How to sew jersey on your regular sewing machine
Sewing jersey on your regular machine is easy peasy. All you need to do is find the right stitch for your fabric by practicing on a piece of scrap material to get the perfect setting for the best results. There are 5 methods to try below, so let’s get playing with our machines!
Zigzag stitch (No. 7 on the below image)
The easiest way to sew jersey on your machine is to use the standard zigzag setting. For most jersey a stitch length of 2mm and width of 2.5m will work but you can adjust slightly around these numbers to get the right measurements for your fabric. A good zigzag will not jump stitches or struggle to stretch after sewing.
Lightning bolt stitch (no. 6 on below image)
This clever variation on a zigzag is a neater alternative. It reduces puckering on lightweight or very stretchy knit fabric and bias seams, while permitting the seam to be pressed completely flat. It’s so called due to its lightning shape and has a narrow width of 2.0 and a length of 2.5. Be wary that this stitch can be extremely hard to unpick so being confident with your sewing is key.
Overedge or overcast foot and stitch (no. 9 on below image)
If you don’t have an overlocker at home you can replicate the robust stitch it creates with a special foot and stitch setting. The guide on the foot runs along the side of the fabric and a little brush spreads out the thread as you sew to cover the raw edge. You can also adjust the width you need, choosing a wider stitch for thicker fabric. It is a slightly slow process as the needle must stitch multiple times before moving on so patience is key with this finish.
Triple straight stitch (no.5 on below left image)
This tough stitch is formed when the machine’s feed dogs move the fabric forward and then backward while the machine sews a straight stitch. The forward-backward movement gives stretch but the multiple lines of stitching provide the durability. Use this stitch at points of stress, such as armholes, for a long lasting finish. This process isn’t ideal for lightweight knits that may ripple or pucker but the results are great for durable knit garments that will have a lot of wear.
Using two spools of thread and a regular straight stitch, you can create a stretchy topstitch that mimics the effect of a coverpro machine. Your bobbin thread will zigzag behind the two stitching lines on the RS, creating a polished look inside and out. Simple thread a second spool through your machine using your extra spool pin and put one thread through each side of the needle. Don’t have an extra spool pin? Tape a chopstick to the side of your machine using washi tape for a temporary fix!
Remember, with all these techniques it’s important to use a ballpoint/stretch or universal sewing machine needle as this will push through the fibers of your fabric rather than making a hole that will cause your material to unravel.