Difference Between Knit and Woven

Knit vs Woven

The difference between knit and woven, as the names imply, begins with the process of making each fabric type. All kinds of fabric are made through either weaving or knitting processes. Despite woven fabrics looking different from knitted fabrics, there are many who find it difficult to differentiate between knitted and woven fabrics. Pullovers are knitted; we all know this, and some T-shirts are knitted while others are woven. Most of the cotton fabrics used for making shirts and trousers are woven. Even denim, the most versatile fabric of all times, is woven. This article takes a closer look at the differences to enable readers to know the features of both knitted, as well as woven fabrics.

What is Knitted Fabric?

The first and the foremost difference between knitted and woven fabric lies in the fact that knitted fabric is manufactured using a single yarn with the help of needles that make interlocking loops. When it comes to the qualities of the fabric, knitted fabric is stretchable and is ideal for those who are thick set as it stretches and provides comfort to them.

There are insulated air pockets in knitted fabrics that ensure warmth to the wearer. However, they are also porous and provide breathing of fabric. Knitted fabrics are fluffy, absorbent, also lightweight making them the preference of many people. However, they tend to shrink more than woven fabrics, which put such fabrics at a disadvantage as they cannot be frequently washed. They also fade more than woven fabrics. When you are buying knitted fabric, you will see that the edges have round blobs of glue or starch along the lengthwise edges. This is to prevent the fabric from curling. Also, the fabric does not fray along the width or the cut edge.

Difference Between Knit and Woven

What is Woven Fabric?

When it comes to woven fabric, two or more yarns are interlaced through an ancient weaving art. There the two yarns or threads that are called warp and weft in a loom. The loom converts the threads into fabric. A distinguishing feature of woven fabrics is the lack of stretch. Woven fabric is, generally, not stretchable though today some woven fabrics are made stretchable such as denims. Some woven fabrics are given stretch ability by adding lycra in between.

Woven fabric can be single colored or multi colored depending upon the threads used, and it is possible to make artistic designs or patterns in the fabric. In woven fabrics, there are intersecting threads that are perpendicular to each other. They are made on a loom where yarns that run straight along the length are called warp and the yarns that run across the width are called weft. Most of the woven fabrics have a right side and a wrong side that is known as soon as you see the fabric. When it comes to the edges of the woven fabric, the lengthwise edges are strong and they do not move. However, the cut edge or the width of the fabric frays.

 Knit vs Woven

What is the difference between Knit and Woven?

• Making:

• Knitted fabrics are made on a knitting machine.

• Woven fabrics are made on a huge loom.

• The Ability to Stretch:

• Knitted fabrics are mostly stretchable.

• Woven fabrics are not stretchable.

• Today some woven fabrics are made stretchable by adding lycra in between.

• Features:

• Knitted fabrics are preferred for comfort, warmth, and wrinkle resistance.

• Woven fabrics have fast colors and are more durable than knitted fabrics.

• Shrinking Nature:

• Knitted fabrics shrink easily, which makes it hard to wash them often.

• Woven fabrics do not have such a problem.

• Lengthwise Edge:

• Along the lengthwise edges of the knitted fabric, there are round blobs of glue or starch to prevent the fabric from curling.

• The lengthwise edges of woven fabrics are strong, and they do not move.

• Cut Edge or Width:

• The width or the cut edge of a knitted fabric does not fray.

• The width or the cut edge of a woven fabric frays.

• Washability:

• Knitted fabrics shrink so washablity is a problem.

• Woven fabric does not have a problem with washing.

Now, that you know the difference between knit and woven, there is an important fact to remember. Stretchability is an important consideration that needs to be kept in mind when deciding on one of the two fabric making methods. Can you imagine a woven fabric for a pair of stockings that needs to be stretchable? So, think about what you are going to sew using the fabric before you buy the fabric.

Images Courtesy:

  1. Texture 029 by  juuichimei (CC BY 3.0)
  2. Woven fabric by Bodyarmor (CC BY-SA 3.0)