What Is Tricot Fabric? Everything You Need To Know About Tricot Fabric

Tricot fabric isn’t that well known, but its soft and smooth texture makes it a good choice for lining, performance wear, and swimsuits.

Tricot is a thin knit fabric. The weave is made on a flatbed knitting device. It has a crosswise rib on its rear and a noticeable zigzag look on its front side.

Tricot can be made from natural and synthetic fibers which give it its smooth and elastic properties.

Tricot fabric is incredibly versatile, but not much is known about it. 

We’ll cover more about tricot fabric in this article. You’ll find out what tricot can be used for, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of the material.

What Is Tricot Fabric? - Everything You Need To Know About Tricot Fabric

Tricot Fabric Basics

Tricot comes from the French word for knitting, known as ‘tricoter’. It is the name for a particular warp-based fabric. Tricot isn’t like other knit materials, as it is woven through a different method.

The majority of knit materials are created on circular knitting devices. Tricot differs, as it is woven on a flatbed knitting machine.

Tricot is a warp-based fabric. Warp refers to threads that run lengthways on a fabric. A warp-based fabric means that the warp is more conspicuous.

These threads are made into loops which are then intertwined with weft threads.

This forms a rib pattern that extends lengthways down the front of the fabric. On the underside, the same method produces a fine crosswise rib pattern.

This method gives the tricot its unique strength and feel, which is why tricot is easier to work with compared to other knit materials.

Tricot is as strong and durable as woven fabric, but it retains the elasticity of knit material.

Tricot has other advantages, though its qualities depend on the fiber used to make it. Tricot can be a good insulator, quick-drying, and even antibacterial.

No matter what fibers are used, all tricot fabric is run-resistant, so it can’t be ripped easily.

Well-made tricot won’t cling to the wearer and won’t build up static, keeping the garment comfortable to wear.

You can find tricot fabric available in several patterns, colors, and cuts.

Is Tricot Made From Natural Or Artificial Fibers?

The name tricot refers to the weave method used to produce the fabric, not the fiber used to create it.

Artificial tricot versions made with synthetic fibers are usually more elastic, which is ideal for athletic wear or sportswear.

Artificial fabrics can be more versatile, which is why tricot is usually made with a spandex polyester blend or a spandex and nylon one.

A small amount of tricot is made with natural fibers, such as cotton. Despite this, fully artificial tricot is more common.

Tricot is made with a weave instead of being knit, which makes it hard to stretch. This is why spandex is often added to tricot.

It can give it stretchy properties, like 2-way or 4-way stretch, which is needed for athletic wear and lingerie.

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How Is Tricot Manufactured?

How Is Tricot Manufactured?

Tricot is a strong, smooth knit fabric. As mentioned above, it’s produced by knitting weft threads and warp on a flatbed knitting machine.

This machine resembles a loom, which is why tricot is woven instead of knitted.

Tricot is identified when the warp threads are the most visible ones on the material. These threads are the ones that run lengthwise down the fabric.

All the needles on the flatbed knitting machine use their thread to form a loop. This looks like a row of slip knots on a single filament.

The flatbed knitting appliance has lots of these needles which create these slipknots parallel to each other.

The slip knots travel sideways, moving in a zig-zag motion from one needle to the next. They then connect with the knots on the other threads which jointly knit the material.

The zigzag motion is responsible for giving tricot its individual touch and consistency.

Tricot fabric can have three patterns, all of which are a modification of the single strand slip knot pattern.

These patterns are called Atlas, Cord, and Denby. The space between the width of the zigzag and each knot will create various patterns in the material.

Each tricot pattern will have a different consistency, feel, and form of the material. However, there is one similarity that unites all tricot fabric – the rib zigzag pattern on the front of the fabric.

No matter which of the three patterns are used, the zigzag effect will extend down the length of the material, while the crossed rib will stand out on its back.

Benefits Of Tricot Fabric

As stated previously, Tricot is strong and resilient, exhibiting many qualities seen in woven fabric. Some of these include static resistance and ease of use.

Here are some of the main advantages of tricot discussed in more detail.

Woven-Knit Material

All knit fabric possesses some stretchability, though this depends on how the fabric was made. For instance, jersey knit is a knit material that isn’t as stiff as woven material.

Jersey is looser and can extend more than some woven fabrics.

Clothing made from jersey doesn’t need many fastenings as it is stretchy, not rigid. This lets the wearer take the garment on and off without buttons, zippers, or ties.

Though knit’s elasticity is one of its advantages, it can be a hindrance too. As knit material is loosely formed, the fabric is known for not staying in place during sewing.

It can also stretch too much, making it look shapeless and lifeless.

Tricot fabric isn’t like knit fabrics. It is knit on a flatbed knitting device, but the machine works like a loom. Unlike jersey knit, the yarns are woven together instead of being knit.

As tricot is a warp-based fabric, it is much stronger and stiff compared to other knit materials. Its rigidity also makes the fabric tighter and more durable.

Tricot may be rigid, but while it acts like a woven fabric, it does retain some movement and elasticity seen in a standard knit material.

