How to sew Jersey Fabrics ?

Jersey is a knitted or warp knitted fabric and thus belongs to the knitted fabrics. Due to its manufacturing method, it is very stretchy and elastic.

Processing it is basically no more complicated than woven fabric, but due to its elasticity, the handling will be different. In particular, if you already know how to sew, it can take a lot of getting used to.

Woven fabric
Knit fabric

There are several machines that can sew jersey. The serger machine and the coverstitch machine are ideal for sewing jersey fabrics. Both machines have an integrated differential feed, which ensures that the fabric is drawn through evenly during sewing.

Differential feed
Differential feed adjustment dial

This does not mean that you cannot sew jersey fabrics with a conventional sewing machine, however, there are some important points to keep in mind.

When cutting the pattern, do not use pins, they can make holes in the fabric of some jersey fabrics. It is best to cut with a cutting mat and use a rotary cutter, as this prevents the fabric from moving or being stretched during cutting. The best way to fix the pattern is with weights. You can use wonder clips to pin the individual pattern pieces together for sewing. 

Use a jersey needle, as it is rounded at the tip and therefore will not damage the fabric or mesh. As with any other fabric, the needle size should be appropriate for your chosen fabric.

Use a twin needle to sew your hems. This will give you a parallel double seam from the right side of the fabric and a zigzag stitch on the left side, allowing the stitch to stretch.

Twin needle Jersey
Jersey hem sewn with a twin needle

It’s important to choose an elastic stitch, otherwise the seam will tear when stretched. Some sewing machines offer a variety of stitches, check your owners’ manual for that. A classic that every home sewing machine has is the zigzag stitch. To determine the correct stitch length and width, try it out on a piece of fabric.

Jersey fabrics do not fray, so you do not need to serge them.

Often you can have wavy seams when sewing, this is due to the fact that the sewing material is not drawn through evenly.

Jersey curls when sewing

To prevent this, you should reduce the presser foot pressure, if possible, on your sewing machine. Another option is to use an additional dual feed. If your machine does not have a built-in dual feed, you can purchase a walking foot.

Integrated dual feed
Waling foot

When sewing, be careful not to stretch the fabric and instead, push the material gently. Also, when ironing, make sure not to stretch the fabric.

Some jersey fabric curls at the cut edges, this can interfere when sewing especially decorative seams or hems. To prevent this, you can spray the cutting line with spray starch and then iron. It is best to try this on a test piece first.

Jersey fabric curls at the cut edges
Spray starch

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