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Oct 9, 2014

In Search Of....High Quality Rib Knit Waistbanding



Above is a photo of an Italian Valstarino men's jacket (manufactured by the Milanese company Valstar).

You may not be familiar with the name but you've probably seen the style, which has been around since the 1930's.  It's a loose-fitting blouson-type jacket with knit cuffs, waistband, and collar.

The collar is perhaps its defining feature.





They're still made today in many different fabrics and colors.  I want to make a similar one for myself.  I'm not sure if I'll make it in cotton, wool, a synthetic, or even genuine leather.





I actually own a vintage pattern that, apart from the collar, looks almost identical.  It's this vintage Thirties jacket pattern I picked up last spring:



The challenge is finding the right kind of rib knit for the waistband/collar/cuff.  It's not the easiest stuff to source.  You can find it on Amazon, but it ships all the way from the UK, which seems too far for something so basic.

If you haven't seen this kind of trim, it comes in varying widths, and is finished on (at least) one edge, and it can be folded in two if you need extra thickness (like on a collar).

Mood carries a bit of it, but not in a wide variety of colors and mostly in very light weights.

I went to Daytona Trim and their dusty selection looked like leftovers from many years ago -- a bit sad, frankly.

Sil Thread carries good quality, heavy rib knit but only in black and brown and pre-packaged.  You must buy a yard (18" wide) for $25.  That's probably more than I'd need for two cuffs, a waistband, and a collar.

I found the best selection at Pacific Trim.  They have a wide variety of weights and sizes, many different colors, and some of it looks sturdy and high quality (and not the kind that's going to start pilling as soon as you bring it home.)  I've found the best of these are blends that include wool and nylon for strength.  The worst are thin acrylic (think: dime store yarn).  Or so it seems to me.

Have you ever worked with rib knit trim?  I haven't but have always been curious about it.

In other news, I may be blogging less moving forward; we'll see (blogging mojo and all...).  Not to worry, however: all is well.

Have a great day, everybody!

37 comments:

  1. I have this site bookmarked. I have no idea what the quality is. http://www.seattlefabrics.com/ribbing.html
    I found another place and If I find it again I'll let you know.

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  2. Found it. The Rain Shed has a lot of colors listed and actual photos. It looks like a great jacket. Make it in leather.

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  3. I've had good luck with the quality of both Seattle Fabrics and the Rain Shed (although I ordered from the Rain Shed 20 years ago?)

    Also http://www.peakfabrics.com/fabric/cotton-knits/cotton-jogging-fleece-and-ribbing
    and
    https://www.fabricline.com/searchResults.php?a=1&keywordSearch=Knit%20ribbing

    Have fun!

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  4. I work for sportswear manufacturer, we buy giant rolls of black rib for our jackets and I can send you a yard. Emailing you now...

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  5. Totally agree with Nancy, leather is the way to go.

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  6. Seattle Fabrics has both regular weight and heavy duty rib knit. I've used both and they work quite well. The regular comes in lots of colors, the heavy duty in just a few. It is knitted in a tube about 17" wide so you get 34" width. I think they sell it by the inch in the store, there may be a minimum for online ordering. I also had found another rib knit online that was all wool but it was too flimsy to be of much use. Come visit us in Seattle.

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    Replies
    1. If you get here by Monday, you can wear the parka AND the anorak as the rains will have returned....finally.

      Delete
  7. I can relate to your experience. For the first time in absolute years I have sewn soemthing that needed ribbing. I live in NZ and 25 years ago I had the choice of any number of colours and thicknesses. This time I had to buy precut lengths in a contrast colour because matching was impossible. The selection was PATHETIC.

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    Replies
    1. If you're Auckland based try Designer Textiles in Otara - they've lots of trims, ribs, fabrics etc which are manufacturers surplus. No web store unfortunately if you're not AKL

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  8. It would be too light weight for a jacket, but does anyone have experience with the ribbing sold on Ottobre Design's etsy page?... I am thinking of ordering for knitwear but am not sure if it will be worth the international shipping.

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    Replies
    1. It's good quality, perfect for sweatshirt trim, or a light kids jacket. A little heavy for a tee if the body fabric is lightweight. I believe it's all 2x1. It's been a while since I ordered. I purchased the stripe from them and once some solids from a now defunct source which I believe was the same. The colors are very nice in person, I'm partial to petrol, a navy with just a hint of green.

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  9. I've been looking for that type of ribbing and haven't had any luck on my own so I appreciate these possible resources. I want to remake my favorite pair of shorts in navy and a sage green. The waistband has the same ribbing as your jacket collar.

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  10. Less blogging, more better other mojo? We just want you to be HAPPY, son....

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  11. The thought of less blogging makes me very sad indeed :(

    But that's because you've spoilt us with your prolific, highly entertaining, informative and witty blog posts these past few years. You've even sung for us!

    I wish you and your mojo all the best. Be well and do what's right for you.

    Spud.

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  12. I have worked with rib knit before but your experience in finding it is true here as well. The selection is often limited and quality varies immensely. Most rib knit I can find doesn't have a finished edge though.
    Ironically, the place near me where they have the best selection of the stuff is the place which I know sells leftovers from old stores and workshops...
    And the best rib knit I've ever used was the stuff Burdastyle sent me for my jacket for the Burdastyle Sewing Handbook. No idea where they found it.

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  13. You mentioned shipping from the UK. Please can you tell me the site as I'm in the UK but haven't managed to buy any suitable rib locally. Local shops are shadows of their former selves.

