Knit fabrics are the third major class of fabrics after […]
Knit fabrics are the third major class of fabrics after woven and nonwoven fabrics. Compared to the other two classes, knit fabrics are much more elastic, which accounts for their historical use in stockings and other clothing that requires changes in shape. Hence, dresses and lingerie made from knit fabric can be more form-fitting than counterparts made from a woven fabric.
Knit fabrics can stretch, depending on their material and knitting pattern, up to 500 percent of their original size. Lace knitting generally produces the most flexible fabric, since it has large holes that can deform in shape. By contrast, cable knitting generally produces the least flexible fabric, since the stitches are crossed under tension, which inhibits deformation. Knit fabric that do not deform much are called stable knits.
For comparison, woven fabrics typically deform only along their bias direction, generally at 45° to the warp and weft directions and only by a small amount. However, a woven fabric made with an elastic fiber may deform more than a stable knit. The elasticity of knit fabrics gives them an excellent drape, but this is opposed somewhat by their generally greater thickness compared to wovens. Over the long history of knitting across the world, hundreds of different knitting stitches have been created.
Knitting is the construction of an elastic, porous fabric, created by interlocking yarns by means of needles. Knit fabrics can be made much more quickly and easily than woven fabrics at comparatively less cost. Knit fabrics are generally light in weight, comfortable in wear even during travel, yet require little care to keep their neat appearance.
The tendency of knits to resist wrinkling is another factor to boost up their popularity. Knit fabrics are used for designing active clothing such as sports clothing. Their elastic nature permits for abundant physical activity. Knit fabrics are produced by two general methods. Warp knitting and weft knitting. They are made as flat or tubular fabrics depending on the end use. Tubular fabrics may not have any seams at the sides where flat fabrics are treated just like woven fabrics.