How to sew jersey fabric: Everything you need to know about sewing with jersey

Jersey is one of the most well-known and popular fabrics found in many of our everyday garments. From t-shirts to dresses to underwear and sportswear, jersey is everywhere. But what exactly is jersey, what are the types of jersey and how to sew jersey fabric? Find out in this article.

1. What is jersey fabric?
2. History of jersey
3. Types of jersey
4. Jersey properties
5. How to sew jersey fabric

What is jersey fabric?

Jersey is a knitted or warp-knitted fabric created by a special type of knitting or stitching. In this process, the threads are linked together in loop form, resulting in a stretchy and comfortable fabric. Thanks to its exceptional stretch and softness, it feels pleasant and comfortable against the skin when worn, which has made it many people’s favorite fabric. The flexibility of jersey allows unrestricted movement, which makes it ideal for sports activities and everyday life.

Jersey can be made of cotton, wool, silk, synthetic fibers, and many more. Another advantage of jersey is its easy maintenance. Most jersey garments can be easily washed in the washing machine without losing their shape or softness. In addition, jersey fabric rarely wrinkles compared to other fabrics, which makes it especially practical for everyday wear.

There are several types of jersey fabric, which differ in their composition and texture. Whether it’s thin jersey for light summer clothes or heavier jersey for warmer winter clothes, there is a suitable jersey fabric for every season and every need.

History of jersey

The history of jersey fabric is closely connected with the Channel Island of Jersey, from which it got its name. This island, located between England and France, played a crucial role in the creation and development of this popular fabric.

Origin on the Channel Island of Guernsey and Jersey: The origin of Jersey fabric dates to the Middle Ages. At that time, the inhabitants of the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey began to breed sheep to obtain wool to produce sweaters and woolen stockings for their fishermen. This laid the foundation for the later development of knitting on the islands.

Rise of knitting: Thanks to local fishermen who sailed to other ports in England for their work, woolen knitwear spread throughout Europe. Thus, a knitting industry developed around the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey, which became one of the most important textile exporters.

Influence in fashion: The real breakthrough for Jersey fabric in fashion came towards the end of the 19th century. French fashion designer Coco Chanel played a crucial role in introducing jersey into women’s fashion. With her revolutionary and comfortable designs that defied the conventions of the time, she helped jersey gain international recognition and popularity.

Further development and variety: Over time, the jersey fabric has been continuously developed. Different variants such as cotton jersey, viscose jersey and stretch jersey emerged, each with different properties. But they all have one thing in common: their characteristic softness and stretch, which have made them an indispensable part of the fashion world.


Types of jersey

There are a variety of jersey types, which differ from the manufacturing process, composition, structure and intended use. For a better overview, the following types of jersey are listed according to their respective manufacturing processes.

Single Jersey

The single jersey is the most common type of jersey knitted fabric. Like hand knitting, here right and left stitches are knitted alternately (right-left weave). The thread runs horizontally along the fabric. This creates the characteristic right and left sides of single jersey, resulting in different front and back sides. It should be noted, however, that this knitting technique has the disadvantage that if the fibers are damaged, running stitches can form. Nevertheless, due to this special knitting method, the jersey fabric is characterized by elasticity in the longitudinal and transverse directions. The production of the single jersey can be in different designs, thicknesses, materials and textures.

Single Jersey stitches
Arrangement of stitches in single jersey

Cotton jersey

This classic fabric is made from 100% cotton fibers and is known for its softness, breathability, and comfort. Cotton jersey can be found in a variety of garments including t-shirts, dresses, underwear, baby, and children’s clothing and much more!

Cotton jersey
Cotton jersey (Source:

Stretch jersey

Thanks to elastic fibers, such as spandex, stretch jersey offers high stretch and elasticity, allowing it to conform well to the body and provide unrestricted freedom of movement. This type of jersey is often used for tight-fitting garments such as leggings, bodycon dresses and sportswear.

