batman pajama tops

Where to buy great knit fabric for kids without shooting your wad

Let’s talk where to buy great knit fabric for kids.

My kids love wearing knits. In fact my daughter at age 18 months would throw a fit if I tried to put her in any other kind of pants but leggings.

They’re comfortable, they’re easy to sew, and there’s so many fun prints these days.

Finding good knits is another story. I’ll give you some pointers on sourcing knits and how to keep it budget-friendly. I’ll also share some of my favorite spots to buy knit fabric for kids.

assorted knit fabric for kids
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My own knit fabric buying evolution

My life as a Mom and knit fabric lover who sews has gone through a lot of stages.

Stage 1: I bought a lot of junk. Think cheap, nasty scratchy knits that lasted a couple of washes. Say it with me now: cheap fabric is not worth your time.

Stage 2: I bought the PRICEY stuff. Big step up in quality but way overkill and definitely not a justifiable price for a family with 4 kids.

Stage 3: I learned to extend the yardage of the good stuff, where to buy it for less, and how to use what I had on hand to round it all out.

My goal here is for you to get to stage 3 without having to go through the pains of the other two stages!

Where to find great knit fabric for kids: Look for quality

What is a quality knit? I’m going to define that as a knit fabric that:

  • Sews up easily without distorting
  • Won’t pill or fade with washing
  • Feels good to the hand

If you see a knit that’s bargain basement cheap, it probably will fail one of the tests here. Let’s talk specific knit fabric types as well as some brands that are safe bets.

Cotton spandex prints + upcycled French terry stripe

Knit fabric types that are great for kids

  • Cotton/Spandex: available in a lot of prints. The cotton is comfortable, and the spandex makes for fabric with great recovery, so no wavy hems!
  • Cotton interlock: you’ll have to be a little more careful when you work with interlock. You’ll see it often in baby fabrics. It is soft, but it has low recovery. Definitely stabilize hems to eliminate wavy hems. Here’s how to stabilize your hems on knit fabrics.
  • Double brushed poly: fantastic for leggings. Also nice for dresses and tops. It’s soft and non irritating on kids’ skin (and adults!).
  • Fleece: kids love fleece! It’s warm and soft and definitely a great knit for cold weather wear. Here’s my recommendations for where to find good fleece.
  • Rib knits: super stretchy but with recovery. Use them on necklines and cuffs.
  • French terry: another heavier knit that’s great for tops and jackets or even joggers for heavier French terry.
  • Sweatshirting: Another easy sew cold weather knit. Of late, I’ve seen a lot more fun prints for kids in sweatshirting.

Brand name knit fabrics you should try for kids

Brand names are a safe bet when you’re thinking about knit fabric for kids. Here’s some good knit fabric brands that definitely are about quality.

  • Art Gallery: Art Gallery knits are a little more expensive than some others, but they make up for it in the wearing and the sewing. Their base fabric is very soft, extremely breathable and the colors are bright and do not fade.
  • Riley Blake: Another great choice for cotton spandex. I love their line of Knit Basics with solids jerseys, stripes and dots.
  • Cloud 9: Cloud 9 has some quirky fun prints in bright happy colors that kids will definitely love. My favorite is the interlock from this collection.
  • Dear Stella: Great modern prints in illustrative style. Think ice cream and sharks!
  • Lillestoff: Lillestoff is pricey, but excellent quality, and it’s hard to beat the prints. This European company makes the cutest cartoony knit prints with themes like Vikings, fairy tales, animals, pirates and more. They’re so cheerful for kids! I even spotted this cool sewing label fabric.

How to buy good quality knit fabric for kids without breaking the bank

I have 4 kids and I like quality fabric. These are two things that are often at odds with each other!

via GIPHY

Here are my pro tips for buying knits on a budget without having to sacrifice quality.

Mystery bundles + grab bags:

A lot of knit fabric sellers have mystery bundles and grab bags of remnants of knits.

This can be a cheap way to get your hands on good stuff. Kids projects often use so little fabric, that a small offcut can be more than enough.

Shop your kids’ closets

Old t-shirts are prime refashion supplies!

If your kids have recently outgrown some clothes, root around their drawers. There’s a good chance that you can find some knit fabric that’s in good shape. That old tee can become a new set of sleeves on some knit pajamas.

Mix good with old

My kids are always planning new versions of what we call “crazy jams”. Crazy jams are wild knit pajamas made with odd bits of upcycled knits.

Old t-shirts + sweet Batman fabric

I started making them as a way to use some strange remnants of Birch organic knits that a friend gave me. They were too precious to not use. I developed a technique for piecing the fabric with other fabrics enough to make yardage for actual garments.

Crazy jams are part good quality fabric with whatever I can find. Usually the second quality stuff is thrifted. The savings on the thrifted yardage almost always makes up for the extra price of nicer quality knits.

Some good online sources of fun, inventive, and good quality knit fabric for kids:

These are probably my favorite places to shop for kids’ knits. Some of them have fantastic sales, so keep your eyes peeled! There’s a lot more kids’ fabric stores in the Ultimate Jumbo Mega Guide to Online Fabric Stores.

The Ultimate Jumbo Mega Guide to Online Fabric Stores

200+ stores to find great fabric around the world in just about every category you could think of.

If you have favorite brick + mortar places you love, by all means, support them. We’re in a season right now, and I know I’m one of many who live in a place where buying online is just easier.

  • Peekaboo Pattern Shop: I’m always looking for Art Gallery on sale here, plus they have a great line of in house designed knits. Great stuff for boys and girls.
  • The Fabric Fairy: fun novelty prints including swimwear knits!
  • Girl Charlee: great selection of prints. I love their double brushed polys!
  • Land of Oh on Etsy: one of the best places for quality rib knit fabrics
  • Fabric Worm: a good selection of designer knit fabrics in happy prints.

2 thoughts on “Where to buy great knit fabric for kids without shooting your wad”

  1. Great summary! And awesome shirt. I need to trace that one off and make it up for the boys.
    I would add to your list of e-tailers: Print Knit Studios (at http://www.printknitsstudio.com/) and Girl Charlee (http://www.girlcharlee.com/) who both have good quality knits. Both have excellent boy selections and good to reasonable prices. I like the quality of Chez Ami fabrics, but I seldom order there as they have a 2 yard minimum cut. I mostly get solid color basics there, since I know I’ll be able to use them for a variety of things.

  2. We have a few fabric brands in Germany/Europe that are practically guaranteed to deliver great, beefy, cotton knits. Hilco is the biggest one, I think. They’re rather pricey, but since I don’t make all the kids’ clothes I splurge now and then. It’s usually worth it since the prints are cute and fabrics a joy to sew. You shirt is great btw, and a great use of the different knits!

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