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  • Time for Knits!

We all love wearing knits, we are able to move in them, they fit nicely, they’re comfortable, and they're easy to care for. Over the last few years, loungewear has been a quickly rising trend. Knits go beyond loungewear though, they have also become a staple in our everyday wear too. You can find knits in every category ranging from leggings to dress pants, t-shirt dresses to evening wear, beachwear to office wear, and everything in between. They are essential in everyone’s closet for their easy wear and easy care properties but how are they to sew? Our second years are about to find out. 

During the diploma program at The Academy of Fashion Design, the students get to start exploring with knits. A new type of fabric means all new foundations, new techniques of sewing, and a whole lot of new information.

They started with draping a garment with a knit. This allowed them to see how knits react differently to wovens and they learned how to use the stretch of the fabric to fit the garment to the body rather than darts that are needed in woven fabric. 

To pattern make for knits we first need to discover the stretch of the fabric. Knits can be classified by a 2-way stretch or 4-way stretch. Discovering if a fabric is two way or four-way stretch is simple. Pick up your fabric and stretch it, does it only stretch vertically or horizontally? Then it is a two-way stretch. Does it stretch both vertically and horizontally? Then it is a four-way stretch.  Knit fabrics are a typically minimal stretch, moderate stretch, very stretchy, or super stretch. To discover the amount of stretch a fabric has you fold the edge of the fabric over and line it up to 4 inches on a ruler. Once it is lined up you stretch the fabric to see where it reaches, if it stretches to 5 inches it is a minimal stretch or has 25% stretch, 6 inches it is moderate stretch or 50% stretch, 7 inches it is very stretchy or has 75% stretch, and 8 inches it is a super stretch or has 100% stretch.  Fabrics that are very stretchy and super stretchy are typically 4-way stretch. Once you pick the right foundations for your fabric, you can start designing. 

Next is sewing. When sewing knits the stitching needs to stretch with the fabrics, a normal straight stitch will break when it needs to stretch. To accommodate the stretch of the fabric we use a zig-zag stitch or a serge. These two methods allow for the stitches to move with the fabric. Once the seams are sewn, the armholes, necklines, waistlines, or any other spot that the design requires have elastic inserted.

Once the students get past the learning curve that comes with knits they start to love them.  They are quick to sew and easy to fit. You can expect to see a lot more knits coming from the students at the Academy of Fashion Design.

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