How Fabric Affects Garment Fit

How Fabric Affects Garment Fit

Wanna see the same pattern, sewn in 4 different types of knit fabric? Here’s a quick visual of how fabric affects garment fit; and can change the look and style of your project.

How Fabric Affects Garment Fit: Jalie 3245, sewn in 4 different fabric types.

Here’s my latest sew, Jalie 3245 again. I love this pattern, I wear baseball tees all the time. (And flannels. And moccasins. It’s my momiform.)

How Fabric Affects Garment Fit: Jalie 3245 sewn in 4 different fabrics

These prints are high quality, medium weight jersey knit with 4-way stretch. Both are cotton with 5% Lycra. This is my favorite type of fabric to work with; 5% lycra is the magic number for me. It has  excellent stretch recovery, the fabric hugs you and it’s super soft.

Below is a very similar top in tribal print and stripes. It’s the exact same type of fabric, jersey knit; except it’s lighter weight and has 2-way stretch instead of 4-way. It stretches along the width of the fabric, but there isn’t much stretch vertically.

How Fabric Affects Garment Fit: Jalie 3245 sewn in 4 different fabrics

Visually, I don’t see a ton of difference in the top using less expensive fabric. This top thinner and needs a tank under it, and it’s definitely not as stretchy. But still a great top that gets a ton of wear.

How Fabric Affects Garment Fit: Jalie 3245 sewn in 4 different fabric types

Next is the same pattern, using an upcycled t-shirt with 100% cotton and very little stretch. Using this type of fabric won’t give you much ease, and you can really tell the difference in the fit. I got claustrophophobic taking it on and off! That’s why my sister in law is wearing it.

How Fabric Affects Fit: Jalie 3245 sewn in 4 different fabrics

Here it is again using a lightweight jersey slub. Slub knit has a little bit of texture to it, since it’s made using uneven yarns. Linen and handwoven cotton almost always have slub, but in knit fabric it’s made that way intentionally.

The fabric content and stretch varies with slub knits. I like a cotton/Lycra blend; but I’ve used some with a little bit of polyester (or some type of synthetic fiber) content that felt nice too. Often it’s a bit sheer, great for summer clothing. It gives this top a looser, drapier feel. I wear this top a lot!

After wearing all these tops, I gotta be honest and say that the pricier fabric on the first version look and feel the best. The less expensive fabric in the second top looks just as nice, but isn’t as thick and stretchy. Not a deal breaker for me. The slub knit has a totally different aesthetic that I love; but the 100% cotton knit top (version 3) was worn only once.

How fabric affects garment fit

My newest Jalie 3245 is my favorite of all. Sadly, I used the laziest construction of all with this one!

Jalie 3245

I didn’t serge any of the seams. I used a double needle to stitch the neckline, hem, and sleeves; but the tension was a little loose. I really need to unpick it and redo. I’m holding my breath for that sponsor who wants to give me a coverstitch machine. Ha!

Jalie 3245

I think it’s interesting to see how fabric affects garment fit. But I’m kind of boring, sewing the same things over and over. I’ve become pickier about everything sewing related; from fit to fabric. It makes it harder to get a project off the ground!

Until next time, friends.

About The Author

Amy Mayen

Hello. I'm Amy and I'm addicted to sewing. I borderline-hoard fabric, buttons, & patterns. Sometimes I wish I could pile my fabric up on the floor and just roll in it!


  1. Jennifer Straub

    Where do you buy your favorite fabric– the midweight jersey knit, 4 way stretch with 5%lycra? I have decided that I need to start buying online as the local fabric store doesn’t carry much anymore. Online shopping is a challenge for me since I like to see the stretch and feel the weight. I think I need to just start ordering some fabric and educate myself along the way. I agree that fabric choice is huge. Great blog and I like the lace sleeves too.

    • Amy Mayen

      It depends! I can trust certain lines like Riley Blake no matter where I buy it. Everything at Louseau is great, especially the bamboo jersey. Girl Charlee has really affordable fabric, but you have to really pay attention to the weight, stretch, and fiber content. A lot of people shop FabricMart and, but I haven’t much experience with those two.

  2. Justine

    Your new top really flatters your eyes and hair! It’s so interesting how different knits can behave and effect fit. I’m so over the dollar a yard crap that gets those little balls and stretches out that I used to buy downtown. I finally am figuring out It’s all about quality that lasts when we sew with knits .
    Justine recently posted…Fitted button down shirt with military details. McCall’s 6035My Profile

  3. Pam @Threading My Way

    Not at all boring to sew the same thing many times. Stick to a good thing! Using the same pattern also allows you to experiment, as you’ve done, with different fabrics. The first and last are my favourites.
    Pam @Threading My Way recently posted…Cushion Covers with Hidden ZipperMy Profile

  4. Olga

    What an interesting read!

  5. Annie

    Your new top looks great! Very nice fit on you! And with those fun prints combos you choose, they do not look boring at all. I have had twin needle stitches come loose after few wears, so it is not my favorite stitches to use. But they looked good while lasted! I have not experimented much with knits yet, but have found how the same pattern with the same size can fits differently with woven too. Can we ever get THE perfect fit?? ;o
    Annie recently posted…Elephants First Day Dress for Little MomoMy Profile

  6. Angela

    So true, so true. The fabric makes all the difference. I have made many versions of the Plantain tee and they vary so much. I’m currently running into problems with rayon/cotton/lycra blends. They don’t have as much stretch and are turning out tighter than I wanted. I’m going to have a lot of long underwear tops for this winter and I’ll never be able to take my sweater off if I get hot indoors. So if you see a lady sweating her butt off in some restaurant or somewhere, it just might be me (or some other sewist who has the same problem).
    Angela recently posted…Stripes Every Which WayMy Profile


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