What is jersey fabric?
Jersey fabric is a weft-knitted fabric knitted by hand or machine. This fabric originates from one of the Channel Islands where it was originally used for making thick fisherman sweaters and “jerseys.”
There are single-jersey fabrics which are knitted with a single set of needles on a single needle-bed of a weft-knitting machine, and double-jerseys which are knitted with 2 sets of needles on a double needle-bed weft-knitting machine. Main types of jersey fabric:
- Cotton Jersey Fabric – made from 100% cotton with a two way stretch capability. It is very lightweight, comfortable and easy to work with. This jersey has a matt finish and is mostly used for making t-shirts, dresses and blouses.
- Viscose Jersey – this version has a 4-way stretch is very soft and drapes beautifully. Made from 100% viscose, it is popular for making party dresses, tops and skirts with.
- Lycra Jersey – constructed of 80% polyester and 20% Lycra and is ideal for flowing dresses.
- Double Knit Jersey – this can have a mix of spandex, polyester or viscose. Heavier in weight and great for winter clothing, such as cardigans, sweaters, and jumpers, thanks to its thickness and warmth.
Jersey knit fabric is stretchy, comfortable and light and is a popular fabric for a huge array of apparel. You can also buy jersey fabric online in a wide range of styles, thicknesses and weights.
How is it manufactured?
Jersey is an insulating and warm knitted fabric which is flexible and comfortable and is composed from 100% cotton or from a cotton/poly blend. It is either constructed from natural fibres, such as cotton, hemp, silk, bamboo, linen and wool, or synthetic fibers, such as polyester, nylon, rayon, acrylic and acetate.
Jersey can be knitted by hand or on a flat, circular knitting machine. The knits are constructed from the basic knitting stitch – each loop is drawn through the loop below it. The rows of loops create vertical lines on the face of the material and crosswire rows on the back.
Purposes of jersey fabric
The main purposes of jersey is for clothing and apparel. Thanks to its myriad of attributes, this is a very popular choice of fabric when it comes to the everyday wardrobe.
This kind of knitted fabric is great for sewing clothing to wear on the top half of the body; for example:
- Long sleeve t-shirts
- Longline t-shirts
- Fine sweaters
One of the most popular properties of jersey fabric is its brilliant stretchiness. It can stretch up to 25% along its grain. Clothing made from jersey knit fabric have plenty of give and allow the wearer to move easily. The fabric can cling to the body due to its ability to contract and expand.
Cotton jersey fabric is breathable and great to wear in warmer weather. It is lightweight and flexible and like all knit fabrics, it is great to work with. Jersey tends to hang well on the body with a pleasing drape. If the fabric contains Spandex, it recovers very well when overstretched. The edges can also curl towards the right side – perpendicular to the grainline – and to the wrong side – along the selvedges.
Advantages of jersey fabric
Jersey is a knit fabric and as such it has the characteristics of other knitted fabrics, such as rib knit and interlock. It doesn’t unravel, wrinkle or crease as easily as woven materials and has a lot of built-in stretch.
Other advantages include the wide range of jersey choices available for individual projects which are accessible easily.
Jersey textiles are lightweight in comparison to other knitted fabrics and the fastest weft knit to produce. These advantages, along with its breathability, make jersey fabric a true joy to not only wear but to work with as well.