- Shopping for knits online, part 1: ITY Jersey Knits
- Shopping for knits online, part 2: Cotton Jersey Knits
Now, there certainly are other types of knit fabrics that you can buy online, such as French Terry, Ponte de Roma, and now even neoprene/SCUBA double knits. I may add onto this series with a post about these fabrics later on, but as for now, I don't feel confident enough in my own ability to shop for these fabric types to write an entire post about them. However, here are a few observations that I've made based on my experience so far with these fabrics:
- French Terry: The few pieces of French Terry that I've bought and worked with (all from Girl Charlee) have all been absolutely lovely fabrics--drapey with a nice amount of body (more body than many of the jersey knits we've discussed in this series). I love this stuff. It's held up well to washing and wearing so far, and I expect to stalk their web site and buy/stash prints and colors that I like when they get them in stock.
- Ponte de Roma: Ponte de Roma is a type of double knit fabric and is currently experiencing a lot of popularity. PdR is affordable, has a nice drape, and is often available in a wide variety of solid colors and prints. Because PdR is relatively stable, you can also often use it in a pattern that calls for a woven fabric. (A lot of people refer to this fabric as "Ponte" as a shortcut, but "Ponte" is a different fabric with less drape.) PdR is typically a blend of rayon, polyester, and spandex. Because this fabric type is a rayon-poly blend, some fabrics will pill in the wash, which is generally the biggest knock against Pdr. Generally, a blend with a higher poly content will tend to pill more than a blend with a higher rayon content, although I have read about exceptions online. Blends with higher rayon content will also tend to feel softer to the touch. Occasionally, you'll run across a PdR that's all poly and spandex with no rayon. I, personally, would probably not purchase this fabric.
- Neoprene/SCUBA knits: These are everywhere right now, often available in vibrant colors and prints. Neoprene/SCUBA is a beef-ish double knit that can be used for more structured garments. No, it does not feel like a wetsuit. I've purchased three cuts of this fabric from three different sources but have not sewn any of it yet (although I plan to do so soon).
- The first cut that I ordered was an inexpensive solid purple cut that I bought on sale from FabricMart. Honestly, this fabric feels "icky" for a lack of a better word. Luckily, I only bought one yard of it to make a Mabel pencil skirt, but I can't seem to bring myself to actually work with this cut. Maybe it'll feel better after washing, but right now, I'm leaning towards writing off my $6 investment.
- The second cut that I ordered was a cut from Girl Charlee, and it feels So. Much. Nicer. than the stuff from FabricMart. This cut was from the big lot of SCUBA fabric that they got in within the last month or so. It's beefy and soft and stable, and I think that it will work well as an unlined bomber jacket, which is what I'd originally purchased it for.
- The third cut that I ordered was from Gorgeous Fabrics. They've gotten a lot of neoprene in lately, too, and I got sucked in by a cool print. This cut was the most expensive, and not surprisingly, feels the nicest out of the bunch. I'm planning to do a "wearable muslin" in the Girl Charlee fabric and make my "real" garment out of the stuff from Gorgeous Fabrics.
For me, rayon jerseys have required the most trial-and-error shopping out of any type of knit. "Mid-weight" seems to mean something different to every online retailer. This post will largely be me sharing my lessons learned with you.
If you haven't worked with rayon jersey before, be aware that this type of jersey is generally very soft and very drapey. If you're not used to working with drapey knits, rayons can be a bit more difficult to work with than more stable knits like ITY jerseys and cotton knits. On the other hand, rayons usually have an amazing drape and are great for garments with ruching details or things like cowls necklines.
I won't discuss "tissue-weight" or "layering" rayon jerseys in this post because I avoid those like the plague. Jerseys of those weights absolutely have to be lined or layered with another piece, and I'd rather not deal with them. That said, I could see them working well for lounge tops or lingerie. The "tissue weight" or "layering" red light keywords apply across all online fabric sources, as far as I'm concerned.
Enough rambling from me. Let's look at some jerseys!
11oz. rayon/lycra jersey from Emma One Sock
I'll cut to the chase, I love the 11 oz. rayon lycra jersey from Emma One Sock. To me, it's the gold standard for rayon lycra jerseys and is worth the price tag, if you've got an appropriate TNT garment to use it for.
|Emma One Sock 11 oz rayon jersey|
Linda from EOS always has a ton of this fabric in stock in many, many different colors. You can reliably order and re-order from this group and always know what you're going to get.
At $18/yard, if you use 2 yards for a knit top pattern that you've already made and loved, $36 total for a top that will wash and wear well through multiple seasons seems like a good investment to me. The description for this fabric is pretty accurate. The thing to take away from it is the weight is 11oz, and if you look at the suggested uses, "pants" are one of them. This is a beefy knit. A maxi-dress made out of this will both stretch (note the 4-way stretch) and feel heavy.
I've bought and sewn with this fabric probably about a half dozen or more times over the years. I love this fabric for tops. I like it for simple knit dresses; however, I wouldn't go with any fuller of a skirt than an A-line shape for this fabric, as a dress with a full skirt will feel pretty heavy. This fabric would work great for a dress bodice in a solid color and the skirt in a lighter-weight print.
Knit print from Emma One Sock
Hint: most fabrics described as "knit prints" from EOS are rayon jerseys. Of course, you'll want to check the fabric description to be sure. Here's a fairly typical knit print (i.e. "rayon jersey") listing from EOS:
|Knit Print from EOS|
Midweight Rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics
Moving down the price scale a little bit, here's a midweight rayon jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics:
|Midweight Rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics|
Super Soft Rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics
Okay, if the above fabric is a "midweight" jersey, then what's a super soft jersey?
|"Super soft" rayon jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics|
This listing doesn't contain a whole lot of clues as to the weight of the fabric, but both recommended patterns have some drape and gather details. If this fabric is the same as other "super soft" jerseys I've bought/swatched from GF, I'm not sure that I would use it for a Tiramisu. Normally, Ann's descriptions and recommendations for her fabric are spot-on, but my opinion does occasionally differ from hers once I have fabric in-hand.
Fabric.com rayon jerseys
I won't post individual listing examples for fabric.com because I haven't ordered a rayon jersey from here in a while, generally having been disappointed with how lightweight the ones that I'd ordered were. I mention them because I know that they're a popular source for inexpensive rayon jerseys among a lot of sewists. I can offer some general guidelines, though, if you're interested in ordering rayon jersey from fabric.com.
- "Tissue": You'll see a lot of fabric.com jerseys use this word in their description. Tissue weight jersey is EXTREMELY lightweight. As I mentioned in my intro, I avoid anything of this weight like the plague.
- "Slub": The word "slub" refers to little runs and "flaws" intentionally knitted into the fabric. Slub doesn't mean anything weight-wise. Pay attention to the fabric description for that.
- "Lightweight": As with ITY jerseys, when fabric.com says that something is lightweight, they mean it. "Lightweight" generally isn't as lightweight as "tissue" weight, but it's still a weight that I avoid.
- "Dakota": Dakota is a manufacturer brand name. I've seen the Dakota line fabrics on other sites listed for significantly more than what fabric.com charges. If I were going to order a rayon jersey from fabric.com, I'd look for the Dakota name and stick with that. In my experience, when fabric.com mentions a manufacturer's brand name, it's nearly always a fabric of at least decent quality.
HotPatterns giveaway update
If you haven't posted a comment for the HotPatterns giveaway, you still have a few days to do so before the August 30th cut-off (PST). I'll announce the winner on Monday:
HotPatterns giveaway post