What Is Jersey Fabric? Types, Pros And Cons, How To Sew

Jersey fabric is a popular knit fabric in the clothing industry, celebrated for its stretch and softness, which contribute to its comfort. Usually composed of cotton or a mix of cotton and synthetic fibers like polyester or rayon, jersey fabric has a smooth, slightly glossy finish. Its knit structure also provides an excellent drape.

Jersey fabric is commonly used to make T-shirts, dresses, skirts, and other garments. Due to its moisture-wicking properties, it is also used in athletic wear and underwear. Overall, jersey fabric is versatile, durable, and perfect for creating comfortable and stylish clothing.

Key Takeaways

  • Jersey fabric is a popular choice for underwear, T-shirts, and other garments worn close to the skin due to its stretchiness and close-knit structure.
  • Jersey fabric originated in the Channel Islands and gained popularity in Western Europe during the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods.
  • Jersey fabric became widely known and adopted in various garment categories, including evening wear and T-shirts, after designer Coco Chanel included it in her designs.

What is Jersey Fabric?

In garments, jersey fabric is primarily used as a knit fabric. A complex history surrounds the name. Sports jerseys – knit tops worn by athletes – are probably familiar to you. There is no doubt you have also heard of the Channel Islands island of Jersey. What is the significance of the fabric name?

Jersey fabric was initially produced on an island in the Middle Ages, where the name comes from. At that time, wool was used to make jersey fabric. Men’s clothing and underwear were the only things they made with it. However, jersey fabric had a larger purpose.

Women’s clothing was revolutionized by Coco Chanel in 1916. In addition to making attractive coats and dresses, she also made them comfortable. The popularity of the fabric has only grown since then.

It is also known as T-shirt material, another name for modern jersey fabric. However, there is more to the story than t-shirts. The fibers used in today’s jerseys are diverse. Combinations of cotton and synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, are most common. Today, the jersey is available in an extensive range of garments, housewares, and other products.

There are two main types of jersey fabric and a few subtypes. Below, we’ll examine them.

What Are The Two Main Types of Jersey Fabric?

  1. Standard jersey – often called single knit or plain knit- emerges through a single needle set, displaying a sleek facade on one flank. In contrast, the opposite boasts a piled texture.
  2. The double-knit jersey – often known as interlock jersey, seamlessly fuses two segments of single-knit jersey, crafting a uniformly smooth exterior on each side.

Are there different types of jersey fabric, and what are their specific uses?

Yes, there are several types of jersey fabric, each with distinct characteristics:

  1. Single Jersey: Lightweight with one flat and one piled side, used for T-shirts and lightweight garments.
  2. Interlock Jersey (Double Jersey): Smooth on both sides and thicker, used for more structured garments.
  3. Jacquard Jersey: Features intricate patterns used in decorative and high-fashion items.
  4. Clocqué Jersey: Has a puckered texture and is used for textured designs.
  5. Stretch Jersey: This jersey contains elastic fibers like spandex and is used for athletic wear.
  6. Slub Jersey: Characterized by its textured appearance, it is used for casual wear with a unique feel.

Standard and double-knit jersey fabric are two types of modern jersey fabric.

On one side, the standard jersey is smooth; on the other, it is piled or textured. Like a carpet pile, the texture is created by raised thread loops. In the video below, one set of needles is used to make a standard jersey.

Both sides of a double-knit jersey are smooth and thicker than those of a single-knit jersey. They have the pile on the inside and are knit from two pieces of standard jerseys. Due to the interlocking loops on the inside, double-knit jerseys are also called interlocks. Two needles are used to create a double-knit jersey: one to knit the layers and one to knit them together.

Each type serves a different purpose. Standard jerseys are familiar in athletic, athleisure, T-shirts, underwear, and bedding. Compared to standard jerseys, double-knit jerseys are more stable and less stretchy. As a result, they are better suited to garments with more structured shapes, such as blazers, coats, and trousers.

Jersey fabrics can also be found in subtypes. In the jacquard technique, designs are woven into the knit fabric using a variety of colors in a patterned fashion.

Fabrics with cloque designs, such as cabling, are textured jerseys. Jerseys can be made from a range of fibers, including:

  • Wool
  • Cotton
  • Polyester
  • Hemp
  • Silk
  • Spandex
  • Modal
  • Rayon
  • Viscose

What are the common uses of Jersey Fabric?

What Are The Two Main Types of Jersey Fabric?

Jersey is a fabric with a wide range of uses. There is a vast variety of products that contain it. You’ll likely recognize most of them, but you might be surprised by some.

Single Knit Jersey

Single-knit jerseys are often found in garments because they are lightweight, stretchy, and absorbent. Tops and dresses are made from them because they drape nicely. You can also find them in light housewares. Below are some of the most common uses.

  • T-shirts
  • Sweatshirts and sweatpants
  • Dresses
  • Women’s tops
  • Leggings
  • Underwear
  • Sports uniforms, especially tops, for spring and summer
  • Sheets and bedding

Double Knit Jersey

In addition to single-knit jerseys, double-knit jerseys are also famous for garments. Because of its greater weight and firmer structure, you will find it in different garments and products. Among them are:

  • Blazers
  • Jackets
  • Trousers
  • Polo shirts

Characteristics of Jersey Fabric

What is the feel of the jersey? How stretchable is jersey fabric? Does jersey fabric work well in the summer? Once you’ve felt it, it’s hard to forget the texture.

  • Smoothness—Smoothness is a characteristic of all jersey fabrics. Single-knit jerseys are smooth on one side, while they are piled on the other. Both sides of a double-knit jersey are smooth.
  • Soft – There is nothing more comfortable than a jersey.
  • Piled on One Side – There is a pile of single-knit jerseys on one side. The inside of a sweatshirt can become fuzzy because of this.
  • Stretchy – All jersey fabrics have some stretch since they are knit fabrics. The fiber content determines the amount of stretch. Fabrics made of cotton mixed with synthetic fibers will have less stretch than those made of cotton alone. In addition, double-knit jerseys are less stretchy than standard jerseys.
  • Opaque – It is opaque when wearing jersey fabric. It is opaque, meaning that you cannot see through it. Despite this, fine fibers in a single-knit jersey can let a little light in.
  • Absorbent – Due to its high absorbency, jersey fabric is excellent for athletic wear. A fiber’s quality is also determined by its content.
  • Range of Firmness—Soft and stretchy jersey fabric provides comfort. It is better suited to structured garments since a double-knit jersey has a firmer shape than a single-knit. Fiber content is also vital when determining firmness.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Jersey Fabric?

Is there anything special about jerseys? Quite a few things! However, some challenges are associated with sewing jersey fabric, which may not be ideal for every project. Here’s what we found.

Advantages of Jersey

Here are some of the reasons people love to wear and work with jerseys:

  • Versatile – The versatility of jersey fabric is unmatched. From garments to crafts to housewares and beyond, its unique properties make it suitable for various applications.
  • Soft – When Coco Chanel introduced jersey fabric to women’s fashion, she was on to something. It is so soft and comfortable to wear jersey fabric. You might wonder why you want to remove it once it’s on.
  • Absorbent – highly absorbent due to the pile on the reverse side of jersey fabric (or on the inside of double-knit jerseys). This is why it’s an excellent material for sportswear and why jerseys can be recycled into cleaning rags once you’re done with them.
  • Stretchy – Jersey’s built-in stretch means the fabric moves with you, cradling rather than restricting your body. This makes it an excellent choice for casual and athleisure wear.
  • Drapes Well – Women’s tops and dresses made from lighter-weight jerseys drape beautifully and skim the figure.
  • Wrinkle-Resistant – Many jerseys are wrinkle-resistant, especially if made of synthetic fibers.
  • Durable – Another reason jerseys are well suited to athletic wear is that many types of jerseys are hard-wearing.
  • Comfortable—It’s no surprise that many people wear T-shirts on weekends. A jersey is one of the few fabrics that can guarantee all-day comfort.
  • Easy to Care For—Most jersey garments are straightforward to care for. They can be washed in the washing machine.

Disadvantages of Jersey

How versatile and useful is this fabric? Are there any disadvantages? It’s not many. Even so, they can have an impact on your project:

  • It Can be Tricky to Sew – The jersey fabric has stretch because it’s knit. Sewing stretchy fabrics can be challenging. Check out our tips and tricks for the best results when working with jerseys.
  • Prone to Pilling – It is possible for jerseys to develop little balls of fiber, called “pills,” due to abrasion. Your garment can look shabby after a while if you do this.
  • Holes, Snags, and Runs – It is also easy for a jersey to get holes, snags, and runs, which can ruin its appearance.
  • Not Ideal for All Types of Garments—A jersey is usually more effective when it drapes and skims the figure or allows you to move freely. Double-knit jersey fabric is better than single-knit for rigid clothing since it holds better shape.

What Is The Best Way to Sew Jersey Fabric?

How easy is it to sew jersey fabric? It’s there, or so it seems. Many jersey fabrics don’t keep their shape well and can fray easily. Don’t worry, though! Jersey can be worked with by following a few tips and tricks.

  • Use a Fabric Stabilizer—If you’re worried that lighter jersey types won’t hold their shape while you sew, consider stabilizing them. Spray-on fabric stabilizers are suitable for washable fabrics, but tissue paper, wash-away stabilizers, and tear-away stabilizers can also be used.
  • Choose the Right Needle—If you want any sewing project to turn out well, choose the right needle. A ballpoint needle is recommended for knit fabrics such as jerseys. This needle is comparatively blunt and does not damage knit fabrics.
  • Use the Right Thread—A thread with a bit of stretch is necessary for stretchy fabrics. Polyester thread is used instead of 100 percent cotton thread. Instead of puckering your jersey fabric, the polyester thread will stretch with it.
  • Sew With a Walking Foot—The walking foot holds layers of fabric in place as it travels through the sewing machine. Stretchy fabrics like jerseys can be sewn with a walking foot, which helps the fabric move through the machine evenly. Thus, you won’t get random stretched-out spots when you sew with a walking foot.
  • Use Zigzag Stitch – Stretchy knits like jerseys can be sewn with the zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. With a straight stitch, the stitches will remain straight even if the fabric stretches. Stitches may pucker or even come apart as a result of this. It is easier to keep your stitches even using a zigzag stitch.
  • A Twin Needle for Hems – When hemming your jersey, you can use a twin needle to accommodate a fabric’s stretch. Additionally, it gives it a pretty, professional appearance.

How To Care For Jersey?

The manufacturer provides care instructions with every garment or fabric. Jersey fabrics, which come in countless varieties, may require different care depending on their type.

Take note of the fiber content

Cotton jersey fabric has a higher fiber content than wool jersey fabric, while synthetics and synthetic blends have a lower fiber content. Ensure your fabric or garment has the right fiber content before washing it.


Some jersey types, especially cotton, tend to shrink. Sewing jersey fabrics should be prewashed to ensure safety.

Machine washing

Machine washing is possible with many jersey fabrics. Care instructions should always be read before using. The jersey fabric can also be machine-washed and tumble-dried in cool water if this does not work.


Removing the jersey from the dryer immediately means you don’t have to iron it because it’s wrinkle-resistant. Be sure to use the proper ironing setting for the fiber content of your fabric if you want to iron it.

Jersey Fabric FAQs

What is jersey fabric, and how is it commonly used in clothing?

Jersey fabric is a knit fabric known for its stretchiness, breathability, and comfortable feel. Initially made with wool, modern jersey fabrics are often crafted from cotton, synthetic fibers, or a blend. It’s widely used in making underwear, T-shirts, bedding, sweaters, dresses, and athletic wear due to its soft texture and adaptability.

Can you explain the historical origins of jersey fabric?

Jersey fabric originated from the Channel Islands, specifically the island of Jersey, during the medieval period. It was primarily used for fishermen’s sweaters and underwear. Over time, its popularity spread across Europe, and by the mid-1800s, it became a prominent material for sports uniforms in Europe and the United States. The fabric gained a high-fashion status when Coco Chanel included it in her designs in 1916, revolutionizing its use in the clothing industry.

What are the main properties that make jersey fabric unique?

Jersey fabric is distinguished by its high breathability and moisture-wicking abilities, making it comfortable for wear close to the skin. It has a medium heat retention ability and is highly stretchable. The fabric’s appearance and durability can vary based on the fibers used, with some types prone to pilling or bubbling.

How is jersey fabric produced, and what fibers are typically used?

Jersey fabric is produced using knitting, which can be done using automated machines or by hand. The process begins with yarn made from wool, cotton, or synthetic fibers. The fibers are knitted in a distinctive close-knit pattern, giving the jersey its unique texture. Depending on the intended use, the yarn may be dyed before or after knitting, and additional treatments can be applied to enhance the fabric’s characteristics.

What are the environmental impacts of jersey fabric, and how does it vary with different materials?

The environmental impact of jersey fabric largely depends on the type of fibers used. Synthetic fibers like polyester and rayon can have negative effects due to the toxic chemicals used in their production and the non-biodegradable waste they produce. On the other hand, natural fibers like cotton and wool can be more sustainable, especially if grown organically or sourced responsibly. Wool is particularly environmentally friendly as it is biodegradable and does not require harmful agrochemicals in its production.

The care instructions for jersey fabric garments depend on the fibers used. Generally, it’s advised to wash them at moderate temperatures to prevent shrinking or damage. For wool-based jerseys, gentler washing and air-drying are recommended, whereas cotton and synthetic jerseys are more durable and can often be machine-washed and tumble-dried. Always refer to the specific care label on the garment for the best results.


The jersey is an incredibly versatile fabric with a wide range of applications. Many of our favorite garments are made from jersey, which is soft, absorbent, breathable, and stretchy.

As with most knit fabrics, the jersey is easy to care for but challenging to work with. A few well-planned techniques can help you overcome those challenges.

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