Ponte is a beautiful fabric – soft yet structured, stretchy but not clingy, warm yet breathable. It’s also a great fabric for those new to sewing with knits – unlike jersey, it doesn’t roll, is not overly slippery and holds its shape well.
What is Ponte fabric?
Ponte (pronounced “pon-tee”) is a double knit fabric.
A double knit fabric is created when two layers of fabric are knitted together with two sets of needles. Double knit fabrics are known as stable knits, due to their structure and durability.
Ponte can be either mid-weight or heavy-weight, and can have either two way or four way stretch.
You can also find ponte being called ponti, ponte de Roma, or ponte di Roma. The name comes from “Bridges of Rome” and refers to the pattern of the yarns in the fabric, which look like little arches from Roman aqueducts and viaducts.
What is ponte fabric made of?
Ponte fabric is made out of a combination of three fibres, and this combination is what makes it such an incredible fabric.
There are two common combinations: rayon, spandex, and polyester, or viscose/tencel, elastane, and nylon.
Rayon or viscose/tencel give ponte breathability, smoothness, and drape.
Spandex or elastane give ponte stretch.
Polyester or nylon give ponte strength, durability, and elasticity.
What does ponte fabric feel like?
Like all knit fabrics, ponte is soft to touch and warm. It is heavier than jersey fabrics (t shirt type fabrics) and feels thicker.
Due to the viscose or tercel fibres (as discussed above), ponte feels smooth, and can feel a little silky.
On the skin, ponte doesn’t cling but does feel warm, more like a jumper than a long sleeved t shirt.
What are the characteristics of ponte fabric?
Warmth – the fibres of ponte fabric are knitted closely together, making it a warm fabric to wear.
Durability – Ponte fabric does not run or unravel (no need to overlock or finish edges)
Brethability – thanks to the viscose, ponte fabric is breathable – so while you will be warm, you won’t overheat
Structure – due to its double knit construction, ponte is quite a structured fabric. While some single knit fabrics may either cling to the body or droop, ponte will hold its shape, making it perfect for dresses, pants, skirts, and tops.
Comfort- as a knit fabric, ponte sits comfortably on the body. It’s part of the secret pyjama family – warm, comfy, and fancy on the outside.
What should I sew with ponte fabric?
Ponte is quite a versatile fabric and can be used to make a number of garments.
As the stretch is minimal, you can use it to make patterns intended for woven garments. Dresses or trousers will be extra comfy in ponte – just be aware of areas where the extra thickness will be an issue. For an example, a gathered skirt on a dress might be a bit too much fabric in a small area.
Ponte works well for garments with structure. Have a look for pencil skirts (the stretch will help with movement), a line skirts, fitted knit dresses, and even blazers (the Morris Blazer by Grainline Studio is excellent).
How do I sew with ponte fabric?
It is important that you pre-wash ponte before use – it can shrink 5-15% after the first wash. I tend to wash my fabric as I do my clothes (so that it is treated the same way each time it is washed) – in a warm wash and then out on the line. Pilling and fading is highly unlikely in a good quality ponte.
Use a ballpoint needle on your sewing machine or overlocker.
Thanks for reading!
You can discover our full range of ponte fabrics here.
Have a question about sewing with ponte? Send me an email at email@example.com, I’m here to help.