRETCH – Stretches lengthwise and crosswise. Gets its stretch from a manmade elastic fiber called spandex.  Lycra is Dupont’s registered name for spandex.  May be blended with nylon, cotton, polyester.  Used to make form-fitting garments for activewear and swimwear.
KNIT TERRY – Includes French and stretch terry.  Small loops on right side; smooth vertical ribs on wrong side.  May shift with right sides together because of nap.  Used for jackets.
VELOURS – Includes stretch velvets, stretch panne.  Brushed nap on right side; smooth vertical ribs on wrong side.  May shift with right sides together.  Used for jackets.
MESH KNITS, TRICOT – Knitted with evenly spaced holes.  Do not ravel or run but can snag.  Can be woven, non woven and knit.  Can be cotton, polyester or nylon.  Use for T-shirts, tops and jacket lining and ventilation.  If using for a dress or top, be sure to line it with a fabric of the same stretch.  It is see through!
For more on how sew with knits, take PFI’s Sewing Knits class.  Want to make patterns suitable for knits, take PFI’s Pattern 4-Knits & Stretch class.