If you've not sewn with jersey fabrics before, it's not as daunting as some people may think! Personally, I find cotton jersey one of my favourite fabrics to stitch with as it is can be a dream to sew when using the right tools, and it makes the loveliest most comfortable garments too!
First things first, the most important thing about sewing with stretch fabrics is to have the correct needle and stitch. This is very important and can have a big effect on the finish.
Firstly, you must select the right needle. Although it is still possible to sew jersey fabrics with a regular needle, you will find that using a stretch or ballpoint needle will make a lot of difference to your finished sewing project and will make sewing with jersey a breeze!
Choosing the correct needle for your fabric can result in avoiding skipped, uneven and broken stitches, so is a must-have accessory if you want your sewing project to run as smoothly as possible.
Ballpoint needles have a rounded tip unlike regular needles that have a sharp tip. The rounded tip of the ballpoint needles allows the needle to pass through the fibres of stretch fabrics with ease, making your jersey sewing project much more enjoyable!
When hemming and topstitching jersey fabrics, you can also use a twin needle which gives a very professional looking finish.A twin needle allows you to sew two perfectly parallel lines of stitching onto your fabric. When using a twin needle to hem or topstitch jersey fabrics, select a straight stitch - this will give you straight rows of stitching on the right side of your fabric, and a neat zig zag on the wrong size of your fabric as shown in the image below.
You will need two threads for your twin needle - if you don't have two of the same thread colour, you could always wind some thread onto a bobbin.
As well as choosing the correct needle to sew your jersey with, it is also very important to select the correct stitch. You have a few choices for stitches when sewing with jersey, however my go-to stitch for sewing with stretch fabrics is a small, narrow zig zag. I tend to select a zig zag stitch with a length of 2.5mm and width of 1.5mm. Your sewing machine may well have a stretch stitch.
When it's time to start your sewing project, ensure you do not pull or stretch on your fabric when sewing it unless you are instructed to do so on your sewing pattern (for example there may be exemptions such as sewing a cuff around your neckline).
Additionally, you could also use a walking foot when sewing with stretch fabrics - a walking foot can feed fabric through your sewing machine with ease, without making the fabric stretch out.
As jersey fabrics don't fray, there's no need to edge finish your seams with an overlocker but that doesn't mean your sewing machine has to be made redundant for jersey sewing projects - did you know that you can also use your overlocker to construct garments with a jerseyfabric? This is a really quick and effective way of sewing up jersey and looks super professional too. Just be sure not to sew over any pins in the process! When constructing garments on the overlocker, I find it is best to use pins that have a large colourful head so that they are easy to spot when you are feeding your fabric through the machine.
Although it's not necessary to overlock your seams when using jersey, I still like to as it gives a nice finish!
We have a dreamy selection of jersey fabrics on our website that are perfect for starting you off on your journey to stitching with stretch fabrics! Best of all, our fabrics are Standard 100 Oeko-Tex certified meaning they are completely free from harmful substances and is so you can sew with confidence that your fabric is completely harmless for human health.
Check out some of our most popular jersey fabrics below, or click here to view the full range.
We also have a selection of sewing patterns that are ideal for sewing stretch fabrics with! Our patterns are available in either PDF or printed format and they are accompanied by easy to follow step-by-step instructions to ensure your sewing project is created with ease! View our full range of patterns by clicking here.
byLeni and byBillie are also completely FREE to download!