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Topic: Beginner questions about making a top out of jersey  (Read 1418 times)
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« on: December 18, 2010 12:42:31 PM »

I've done very little sewing and have never made clothes before. I want to make a simple tank top out of some jersey I have to hand as a first project  Cheesy

What is the difference between 'jersey' and 'jersey knit'?

How do you tell what the stretch is, esp e.g. when comparing two fabrics

What is the difference between sewing this and 'normal' cotton? (other than using a different needle) How do I handle the seams - everything done in stretch stitch?

Any other advice?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2010 12:45:58 PM by StarDuck » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Working a sewing machine is harder to than driving a JCB. No, really.
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2010 09:17:45 PM »

I don't think there's a difference between "jersey" and "jersey knit" but there are different types of jersey - different thicknesses, amounts of stretch, fiber content, etc.
To tell what the stretch is, measure out for example 4 inches on the fabric, hold it by the edge and on the mark and stretch it as far as it goes, then see what the measurement is to the mark while you have it stretched. You can easily compare the numbers for different fabrics to tell how much stretch they have. Some patterns have a little ruler on the back so you can do this with the fabric right against that and know if it's right for the pattern.
You can sew it with a stretch stitch, or a small/pretty tight zig-zag (not so tight that its just a solid line, but not so spaced out that you can see the space between the stitches on the right side of what you're making. Stretch stitches are usually really hard to undo so if you think you might need to stitch something multiple times before it's right, you can use a regular straight stitch first, then when it's how you want it, go over with a stretch stitch. Personally, I leave it with just a regular straight stitch a lot of the time (because I'm impatient and the correct stitches take longer) and I've rarely had problems. It depends on what you're making though if you can get away with that - something skin tight and with a ton of stretch wouldn't work so well with a regular stitch, but a loose t-shirt will probably be fine. Logically, stitching that won't stretch doesn't really need to be sewn with a stretch stitch (it can be though if you're worried about the stitching breaking).
The part that takes a little getting used to when sewing knits/jersey is knowing how much to stretch the fabric while sewing. You don't want to keep it perfectly unstretched because that will keep it from stretching later if your stitches are tight, but you don't want to stretch it too much either because it will ripple.
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2010 05:36:21 AM »

Thanks, that's fantastic Smiley

Working a sewing machine is harder to than driving a JCB. No, really.
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2011 04:49:22 PM »

I strongly recommend buying or checking out Wendy Mullin's Home Stretch.  She does a really great job explaining how to sew knits and there are patterns tucked into the back.

A state of confusion is unpleasant, but a state of certainty is ridiculous.  - Voltaire.
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2011 07:29:52 PM »

When I sew stretch fabrics without a serger, I only use a zigzag or other stretch stitch on seams which go across my body (ie: parallel to the ground).  For perpendicular seams, which don't need to stretch over my body, I use straight stitches like any other sewing project.  In fact, I've found that using zigzag stitches on perpendicular seams like side seams tends to expose the stitching and look generally unprofessional.

Same with the stretch of the fabric- you want the stretchiest direction to run across your body, and the direction of least stretch (if there is a difference) running up and down.

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