Purchasing Knit Wear
How do you judge quality in a knit garment?
• First check for overall smoothness, flat construction, even stitches an absence of needle holes, broken stitches, or loose threads.
• The garment should be cut on grain to avoid twisting of seams after washing.
• Quality seems are serged or finished, lie flat, do not draw up, yet have some give or stretch to allow for dressing.
• Also look for double needle stitching at armholes.
• Neckline and waistband seams are a sign of quality and makes these areas more secure.
• Because knits stretch, shoulder seams and neckbands are often taped for reinforcement. Some garments even feature a second layer of fabric or wide tape at the collar stand or neck back to retain shape in the area.
• Occasionally, turtleneck sweaters feature a seamless neckline, which is more expensive construction. This approach is designed to hug the neck, lie flatter, and be more comfortable for the wearer.
• Look at other garment details too:
– Collars, pockets, and zippers should be smoothly applied.
– Look at buttonholes; will they stretch out of shape during use?
– Are pockets reinforced so that the stitching will not come out with repeated use?
– Note trims as well. Are the stitches secure or will they pull out easily? Also, does the trim or decoration inhibit stretch in the fabric to the extent that it might affect comfort or appearance? How well a garment is made affects durability as well as appearance over the life of the garment.
• Three key properties that affect stability of knits are: loop structure of the knit, grain of the garment, and fiber content.
• Look for knits with firm even stitches. The knitted loops should be round, rather than elongated or long as if they were stretched. Often, knit fabrics are stretched during processing. Remember, the rounder the loop, the less shrinkage should occur.
• Also, check the grain of the garment. Usually the fabric is knit first then the garment pieces are cut out.
• Some knits are circular. In this case, the body of the garment forms a tube and there are no seams. With either type of construction, the vertical rows of loops in a knit shirt should be at right angles to the hem. With shirts and jackets. The side seams should fall below the underarm, If side seams or vertical rows of loops twist around the body, the problem will only get worse after washing or professional cleaning.
• Look carefully at the rows of loops; they are indicative of the quality of the item.
Storing Knits-Hang Up The Hanger
You shouldn’t hang knits, for prolonged periods of time, but if you feel you must hang your knit garments:
• For tops-use a properly sized padded hanger
• For skirts and slacks- do not use the hanging loops provided, they will distort the garment; use a soft clip hanger and take extra care to position the garment so it doesn’t droop, sag, or stretch which will lead to distortion.
• But, if you really want to treat your knitted garments royally and properly, use tissue, gently fold them and store them flat! That’s the right way to do it.
• It’s oh, so easy to damage a knit garment. Often, your drycleaner can undo the harm you inflict, but your garment will last longer and look better if you follow these simple steps:
• Don’t push up the sleeves! Yes, your drycleaner can reblock the garment, but that process won’t be effective forever. Eventually, the resiliency will be gone, and the only way you’ll be able to wear the item is with a pushed up look, and there are times that just won’t work for you.
• Take care not to stretch the neck when putting it on and taking it off. Gently lift and remove.
• Don’t wear heavy weight brooches or pins (they’ll pull on the delicate threads and eventually have you talking to your drycleaner about his reweaving services).
• Remove pins promptly and never put knit garments away with jewelry still attached.
• Handbags, belts and even safety seat belts can be a source of abrasion that can cause pilling. Wear them with care.
• Don’t let anyone stick an adhesive nametag on your knit wear.