3x3 Rib Knit
by Shannon Gifford
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  • 3x3 Rib Knit

    We often think of ribbing as a trim for other knits. But don't limit this versatile fabric to a supporting role! You'll love wearing this fabric in a variety of styles. It's comfortable, soft, and flattering to wear.


    Pre-wash in cold water, dry in cool dryer. Some darker colors may fade slightly when washed; if your sample is one of these colors, pretreat by handwashing the fabric and laying flat to dry.

    Needles and Thread:

    Use jersey needles, size 11/75 for construction. Stretch twin needles, size 2.5/75 and 4.0/75 are excellent choices for hems and topstitching.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    Lengthen your stitch length to approximately 3.5 for standard seams. For conventional sewing machines, use a zigzag stitch for construction, 2.0 length, and 1.5 width. If you have a serger, use a 3-thread balanced stitch for construction. Seams do not require finishing, as the fabric does not ravel. Hems can be successfully peformed with a twin needle (4.0/75 or 2.5/75) or the same zigzag stitch used for construction. If you have a coverstitch machine, use it for hemming this fabric. It works beautifully!


    Not generally used in garments made from this fabric, with the possible exception of stabilizing hems for stitching. In this case, use a crossgrain strip of the lightest weight knit fusible interfacing available (So Sheer is a good choice).

    Pattern Suggestions:

    Tanks, tees, camisoles, cardigans

    Creative Possibilities:

    3 x 3 rib makes beautiful trim. For bands or bindings, cut the fabric on the crossgrain twice the desired width plus two seam allowances. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, and stitch to the base garment with your preferred construction method (conventional machine or serger). If you are using the band of ribbing at the neckline of a garment, cut the band to measure ¾ the amount of the neck. Stretch the ribbing slightly as you sew to ensure that the band will hug the neck when worn. 3 x 3 rib also works well for covering piping.

    Additional Tips:

    For a lettuce edge on your garment, set your overlock/serger machine for a rolled hem and stretch the edge of the fabric as you stitch. It's a beautiful treatment, and it's easy to do!

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