Knit Fabric Principles

Knit Fabric Principles

Knit Fabric Principles

When designing a garment out of knit fabric, there are many things you need to know. This lesson is a continuation of our Intro to Knit Fabrics Part 1 lesson. Here you learn more about designing with knits. We’ll teach you about the 4 characteristics of knit fabrics, what it means when a knit fabric has 1-way, 2-way or 4-way stretch, and all about the 6 categories of stretch ratio percentages so that you will be able to choose the correct knit fabric for your individual design.


Module Description Step
1 Knit: Stretch, Recovery, Weight, Shrinkage 1-4
2 Stretch Ratio and Terminology 1-3
3 Knit Categories & Stretch Ratios 1-10
4 Testing Knit Stretch on Dress Form 1-15
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MODULE 1 • Knit: Stretch, Recovery, Weight, Shrinkage

Step Description
1 When designing and purchasing knit fabric, there are 4 characteristics that should be considered:

  1. Stretch
  2. Recovery
  3. Weight
  4. Shrinkage
2A Let’s begin with the first characteristic: Stretch

As you learned in our video Intro to Knit Fabrics-Part 1, due to their structure, knits have the ability elongate either vertically, horizontally or in both directions, depending on the type of knit structure and yarns used. We’ll go more into depth about this in a minute but first let’s explain stretch recovery.

2B What is Stretch Recovery?

When talking about knit stretch another consideration is whether or not the fabric has good recovery, that is, when stretched in both directions, does the fabric return to its original state? Or, does it increase in size and become “stretched out”?

Here the instructor is poking the fabric with her fingers to check the recovery. We all have seen knit pants where the knees are stretched out after only a few wearings. In the textile industry, this unrecovered stretch is called ‘growth.


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