Different Knit Styles Explained

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I would like to give you a little background on the fabrics used to make sleepwear and layette and other knitted items such as t-shirts and leggings.

These fabrics are knitted on circular needles, and end up as a tube, same as when you knit socks.The stitches are mainly the same ones used in hand knitting – plain and purl and combinations of these.Of course, different textures, thicknesses, fiber types, yarn colors,how tightly these yarns are knitted, will give you results that are many and varied.

Knits mold and drape nicely over the body - they also move with the body. These properties can cause knits to stretch out of shape, which is why we generally add spandex to both rib and jersey, which gives the fabric excellent stretch and recovery, the ability to return to its original shape quickly, without much distortion.

The most common knit fabrics you will find on the market are:

  • Jersey knit
  • Rib knit
  • Interlock
  • 1.Jersey Knit. Every stitch is a knit (plain) stitch, so all the loops are drawn to one side of the fabric. This means that contrary to the other two types of knits, it has a right side and a wrong side.The front of jersey fabric is smooth, and the back has a more textured appearance since it’s composed entirely of purl stitches, where the loops are apparent. Jersey is the least stretchy of the three fabrics, and shrinks both in width and in length.It may have a tendency to curl or twist, so spandex is often added to allow for more stretch and stability, especially in garments that are snug-fitting.This fabric takes prints very well because of its smooth surface.

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  • 2.Rib Knit. Rib is made by alternating knit and purl stitches to form ridges on both sides of the fabric. Rib knit lies flat and has more stretch in the width than in the length. Rib makes great neckbands and cuffs because of this elasticity, and is the ideal body fabric for snug-fitting garments requiring a lot of stretch.It shrinks very little in length, and immediately regains its shape on the width with every wash.With spandex added, the fabric’s memory is improved and it will keep its shape even during activity.

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  • 3.Interlock Knit. Interlock is a variation on rib knit. Instead of creating ridges of knit and purl stitches, interlock has two rows of stitches, one directly behind the other. Interlock has most of the attributes of both rib and jersey, but because of its construction, it is much thicker. Both sides of the fabric are smooth, like the right side of a jersey fabric, but interlock has much more stretch. It shrinks on the length, and may lose its shape by stretching on the width and twisting. Interlock takes prints nicely, and has a softer feel than either jersey or rib.It also has the advantage of being two-sided, and is often called a double-knit.This actually makes the fabric reversible, as it can be used on both faces, and when knitted with colored yarns can even have 2 different faces such as a dot on one side, and a stripe on the other.

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Our brands take advantage of the unique properties of each knit fabric when creating their products.

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