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.