All about KNITS VOL. 1
Cotton Lycra Knit | Double Brushed Polyester | Swim | Athletic Knit
At 852 Fabric we offer six types of knit fabric. In this article, we will cover two of our most popular and two of our seasonal fabrics.
What is knit?
All textiles are made from yarns. Knit fabrics are made from a single yarn and arranged into loops. This creates a braided formation and gives knit fabrics their characteristic stretch. Think everything from t-shirts to yoga pants to swimwear and sweatshirts. Knit fabrics stretch the most across their width (horizontally) and slightly less along their length (vertically). All our knits at 852 Fabric have 4-way stretch, but there are some subtle differences in composition that we will explain here.
Why is stretch important?
Knit and knitwear is very common from season to season. The variety of weights, stretch and recovery of the textile makes it a very comfortable material. It’s very common for babywear and kidswear to feature this type of textile specifically for its moveability and comfort. Some patterns and garments require more stretch than others. You might find that your patterns specify at least 75% or 50% stretch. Or you might find that your pattern requires vertical as well as horizonal stretch (for instance in leggings). When sewing neckbands or cuffs, it is better to use a textile with a higher stretch recovery. So, as you can see there’s a lot to consider when selecting the best knit fabric options for your projects.
What is stretch and recovery?
The stretch is how far the fabric can extend beyond its original shape and recovery refers to whether a fabric goes back to its original shape after being stretched. We calculate a fabric’s stretch in terms of percentage. First, we cut and measure a swatch. Then we measure how far the swatch can be stretched. Next, we subtract the starting measurement of the swatch from the stretched length and divide it all by the measurement of the original swatch. Then we multiply that result by 100 to find the percentage.
If the swatch goes back to its original measurement after stretching, we say that the fabric has ‘good’ recovery. If the swatch is permanently expanded, then we say that the fabric doesn’t have good recovery.
In the following section, we will look at some of our 852 Fabric knits and explain their properties and their best applications.
What is Cotton Lycra Knit?
This is our most popular knit fabric. Cotton Lycra Knit is what t-shirts are made of, and what you would expect dresses, leggings and babywear to also be made of. The 852 Fabric cotton lycra knit has a weight of 200-240gsm. This is a higher weight than most commercially produced garments. We believe that the higher weight makes for a stronger garment, a better-quality print, AND it is also a much nicer weight to sew with. The composition is 95% cotton and 5% spandex. The stretch percentage for this textile is 50% horizontally and 50% vertically. This equal stretch makes it a good choice for bottom wear as well as for tops. This is a perfect choice for people beginning to sew with stretch fabrics.
What is Double Brushed Polyester (DBP)?
This is a soft and buttery synthetic knit used mainly in activewear such as tops, leggings, and shorts as well as loungewear. It’s also commonly used in everyday wear and has a lovely drape that’s well suited to dresses and flowy tops. This textile is composed of 96% polyester and 4% spandex and has a characteristic nap, which creates a bushed soft feel. This textile is 210gms making it similar in weight to our cotton lycra knit, however this textile is 100% synthetic. The stretch percentage for Double Brushed Polyester is 70% horizontally and 40% vertically.
What is Athletic Knit?
The name is self-explanatory- it is knit that’s best suited for athletic and athleisure wear. These garments include all sportswear, yoga wear, gymnastics and dancewear as well as cyclewear. Its composition is 95% polyester and 5% spandex. The stretch percentage for Active Knit is 60% horizontally and 40% vertically. At first glance this seems odd, given DBP has a higher stretch percentage but contains 1% less spandex. One might expect that the higher spandex composition in Active Knit would guarantee a higher stretch percentage. Well, this is because Active Knit as a weight of 300gsm. The heavier weight of the yarn used to make the Active Knit affects the stretch percentage and makes the textile more durable. Durability is an important factor in all sportswear, making this a better choice than DBP for these types of projects.
What is Swim?
Swim is designed for use in swimwear. It is composed of 88% polyester and 12% spandex and has a weight range of 200-220gsm. This textile has a stretch percentage of about 100%. Swimming is a full body activity, and the high stretch factor of Swim is essential for swimwear to be comfortable. In addition, our 852 Fabric Swim is SPF 50, providing great sun protection while poolside or at the beach.
As you can see from the images for each swatch, all of the 852 Fabric knit textiles have 'good' recovery. They all immediately revert to their original dimensions after stretching. This is achieved by using high quality materials as well as appropriate fabric weights for each fabric type. This provides a better sewing experience as well as long term durability of all our products.
Stay tuned for All about KNITS VOL. 2 in which we will delve into Cotton French Terry, Bamboo French Terry and a bonus PUL.
** Note about these stretch percentages **
These measurements are a guide to better understand our products and help you select products for your projects.
At 852 Fabric we pride ourselves in providing high quality fabrics and printing consistently, batch to batch. You may notice that some of our gsm values occur as ranges. This is because fibers, particularly natural fibers, can vary slightly during the production process. This can therefore also affect stretch percentage calculations.
In addition, how you hold and stretch a fabric will also yield different values for measurement. As such, you should note that the values we have calculated in this article are our best measurements with these samples and the way we chose to stretch. For exact measurement, you should conduct your own stretch tests with each textile you plan to use.
** Note about SPF Swim **
SPF swim fabric is not to be used as a substitute for chemical or mineral sun protection. We always recommend that sun screen and sun blocks be worn while in bright sunlight.