What does woven fabric mean? The difference between woven and knitted fabric.

Raise your hand if you've ever put off sewing a project because there was an item on the pattern's material list you had no idea what it meant. 👋🏼
Now, I know we're all behind separate screens and can't see each other's hands, but based on the questions I've been getting lately, I can guarantee you're not the only one who might be waving feverishly right now. 🙈💛
Because the fact is that it can sometimes be a bit tricky to understand what is meant by all the cool material names listed in the "this is what you need" part of the pattern description - although you would probably know what is meant if you could SEE the material in question!
I think this is the case with the terms "woven fabric" and "knitted fabric".
What does woven fabric mean? The difference between woven fabric and knitted fabric.
What does woven fabric mean? The difference between woven fabric and knitted fabric.
Although you might think that all fabric is fabric , there are (very simply) two different types of fabric: woven and knitted.
And the reason why it is usually specified which of these categories you need is because the pattern is quite likely designed with the qualities of the different fabrics in mind.
In short, it can be summarized as follows:
Woven fabric = does not stretch. (Type of sheet fabric, linen fabric, curtains, tablecloth... Furnishings are often sewn in woven fabrics of various types.)
Knitted fabric = stretches. (Type college, jersey/knit, think soft clothes. Children's clothes are often sewn in stretchy material, i.e. knitted fabric.)
So if you buy a clothing pattern that is designed to be sewn in a stretchy fabric, it will not fit properly if you choose to sew it in a woven fabric.
The designer has calculated that the fabric you sew in stretches a little and that you therefore e.g. don't need a zipper to get the head through the neck hole (for example).
Dreglis by Sandramaria and On-the-go diaper bag by Sandramaria
Okay, so if you're walking around a physical store and know you're looking for a woven fabric (aka a fabric that doesn't stretch) you can easily walk around and pinch and feel the fabrics to know if they work for your project or not.
But what do you do if you shop online then?!
Then you can check for two things:
1. The webshops are usually good at categorizing their fabrics so that you can easily find what you are looking for. In addition to looking for categories such as "woven" and "knitted", there can sometimes be individual categories for e.g. "college" and "jersey/tirkå" (both knitted fabrics).
2. You can always check the material the fabric is made of to know if it stretches or not. 100% cotton does not stretch, but a mixture of e.g. 95% cotton and 5% elastane stretch.
If you scroll around among the Finnish online shops, you can look out for words such as:
Trikoo = Knitwear/jersey
College = College
Joustocollege = Extra stretchy and sometimes a little thinner college
Puuvilla = Cotton
Pellava = Linen
Elastani = Elastane
Joustamaton = not stretchy
I hope this walkthrough has made you a little wiser when it comes to what is meant by woven vs. knit fabric and that you feel a little more confident about fabric choices for your next sewing project!
If you have follow-up questions or want me to specify something, feel free to ask your question in a comment or e.g. DM on Instagram! I will be happy to answer your question! 🤩
Woven fabric vs. knitted fabric
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