Stretch jersey
Stretch jersey (Source:

Viscose jersey

Viscose jersey is a smooth, flowing fabric made of viscose fibers with a cooling feel. It’s fine shiny surface and soft texture offer high wearing comfort. It is ideal for summer garments such as skirts, blouses, and light pants due to its skin-friendly and cooling properties. Its virtually wrinkle free nature also makes viscose jersey suitable for elegant tops and blouses with a silky sheen.

Viscose jersey
Viscose jersey (Source:

Modal jersey

Modal fibers (a modified viscose spun fiber that is slightly stronger and more dimensionally stable than regular viscose) derived from natural cellulose give this jersey its softness, smoothness, and color retention. It is especially popular for underwear, nightwear, and T-shirts.

Modal jersey fabric
Modal jersey (Source:

Polyester jersey

Made of synthetic polyester fibers, this type of jersey is wrinkle resistant, durable and dries quickly. It finds application in sportswear, T-shirts, and dresses.

Polyester jersey
Polyester jersey (Source:

Microfiber jersey

The fine, thin polyester fibers make microfiber jersey soft, lightweight, and breathable. Thanks to its high moisture wicking properties, it is particularly suitable for sports activities and outdoor clothing.

Microfiber jersey
Microfiber jersey (Source:

Silk jersey

This fine jersey is made of silk fibers and impresses with its smooth texture, luxurious sheen, and incomparable softness. It is often used in high-quality dresses, tops, and nightwear.

Silk jersey
Silk jersey (Source:

Sweat jersey

Sweat Jersey is a thick jersey fabric typically made from cotton or a blend of cotton Blend of cotton, polyester, and spandex. Characteristic is its roughened inner side, which gives it a pleasantly soft and fluffy texture. Texture, while the outside remains smooth. Due to the use of an additional yarn during production, sweat jersey generally has a greater generally has a higher thickness compared to conventional jersey.

The roughened interior serves to wick sweat and moisture away from the skin, making sweat jersey feel away from the skin, making sweat jersey particularly suitable for sports activities and cozy garments such as hoodies, sweatshirts, and sweatpants. In addition, there are several variations of sweat fabric, such as French Terry, winter sweat, cuddly sweat (alpine fleece) and many other variations.

Sweat jersey
Sweat jersey (Source:

Rib jersey

Rib jersey is a special single jersey in which the stitches are knitted twice right and twice left to create the characteristic rib pattern. Usually consisting of cotton, occasionally with spandex or as a cotton-polyester blend, rib jersey is characterized by its double stitch count, which makes it particularly elastic and noticeably thicker than conventional single jersey.

This special structure gives it a snug, wrinkle-free quality. Depending on the material, rib jersey is breathable and warming, can also be used on both sides and is pleasantly soft. It finds a variety of uses in garments such as T-shirts, dresses, underwear, baby and children’s clothing, as sweater cuffs and more.

Rib jersey stitches
Arrangement of stitches in rib jersey

Jacquard jersey

The term “jacquard” refers to a special weaving and knitting technique that allows patterns to be incorporated into the fabric. By using 2 rows of needles, a wide variety of patterns can be formed in jersey by alternating knit, no-knit, and tuck stitches. These patterns can be created with both solid and multicolored yarns. In this case, the right and left sides have the same patterns, although they have different binding sides due to the playful alternation of patterns.

Jacquard jersey is made of pure cotton or cotton-polyester blend, maintaining its characteristic soft and elastic texture. This fabric is commonly used in the manufacture of clothing, bedding, and home textiles.

Jacquard jersey
Jacquard jersey (Source:

Double jersey

The double jersey is a knitted fabric, which consists of two-layer knitted surfaces. . It is made by right-right or left-left weave, which can be done only by machine, because several needles connect several stitches at the same time. Both the right and left sides of the fabric are identical. The thread runs vertically along the fabric.

This technique gives the fabric robustness, higher weight and less stretch compared to single jersey. As a result, it has a higher quality appearance than single jersey. This method of production allows for different designs, thicknesses, materials and textures.

