I began sewing with jersey pretty soon after I started sewing. When I looked at my own (ready to wear) wardrobe, I had a lot of jersey items and loved the fit and comfort so it seemed the obvious choice to sew with (I’m also not a huge fan of ironing so anything easy wear is good with me!) Still, I see some people are worried about sewing with jersey so today I’m sharing my top tips for you to leave woven fabrics to one side and have a go at sewing with knits:
Invest in a walking foot – most people are worried about stretching jersey out as the feed it through the machine. A walking foot helps with even feed as it moves up and down with the needle
Use the right needle – a stretch or ballpoint needle won’t pierce the fabric or unravel a knit like standard needles (which are meant for woven fabric such as cotton) and are really inexpensive for a pack
Be careful when you’re handling your fabric – sounds obvious but be mindful you’re not stretching it out as you’re working with it (cutting or sewing)
Rotary cutters are king – this is a fab tip for limiting the risk of stretching your fabric when you’re cutting out
Use stay tape or even ribbon – this works well in shoulders and on necklines. Although you’d never tell to look at it, I managed to stretch out one shoulder on my Morris Blazer. I can tell when I wear it and it annoys me every time…stay tape would have stopped this from even happening
Stretch interfacing is amazing – I can’t tell you how handy stretch interfacing is – it gives structure but stretches with your fabric rather than preventing any movement at all. Vlieseline have a great range – I like their G770
You can also buy stretch bias tape. If you’re adapting patterns like the Simple Sleeveless Top, which requires bias bound neckline and arm holes, this will be your saviour
Use a zigzag stitch when you’re sewing seams you’ll stretch – this will limit the risk of you snapping your stitches, which you’re more likely to do with a straight stitch
Think about your stretch percentage – different patterns require differently structured knits. A ponte roma fabric has a lower stretch content than some other jerseys so lends itself better to patterns like the Tilly & The Buttons Coco…it’s also great for jackets and even pencil skirts!
Knits don’t fray like cottons – so if you don’t have one, or don’t feel like it, you can skip overlocking your edges. I love to use my scallop edge shears for a pretty edge
Have you got any other tips? If so, why not share them in the comments below!