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Fabric Characteristics -- Types of Fabric

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Woven & Knits
A close up of a woven and a knit fabric.

A close up of a woven and a knit fabric.

Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
Woven fabric does not stretch except on the bias. Woven fabric is made up of fibers which run straight at ninety degree angles to each other.

Knit fabric has loops of fiber that allow the fabric to stretch. The amount of stretch and the direction of stretch are all variables. A knit may stretch in one direction or it may stretch in both directions. This is an important consideration when choosing fabric for a specific pattern. For example; A bathing suit pattern will require equal two way stretch. If you choose a fabric that only stretches in one direction, the suit is not going to fit properly... if you can even get it on.

Unless the fabric is a mashed fiber, such as felt, it has a lengthwise, a crosswise and a bias grain. Understanding fabric grainis important when laying out a pattern.

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