Ponte/Ponte Di Roma Knits

22 Jul

I have noticed that not all ponte knits are created equal.  Some have poly in them, some don’t.  Some have nylon, some don’t.  Some are called “ponte” and some are called “ponte di roma”.  So I wondered, what is a “ponte knit”?

Textile.com has this definition for “ponte di roma”:

“A fabric made in a double knit construction, usually produced in one color rather than color patterns. This plain fabric has an elastic quality with a slight horizontal line. The fabric looks the same on both sides.
Weft knitted, interlock based, double jersey structure. Means ‘roman bridge’ which is suggested by the arrangement of loops. The fabric looks the same on both sides.”

The Kohl Corporation has a fabric guide on their website that says this about “ponte knits”:

“Double-knit interlock fabric with stand-out stability and firmness that’s perfect for suiting. Ponte fabric has a subtle sheen and incredible durability.”

I honestly don’t think of ponte knit as a “suiting fabric”.  I am sure you can make a “suite” out of it, but it would be a very drapey affair, not a structured suite in the traditional sense.

I have four examples of ponte knit in my stash from three different fabric stores.  If I were going by these samples (which is not many), I would say there are two different types of ponte: one is 67% poly, 30% rayon, and 3% spandex, the other is 75% rayon, 22% nylon, and 3% lycra.

The one with the nylon has a sturdier feel, has better spring back, and is not as smooth or shiny as the one with poly.  It has slight horizontal lines running through it.  When I push my fingernail into the poly ponte, there will be a temporary bump left by the nail.  When I do the same thing with the nylon ponte, that doesn’t happen as much.

Waechter’s Silk calls their ponte with nylon “ponte di roma”.  My local fabric store just calls it “ponte”.  But, if textile.com is correct in saying that ponte di roma has a horizontal line, that would definitely be the ponte with nylon.  It has a distinctly different look to it that the poly ponte.

The term “ponte di roma” means Roman Bridge.  It refers to the arrangement of loops.  So, in the end, the difference between ponte and ponte di roma may be in the way it’s woven, not in the content.

Either way, the ponte I’m using for my October travel wardrobe is the ponte with nylon.  I’ve used the poly ponte previously in some TSW Trio Pants, and wasn’t completely happy with it.  I’m looking forward to working with the new ponte to see if there is a difference in the overall look and wearability.

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6 Responses to “Ponte/Ponte Di Roma Knits”

  1. Betsy January 20, 2011 at 8:38 AM #

    I just order a great-looking pair of ponte pants from Kohl’s. But they were too long, so I thought I’d hem them up. It turned into a bit of a mess.

    The thread kept breaking and the needle got kind of jammed. I just had my machine serviced not too long ago. In the interim, I had ordered 2 more pairs of the pant. Now I have 3 pairs of great-looking pants but I can’t shorten them. I forgot to say – I was trying to do a zig-zag stitch (to help with fraying) before I hemmed by hand. That didn’t work: broken thread, etc.; then I tried just a straight stitch. That broke the thread,too. What is it with this fabric? I don’t want to pay to have them hemmed by tailor. I am my own tailor, gosh darn it!! (At least, I can handle basic jobs). I’m wondering if it’s a sewing machine needle issue. I’m using average size needle and all purpose thread Dual Duty. Please offer suggestions if you’ve ever run into this. I don’t want to return the pants! Thanks.

    • Robert Joseph April 12, 2011 at 8:43 PM #

      Make sure to use a ball point needle. Although a serger is best. A general running stitch should be fine around the raw edge for unravelling.
      If you’re breaking needles, it sounds like a machine problem, the fabric itself would not cause that.
      If you’ve had it with the machine, simply do everything by hand. A simple overcast stitch with double thread.
      You might also consider a bias or stretch hem tape or binding for the edge.

    • Marilyn Meehan January 23, 2012 at 9:14 PM #

      I used a double needle on my machine to stitch hems in place on a three-piece ponte outfit I made last year. I did not overlock the edges of the fabric, which is quite dense and showed no signs of unravelling. An extra bonus to using a double needle is that it does provide an interesting and professional finish to hems. Hope this helps?

  2. didyoumakethat September 10, 2010 at 1:39 AM #

    Thank you for this blog post. I’m just finding out about ponte di roma for my next make.

  3. Kathleen August 15, 2010 at 4:58 PM #

    I made Vogue 8397, view A (Marcy Tilton) in the poly/rayon ponte roma; it was inexpensive and I was trying out the pattern. My charcoal pair became my travel pant this summer, a real workhorse. It does pill, unfortunately, so I’d like to try a new, upscale pair in the rayon/nylon… I’d love to hear how they wear and wash.

    • Janis August 15, 2010 at 6:56 PM #

      Kathleen, one thing I will say about the rayon/nylon is that I had to be extremely careful with the iron. The iron starts to stick at a pretty low temp. I had to use an ironing cloth to protect the fabric. I’ll keep you posted on how they wear.

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