21 February 2014

Where to Buy Knit Fabric

Where do you buy knit fabric? Some of you have asked for suggestions for where to find knit fabric to make your Coco sewing pattern. So I've put together a list of fabric shops that I know of that sell knits. Inevitably the majority of the list is based in the UK, as that's what I know best, plus a few in the US. And this is where you come in! If you know somewhere that stocks nice knit fabrics where you are, please add to the list by leaving a comment so we can turn this into a really useful international resource.

I bought the fabric for my Cocos from Tissu Fabrics / The Cloth House / Simply Fabrics
Before launching into the list, let me just remind you what kind of fabric you'll be looking for to make Coco - medium weight knit fabric with very little stretch. So what exactly is that? Knit fabric is formed in a different way to woven fabric, with a looping thread structure that results in its flexible, stretchy nature. And not all knits are created equal - there's the kind of thin jersey used to make t-shirts, super-stretchy rayon knits that you sometimes get in wrap dresses, tricot knit that your swimsuit may be made of, rib knits used in sweatshirt cuff bands... But the kind we want is firmer, slightly heavier than regular t-shirt fabric, and not very stretchy. Firstly because this type of material will be waaaay easier to handle, particularly if you're new to sewing knits - really easy in fact! - and secondly because the design of the garment calls for a fabric that will help hold its shape. Look out for fabrics with names like double knit, interlock knit, ponte di roma (AKA ponte knit) – or have a feel of the fabric in the shop to check it’s not too fine or stretchy. If you’re shopping online, the listing may include a percentage of stretch or Lycra or spandex included (Lycra is a brand name for spandex) – if it does, I’d go for something with definitely less than 5%, maybe about 3%, the lower the better.

Righto, so where can you buy knit fabrics like these?

Please bear in mind that I haven’t bought fabric from all the online shops personally, so it’s a really good idea to order a swatch before buying so you can check the fabric isn't too thin or stretchy (plus it's just generally useful to see a sample before buying to check colour, quality etc). And this list is by no means comprehensive, so please do chip in below with your own suggestions! Oh and BTW, I'm not being paid to recommend these shops, in fact they have no idea I'm doing it. (Of course if they want to send me some fabric in return, I won't complain...)

Sources [clockwise from top left]: Dragonfly Fabrics / Stone Fabrics / The Village Haberdashery /
My Fabrics / Ray StitchStone Fabrics
UK knit fabric suppliers:

Tissu Fabrics - This is where I bought the fabric for my funnel neck Coco, and I must say it's lovely. I'll definitely be going back there for more. They've got interlock in loads of colours, as well as prints.

Plush Addict has a fab range of interlock knit in lots of lovely colours.

Minerva stocks a wide range of colours of ponte, as well as this rather lovely houndstooth knit.

The Village Haberdashery have some lovely striped interlock, these super cute Woodland Knits from Monaluna, plus keep you're eye out because they're soon to get in these gorgeous Flight knits from The Grove.

Dragonfly Fabrics has a lurrrvely stock of stripey knits. As I said, do remember to request a swatch first as I haven't tried them out myself.

If you're a Liberty lover, they have a small range of interlock knits, such as this one from Sewbox.

Ray Stitch also have some Liberty interlocks, as well as these stunning Elk Grove chevrons - gah! I'd love some of this!

Fabric Godmother has some interesting looking knits, including this lovely red Roma (which I'm assuming is the same as ponte di roma).

Backstitch have got some ponte roma in, including glittery stuff, mmm...

Stone Fabrics have some interesting stuff, including this ladybird spot fabric which I've used to make the simple Coco top above (I got mine from Goldhawk Road), red and black houndstooth, polka dot ponte and galaxy print ponte - yes, galaxy print ponte - amongst others.

Calico Laine has some double knits. I'd love to make a Coco dress in that white one.

There are some interlocks and ponte knits at MyFabrics.co.uk. Fancy something gold and glittery? How about this!

If you're based in London, I've found some great knit fabric at The Cloth House (particularly good for stripes), Simply Fabrics and Unique Fabrics on Goldhawk Road.

And some US ones:

Fabric Mart have loads of ponte, interlock and double knits.

Britex has a wide selection of various types of knits.

Fabric Worm stock the lovely Elk Grove interlock knits from Birch Fabrics.

I stumbled across Girl Charlee and their beautiful selection.


I hope that's enough to be getting on with, and please do share your own recommendations for where to buy great knit fabric.

Once you've bought your fabric, prewash and dry it at least once before you cut it, as they can shrink - much better to get shrinkage out of the way now before you make your clothes to fit!

While you're sourcing fabric, don't forget to gather the other supplies you need to make Coco:

  • matching thread
  • stretch or ballpoint needle for your sewing machine
  • ribbon (30cm x 6-8mm wide) or stay tape

And a few extra bits that aren't essential but are really nice to have:
  • rotary cutter and cutting mat are really useful
  • twin stretch or ballpoint needle for your sewing machine if you fancy trying that out
  • hemming tape can be good too

I'll explain more about these supplies and how to use them as we make our Cocos. Next week I'll cover choosing your size and adjusting your pattern, cutting knit fabrics, and an introduction to sewing knit fabrics on a regular sewing machine. In the meantime, let's go shopping!