This means the tricot can keep its shape and won’t overstretch beyond its capabilities. This also makes tricot fabric easier to work with, particularly compared to jersey.

Maintenance & Care

It is relatively easy to care for clothing made with tricot. Tricot holds up well in the wash. It won’t stretch, is crease-resistant, and dries quickly, so you won’t need to spend energy using a dryer.

You can leave tricot out to air-dry overnight and it will be dry the next day.

As mentioned above, one of the main advantages of tricot is its ability to keep its shape.

It won’t stretch when laundered and can be washed and worn easily, which is ideal for an active or busy lifestyle.

It can be difficult to look after some knit fabrics, but tricot is much easier to care for.

Tricot is run-resistant, so its threads won’t become loose and get caught on other objects.

You don’t need to worry about tricot unraveling, as it is much more resilient than general knit materials.

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Breathable And Comfortable Fabric

Some synthetic fabrics can be heavy and uncomfortable to wear, but tricot remains breathable, despite having polyester or nylon fibers.

Knit materials have a porous form with several spaces in between. These gaps let air, sweat, and moisture pass through, maximizing breathability.

This makes tricot clothing ideal to wear in warmer wear, but as it allows sweat to pass through, tricot makes good athletic wear too.

Tricot fabric can prevent the wearer from feeling sweaty, clammy, or unpleasant. As tricot lets air pass through, it won’t cling to the wearer, even when it becomes hotter.

Tricot can drape well around the wearer much better than other knits. This is enhanced when spandex is added to the fibers.

Through this, the tricot’s elastic ability improves, allowing the fabric to move lengthways and sideways without overstretching.

This allows tricot to move freely around the wearer, but the fabric still retains its strength and supportive rigidity.

These qualities make tricot impressively breathable and comfortable, explaining why it’s a popular fabric choice among many manufacturers.

Tricot Fabric Drawbacks

Tricot Fabric Drawbacks

All fabrics have advantages and disadvantages. Tricot has amazing benefits, but its drawbacks are often down to the fibers within it.

Tricot fabric can be made from natural and artificial fibers, so its disadvantages are related to the issues that come with these different materials.

While tricot fabric can have natural fibers, most tricot fabric available tends to contain synthetic fibers. We’ll cover the main drawbacks that are associated with artificial tricot fabrics.

Sun And UV Ray Resistance

Knit fabric resists some sun rays, but as tricot is tightly woven, it has a higher UV resistance than most knit fabrics. Despite this, woven fabrics will offer better sun protection than tricot.

Tricot is a knit fabric with gaps in it. These holes will permit UV rays to pass through and affect your skin.

Tricot with a higher denier made from a synthetic blend, like polyester-spandex or nylon-spandex, will have a better UV resistance than lightweight tricot.

Keep in mind that nylon will break down when in contact with sunlight. As the fabric degrades, this lowers your tricot clothing’s UV protection.

If you often wear tricot with nylon fibers out in the sun, you’ll probably have to replace this garment often.

Keep examining your clothing for signs of color fading. If this occurs, it’s a good sign that you should purchase a new garment, or switch to a fabric with better UV protection.

Fabric Fibers And Weight

If you have a tricot garment, it’s best to find out which fibers it is made from. Tricot can be made from both natural and artificial fibers.

The fiber chosen to make tricot will affect the fabric’s elasticity and opacity.

However, this is easier said than done. It can be difficult to find out which fibers are in your tricot fabric, particularly if the garment is made cheaply.

Less expensive materials may be affordable, but they are normally translucent and see-through. This isn’t ideal for sportswear and swimwear, particularly if the fabric is a lighter color and gets wet.

Always check the label when you buy tricot fabric, as this will usually state the type of fibers used on it.

Tricot made with a synthetic spandex blend isn’t the best choice for lining. Similarly, cotton-based tricot isn’t ideal if you’re purchasing swimwear.

Regular Wear And Tear

One of the main advantages of tricot is its run-resistant properties. However, this benefit relates to one of its drawbacks. Tricot may be durable, but it can still come apart at the seams.

Tricot’s run resistance can prevent the fabric from pulling or snagging on other objects.

However, as the wearer won’t be worried about ladders forming, they may miss the first signs of the fabric disintegrating.

Tricot may not be as weak as some knit fabric, but this won’t stop it from snagging. Remember, tricot is still a knit. It’s still possible for the fibers on knit fabric to catch on small objects.

For instance, tricot may pull on zippers, buckles, or buttons. It may be run-resistant, but you may find small pulls forming on the material.

You can avoid this happening by taking care when laundering. Keep your tricot clothing away from garments with fastenings and decorations.

This will reduce the likelihood of snags forming.

Heat Resistance

We’ve covered why tricot is easier to care for compared to other knit materials, but it still has one related disadvantage. This is its heat resistance.

Tricot can be made from natural fibers, but it’s normally made from a synthetic blend. All artificial materials, including a polyester-spandex or nylon-spandex blend, don’t hold up well against heat.

If your washing machine uses water at a high temperature, the tricot garment may melt.

Other than the wash, you need to protect tricot against other forms of heat. Polyester-based tricot in particular melts and burns easily.

