Poor Boy Rib Knit
by Shannon Gifford
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  • Poor Boy Rib Knit

    This beautiful fabric has the appearance of a wide-wale ribbing. It's actually a 6x6 rib but the stitches are very fine, creating a soft and luxurious knit. While it would be excellent for use as a trim, it also makes great-looking sportswear! The fabric is soft, comfortable, and easy to sew.


    This fabric will shrink in width when washed, making the ribs of the fabric more pronounced. If you prefer this look, prewash the entire yardage of the fabric in a cold water wash, with no bleach. If you prefer to retain the original appearance of the fabric, handwash the fabric. In either case, dry the fabric by laying it flat on a towel.

    Needles and Thread:

    Jersey or stretch needles, size 11, are the best choice for poor-boy rib knit. Use a cotton covered polyester or all polyester thread for this fabric.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    Use a zigzag stitch, 2.0 length, 1.5 width for construction seams. If you have a serger, a 3 thread balanced stitch is recommended. Seam finishes are not necessary, as the fabric does not ravel. Hems can be twin-needle stitched, using a 4.0/75 stretch twin needle. The wider width of this twin needle will match the width of the ribs in the knit. If you have a coverstitch machine, it will make a beautiful hem in this fabric!


    Fusible interfacing is not recommended for this fabric, as will interfere with the texture of the ribs. If you do require additional stability in certain areas of your garment, use a layer of swimwear lining or lightweight lycra as a sew-in interfacing. Be sure to match the stretch of the lining or lycra to the stretch of the rib knit.

    Pattern Suggestions:

    Tanks, tops, polo shirts, cardigans, turtlenecks, camisoles. Avoid patterns with strong horizontal lines (like horizontal bust darts), as these will interfere with the stretch of the ribbing.

    Creative Possibilities:

    For a great detail on your poor-boy rib top, try imitation smocking. Stitch two of the ribs together and secure with a few backstitches; repeat along a horizontal line on the fabric. Make several rows of this stitching, alternating the stitching to create a honey-comb effect.

    Additional Tips:

    Avoid hot irons, hot dryers, and fusibles with this fabric.

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