The Varieties of Knit Fabric

Knit fabric is, as the name implies, fabric that has been knitted as opposed to woven. What most people don't understand is that there are multiple types of knit fabric, and some of them are more useful in some contexts than others. Having the right fabric for the right function is very important, due to the varying properties between them.

Understanding what's available is important, of course. There are various types out there and knowing how to best use them can make the difference between success and failure. Today we will be defining the most common types of knit fabric, what they are typically made of, and in what sorts of textile products are they used.

What is Knit Fabric?

In essence, a knit fabric is any textile that is made by knitting. Some of them are hand-knit, but any mass-produced items will be machine-knit instead. In general, they are more flexible than woven fabrics. They are also easier to split into small pieces, so things like socks and hats are knit rather than woven.

Jersey Knit

The jersey knit is one of the oldest. In an industrial context, you will find these worked on by single or double jersey knitting machines. They originate from Jersey, one of the Channel Islands.

Originally, the fabric was made entirely from wool, but the modern variants intermingle wool, synthetic fibers, and cotton. These tend to be lightweight, piled on one side and flat on the other. A single knit variant has significant pull, while the double knit variety is heavier and has less stretch but is more durable.

Jersey knit is used primarily for making clothing. Cotton jersey is the most common subtype of this, but not the only one.  One of the main weaknesses of a jersey knit fabric is that it is hard to sew anything onto it, due to how easily it stretches. This can make it difficult to add embellishments like patches or other designs but does make it excel for gowns, dresses, and anything that drapes over the wearer.

Boiled Wool

Boiled wool knit is also common. It is known for being thick, with the manufacturing process resulting in a dense and felted material that has considerable resistance to shrinking or fraying at the edges. It holds together well and is made from wool yarn near-exclusively. However, the fulling process has also been used on wool blends, acrylic, polyester, and rayon for various medical and apparel applications.

Boiled wool will often be the primary fabric for headgear like berets. It is also a common choice for scarves and coats. Because of the thickness and it's excellent ability to trap heat and keep out the cold, the textile industry also uses these for cardigans, jackets, and vests. A bonus of this material is that the process for making them renders them resistant to shrinking.


Milliskin knit is a fabric that's known for being lightweight and excellent at stretching. It is smooth and tends to be shiny, so they aren't suitable for loose-fitting attire. However, the lining makes them useful for any clothing applications that are best suited to hugging the contours of the body. The fabric is based on spandex and can easily accommodate internal lining to add support or structure beyond the basic cut of the fabric.

Tight and dance leotards are among the most common products. However, this type of knit fabric is also used for leggings and swimwear. Some have also used them as material for wrap dresses. Any apparel that must hug the physical contours of the wearer will usually be made out of milliskin. The fabric tends to retain colors and dyes with ease.


Coolmax is a type of knit fabric that is based on polyester, but is more breathable and is moderately hydrophobic. This allows it to resist and repel water, as well as being quick to dry. As a knit fabric, it doesn't see much use outside of leggings, swimwear, and the occasional interior upholstery. However, it isn't seen as a popular choice due to failing to stand out from other fabric options that it is competing with.


Finally, there is velour. This is a plush textile, with similarities to velveteen or velvet. The base material is cotton, but variants exist that are made from synthetic fibers, with polyester being the usual choice for these. While velour does see use in upholstery, it is also used in clothing and other functions. It is a flexible, adaptable knit fabric and one that sees a wide variety of applications.

Car seats and robes are among the most common, but it is also used for leotards in place of milliskin. A variant called velour leather has a soft, delicate surface that is ideal for footwear. It has a similar feel and texture to chamois and velvet suede and is also used for some types of clothing and home upholstery.


Knit fabric is flexible and can be great if used properly. Different types have different properties, so it's generally not wise to use velour when a dress or other clothing item is better off with jersey or boiled wool. They are just as common as woven fabrics but have advantages that make them excel for smaller items like caps and gloves.
The Varieties of Knit Fabric The Varieties of Knit Fabric Reviewed by Pravesh Kumar Maurya on 23:47 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.