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Knitted vs Woven Fabrics: What's the Difference?

Knitted vs Woven Fabrics: What's the Difference?

Sep 13,2022
Knitted vs Woven Fabrics
It can be tempting to choose fabrics for your next sewing project based on how the material looks or feels. Appearance and texture can help you decide which fabric to choose, but you also need to consider how each fabric is made. For example, when you compare knitted and woven fabrics, what's the difference?

The main difference between knitted and woven fabrics is that knitted fabrics use a single loop yarn structure whereas woven fabrics contain a crossed yarn structure. Knitted fabrics have a woven, sweater-like appearance when viewed closely. Woven fabrics show top and bottom patterns of warp and weft.

In this article, you will learn more about the main differences between these types of materials.

What is the difference between knitted and woven fabrics?

The difference between knitted and woven fabrics is that knitted fabrics use a loop structure whereas woven fabrics are made from two sets of threads that cross each other.

Fabrics can contain any type of fiber, from synthetic fibers such as polyester to ancient textiles such as silk and linen. But no matter what material goes into the fabric, all the fabric goes through one or the other of these two fabric structures.

In addition to the unique thread structure, there are several other simple tests you can use to tell the difference between knitted or woven materials. First, knitted fabrics are far more ductile than woven fabrics. Secondly, the knitted material is not easy to wrinkle when pinched with fingers, and the fabric will also wrinkle.

Of course, each fabric construction method has its own distinct characteristics.


Knitted fabrics are much more elastic than woven fabrics. The loops in the knitted fabric make it flexible and perfect for fitted garments. It can stretch horizontally and vertically, but it can also stretch and skew if not properly cared for.

Woven fabrics do not have much elasticity. It doesn't stretch much vertically or horizontally, although it can stretch a little diagonally. For this reason, fashion designers sometimes cut woven materials "diagonally" or diagonally to give this type of fabric a more fitted drape.

Woven materials generally have more structure than knitted materials. Clothes made from woven materials often require closures like zippers or buttons because they don't unfold as easily over your head or legs!


The strength of any fabric is largely determined by the type of fibers it contains, but woven fabrics are indeed stronger than knitted fabrics made of the same material.

Woven fabric has the tensile strength of all these intersecting threads to give it shape and strength. Knitted fabric stretches easily.

On the other hand, knitted fabrics do not wear out as easily as woven fabrics.


Woven fabrics generally have greater durability than knitted fabrics. You might be surprised; after all, T-shirts and many of the toughest garments are made of knitted material! But woven fabrics can hold their shape and resist pilling after heavy use and extensive laundering, whereas knitted materials eventually stretch, pill, and lose their nice appearance.

Generally speaking, it is much easier to damage a knitted material than a woven material. Of course, this depends to some extent on the type of material used - for example, woven silk fabrics require special dry cleaning, while regular cotton knits can go straight into the washing machine!


Knitted materials are more breathable than woven materials. The annular thread structure provides many channels for airflow. Braided material does have some tiny spaces between the crossed strands, but it tends to create more of a barrier between you and the air.

Many other factors also determine breathability. Thinner threads generally provide more breathability in knitted and woven materials. The tightness of the knit or weave also affects the breathability of the material in question.

On top of that, the material itself also affects breathability. For example, cotton can feel very breathable in either knitted or woven constructions. Polyester, on the other hand, will feel less breathable because it has no porous fibers.


Knitted fabrics almost always feel soft due to their stretch and elastic structure. Woven materials often have a firmer or even coarser texture.

Now, that doesn't mean woven materials can never feel soft! Ring-spun cotton with a tight satin weave will have a soft, almost glossy finish. But knitting ring-spun cotton into a jersey feels soft and soft to the touch.

Again, softness largely depends on the type of material used. But it's safe to say that knitted materials almost always feel soft, and woven materials don't always feel soft!


Generally, knitted fabrics feel more comfortable than woven fabrics. The knitted fabric has a loose, fitted, drapey quality that earns it a lot of comfort! Woven fabrics can also feel very comfortable, depending on the type of material used and the style of clothing.

The softness of the knitted fabric also makes them super comfortable. Most comfortable at-home apparel, such as t-shirts, loose-fitting hoodies, and cozy sweatshirts, are made from knitted materials.


The looped structure and flexibility of the knitted material make it less prone to wrinkling. Woven fabrics, on the other hand, can grip and hold creases very stubbornly in many cases.

As a fun fact, fabrics wrinkle because heat and moisture affect the hydrogen bonds inside the material. This allows the fibers to change shape slightly, creating creases in the material.

Easy care

The ease of care of knitted and woven fabrics depends on the type of material they contain. That said, both types of fabric constructions have some advantages and disadvantages when it comes to caring.

Knitted fabrics do not wrinkle easily and do not require ironing. Woven materials, on the other hand, do not pill or stretch as easily in the wash. It does need ironing quite often, though, as it tends to wrinkle easily.

Common use

Both woven and knitted materials have many popular uses in clothing.

Although the knitted fabric has only been around for about a century, it has quickly become a staple of many modern wardrobes. Knitted materials are used in T-shirts, sweaters, knitted sweaters, knitted blankets, etc.

Of course, you can also find almost any kind of clothing made from woven fabrics. Dresses, shirts, skirts, trousers, suits, advertising more in woven fabrics. People have been wearing woven textiles for thousands of years!

In conclusion

The biggest difference between knitted and woven fabrics is the thread structure of each material. Woven fabrics use a vertical top and bottom of two separate threads, while knitted materials use a series of interlocking loops in one long, continuous thread for a looser construction.

The knitted material stretches easily and breathes well. You can find this material in sweaters. Woven materials have a less flexible structure but are suitable for a wide range of garments from formal wear to jeans.

The above briefly introduces the difference between knitted and woven. If you want to customize or buy knitted clothing, please contact us.

ChenHong is a professional custom sweater manufacturer. We manufacture all kinds of men's/women's knitwear and sweaters. At ChenHong, every sweater is done by professional technicians. Each production process has strict quality inspection requirements. We always put the needs of our customers first and ensure that the sweaters produced fully meet the needs. At the same time, we have a top R&D team, which continuously shortens the production time on the basis of meeting the basic requirements of sweater quality.
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