The Right Type of Knit Fabric for Your Project

Navigating the world of fabrics can be a daunting task. You are new to the sewing game and now need to sort through what seems like an endless list of fabric options? You walk into the store and all the rows upon rows of fabric overwhelm you? What if you are shopping online and cannot touch the fabric for clues? How can you tell how a fabric drapes, or how it feels on the skin?

This list is meant to help you as you learn your way through knits. It does not encompass all knit fabrics, but it covers the most common types. Think of it as a primer on knits fabrics so that you can make informed decisions when buying knit.

Jersey Knit 

Content: Cotton, cotton blends, rayon, poly

Weight: Light to medium

Description: Jersey is a soft and stretch single-knit fabric. Its natural elasticity is a result of how the fibers are knit. The right side of the fabric is smooth while the back side has a looping texture. 

Uses: Tees, tanks, dresses, pajamas

Brushed/double brushed poly

The fabric is brushed on both sides, giving it a very soft hand and a nice drape. 4-way stretch. Tops, dresses, skirts, leggings.

Cotton spandex

Medium weight with good stretchy but not a lot of drape. 4-way stretch. Extremely versatile. Tees, tops, dresses, skirts, pants, leggings, underwear, etc.

ITY (interlock twist yarn)  

Soft and slinky knit with excellent wrinkle resistance. 4-way stretch. Dresses, tops, skirts, pants.


Very stretchy, soft, and drapey. 4-way stretch. Tee, tops, dresses, cardigans, scarfs, skirts, leggings.

T-Shirt Knit

More stable kind of jersey knit; not a lot of stretch or drape. Usually 100% cotton or cotton blend. 2-way stretch. Tees, tanks, and cardigans.

Double Knit 

Content: Poly, rayon, cotton, spandex 

Weight: Medium to heavy

Description: Double knits are doubly knit, hence their name. Because of that, they are more substantial and stable than jersey knits. They don’t wrinkle and hold shape well.

Uses: Any garment that requires more structure: dresses, skirts, jackets, pants.

Interlock knit

Variation of rib knit. Stable, with a soft and smooth texture. Medium weight with 2-way stretch. Tees, sportswear, hoodies, pajamas.


Poly/spandex blend textured on the right side and smooth on the wrong side. Stable knit with 2-way stretch. Garments that need more structure like skirts, jackets, and blazers, and pants.

Ponte Roma

Poly/spandex blend, but rayon and cotton can also be added to the mix. Thicker, more stable, hence less drape. Garments that need more structure like skirts, jackets, and blazers, and pants.


Poly/spandex blend that is smooth on both sides with an almost spongey feel. Stable knit with 2-way stretch. Garments that need more structure like skirts, jackets, and blazers, and pants.

French Terry Knit

Content: Cotton and rayon blends

Weight: Medium to heavy

Description: This is a knit fabric with a smooth hand on the right side and soft loops on the wrong side. Limited amount of stretch. 2- and 4-way stretch. Cozy and warm. Cotton blends are warmer and more stable than rayon blends.

Uses: Cardigans, hoodies, joggers, pants.


Content: Polyester

Weight: Medium to heavy

Description: Ultra soft, plush hand with a very obvious pile.

Uses: Blankets, throws, cardigans, jackets.

Rib Knit 

Content: Varies

Weight: Varies

Description: Rib gets its name from the textured vertical stripes. 

Uses: Most commonly used as neckbands and cuffs, but works well as pajamas, tops, and dresses.

Spandex knit (dance wear or swimwear knit)

Content: Polyester/Spandex or Nylon/Spandex

Weight: Medium

Description: Very stretchy knit fabric with a slight sheen to it. 4-way stretch. Great recovery. Perfect for garments that are very form fitting. 

Uses: Bathing suits, leggings, dance wear

Stretch Velvet

Content: Polyester/spandex

Weight: Medium

Description: Stretchy fabric with a plush, velvety pile on the right side and a smooth wrong side. 4-way stretch.

Uses: Dresses, tops, pants, jackets

Sweater Knit

Content: Varies

Weight: Medium

Description: This knit is made with heavier yarn and bigger stitches than regular knit fabric. They resemble fabric that is knit by hand. Lots of texture and fuzziness. 2- or 4-way stretch.

Uses: Sweaters, cardigans, hats, scarves

Waffle/Thermal Knit

Content: Varies

Weight: Varies

Description: This knit has a ribbed or honeycombed texture to trap warm air between the yarns.

Uses: This fabric is mostly associated with winter wear—think long johns—so any garment meant to keep you cozy like undershirts, pajamas, sweaters, cardigans.

[enter knit type here], I Choose You!

That’s a lot of choices, right? And as I mentioned before, this is not an exhaustive list. If the knit you are looking for is not here and you would like me to add to the list, just comment below. I’d be happy to update it. And I’d love to hear about your favorite knits, patterns for knits, and makes. I’m always curious to see what other sewists are working on.


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