Do you go cross eyed reading the shear madness of knit fabric specifications on a pattern? The cross eyed hang over is usually cured with a toss into the “to do next week” black hole. It’s okay, we all needle little help sometimes. Time to push up your sleeves, arm yourself with your sharpest shears and load your pin cushion because we are going in to the abyss of knits…

Cotton Interlock

Cotton Interlock Knit is a perfect place to start as she is thicker than most and holds her shape quite well meaning she sews a lot like a woven fabric. She looks perfect as shirt especially to give a firmer hold to those bumps and curves. You will most commonly find the interlock knit in solid colours but there are patterned options around.

French Terry Knit

Oui it’s a trajeudi that the French terry knit is so misunderstood. This perfect petit mademoiselle is soft and drapes to la perfection! You can identify the French terry knit from the tiny little loops on the underside of the fabric. She is rather shy and will shrink considerably under water so make sure you pre-wash lest you are left with a petit erreur.

Cotton Jersey Knit

Cotton jersey knit likes to be worn as a t-shirt and enjoys soft, flowing walks on the beach. While she tries to hide it, the cotton jersey knit is one terrible yo-yo dieter and comes in more weights and thicknesses than a Santa’s helper at Christmas. When shopping look at the weight of the fabric, the lighter she is the higher maintenance she will be and leave you with a challenge to sew, stretching out of shape and causing mild embarrassment with a sheer finish. When looking at printed cotton jersey knits you will notice that it can be quite stiff in the spots of stronger colour so a pre-wash is highly recommended to ensure a soft finish is achieved for a perfect garment (especially when sewing for the littlest humans).

  • Weight: light to heavy
  • Stretch: along weft and moderate on warp*
  • Suitability: shirts, t-shirts, dresses, jumpers
  • Example from Flowers Blue

Cotton Ribbed Knit

The strong male of the knit world is easily identifiable by his bold, vertical ribbed lines. He likes to stick to solid colours and loiter around the edging of cuffs and necklines. People have been known to make kids singlets from the old cotton ribbed knit too.

  • Weight: medium to heavy
  • Stretch: along weft*
  • Suitability: cuffs, collars, tops, singlets
  • Example from Spotlight

Stretch Knit

Stretch knit is like a comfy autumn cuddle and is perfect for light, loosely fitted cardigan. Like cotton jersey knit the old stretch knit comes in a few weights and thicknesses so look out for the perfect density to suit your project.

  • Weight: light
  • Stretch: along weft*
  • Suitability: tops, scarves, cardigans, wraps
  • Example from Knitwit

Ponte di roma

The luxurious, elegant lady of this lesson – Ponte di Roma is a double knit who is the perfect match for that something special to add to your wardrobe. Don’t be mistaken, not all Ponte de roma’s out there are real ladies and the cheaper imitations can often feel thin and over stretchy so if you want the beautiful finish to hug your curves look for a medium, firm finish.

  • Weight: medium
  • Stretch: along weft and warp*
  • Suitability: dresses, skirts, shirts, jackets
  • Example from Spotlight

Cotton Lycra/Spandex

Cotton Lycra is one smooth talker and very flattering as a tank top or t-shirt. She is very flexible and recovers well when stretched and on occasion can look very sweet as a skirt.


In the summertime when the weather is hot, you can buy the lycra and make some swimmers, when the weather’s fine, you got lycra, you got lycra on your mind…

Perfect for swimmers, leggings and all things body fitting, you can tell lycra by the way it can pull in all directions and generally bright, fun colours and prints.

  • Weight: medium
  • Stretch: along weft and warp*
  • Suitability: leggings, leotards, active wear, swimmers
  • Example from Boo Designs


Fleece you are just like a teddy bear, warm and fuzzy with a bearded stare, but you’re soft and fluffy inside. That little bit of stretch is perfect for jumpers, warm sports wear.

  • Weight: medium to heavy
  • Stretch: Along weft*
  • Suitability: jumpers, jackets, blankets
  • Example from Lincraft

I could keep going for ever with the different knits available but this is a great start and I hope you are excited to start jumping into the world of knits! I will look at needles in my next post because the right needle could make or break (literally!) your project.


Weft: threads that run selvage to selvage

Warp: threads that run along the length of the fabric

Most fabric stretches on the weft of the fabric. Warp is stronger and runs the entire bolt of the fabric.