Saturday, 4 February 2012


Know Your Knits. Or My Knits. Either. Both.

Isn't it funny that I was so focused on all the work that goes into Launching the Business as the end-goal that I forgot that once launched that's when the real hard work starts? So funny. The good news: I'm drowning in orders. The bad news: I'm drowning in orders. The best kind of drowning.

know your knits

Anyway, I wanted to talk a bit about fabric. Specifically, knit fabric. And even more specifically, the knit fabrics in my shop. I know that some of you are still scared of sewing with knits (and you very kindly told me all the reasons why) but knits are not as intimidating as their reputation. In fact, they're a real delight to sew. I'm planning a lot of informational / instructional / tutorial posts about sewing with knits but first let me tell you a bit about some different types and the pros and cons of each.



These are the three 100% cotton interlocks currently in my shop. Interlock is the perfect fabric for those who are just starting to dabble with knits because they are reasonably thick and don't curl at all when cut:

interlock cut edge

Interlock is pretty stable so provided you're following the basic rules of sewing with knits (correct needle, low pressure on the presser foot, don't stretch while sewing) it doesn't wave or bobble.

There's really no downside to sewing with these interlocks, they're a dream (and in particular a fantastic beginner's fabric). They are very soft and perfect for things that will be in regular contact with small bodies. However, if you want to be picky and demand a con, they are all directional prints so there is greater fabric wastage when you cut your pattern.

Good for: T-shirts, easy fit trousers, rompers, blankets, hats, bibs, burb clothes, bedding

Not so good for: Leggings or form-fitting designs that rely on stretch recovery to keep their intended shape.

Cotton / Lycra Jersey:


These fabrics are predominately cotton but with the added element of lycra. They are still soft and appropriate for apparel, but with the added benefit of extra stretch recovery. There are different weights of cotton and cotton / lycra jersey, but as a general rule the heavier weights will be easier to sew. The ones in my shop are medium weight, ten thousand times easier to sew than tissue jersey but not as straight-forward as interlock. The downside:

jersey cut edge

Edges that naturally curl when cut. As an example, here is a jersey cut edge alongside a bamboo interlock and cotton interlock cut edge:

comparison cut edges

I can see some of you physically blanch at the thought of curly edges but there are lots of things you can do to make sewing these a breeze. Do not fret, I'll post a lot of resources about this soon.

Good for: General apparel plus form-fitting designs like leggings, underwear, skinny tops etc where stretch recovery is important to maintain the intended shape
Not so good for: Non-apparel like bedding or blankets as you'd prefer the softness of interlock

Bamboo Interlock:

bamboo interlock

In essense, these two are interlocks so all the previous good points apply. Nice and thick, stable, no curling edge:

bamboo cut edge

Fantastic fabric for beginners. But these fabrics are also extra special in that they are a blend of organic cotton and bamboo viscose. The feel is soft, but also quite slinky, and the bamboo viscose means that there is greater stretch recovery than 100% cotton interlock. It's a combination of the best bits of interlock and jersey: softness / stability and stretch recovery.

If I had to pick a downside, like the interlock prints these are also directional so there will be some wastage when cutting your pattern, especially if you are print matching.

Good for: General apparel plus form-fitting designs like leggings, underwear, skinny tops etc where stretch recovery is important to maintain the intended shape
Not so good for: Nothing. There isn't a single thing these wouldn't be good for.


There we go then, a basic introduction to knits. Obviously, these are specific to my actual shop but the tenets are the same no matter where you are shopping. In my humble opinion, interlocks are the best introduction to knits that you can find. If you are not scared of knits through experience or bravado, cotton / lycra jersey is fantastic for the extra level of stretch recovery.

As before, I embrace all of your angst about knit sewing and aim to sooth. Leave a comment if there's a particular concern and I'll do my best to help!

EDITED TO ADD: Now here's Part Two with organic cotton jersey and velour added to the mix.


  1. Thank you! I've always wondered how interlock was different, and I have a bamboo knit I want to make a shirt from, but haven't attacked it yet as it was very expensive. Looking forward to more education!

  2. I am very excited about sewing with knits, am sat next to my letterbox waiting for the cloud fabric I bought, whilst holding my mobile waiting for the sewing machine shop to ring to say my new (old) overlocker has been serviced. Now please can you just sell me an extra 2 hours so I can have the time to make something?

  3. Just wanted to say how fantastic they look and what a great idea. I have sewn with knits a few times (amazing what you can make when you are completely ignorant of how scary it is supposed to be!) and plan to do more but have found it so hard to get hold of good quality at reasonable price. I had to buy rib from an aussie etsy I know where I'll be going when it is finished! Good luck, I'm sure it will all go very well, and maybe the orders will slow a little after a while to give you a bit more breathing space. Juliex

  4. Thank you! So useful to have all this info in one place and at a practical level. I've searched for this type of post in the past, all in vain!

    You did forget to mention one thing about bamboo knit, that the yarn for it springs into existence when baby unicorns first flutter their long lashes and that is then spun together with musical fairy giggles.

    I made Rylee a shirt from bamboo and it was awesome to sew and is one of her favorites because it is so soft.

  5. Handy info to have. I haven't sewn much with bamboo knit but the times I have, it's some seriously nice stuff!

    btw, I like the new header!

  6. Really useful, thank you! I've always been a bit scared of sewing with knits but I think I'll give it a go now.

  7. This is great info. And, I MUST know where you buy your knits. I am green with envy! BTW, I'm your fellow Spring Top finalist from 2011 over at

    1. I import them from Scandinavia :) Nice to see you!

  8. I'm already feeling less anxious. Where do you get stretchy bias & cuffing in fab colours to match your fabrics?
    Also do you need an over locker to use knits?

  9. Looking forward to advice on dealing with curly edges - they drive me to distraction!

  10. Just seen you stock the ribbing too, I no longer have an excuse do I?!

  11. Nice Post with helpful info. Thanks for great info. Keep on good work:)