Jersey Fabrics are available from Croft Mill Fabrics
Clothes sewn from Jersey fabrics are comfortable to wear, there are many easy to make patterns which makes them quick and gratifying sewing projects.
In this Blog:
- Croft Mill knit fabric showcase. – Jerseys, Ponte Roma and Scuba fabrics.
- Characteristics of knit fabrics, stretch of knits.
- How to sew stretch fabrics.
- Inspiration Gallery.
- What is Jersey, Ponte Roma and Scuba fabric?
- Sewing pattern suggestions.
- Freebie links to downloads and patterns.
Characteristics of knit fabrics
Although there are many different types of knit fabric, most of them share similar properties:
- They should be pre-washed as they shrink.
- They all have built-in stretch either two way or four-way stretch.
- They don’t fray or unravel.
- They don’t usually crease.
What is a two-way stretch?
Two-way stretch knits stretch in one direction — typically horizontally, from one selvedge edge to the other. A good example of this type of fabric is T-Shirts, that is usually two-way stretch. Think of two-way stretch knit as stretching right and left only
What is a four-way stretch?
Four-way stretch knits can stretch in both directions: the horizontally (from selvedge to selvedge) and vertically directions. Four-way stretch creates a fabric that can move with you in all directions. Activewear and leggings are made from four-way stretch fabric. Remember four-way stretch knits as stretching right and left plus up and down.
Top Tip when shopping.
When shopping for knit fabrics, note how it stretches. Give the fabric a tug, both from edge to edge and in the lengthwise direction. You’ll be able to tell quite quickly how the fabric stretches. When ordering fabric online, read the description carefully and if samples are available, order them and check how they stretch.
How much stretch should the fabric have?
Not all knit fabrics stretch the same amount. Some have a lot of stretch, while others only stretch a little bit. To determine the percentage of stretch, fold your fabric on the cross-ways grain. Place 10 cm of fabric against a ruler and pull. If it stretches easily to 12.5 cm, then you have 25% stretch. If it stretches easily to 15 cm, then you have 50% stretch. Fabric will stretch beyond its actual stretch percentage so don’t pull too hard. The pattern envelope will likely have a ‘ruler’ printed along the edge and will tell you what percentage of stretch is recommended.
What thread should I use when sewing jersey fabric?
Ideally, use an overlocker for sewing knitted fabrics. The 4-thread stretch safety stitch is perfect for sports and leisure wear. An overlocker will stitch the seam, trim excess seam allowance, and neaten the edges all in one operation. If you don’t have an overlocker, then most domestic sewing machines have an overedge stitch which is the nearest alternative. An advantage of this stitch is it will control the curling of the cut edge as you sew if you trim the seam allowances first. Check your instruction manual to find out if your machine has a range of stretch stitches and try them too. Alternatively, use a narrow zig-zag stitch (around 0.5 to 1mm wide). The seam will look like a straight stitch once sewn but should have sufficient elasticity to cope with the stretch of the fabric.
What Needle should I use to sew knitted fabrics?
When sewing jersey fabrics, you should always use a ballpoint or stretch needle. A standard-tip needle can puncture the threads, causing holes in the fabric and skipped stitches. A ballpoint needle, as its name suggests, has a rounded tip so it will push its way between the threads. Choose the needle size according to the weight of the fabric: use a size 70 for very light fabrics, through to size 100 for heavier fabrics.
To achieve a more professional-looking hem without professional equipment, turn up the hem and sew with a double needle (also called a twin needle) from the right side of the fabric. The bobbin thread will zigzag between the parallel stitches, resulting in a stretchier hem
Use jersey or ballpoint needles. They’re a bit blunter on the end than a regular sewing needle meaning that they won’t ladder the knitted structure of the fabric. They come in different sizes like regular sewing needles.
Here’s a guide for which size will best suit which fabric:
70 – very lightweight silk or viscose jersey
80 – light t-shirt weight cotton jersey
90 – interlock, Ponte Roma, some cut and sew knits.
Jersey fabric inspiration
This probably the most common type of knit – it’s very soft and fluid and works well for a variety of garments, although I like it best for t-shirts. The most important thing to pay attention to with jersey is the weight. Most online stores will list the weight, and it can vary from extremely lightweight (5 oz) to heavy (12 oz). Anything lighter than 7.5-8oz is generally see-through and too lightweight to sew easily.
Cotton ribbed fabric
A ribbed knit is easy to identify because it has lines (or “ribs”) going up and down the fabric. It’s most often used for cuffs and necklines because it’s super stretchy.
Viscose Jersey is a soft drapey fabric, ideal for making comfortable t-shirt tops, draped cardigans or garments similar to full maxi skirts and dresses. Viscose jersey fabric tends to have more stretch than its cotton jersey counterpart.
What is Scuba Fabric?
This fabric is often confused with neoprene and even gets called “neoprene-type” fabric, but it is not neoprene. It is a spun polyester with spandex or lycra double knit. This means that 2 fabrics are knitted together. Some patterns even look like 2 different fabrics stuck together. Because of the double knit being done with such small fibres, it has a smooth surface and a springy feel to it similar to that of neoprene, only it is thinner, more flexible and has better drapeability, yet still has enough body to it to hold some shape. You can also buy a fabric called scuba crepe which is a lighter version of scuba, more like a traditional lycra but with a crepe textured finish. If you look at the picture for scuba fabric you will see that it has a coloured design on the front and a plain colour at the back. For more information on Scuba fabric click the image below to view a previous blog.
What is Ponte Roma?
Ponte Roma, otherwise known as Ponte di Roma or Punto di Roma is a double knit fabric that was first developed in Italy. The name ‘Ponte Roma’ roughly translates as Roman Bridge – because the structure of the loops resembles classic Roman bridges. Being a double knit also means that Ponte Roma fabric is often of a medium weight, this means it is better suited to more structured garments rather than draping clothes. However, it also means that it will hide any lumps or bumps we might not want on show, and is brilliant for any garments you do not wish to line. For more on Ponte Roma click on the image below to go to a previous blog on Ponte Roma.
Sewing patterns for Jersey fabrics
Jersey, Ponte Roma and Scuba Fabrics available from Croft Mill Fabrics.
Freebies – links to pattern downloads and tutorials.
A makeover – children’s t-shirt made from old tee shirt or larger tee shirt.
Cut a T-shirt pattern from an existing T-shirt. This website has lots of free t-shirt patterns and the tutorials are well laid out.
How to construct a T- shirt pattern for yourself.
Little girls jersey dress pattern.
Lots of free t shirt patterns
Baby Pants in soft jersey with leg cuffs.
Make your own tank top.