Keep your garment away from the stove, heaters, and hot light bulbs. Polyester is notoriously known for burning under heat, so stay away from heat sources when wearing it.

Dryers can also cause an issue, particularly if you set the dryer to a high temperature, or forget that your clothes are still in the machine. It’s best to avoid dryers and let the tricot fabric air dry.

Hang up tricot to dry outside, but remember to keep it away from direct sunlight, as the sun still counts as a heat source.

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Types Of Tricot Fabric Clothing

Tricot is available in various deniers, which refers to the weight of a fabric. It can be as heavy as 40 denier or as light as 15 denier, making it ideal for several types of clothing.

Heavier deniers tend to deliver opacity, but others maximize elasticity. All tricot weights tend to offer the same comfort and strength.

Here is a list of the most common uses of tricot.


One of the most popular and well-known uses of tricot is lingerie.

Lingerie doesn’t just refer to women’s undergarments. The term can cover sleepwear, nightgowns, camisoles, and slips.

These are normally made with heavier 40 denier tricot fabric, but lighter weights, like 15 or 20 denier, can still be used to make lingerie.

Lighter deniers are normally used to make sheer negligees or lightweight dressing gowns.

Athletic Wear

Tricot is very comfortable and breathable, which makes it a great choice for athletic wear.

When tricot is made with a spandex blend, this gives it a 4-way stretch ability that works well in sportswear.

Additionally, as it’s so breathable, the fabric will keep the wearer cool as sweat during exercise.

Tricot fabric can be seen in yoga pants and sports bras. This weave allows the user to move freely during several types of sport.

Whether the wearer carries out gentle yoga or strenuous martial arts, tricot allows them to carry out many movements without feeling confined by layers of the clothing.


Well-made swimwear needs to be form-fitting, but strong enough to resist water from the pool, jacuzzi, or sea. Tricot is a great choice for swimwear as its elastic, soft, and retains its shape.

Tricot doesn’t overstretch, so it can return to its original shape after being worn. This will prevent swimwear from sagging, so it looks new and flattering for a long time.

Stretched out swimwear is a common issue that many would like to avoid. This is why tricot is such a popular material used to make swimwear, especially if the blend is made from nylon and spandex.

Tricot made with synthetic fibers will be close-fitting on the wearer’s body, but the artificial fibers will also hold up well against chlorine.

All these advantages explain why tricot is a perfect material for swimwear.

Outer Garments

Tricot refers to the name of a fabric, not the name of fibers. This means that tricot can be made from several different fibers, which extends the number of things it can be used for.

Tricot may be a popular lingerie fabric, but you can also find tricot jackets and coats available to purchase.

As tricot is soft and stretchy, it makes pants and jackets comfortable to wear. These items of clothing are flexible and breathable, so they’re ideal to wear during the day or outdoor activities, like a hike.


Another use for tricot, though not as popular, is lining for bags and luggage. Tricot lining isn’t as elastic as tricot used for athletic wear.

Despite this, tricot lining is strong and has a long lifespan. It will prevent your clothing from becoming damaged and update your luggage’s appearance simultaneously.

Cost Of Tricot Fabric

Cost Of Tricot Fabric

Tricot is normally available to purchase by the yard. Its cost will vary depending on its denier and the fibers used. In most cases, tricot will be priced between $7 – $13 per yard.

This is just a rough guideline, as the manufacturer, retail brand, and the fabric’s quality will affect the amount you pay.

Well-known brands will often charge more for their product, but lesser-known manufacturers may charge less.

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Most people don’t know what tricot fabric is, but it’s used in several items of clothing. This knit fabric is usually made from synthetic fibers that make it strong, elastic, and run-resistant.

Lingerie, sportswear, and swimwear are often made from tricot, though you can now find outerwear and luggage lining made from it too.

Tricot doesn’t stand up to heat well and doesn’t provide that much UV protection.

However, as it’s comfortable, breathable, and bounces back into shape easily, tricot remains one of the most versatile fabrics available on the market.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get your last-minute tricot questions answered here! 

What Kind Of Fabric Is Tricot?

Tricot is a warp-knit fabric. Warp-knitting has each knitting needle create a loop with its thread, creating non-stop loop columns running down the length of the fabric.

This gives the tricot a smooth ribbed front and a textured back surface with crosswise ribs. Warp-knitting also makes tricot a soft material that doesn’t snag easily. 

Is Tricot Like Cotton?

Tricot is a fabric made from finely knitting different types of yarn. Artificial materials, like tricot fabric, are usually made from synthetic fibers, like spandex, polyester, and nylon.

Tricot fabric can be made from natural fibers, like cotton, but synthetic tricot is more common. 

What Is The Difference Between Tricot And Polyester?

Polyester is an artificial material that’s normally created from petroleum. Tricot fabric can be made from both natural and synthetic fibers, but it’s usually obtained from polyester.

Polyester isn’t a very breathable fabric, but tricot made from polyester is a lot softer and more breathable.

This is because tricot knit fabric has gaps among the threads that let moisture and air through.

Amanda Brown
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