Many people are fearful about sewing jersey fabric, but with some simple adjustments, there is no need to be. The simplest change is to use a ball-point or jersey machine needle to avoid skipped stitches. Secondly, you can use any special stitches your sewing machine supplies – my machine has a stretch stitch (shown as a triple line of stitches) at stitch setting 17.
Even with these adjustments, it is possible with some fabrics that the top and bottom layers may not stay neatly together, and one may stretch more than the other. The reason for this is that the bottom layer is being fed through under the needle by the teeth (know as the feed dog). This is not happening with the top layer, resulting in what is known as creeping in the fabric.
One way to avoid creeping is to use a walking foot (see left, click on the picture to enlarge), which is able to fit most machines. A walking foot includes a set of teeth, similar to those in the feed dog, actually within the foot. This means that both the top and bottom layers in your seam are fed through the machine, lessening the likelihood of creeping.
To use a walking foot, follow the procedure below to attach the foot to your machine.
Now as you begin to sew, the up and down motion of the needle generated by the sewing machine moves the arm of the walking foot with it. This is then translated into the ‘walking’ movement of the white plastic teeth on the foot – and hey presto! A walking foot can be useful in other situations as well, for instance when sewing lengths of patterned fabrics together for curtains, to make sure the fabric is sewn exactly as you pinned it with the pattern matching up precisely. The walking foot is not suitable for some other applications, eg sewing on curtain header tape as the teeth can get caught in the loose threads.
If this has given you confidence, we have lots of lovely jersey fabrics in our Bridport and Yeovil fabric stores. Stocks change regularly and any we have available to buy online are shown below.