Knits vs. Wovens

What’s the difference between knit & woven outers?  This is a question asked all the time on our Facebook page.  Here’s a detailed break down of the pros & cons of each:

Knits

A knitted (aka knit) fabric is stretchy, some more so than others.   T-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, & women’s swimsuits are all made with knit fabrics.

As related to cloth diapers, knit outers:

  • Stretch.  Bigger kids usually benefit from diapers made with knits because the wings will have more stretchiness & provide a better fit.
  • Longer lasting in terms of fit.  The stretch means the wings will fit better around bigger tummies & hips, therefore fitting longer.  The 35-ish pound mark on the topside of the weight range refers to diapers made with knit outers.
  • Can fade & pill.  Just like your favorite t-shirt that’s seen lots of washes, knit diapers can show wash wear, especially the darker colors.
  • Can sag.  Knit diapers on small toddlers may not fit as snugly & can start to sag while wearing.

Wovens

A woven fabric has very little to no stretch.  Work shirts, button up shirts, boxer shorts, jeans, and most bed sheets are made with woven fabrics.  Often called Quilting Cottons in the fabric store.

As related to cloth diapers, woven outers:

  • Don’t stretch.  This can be a good thing on small babies who will get a snugger, trimmer fit with woven outer diapers.  It can be a not-so-good thing on big babies because the lack of stretch often leaves the third wing snap (i.e hip snap) exposed.  Some children will be irritated by that exposed hip snap.
  • Hold up better to wash wear.  Woven fabrics generally don’t pill & tend to experience less fading (the exception to this is flannel.  We don’t use flannels in our diapers).
  • Don’t sag & fit trimmer.
  • May shrink more than diapers made with knit outers.

How to know which is best?  It’s usually a preference thing.  Some folks strongly prefer one over the other.  Some don’t care either way & buy both.  You probably won’t know for sure which you prefer until you try both.  As a general rule, I’d say if you have a young or small baby you can easily get away with either a woven or a knit.  If you’re shopping for your older toddler, or a bigger than average baby, go with a knit to be safe.

How to know which is which?  All of our listings indicate whether they are woven or knit, both in the title and the description.  If you’re ever unsure, just email or post on our Facebook.

Hope that clears it up!  If you have anything to add, or have a question, leave me a comment and thanks for stopping by!

Smiles,

Jen



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