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What is warp knit fabric?

Warp knit is a net-like fabric with holes in the knit, making it particularly breathable. Most people will have used warp knit without even realising it. It can be used for a variety of purposes in a wide range of industries, including mining, sports and hospitality. In particular, warp knit is used in the footwear industry to manufacture uppers for running shoes and trainers.

Warp knit can even be used in advertising to laminate billboard backdrops. Other industrial fields, such as warp knit concrete reinforcement and biotextiles, are currently undergoing research. This highly-versatile textile often goes unnoticed, but it holds many advantages over other fabrics.

Advantages of warp knit fabric

The loops in warp knitted fabric interlock diagonally along the width of the fabric. Warp knit is flexible and slightly stretchy, so it does not ladder. These qualities make it useful for the production of swimwear, undergarments and geotextiles. However, warp knit fabric can be quite complicated and detailed in structure, due to the multiple-needle design of warp-knitting machines. 

Luckily, large quantities can be manufactured in a short period of time. These textiles dry very rapidly if they get wet, making them ideal for laundry netting, sportswear and other applications where humidity may be involved. Here is a list of other applications:

  • Household – furnishings, mattresses, mosquito nets and laundry bags. 
  • Apparel – safety vests, sportswear lining, tracksuits and leisurewear. 
  • Inner wears – sleepwear, girdles, hooks, eye tape and underwear. 
  • Footwear – inner linings, sole linings and uppers in safety boots. 
  • Automotive – headrest lining, lining for motorcycle helmets and seat covers. 
  • Industrial – production of gloves, mining gear, products masks and PVC backing. 

Four types of warp knit fabric 

  1. Tricot knit – Tricot fabric is soft, crease-resistant and drapable. This knit is utilised in a variety of fabric designs. It produces lightweight cloth. Sleepwear, shirts and gowns are some examples of tricot fabric.
  1. Raschel knit – Raschel knit ranks second in significance to tricot in terms of production, but it produces a wide range of products, including laces, nets for foundation garments, swimsuits and carpets. Raschel knitting is typically done with thick yarns and has a complicated lace-like design.
  1. Crochet knit – In hand crochet, this basic stitch is applied. This method is used in a wide range of materials, from nets and laces to bed spreads and carpets, as well as numerous forms of edgings or trimmings.
  1. Milanese knit – The milanese stitch creates a fabric that resembles a tricot. It is distinguished by a fine rib on the face and a diagonal design on the back. However, milanese fabric outperforms tricot in terms of fineness, flexibility, structure uniformity and friction resistance.

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Written by Kate Hawthorne

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