Fabric Focus- Sewing With Jersey Fabrics

by Cara @sosewmad

This month I wanted to share with you my experience of working with Jersey.

 This coincides with my fabric delivery from the Dragonfly fabrics team, I can’t be there in person during the lockdown, so we’ve worked together to come up with a monthly delivery so I can share fabrics with you across the Social Media platforms. For more details of this please visit our Instagram page where I share the opening of these parcels; I’ll also be recording the progress of my plans and makes across the month.
There are many types of Jersey, and my focus this month is on:

Viscose Jersey

Viscose Jersey Print Dress Fabric – Tropical Flowers

One of the most common features of Viscose-Jersey over any other type of Jersey is the drape. It has a beautiful handle, often cool to the touch, and holds its colour incredibly well. The Tropical Flowers Viscose I have been sent fits this bill exactly.
What to consider when working with Viscose Jersey?
-Due to its drape you’ll need to think about the type of garment you want to make, this fabric isn’t suitable for traditional Joggers or sweatshirts, but it would make stunning tops, hareem style trousers or wrap dresses to name just a few.
-It is very easy to sew with and doesn’t need overlocking as it won’t fray – I express caution if you do as it can overstretch this type of jersey.
-You’ll need to stay-tape necklines and shoulder seams before sewing them together.
-Pre-wash your fabric before you use it,  one of the key advantages of this fabric is that is doesn’t need ironing as it’s unlikely to crease.
-Viscose Jersey is skin-friendly and often has the appearance of cotton.
-Viscose is considered eco-friendly as the primary source is naturally regenerative.
Pattern Suggestions:
-The Adrienne dress or Top by the Friday Pattern Company is a beautifully simple and quick to make pattern that would make the most of the drape of the fabric, highlighting the bishop sleeve design but without the structure of other fabrics that would accentuate the sleeves.
Adrienne Blouse- Friday Pattern Company

Adrienne Blouse- Friday Pattern Company

Agnes T-shirt by Tilly and the Buttons, a beginner-friendly pattern that is a firm favourite among many. Several options are available within the pattern, short or long sleeves and a ruched or scoop neckline.
Tilly and the Buttons – Agnes Sewing Pattern

Tilly and the Buttons – Agnes Sewing Pattern

-The Westcliff dress by the Friday Pattern Company – A full-length wrap dress that would make the most of a beautiful print or plain viscose Jersey
Westcliff Dress- Friday Pattern Company

Westcliff Dress- Friday Pattern Company

Organic Brushed French Terry

This is the first time I’ve worked with brushed back jersey. The key difference from a standard sweat shirting fabric is the softness. As the name suggests it has a brushed back, this is so soft and is best described as cotton wool. The main side of the fabric is matt and smooth and has a softness I’ve not experienced before.

Organic Sweatshirt Jersey- Moss Green

 What else should you know about brushed back Jersey?
-Pre-wash your brushed back jersey. I recommend washing it separately from other items, I have found that it sheds a little in the initial wash. This doesn’t impact on the softness of the fabric.
-This fabric also doesn’t require overlocking as the edges won’t fray, but I would use an overlocker in the majority of the process of sewing as it creates the perfect finish and accommodates the stretch in the fabric
-The brushed back french terry from Dragonfly fabrics has a 30% stretch and is 96% cotton and 4% elastane. It is 245g/sm classing it as a mid-weight Jersey.
-This fabric is OEKOTEX 100 certified.
– Our Organic Sweatshirt has 20% stretch.

-Pre Cut Ribbing

Another first for me this month. The Dragonfly Fabrics website has an amazing range of colours available in this pre-cut Ribbing.
Pre-cut Cuff Ribbing 1.3m – Turquoise Stripe Ochre with Lurex

Pre-cut Cuff Ribbing 1.3m – Turquoise Stripe Ochre with Lurex


-It comes in 1.35m cuts. On average this would be enough to add wrist bands and a waistband to a top or joggers. This would depend on your pattern and size.
-Pre-wash as with your fabric, I experienced no shrinkage on my sample.
-The cuffing itself has a raw and finished edge, but it won’t fray on cutting.
-Use the cuff and waistband pattern pieces to determine the length you need to cut. If you were using fabric or traditional ribbing you would have a folded piece at this stage to create the depth and finished edge of the cuff, the pre-cut ribbing can be used flat for wrist and leg cuffs and can be cut or folded for the neckband.
-To create the wrist band bring the short edges together and either overlock or serge the seam or use a stretch or zigzag stitch; to make your cuff into a loop. Iron the seam allowances open and flat, or to the side if you overlocked them. You can topstitch over the seam allowances down to help them sit flat.
-To create a neckband using the cuffing there are two ways to use the ribbing:
-1) Using the cuffing flat, use your neckband pattern piece as a template, fold your pattern piece in half lengthways, this will be the width your cuffing needs to be.  Trim your cuffing to this width, sew the short edges together using the same technique as the wrist band. Then follow the instructions on your pattern to complete the neckband.
2) Using the cuffing folded: This technique is useful where there is a pattern on the cuffing, a stripe for example. Once again use the neckband piece as a template, you may need to trim the cuffing slightly to ensure it is the same width as the pattern piece. Sew the short end together as on the wrist bands, ironing the seam allowances flat, then fold the ribbing in half lengthways, the wrong sides together paying close attention to the cuff features, the stripe for example to ensure an even fold, and what feature is visible on the right side. Then follow the instructions on your pattern to complete the neckband
I have really enjoyed using the cuffing in the making of a Billie Sweatshirt, it is easy to use, makes the process of making cuffs and neckbands very quick, and adds a wonderful variety of contrast and colour to your handmade wardrobe.

sweatshirt jersey

Some pattern suggestions for use with pre-cut cuffing:
-The Billie Sweatshirt dress and Jumper by Tilly and the Buttons
-The Jarrah by Megan Nielsen

Bamboo Jersey:

My voyage of discovery continues this month with another type of Jersey I have not worked with before!

Bamboo Jersey Dress Fabric - Dragonfly Fabrics

Bamboo Jersey Dress Fabric – Dragonfly Fabrics


What is Bamboo Jersey?

Fibres from bamboo leaves are manipulated until they create tiny threads, these are then spun into threads for weaving or knitting fabrics
Bamboo Jersey blended with Cotton is anti-bacterial and odour resistant making it an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin.
-The jersey has a high level of durability and 4-way stretch making it really comfortable to wear, it is also absorbent and breathable making it cool to wear.
-On the first inspection, it has similar qualities to viscose jersey, it has a similar drape and coolness of touch, it also holds its colour and is crease-resistant too.
-Pre-wash on a low temperature, it dries really quickly.
-With properties similar to viscose jersey it doesn’t require overlocking as it won’t fray, your garments could be made on the overlocker, taking care not to stretch the fabric as you sew. We recommend you test your tension in a scrap of fabric before starting your project.

Pattern Suggestions:

-The Hilo dress by Friday Pattern Company, this boho style dress has a double layer feature and the drape of the bamboo jersey would work really well with this style
The Ebony T-Shirt and dress by Closet Core Patterns. A super quick and easy flowing smock dress or top which could be dressed up or down.
The Joni Jumpsuit by Friday Pattern Company, with its double-lined bodice and wide-leg trousers the flow of Bamboo Jersey would work really well.
Please do share your makes with us on Instagram or Facebook, and let us know if there is a particular fabric you’d like us to feature in the coming months.