Knit or Woven

Learn about knits and wovens, and your sewing will be a cinch.

by Jan Bones and Pamela Howard
from pp. 36-37

You've picked up a pattern you love and you're about to buy fabric to go with it when you notice that the pattern specifies only knit fabrics. If you're thinking "that sounds like Greek to me, " don't be discouraged. Your pattern is simply talking about the two basic categories that fabrics fall into: knits and wovens. Understanding and identifying these categories is essential to preventing all sorts of sewing and fitting puzzlement. In the following pages, you'll get all the information you need on these two basic fabric types to take the mystery out of pattern instructions.

How to i.d. your fabric
When you can't tell if a fabric is a knit or woven, put it through these tests:

Look for loops or grain
In knit fabric (left), one continuous yarn is looped repeatedly to create what looks like tiny rows of braids. In woven fabric (right), multiple yarns cross each other at right angles to form the grain, like a basket.

Inspect the edges
A knit is either sold as a tube or flat.Edges On flat knits, factories apply round blobs of starch or glue along the lengthwise edges to prevent them from curling. Along the width, or cut edge, the fabric doesn't fray. The lengthwise edges of a woven fabric, called the selvages, are strong and don't move. The cut edge across the width of the fabric frays.

Learn about knits and wovens,  and your sewing will be a cinch.

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