How to Sew Jersey

15 Jun

Now my studies at ESMOD are over for the summer I am beavering away at home working on ideas and techniques – building my skills and experience.

A typical scene of said beavering!

I am focusing on jersey womenswear, as my plan is to produce a small line of jersey dresses…eventually – when I feel confident in my designs and the quality of the pieces. And with each new experiment I learn something. So here is what I learned about working with jersey:

1. If it is a natural fibre jersey, like cotton or silk, it will be prone to shrinkage, so pre-shrink – before you lay the pattern.

2. Jersey patterns require no ease – in fact they require you to reduce dimensions to take account of the stretchy nature of the fabric. Just how much you need to reduce is something that comes with experience – working on a dress form helps.

3. When sewing, use a walking or teflon foot to avoid any grab that may stetch the jersey as you sew. And don’t stretch it yourself as you sew – as this results in a wavey seam….unless of course that is the effect you are going for!

4. Overlocking is the best way to sew jersey – it allows stretch and finishes the raw edge all in one go. But most home sewing machines will not have this function. They will have zig zag or a special stretch stitch however. Do not use a straight/running stitch as this will break when the fabric stretches.

5. Use a twin needle for neat hemming – and let your garment hang for at least 24 hours before hemming – as the weight of the garment will stretch the fabric (like bias cut garments).

6. I have heard ball point needles are best for jersey, but have not tried this yet so cannot comment. Working with a 75/11 stretch needle has worked fine for me. Sew all polyester thread – good quality works best.

Yep, that’s it for now. There is of course always more to learn and I’m sure my next experiment will throw up some challenges!

Here’s the dress I just made:

Jersey Dress Design

Jersey Dress - finished

Jersey Dress - top half close-up


Me Modelling the finished jersey dress

K xx


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