Double jersey stitches
Arrangement of stitches in double jersey

Romanit jersey

Romanit jersey is the most popular double jersey. This double-faced fine knit fabric is characterized by its heavy quality and excellent care properties, making it ideal for comfortable garments of all kinds. Romanite jersey can be made of materials such as viscose, nylon, polyester and spandex, although the respective proportions can vary. Therefore, Romanit jersey is often used to make figure-hugging garments that maintain a smooth silhouette and retain their shape. Depending on its composition, Romanit jersey can also have a warming effect, making it suitable to produce winter clothing.

Romanit jersey
Romanit jersey (Source:

Interlock jersey

Interlock jersey also belongs to the category of double jersey, with the difference that when knitting this jersey, two rows of needles are used and the stitches formed cross and interlace in a right-to-right weave. This interlock jersey can be either 100% cotton or a blend of cotton and polyester.

Interlock jersey is characterized by its durable properties that result in a thicker and more stable texture compared to other types of jersey. . Thanks to these robust and shape-retaining properties, interlock jersey is particularly suitable to produce bedding. With its excellent stretch and durability, interlock jersey is also ideal for underwear, baby clothing and sportswear.

Interlock jersey stitches
Arrangement of stitches in interlock jersey
Interlock jersey
Interlock jersey (Source:

Cloqué jersey

Cloqué jersey works similarly to jacquard jersey, but with the difference that it consists of two different layers of fabric. A special connecting yarn is woven loosely and tightly around the two layers of fabric in different ways, creating patterns with a three-dimensional effect (bubble effects).

Cloqué jersey can be made from pure cotton or a cotton-polyester blend, while retaining its characteristic properties, such as an exceptionally soft and elastic texture. Typically, cloqué jersey is used in the manufacture of apparel and home textiles.

Jersey properties

Jersey is a popular fabric in the clothing industry and impresses with a variety of outstanding properties. These make it not only comfortable to wear, but also extremely versatile and easy to care for. Some of the most important properties of jersey are explained in more detail below:

Stretchability of jersey

A particularly remarkable property of jersey is its stretchability. Due to the use of elastic fibers or the special knit construction, the fabric can stretch in different directions. . As a result, it adapts well to the body and ensures unrestricted freedom of movement.

Jersey Top
Stretchy Jersey Summer Top Pattern (The Xenia Top)

Breathability of jersey

Jersey is a breathable fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin and allows good air circulation. This property keeps the body cool and dry, which is especially beneficial during sports activities or warm weather.

Asymmetric jersey top
Leisure long sleeve shirt pattern (The Liza Top)

Jersey lightness

Due to its lightweight nature, jersey feels pleasant on the skin, provides a comfortable feel and does not cause any unpleasant heaviness or strain. This makes it ideal for light summer clothing or as a travel companion, as it takes up little space in your luggage.

Jersey T-shirt
Slim fit T-shirt Pattern (The Basic T-Shirt)

Jersey easy care

Jersey is usually easy to care for and hardly wrinkles. Most jersey fabrics can be easily washed in the washing machine and dried without affecting their shape or softness.

Sweatshirt Jersey
GOTS certified summer sweater and cuff fabric pattern (The Basic Sweater)

Versatility of jersey

The wide range of jersey variants, such as cotton jersey, viscose jersey, interlock jersey and stretch jersey, gives the fabric impressive versatility. These variations allow the fabric to be used for a wide range of garments and designs – from casual T-shirts and fashionable dresses to comfortable underwear and functional sportswear.

Jersey sewing pattern
Jersey dress pattern with playful gathers (The Vero Dress)

How to sew jersey fabric?

Sewing with jersey requires a special approach to achieve good results. The stretchy fabric can stretch when sewn, so it’s important to keep a few points in mind. Here are tips that will help you sew successfully with jersey.

Prepare jersey sewing

What jersey fabric is suitable for sewing jersey?

Especially as a beginner, it is important to carefully consider which jersey fabric is suitable for your project. In advance, you should look at the properties of the fabric and check whether it fits your project.

Jersey sewing
The Vicy Top with a GOTS certified organic cotton jersey

Jersey fabric prewash

Before any sewing project, it is advisable to wash the jersey fabric according to the washing recommendations. This will prevent unwanted shrinkage. For fabric edges that curl, it is recommended to sew wide overlock or zig-zag seams along the edges before washing and trim them after washing to minimize curling. Alternatively, you can use a steam iron to steam the jersey fabric well hot.

