knit fabric 101

Knit Fabric 101

Hey there! It’s Jackie with Pritchard Stitches. Today I’m going to go over different kinds of knit fabrics that are great for using with different Boo and Lu patterns

knit fabric

Knit Fabric Basics

For most fabrics, the weight, content, and stretch percentages will vary. You will always want to check these in the descriptions before purchasing and make sure they meet the requirements for the specific pattern/project. 

If you aren’t sure the stretch percentage of your fabric here is a quick tip on how to figure it out. First, take a piece of your fabric and place it next to a ruler. I like doing this on my cutting mat. Then, place your fingers on 0 and 10 see how far you can stretch your fabric comfortably without distorting it. Do this for both the horizontal and vertical stretch. You can see in my pictures below that my fabric has a 50% horizontal and a 40% vertical stretch. 

Knit Fabric Types

When working with knits you will want to use a serger or a stretch stitch when constructing your garment. Click here to see our video on different stitch types when you only have a sewing machine for construction.

French terry: 

This is one of my favorite fabrics to work with. It is a versatile knit fabric with soft loops on the inside and a smooth surface on the outside. Most common blends you will come across are cotton/spandex, polyester/cotton/spandex, polyester/rayon/spandex. This fabric is great for tops, pants, sweatshirts, shorts and more! 

Patterns- Tamarack, Coffee, Alpine, Pumpkin, Peach, Dandelion, Fern

knit fabric

Jersey Knit:

This fabric is typically light to medium weight, has a distinct right/wrong side and is not so stretchy unless it has a good amount of spandex in it. Jersey knits are typically made from cotton, cotton blends, wool, silk and rayon. There are two main types of jersey knits which are standard single jersey knit or double knit. This fabric is ideal for everything from T-shirts to bed sheets. 

Patterns: Timber Wolf, Lily, Ivy, Holly, Snapdragon

knit fabric

Cotton Lycra:

This is a blend fabric made from cotton and lycra. You will typically come across 90% or 95% cotton with either 10% or 5% lycra. This fabric typically has a four way stretch with great recovery which makes it wonderful for a wide variety of projects. It is also particularly great for cuffs and bands. 

Patterns: Any knit pattern! Works well for Pepper, Tigerlily, Snapdragon bodices particularly. 

Timber Wolf

Sweater knits:

You will know a sweater knit when you see one because it typically has a beautiful texture. There are a bunch of different types of sweater knits and some common ones are: Hacci, Rib, Brushed, Waffle, Boucle, Brioche, Cable, Cashmere and many more! Sweater knits, while super cozy, don’t typically have the best recovery, so always double check your stretch and recovery before starting your project. These fabrics are great for tops, cardigans and loungewear.

Patterns: Coffee, Alpine.

knit fabric

Double Brushed Polyester:

This fabric is buttery soft, stretchy, drapey, has great recovery and can be used for a wide variety of projects. This fabric typically doesn’t breathe well so isn’t recommended for babies and can sometimes be too hot in warmer climates. DBP is great for dresses, tops, leggings and more! 

Patterns: Most dresses and tops, and Poppy leggings


Sweatshirt Fleece:

This is the ideal cozy fabric for winter because it is great for loose fitting outerwear! Sweatshirt fleece has a smooth jersey look on the outside and a soft, fuzzy fleece on the inside. The fabric content for this fabric can vary (most commonly cotton or polyester) and typically has minimal stretch. 

Patterns: Tamarack, Pumpkin (used for main but must use something with better recovery for bands)

knit fabric

Rib Knit:

Rib knits are made up of parallel vertical lines and typically have a lot of stretch. The rib knit can be narrow (1×1), wide (3×3 or 4×4) or uneven (2×3). While these fabrics typically have great stretch, some don’t have the best recovery so always double check this before starting your project. Rib knits are great for tops, leggings, bands on your clothing, pajamas and many more. 

Patterns: Poppy, Timber Wolf, Raven, Periwinkle, Arrowwood, Fern, Ivy

knit fabric

Athletic Knit:

Athletic knits are specifically designed to wick away moisture and keep you dry and comfortable during exercise. They are very stretchy with great recovery. There are many different types of athletic knits. Some of the different types are athletic brushed polyester, nylon spandex, dri-fit, circular knit, supplex, and athletic jersey. These fabrics are great for leggings, leotards, and tops. 

Patterns: Lilac, Poppy, Dandelion, Plumeria

knit fabric


Velvet is a soft fabric that is characterized by a dense pile of evenly cut fibers that have a smooth nap. It has a beautiful drape with a soft and shiny appearance. There are different types of velvet but the most common among knit fabrics is stretch velvet. This fabric is great for dresses, pants, tops, and lounge wear. 

Patterns: Arrowwood, Fern, Periwinkle, Pumpkin

knit fabric
Pumpkin/Periwinkle Mash

I hope this will help you when choosing your fabrics for your next project! 

We love to see your makes, so the next time you sew up a Boo and Lu pattern, make sure to share it with us by tagging us on Instagram @booandlupatterns or share in our Facebook group.

XOXO Jackie

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