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What Are Knitted Fabrics? Exploring the Categories and Various Types

Updated: May 27

Designers invest a lot of effort and skill in creating the perfect outfit of your choice. However, a good design alone isn’t enough to craft a lovely, stylish, and pleasant-looking garment. The fabric used for the garment is another important element that contributes to its overall quality. 

Various types of fabrics are available to designers and cut-and-sew manufacturers for crafting garments or other wardrobe essentials. These types include woven, non-woven, braided, and knitted fabrics, each with its unique look, feel, characteristics, and properties ideal for different styles and statements. Among these, the potential of knitted fabric in the fashion industry is enormous.

This blog post provides a detailed overview of knitted fabrics, including their characteristics, types, and categories. 

Interested in learning why knitted fabric is enticing to many fashionistas, read on until the end.

What Are Knitted Fabrics?

The knitted fabric is exactly similar to what it sounds — different sets of yarns are weaved together in an intermeshed loop manner to make a fabric. 

Knitting is often seen as a traditional craft for handcrafting items like sweaters and hats and is similar to knit fabrics. While hand-knitting can be time-consuming, knitting machines are built for rapid and large-scale production.

Knit fabrics are widely favored and versatile, serving as a top pick for a range of garments and accessories. Whether you're a fashion specialist, a crafting enthusiast, or simply intrigued by the textile industry, knowing the various kinds of knit fabrics is key.

Why Cut and Sew Manufacturers Prefer Knitted Fabric?

The loop structure of knitted fabric gives it certain characteristics, making this fabric a popular choice for cut and sew manufacturers in the fashion market. 

Breathability: Knitted fabrics are highly breathable due to their loop structure. It is also the reason that these fabrics are used in many activewear.

Elasticity: Knit cloth is woven using a continuous thread, which allows it to stretch in all directions. It is a characteristic of all knitted fabrics.

Lightweight: Knits are very comfortable and light, so you won't feel weighed down when wearing them. Even during the summer season, you can wear a large cardigan with light summer clothing.

Soft and Comfortable: The knit clothing is soft, comfortable, and stretchy, making it suitable for any event. Adding an oversized knit sweater to pants and a shirt can create a perfect outfit for a night out.

Wrinkle-Resistant: Knit fabrics are also wrinkle-resistant and don’t require much effort to manage.

Categories of Knitted Fabrics: Wrap Knit and Weft Knit

Knit fabrics are mainly categorized as wrap and weft knits. Generally, both these types of knitted fabrics are equally preferred by designers and cut-and-sew manufacturers.  

Warp-knitted fabrics are manufactured by utilizing multiple threads where each needle loops its respective thread. The stitches are formed vertically and gradually move downwards to create the fabric. 

This knitting technique is relatively faster in production but only allows for a little variation in the stitch pattern. Consequently, fewer types of fabrics are made through warp-knitting.

Moreover, warp-knitted fabrics are usually heavy-weight and less stretchy when compared to weft-knits. However, they are more durable and strong so they are preferred by activewear manufacturers.

2. Weft Knit

You might encounter numerous fabrics with weft knitting. It is a very common category because of its variations. Generally, in weft knitting a single yarn is used to create the interlocking loops. The yarn moves horizontally across the width of the fabric. 

Weft knitting offers a decent variation in stitches and that is the reason different fabrics are made from it. However, it required more time to produce compared to the wrap knitting.

Fabrics made from weft knitting are lighter in weight and offer more flexibility. Certain clothing lines want more elasticity for their garments so they get their hands on weft knitted fabrics.


Different Types of Knitted Fabrics

Knitted fabrics can be created through two primary methods: warp knitting and weft knitting. Each method yields a diverse range of knitted fabric types. Some common variations include:

1. Jersey Knit

Jersey knit is a popular type of knit fabric that is widely available in the market. A significant number of t-shirts in your wardrobe are made from jersey fabric. Jersey is created using a stockinette stitch in knitting terminology, which involves alternating rows of knit and purl stitches. It has a very smooth surface on the right side, however, you will feel horizontal ribs on the other side.

This fabric is a weft-knitted fabric that is typically lightweight, very soft and drapes nicely. Based on these qualities, the cut and sew manufacturers see it as a suitable choice for casual and relaxed garments. 

2. Rib Knit

Rib knit fabric is easily recognizable due to its distinct vertical ‘ribs’ that run up and down the face of the fabric. The width of the ribs may vary depending on the manufacturer's preference. This weft-knit fabric is created by alternating columns of knit and purl stitches, resulting in the appearance of vertical stripes in the fabric.

In terms of stretch, it offers excellent elasticity, particularly in the horizontal direction. While it is typically heavier than jersey fabric, it often has a soft texture and drapes nicely. Generally, it is made from cotton, wool, and synthetic fibers.

3. French Terry

French terry is a type of knitted fabric that utilizes the weft-insertion jersey technique. This technique involves the insertion of additional yarns crosswise into the fabric while knitting it. The additional yarns are looped on one side of the fabric, resulting in a fabric with a smooth face and a soft, looped back.

The looped threads on the back of French terry are ideal for retaining heat. According to the sophisticated approach and manufacturing journey of cut and sew manufacturers, they find it an excellent choice for sweaters and other warm garments.

4. Raschel Knits

Raschel knits are a type of warp-knitted fabric and require a special knitting machine. These knits are created using various weights and types of textured yarn to produce intricate, open designs that resemble lace or crochet. Depending on the knit pattern and yarns used, the appearance and functionality of raschel knits can vary significantly. These fabrics are often bulky and have limited stretchability.

5. Tricot

Tricot knits are produced by vertical rows of thread loops that interlock in a zigzag pattern, resulting in a tightly knit fabric. This fabric has a slight vertical rib texture on the front and a crosswise rib pattern on the back. Compared to other knit fabrics, tricot is relatively dense, which makes it firmer and sturdier.

It is made from a variety of synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon. If you need activewear or swimwear that has a firm hold, good recovery, and durability, tricot is an excellent choice.

Wrapping Up

It’s no secret that knit fabrics have a significant presence in our lives. Knitting extends beyond the traditional pieces of clothing that our grandparents made. There is mass production of knit fabrics due to the increased demand in the fashion industry. These fabrics are versatile and are used to create a wide range of apparel. 

Knitted fabrics are widely used to manufacture clothes, baby items, home furnishings, activewear, and accessories like caps, scarves, and socks. They are suitable for all seasons and their remarkable properties, such as flexibility, softness, and comfort, make them perfect for casual wear. It is evident that knitted fabrics are here to stay and will continue to be popular in the fashion industry.

If you're looking for expert fabric suggestions or a premium quality clothing manufacturer in Georgia, USA, book a consultation with our experienced professionals today!

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