Wash jersey fabric
The Liza Top Jersey fabric is steamed hot

Cut jersey fabric

Since the edges of some types of jersey like to curl, it can be helpful to use spray starch, spray adhesive, elastic sewing tape, removable stabilizer or similar to prevent this effect. These can be easily sprayed, glued or ironed onto the edges. Especially for beginners, this can be a good method. However, with experience, you can manage without tools

How to cut jersey fabric?
The Sally Sweater cuff cutting

How to sew jersey fabric?

Choose the right needle for sewing stretchy fabric

Use a special jersey needle or a stretch needle for your sewing machine. These needles have rounded tips that do not damage the jersey fabric and produce clean stitches. For pure cotton jerseys we recommend using stretch needles, while for jerseys with synthetic fiber content or fabrics made entirely of synthetic fibers (such as polyester, spandex, lycra, microfiber, etc.) super elastic stretch needles are the most suitable choice. In the JULIANA MARTEJEVS sewing kits with jersey fabrics you get the matching jersey sewing machine needle for free.

Jersey sewing
The Basic Top sewing kit is sewn with a stretch needle

Suitable stitch length and stitch type for jersey fabric

Choose the appropriate stitch type for your sewing projects. Use a zigzag or overlock stitch for stretchy seams to ensure that the seams will stretch without tearing. A stitch length of 2.5 to 3 mm works well for most jersey fabrics. Less tight projects like The Oversized T-Shirt sewing kit can also be sewn with a straight stitch.

Stretch stitch
Here a stretch seam (fine zigzag seam) was set on the sewing machine

Sewing thread for sewing jersey

As a rule, you can use normal universal sewing thread for jersey fabrics without any problems. However, there are also special threads for jersey fabrics, such as elastic sewing thread, which stretches well and does not tear. This keeps the seams flexible and able to move with the jersey fabric. Depending on the sewing machine, the selected thread should be tested to make the best choice.

Jersey sewing thread
Recycled rPET thread from Gütermann sewing thread for The Xenia Top

Test the stitch with the jersey fabric

Before you start the actual project, always do a test stitch on a scrap piece of fabric. This will allow you to check the stitch settings and make sure the stitch you choose will work well with the jersey fabric.

Use a suitable presser foot

Not all sewing machines allow you to regulate the presser foot pressure. A special jersey or Teflon sewing foot allows the fabric to slide smoothly under the presser foot without stretching the fabric. If a special foot is not available, a piece of tissue paper can help between the fabric and the presser foot, which is removed after sewing.

Jersey presser foot
Here jersey fabric is sewn with a normal presser foot

Avoid overstretching

Overstretching can cause distortion of the jersey fabric and messy seams. To prevent this, you should not overstretch the fabric, but give the presser foot a little bit of the fabric stretch. This will minimize overstretching.

How to sew jersey
Sewing Polo shirt sewing kit with stretchy fabric

Bar-tacking stretch seams

To prevent the jersey fabric from being “swallowed” by the sewing machine during initial and final locking seam, there are a few tricks. For initial locking seam, it is best to hold the top and bobbin thread ends with your hand and pull them back a little while locking seam. This will reduce the likelihood of the fabric being “swallowed” into the sewing machine. Other methods include using tissue paper between the presser foot and the jersey fabric or placing a remnant piece of jersey fabric at the end of the seam to keep the presser foot level and ensure neat locking seam.

By following these tips, you can successfully sew with jersey and achieve professional results. Skill with stretch fabrics comes with practice, so try different techniques and find out what works best for you. With a little patience and skill, you’ll soon be masterful with jersey fabric!

Video tutorial: Sewing a tanktop made of rib jersey

For beginners, here is a YouTube video that will help get started in the world of sewing machines.

Tank top sewing for beginners

Video tutorial: Sewing machine basics

For beginners, a Basic YouTube-Sewing Tutorial is available to help get started in the world of sewing on a sewing machine.

Sewing on a sewing machine video tutorial

Have fun sewing with jersey!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top