This week, we’re talking all about the wonderful world of jersey and knit fabrics. They can sometimes seem scary, but here at Sewisfaction HQ, we’re big believers in simple sewing and trust us, with the right hints and tips, jersey and knits fall into that category.
Most practical clothing we would by from the store is likely to be made in jersey or knit fabrics, from t-shirts to dresses, there are so many things to choose from. Sewing with jersey means you can make clothing you’re more likely to wear again because it’ll not only fit you well thanks to the forgiving stretch contouring to the body, but it’s more practical to some of our more technical sews.
What is jersey?
Jersey is a a fabric that is knitted in such a way that it gives a stretch, it has a different make up to woven fabrics such as denim and cotton and we need to treat it in a slightly different way for sewing success.
Think about how you’re going to cut your fabric. Stretch fabric can be slippy and move a little more than woven fabrics and so to avoid fabric waste, we recommend a cutting mat paired with pattern weights and a rotary cutter.
Needles and thread
We should always be changing our needles when it comes to using new materials but even more so for stretch. Switch to a jersey or ‘stretch’ needle depending on the fabric and machine you are using.
A good thread is also key to getting the right finish. Using a better quality, cotton thread such as a Gutterman really makes a world of difference – trust us!
One of the key factors in sewing stretch fabrics is the stitch you select. A straight stitch doesn’t allow the fabric to do what it needs to once the garment is finished so look for a triple stitch symbol or if your machine doesn’t have this, a zig zag stitch will also work just as well. Try different stitches on some scrap fabric for practise.
A standard food doesn’t feature feed docs and so sometimes this can leave you with wonky stitches thanks to uneven pressure. A walking foot or an even feed foot, is a device that helps to evenly distribute your jersey fabric through the feed dogs on your machine.
DO NOT stretch
It can be so tempting – especially when you’re trying to make a speedy sew, to drag the fabric through the machine. Stretching the fabric in this way can distort your final garment and so resit temptation when it comes to working with this fabric – a walking foot can help with this too.
No finishing – wahoo!
The beautiful thing about jersey fabric is that it doesn’t fray making this the fabric of dreams – no need to finish the insides as it’ll wash just fine and let’s be honest, no on is going to see (we won’t tell don’t worry).
So there you have it, jersey really doesn’t have to be scary and we really do believe that it’s a far more practical, fun way to make your own me-made garment – no overlocker required! And for more inspiration, check out our vlog on Sheona’s top jersey sewing patterns here.