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    Replies
    1. Anne, the company is Neotrims:

      http://www.neotrims.com/

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    2. Thank you. It's well established. I see it's based in Leicester but doesn't have a shop front - trade and eBay only.

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  14. Without your frequent post, the sewing world for men will greatly diminished. Your indefatigable presence has literally changed the climate and course for the home sewer. As a beginner, I will miss your expertise and guidance. But who knows? Something even more exciting in sewing may be coming your way and by extension ours.

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  15. I think I might cry if you stop blogging, whenever I've had a bad day I ways read through your old posts to cheer myself up ! Maybe you could entertain us with your thoughts on the weather? Xx

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  16. if the ribbing is good quality other than weight, would it work to use a double thickness?

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  17. Oh, please do keep blogging. I don't comment, but I read often and you are a bright spot in my day (both literally and metaphorically). I enjoy seeing the beautiful things you make, and the striking colors you are able to use. I'm in the midwest, where, sadly, "fashion" is still very much traditional and conservative. Please keep writing!

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  18. I like the organic cotton ribbing from the OttobreDesigns shop on Etsy, though it does come from Europe. https://www.etsy.com/listing/95415043/yummy-ribbings-2x2-cotton-elastane-rib?ref=shop_home_active_5
    By the way, when I was at an event in L.A., the costume designer for the movies "The Artist" and "The Fighter" started telling me about how he loves your blog, and then started recounting various episodes from your sewing life, so he's a regular reader. Of course, I was jealously thinking, "Why is it Peter's blog? Why isn't it my blog?" But I wanted to let you know, because even though there will always be a variety of opinions floating around the internet, the people I talk to all love your blog. Hope your mojo will be back soon!

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  19. I was in Botani yesterday and was surprised to find a selection of rib trim. It seems like they are expanding their inventory regularly.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I must check them out; I've never been.

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    2. Bottani is great for buttons and all kinds of hardware for bags and belts. They also had, last time I was there a huge selection of leather trims. They also have an Italian, I think,, high end zipper line comparable to Riri.

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    3. I just went there today: I was BLOWN AWAY!

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  20. So the day has come.

    Many of us have traveled with you in complete appreciation, but well aware that one day this magical place would be marked as a high point in mid-life renewal and reflection - a fond memory.

    Less blogging is not the same as "the end", but know some of us have more experience in being let down gently.

    Where ever life takes you next, or more to the point, where ever you take life next, intermittent postings will always be welcomed.

    Testosterone





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  21. Try this fabric store in Portland, OR that specializes in Activewear fabrics. I have purchased in person and online and find their quality is excellent. However, in a search I could not find any wool blends in their extensive line of ribbing:
    www.fabricline.com

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  22. wawak.com has "heavy-duty" knit cuffs, collars & waistbands. The waistband is 25.5" x 9" for $4.85, but I've never ordered it, so I don't know its quality.

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  23. In my area, I’d be lucky to find any ribbing at all.

    I love the jacket. A suede, even a synthetic suede, might be nice. I bought a synthetic from Mood on a past MPB day. It’s actually woven, so other than some fraying while working with it, I like it. No permanent holes from pins or my constant seam ripping.

    Even though I am mostly lurking these days, count me among those who will miss your wonderful, frequent blogs, but want you to be happy.

    As with Testosterone, I’ve been let down gently before. Please check in from time to time to let us know you are well

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  24. This post couldn't have come at a better time! I've been wondering for the past year why its so hard to find decent rib knits! I remember about 15 year ago you could find it everywhere in various degrees of quality, now it seems like they've evaporated from the landscape! Luckily, I bought some up then in different colors and stored them away. Surely there's a need for them! What gives??!!

    On another note, I've often marvelled at how you could post on your blog daily! I have one that I haven't posted on in almost two years!! LOL! You've spoiled us all rotten Mr. Lappin.....we get up, fix our coffee and tune in daily and you've become part of our morning routine! I think you could easily have a show of some kind, perhaps with Mood as your sponsor!! I credit you with sparking my interest in vintage machines and getting my "sewing mojo" in gear after a long period of dormancy. We'll eventually adjust to less posting and of course support you in all of your endeavors!

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  25. Hey MPB, I am using the Lotus for a sewing class and have simply excepted the reverse issue; I wish it were a lever too but the machine is so light and compact it does make a good traveller.
    Keep up the great work, Tom

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  26. Very cool jackets..the rib knit collars look to be sewn with a coverstitch.

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  27. Hi Peter: Thank you for all you've given us -- you deserve a break! Please do check in from time to time as we'll miss you! Regarding the ribbing: please check Rockywoods.com : they have a nice selection and great service (NAYY). Love the jacket!

    Cynthia

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  28. Rib knit trim, you can never find it when you need it. Back in the good old days (1980's?), there was a tailoring supply house called Oregon Tailor Supply where you could buy 100% wool rib knits which I used for my wool Melton jackets, but sadly they are out of business. If anyone knows of another supplier, let us know. I too once worked for a major jacket manufacturer, and we had huge rolls of rib knits, but sadly, the knitter (Dolphin Trims?) doesn't exist. Since I live in the Seattle area, I see the rib knits at Seattle Fabrics frequently, they're ok for most sportswear but not high end leathers and woolens. One alternative for high quality rib knits is to recycle a sweater that has the fiber content and knit structure for that suede jacket collar and cuffs. There are lots of old, thrift store wool sweaters that begging to be reused as rib knits! John Yingling

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