Woven vs knit: which type of fabric is better?

woven vs knit

The global Woven Fabric Market Size is projected to reach a worth of $520,460 million by the year 2028. Fabric is an integral part of our daily lives. It's in our clothing, our bedsheets, and our home upholstery. 

There are many different types of fabric to choose from. Yet, when it comes to woven vs. knit fabrics, you may be wondering which one is the best fabric. This will all depend on factors such as its primary use and elements such as comfort, durability, flexibility, and structural content. 

Interested in learning more about the key differences in woven vs. knit fabrics? If so, keep reading this informative article to discover the unique pros and cons of these two types of fabric below. 

Woven vs. knit- fabric structure

Woven fabrics are comprised of two interlocking sets of yarn at right angles to create a grid-like structure that gives the fabric its structure and stability. These two sets of yarn are known as the "warp" and the "weft". The warp is the yarn that goes lengthwise, while the weft is the yarn that goes widthwise.

Knit fabrics, on the other hand, are often made from interlocking loops of yarn. The yarn is formed into a series of loops that create rows and columns. This results in interconnected stitches horizontally and vertically. 

In the case of woven vs. knit fabrics, both are made from yarn, but where they differ is in the techniques used. 

Common uses

Woven fabric is ideal for a variety of different uses for clothing items like denim, suits, skirts, jackets, slacks, and dress shirts. It can also be used to make home decor items like furniture upholstery and decorative curtains. 

Knit fabric is ideal for a wide range of everyday clothing items like t-shirts, underwear, and pajamas. Because of its stretching capabilities, it's especially well-suited for items that require flexibility like athletic apparel, workout clothes, leggings, and knit dresses.

When it comes to the common uses of woven vs. knit materials, both types of fabric display versatility and variety in creating diverse clothing options.

Flexibility and stretch

Knit fabrics have a distinct advantage over woven fabrics because they have a much more flexible and stretchy structure. Their loop composition means that the fabric can stretch in multiple directions and allow for a freer range of motion. The stretchy benefits of knit fabric make it ideal for use in athletic apparel.

Woven fabrics have less stretch and flexibility compared to their knit counterparts. However, what they lack in stretchiness and flexibility, they make up for in other ways. For instance, one of the benefits of woven fabric is that it will retain its shape much better over time.

In terms of flexibility and stretch in woven vs. knit fabrics, knit fabrics are more flexible and stretchy overall. 


Woven fabric has the advantage of durability. Therefore, it's less prone to damage from wear and tear like ripping and snagging. This is because the two interlocking threads form a criss-cross pattern which offers a tighter weave.

Knit fabrics can vary in levels of durability, depending on how tight the knit is. Looser knit fabrics may be more susceptible to becoming damaged while tighter knits may be able to hold up longer. However, a knit's flexibility may cause it to stretch out of shape over time from extended wear.

In the category of woven vs. knit durability, woven fabric is the clear winner.

Fabric breathability

A fabric's breathability relates to its ability to let air pass through the material. Without proper fabric breathability, a person can easily overheat and perspire while wearing a piece of clothing. Breatheability is especially beneficial in warm temperatures.

Woven fabrics with a looser weave can be more breathable. In general though, because of their more tightly woven construction which gives it its durability, woven fabrics are not as breathable. 

One of the benefits of knit fabric is its interlocking loop structure. These loops allow more air to pass through making knit fabric more breathable. In woven vs. knit fabrics for breathability, knit may be the best fabric choice.


Comfort can be a subjective topic as everyone will have different preferences for what they consider comfortable. It can also highly depend on the types of activities a person may undertake while wearing different types of fabrics. 

Woven fabrics don't have as much give as knit fabrics do. They can still make for comfortable clothing pieces as long as they are worn for activities that don't require a high range of movement.

Comparing woven vs. knit fabrics for comfort, knit may be the most comfortable casual and activewear where a focus on ease of movement and flexibility are the most important aspects. However, some may still prefer woven fabric for certain clothing items.

Drape ability

Draping is an important concept in clothing and fashion design. It pertains to how fabrics hang on the body when they are worn. Different fabrics will have different draping abilities depending on the types of fabrics used

Woven fabrics tend to have a more pronounced draping to them. Since woven materials hold their shape better, this allows for a controlled drape appearance with cleaner lines and shaping. 

With knit fabrics, you get a more fluid draping. The softer fabric molds and conforms to the body's shape. This creates a sleeker and more relaxed appearance. 

For overall drape ability of woven vs. knit fabrics, knit fabric takes the prize if you're looking for a more relaxed drape. But if you like a clean and controlled drape, then woven fabric is the way to go.


Following in the category of draping, woven vs. knit fabrics also have different abilities for tailoring. When it comes to tailored looks, everyone will have their own preference. Fabric choices also play a part in the overall desired look. 

Woven fabrics, with their ability to maintain their shape over time, are more easily tailored. They can hold pleats and decorative creases well. This makes them ideal for altering to create more structured and polished designs. 

Knit fabrics are more favored for designs that don't require a rigid or structured tailored look. Instead, the material's natural flowy characteristics and fluid draping allow for a closer fit that molds to the body for enhanced appeal. 


Pilling refers to those little balls of fuzz you find on clothing after many wears.

Woven fabrics are less likely to pill up because of their tighter weave. Whereas, knit fabrics have a looser weave and can be more prone to pilling over time because of the continuous rubbing of the fibers together.

If you're not a fan of pilling on your fabrics, then woven is the best fabric choice. 


Practically every fabric must undergo the process of washing or cleaning. But sometimes that initial wash can cause the fabric material to lose its original size. Some types of fabrics experience much more noticeable levels of shrinkage, particularly if the instructions on their care labels are followed closely.

In the case of knit fabrics, they may experience more shrinkage. This can be especially true if the material has a high percentage of natural fibers like cotton. The loops in knit fabrics can also contract if they are exposed to high levels of heat and moisture.

Woven fabrics tend to have less shrinkage after washing. This is because the same durable interlocking fiber construction that helps woven fabric retain its shape is less prone to distortion from frequent washings as well. This makes woven the winner in woven vs. knit fabrics for shrinkage.

Ease of sewing

Sewing with woven fabrics is generally straightforward. Since they tend to have less stretch, they provide a more stable structure. This makes them easier to handle and manipulate during the sewing process.

Knit fabrics can pose a challenge, even for more seasoned sewers. The fabric can often stretch out of place or pucker during the sewing process. Special sewing techniques, along with specialized sewing machine equipment like a serger, are often needed to prevent the fabric from stretching out of shape or to keep the seams from popping.

In the comparison of woven vs. knit fabrics for ease of sewing, woven fabrics are by far the most preferred materials.

Overall appearance

Woven fabrics often have a crisper and more structured appearance. That's why they are commonly used in formal or tailored garments like suits. 

Knit fabrics, on the other side of the fashion spectrum, usually tend to favor a softer and more casual appearance. They are most frequently used for comfortable and relaxed styles like active wear. 

All things considered, it looks like the many benefits of woven fabric beat out knit fabric in several categories of comparison as the clear winner. 

Create your custom high-quality woven labels at HiLabels today

When it comes to woven vs. knit, everyone has their own opinions about which fabric they think is best. However, the one thing everyone can agree on is that high-quality woven labels are the best for promoting your unique brand. 

HiLabels is your top source for custom woven labels, ribbons, patches, zipper pulls, and care labels. If you can dream it, we can design it!

If you're ready to get started creating woven labels of your own, then contact us for more information and say "Hi!" to HiLabels today. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *