Take Back the Knit: The Perils of “Tissue Knit”

The fabric manufacturers and the fashion world must be rolling in their success. They’ve created and marketed a fabric called “tissue knit,” and somehow made it trendy. It must be cheaper to produce, and it’s not surprising that it looks cheap. You know tissue knit, even if you don’t know its name. Today’s ready-to-wear knit tops are made of a thin knit. One advantages is its lightness. But the multiple disadvantages warrant a boycott of this trendy stuff. 

  1. Tissue knit clings on everyone, and it doesn’t look good, ladies. I have seem slim women wearing this thin knit, and if they are wearing low-cut pants too, rolls of flesh tumble out over the waist of the pants. It’s not flattering. Most of us are not as slim, and the look is proportionately unflattering.
  2. Thin knits wrinkle. If you’re like most women, the iron and its companion the ironing board get dragged out only for interviews, or the occasional special night out. Usually the wrinkly clothing item has been living in the closet next to other occasional wear. But thin knits are supposedly for casual wear, and they still come out of the dryer rumpled, demanding your attention.
  3. Thin knits don’t last. I hate those little pill balls that crop up under your armpit and on the sleeves. Are you noticing that these crop up after one or two wearings?
  4. Finally, of course, I’m a sewer and I have to comment on this fabric’s usefulness at the sewing machine. Garments sewn from thin knits are difficult to sew. The cut edge rolls up, making it difficult to pin it down enough to sew even a straight seam. An adhesive spray is often recommended to combat this tendency, but it has never worked for me.

Other types of knits, it should be said, have improved dramatically over the years from the wide Charlie Brown zig-zag polyester double knit to today’s lovely knits with lots of body and sometimes a touch of magic Lycra to hold its shape. These modern knits are substantial, don’t ravel, flatter our “bumps,” and require only minimum care.

For all of the above reasons, tissue knits are a waste of time and money. When you shop for ready-made clothing or for fabric to make into the latest Burda knit top, avoid it. Vote with your dollars and await the return of more sensible knit.

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