The Stretch Appeal: Rib Knit Fabric in Contemporary Fashion

Do you know of any fabric that provides a dull look but stretches the most in contemporary fashion styles? That is nothing other than the rib knit fabric. A fabric that ensures both comfort and versatility is hard to find but never goes out of fashion. Behind this stretch appeal, what can be the reason? Let’s find out the overall understanding of the rib knit fabric in the article below.

Rib knit fabric

Fig: Rib knit fabric

Rib Knit Fabric: Definition

Rib knit fabric refers to the uniquely textured knitted fabric material created using two needles. These needles have vertical textured lines. The vertical ribs are well-created with knit stitches and purl stitches. These stitches are repeated multiple times along with the fabric width.

Raised ribs create a textured surface that is super soft against the skin. The fabric tends to be reversible with completely different vertical ribs on both sides. This fabric tends to be more elastic, durable, and fit to the body. Cotton-made rib knit fabric is easy to maintain.

What is Rib Knit Fabric Made of?

Rib knit fabric is composed of 100% cotton. It is also made of spandex, rayon, and wool, Sometimes other fabric combinations. The ribbed knits have vertical rows of stitches. This is because of ribs on both sides, the face, and the backside. Besides, adding spandex and other fiber blends contributes to stretchiness. Also, the blend of fibers makes the fabric useful for accessories- cuffs, bands, apparel- and necklines.

Types of Rib Knit Fabric:

Types of Rib knit fabric differ based on the stitch sequence. The available sequence or rib knit fabric types are:

  • 1X1 Rib: 1X1 rib means 1 knit and 1 purl sequence of stitch. It is used for making neckbands, waistbands, and cuffs.
  • 2X2 Rib: 2X2 rib also denotes the 2 knit stitches and 1 purl stitch sequence. This rib creates equally sized bumps, ridges, and both.
  • 4X2 Rib: 4X2 stitches are 4 knit stitches and 2 purl stitch sequences. They are polyester blends with wider ridges and shorter valleys. They are lighter in weight and have amazing drape ability.
  • 8X3 Rib: 8X3 rib means 8knit stitches and the 3 purl stitches sequence. It is a polyester blend rib knit with wider ridges and smaller valleys.

Rib Knit Fabric Properties:

Fabric Name

Rib knit fabric

Fabric Composition

Cotton, wool, polyester, blends

Fabric structure

2X2 (2 knits and 2 purls): thick

2X3 (uneven structure),

1X1 (small)


Does not wrinkle

Edge curling Resistance


Washing Temperature

Normal temperature wash without bleach

Thermal Resistance

In the case of 1X1: the thermal resistance decreases with the increasing loop length and air permeability

Fabric Stretchability


Fabric Shine


Rib Knit Fabric Characteristics:

Rib knit fabric has certain features. These features make the fabric sustainable for contemporary fashion. For instance:

1. Stretchable: Rib knit fabric is well-known for its elasticity. It provides the perfect stretch level without causing any shape distortion. That means, the fabric recovers well even after being stretched. The rib knit is stiff and not so smooth. Besides, the alternating stitches are well-designed to stretch in any direction or shape. Also, the fabric ensures the ultimate comfort level with the body.

2. Soft to the Touch:  Rib Knit fabric has a pleasant or gentle texture. It feels soft to the touch because of its ribbed texture.

3. Requires Air Drying: After washing, rib knit fabric loses the garment shape. To reshape the garment, rib knit fabrics need to be air-dried

4. Fabric Shine: Rib knit fabric lacks brightness, and shine. It is also dull in appearance. Besides, the fabric is heavier in weight. It is also thick.

5. Breathable: Ribbed knit fabric is breathable and it is helpful to regulate the body temperature. Also, the fabric prevents overheating and becomes the ideal choice for wearing in any season, throughout spring and summer.

6. Durable: The texture of ribbed knit fabric is raised and ridge. It is wrinkle-resistant and allows it to be in its original shape for longer than the traditional smooth fabric. The sturdiness withstands a good amount of wear and tear. It also makes the fabric a perfect option for the everyday wardrobe.

7. Easy to Maintain: Cotton-made rib knit fabrics are easy to maintain. They require only a gentle wash and tumble dry.

What is Rib Knit Fabric Used for?

Rib knit fabrics have multi-purpose applications Pieces made of ribbed knit are suitable for all seasons. Mostly, rib knits are popular for infant wear- tops and dresses. For instance:

  • Apparel: T-Shirts, Socks, Sleeves, Waist, Sweaters, Necklines, Pajamas, and Tops.
  • Accessories: Cuffs, Neckbands, and Waistbands
  • Sportswear: Activewear, joggers, and leggings. All because of its stretchy and moisture-wicking properties.

Rib Knit Fabric Care:

Rib knit fabric requires prewashing at a warm temperature. It is also suggested that the fabric be dried using the medium-dry cycle. Also, it is advised to dry the rib knit fabric-made clothes in the dryer as it will damage the fabric without remaining in excellent condition. Taking care of rib knit fabric requires cold wash and tumble dry low.

How Does Rib Knit Fabric Contribute to the Contemporary Fashion?

Rib knit fabric adds texture and dimension to garments. It contributes to the overall aesthetic design while used in layering pieces to ensure both warmth and style. Besides, Rib knit fabrics are wonderful at being fitted, slouchy, both thin and thick.

Apparel made from rib knit fabrics was the highest trend in the year 2018 as a part of ready-to-wear. They are ideal for fall evenings and summer styles. From the beginning to the present day, this fabric has left elegance on the fashion landscape marking itself as timeless and enduring comfort.

The current capsule wardrobe collection for rib knit pieces includes midi skirts, reversible tops, sweatpants, wide-leg crops, knee length skirts. Ribbed garments are both versatile and perfect for layering purposes.


Rib Knit fabric, made of cotton and cotton blends, is comfy and everyday basics. Pieces made of rib knit fabric offer versatility and the experience of a timeless wardrobe. It is well-recognized by the raised vertical ridges that run parallel to each other.  Also, these ridges create alternating knit rows and purl stitches in a single column and form a textured surface. These fabrics are elastic and flexible which make them an excellent choice for apparel in several uses.

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