Jersey is the fabric that is used for tee-shirts, leggings, dresses, tops… It’s a knitted fabric, therefore a stretch fabric.
Jersey owes its name to the Jersey Island. This fabric has been manufactured since the Middle Ages from the wool of sheep that are bred on this Channel Island. Nowadays Jersey fabric can be knitted with natural or synthetic fibre. You can get cotton jersey, Viscose jersey, wool, linen, polyester, and many other kinds… All those kinds of jersey are more or less heavy.
Focus on Milano Jersey
Milano Jersey is a kind of knit fabric that is thick and soft. Although it’s stretch, Milano keeps its shape, which make it much easier to sew than regular knits. And it doesn’t crease or fray, its cut edges don’t roll up. What more do you want ! This is the ideal fabric to start sewing knits, even for beginners.
Knits are stretch fabrics. If sewn with straight non-stretch stitches, the seam will break as soon as the fabric is stretched. That’s why you must sew knits with a stretch stitch! The perfect fit to sew jersey is an overlock sewing machine because it can make stretching seams. But not all of us can have this kind of machine at home! Don’t worry though, you can use a regular sewing machine to make stretching seams. The most well-known stretching seam is the zigzag stitch and it’s available on any sewing machine. This stitch will keep the stretchiness of the fabric. You can also use it for the finishing touches on your work.
It’s also recommended to use special needles called “stretch needles” or “jersey needles” or “ball pointed needles”. The tip of those needles is smoother so it goes between the stitches of the fabric without tearing the fibre.
You are now ready to sew jersey!