Ever wondered how to know how stretchy your knit fabric should be for one of our patterns? Turn over the envelope and see our Pick-A-Knit guide. This tip helps whether you’re making T-shirts, stretchy dresses, sportswear or lounge wear!
The “Pick a Knit Rule” works like this: For knits, take the recommended length of the knit fabric and stretch it against the measurement line. It should stretch to the furthest point. And spring back into shape afterwards.
Video not loading? Read ahead to see this in action!
Using a fabric that matches our recommended guide, means that your finished garment will have the recommended amount of wearing ease and replicate the finished measurements we list on our tissue sheets.
Of course you can choose a fabric with a slightly different amount of stretch if you feel confident, but remember if the fabric is too stiff you may not be able to get inside your garment! Or if it’s too stretchy, the garment could end up baggy and loose. So choose your fabric wisely.
Sewing patterns that have been designed for knits will have our stretch gauge on the envelope to help you measure a 10cm aka 4in piece of fabric’s crosswise stretch to check for distortion. In this tutorial I’ve cut a strip of fabric to use in my test, but you can just measure 10cm in from the selvedge and use that point to test your fabric if you’re stood in the fabric shop!
Holding the fabric with your left hand on the end of the guide, stretch the fabric to see if it easily reaches the right hand point. As mentioned above it shouldn’t stretch too far beyond the end of the guide.
Then when you let go of the right hand side you’ll want to see your fabric spring back to the right length without any distortion of the print, colours or fabric. Many fabrics are printed on top of plain white fabric which can be revealed as the fabric stretches and you won’t want to see a sign of this underneath. Similarly if you have a symmetrical print like these polka dots, you don’t want the shapes to appear oval or uneven when the fabric springs back.
And there you have it! A simple way to know how to pick the perfect knit fabric for you sewing pattern. There are so many types of knits to pick from: jersey, interlock, Ponte Roma, sweatshirting and many more. Set yourself up for success by choosing the perfect stretch percentage before you start sewing!
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