We’ve all heard of jersey and seen it on our clothing labels. It’s the most common knit fabric after all, but why? Jersey is an incredibly versatile fabric staple used in many garments and household items today, but sewing with knits (of any kind) can be pretty intimidating. Let’s uncover some jersey knowledge so that we can figure out what makes it such a hot commodity and find some ways to make sewing with jersey a bit more manageable.
Basic jersey comes in two structures, single and double, but today we will be focusing on the most used of the two: plain jersey. Plain jersey has a single weft knit design, meaning that it requires one set of needles and yarns that interlock horizontally and has a 1×1 repeat. It’s produced on single flatbed machines or single jersey circular machines. Jersey has a distinct right and wrong side and looks different on its front and backside, it’s also distinguishable by the V pattern that’s formed on its front side during knitting. Jersey curls towards its face in the crosswise direction. Jersey knit variations can be achieved through printing, using different colored yarns, using fancy yarns, or using tuck and float loops to modify the jersey structure.
- Stretchy without aid from stretch fibers like elastane
- Easy to care for and clean
- Wash in cold water and dry on a low heat setting to prevent shrinkage
- Preshrink before sewing if the contents are prone to shrinkage like cotton
- Opaque because of its tight knit structure
- Generally good drape (dependent on composition)
- Resilient so it doesn’t wrinkle
- Durable and tear resistant
Common End Uses
Tips for Sewing with Jersey
Jersey is a soft and versatile fabric used for many items, but it can seem tricky to sew with if you’ve never worked with knitted fabrics before. Here are some tips for sewing with jersey fabric.
- Use a ballpoint needle or twin needle to avoid making holes in your fabric.
- Use a low presser foot pressure setting of 1 or lower to avoid stretching
- Use a walking foot to pull the top layer of fabric with the bottom layer simultaneously.
- Don’t let the fabric stretch while being sewn (the walking foot will help, but won’t prevent it completely)
- Hold up fabric while sewing to prevent stretching
- Use a zig-zag, reinforced straight stitch, or a stretch stitch. These stitches will stretch with the fabric
- Use tissue paper under the seam when to prevent the fabric from stretching
- Hem knits using a single fold hem, a reinforced straight stitch, or a coverstitch machine
- To hem garments that have less ease, opt for a narrow 0.5 wide zig-zag stitch
- Use scraps to test the machine settings and stitches before starting your project
Jersey has a lot of excellent characteristics, and with a bit of knowledge and a few tools, a lot of the fuss can be avoided when sewing with it. It’s mainly difficult to sew with because of its stretch, but with the tips and info above, you’ll be sewing with jersey like a pro in no time. Grab the jersey from your stash and start sewing something beautiful with it today.
What kind of jersey do you typically reach for and what are some tricks you use when sewing with jersey?