What is Jersey Knit? The A-Z of This Stretchable Fabric

Melengo Team

Soft, stretchy, and comfortable are the words most commonly used to describe the jersey fabric.

Sign up to our updates
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Here’s a riddle: which fabric originated in an island in the middle ages and was later made popular by Coco Chanel? The jersey fabric! 

That’s right. Originally made of wool, the jersey knit was used to make fishermen’s sweaters and underwear in Jersey, Channel Islands. In the early 1900s, Coco Chanel introduced this fabric to the women’s fashion market, which.. brings us to the jersey knit fabric of today. Here’s everything you need to know about the jersey fabric. 

What is The Jersey Knit Fabric?

The jersey fabric is a single knit fabric that has a soft, loopy texture on the inside and a smooth exterior. It’s known for being soft and stretchy, making the wearer feel very comfortable, which is why it’s commonly used to make casual wear. Jersey knit is a light- to mid-weight fabric, with its thickness typically ranging between 150 gsm (grams per square meter) to 260 gsm.

Originally, the jersey fabric used to be made out of wool to protect the fishermen from the harsh climate. But, modern-day jersey knit fabric is usually made out of 100% cotton or a blend of cotton with other fibers. The most popular blends are the polyester-cotton blend as well as a tri-blend where cotton is mixed with polyester, rayon, and spandex to increase the fabric’s elasticity. 

Since cotton is the primary fiber used to create jersey knit, the fabric is also interchangeably known as jersey cotton. However, you’ll also find jersey knit made from synthetic materials like rayon, polyester, viscose, and even silk.

What is Jersey Fabric Used For?

Due to its light weight and soft interior, the jersey knit fabric is commonly used to make everyday wear as well as home furnishing items such as:

While a lot of athletic jerseys are made using the jersey fabric, don’t get confused between the two. Athletic jersey refers to a garment, while jersey knit refers to the fabric.

Looking to create your own garments out of Jersey Knit? You're at the right place! Melengo, the end-to-end clothing manufacturing platform helps you go from idea to sales. [Start your project now.]

Types of Jersey Knit Fabric

Depending on the knit style, the jersey knit fabric comes in different types. 

Single Knit Jersey 

This is your standard jersey fabric made with a single set of needles. i.e. it’s single knit or plain knit, much like French Terry. This means it has different textures on both sides – the side that faces the skin has soft piles or loops, while the exterior has a smooth texture. It’s lightweight and is used to make dailywear or baby clothes. 

Double Knit Jersey 

Also known as interlock jersey, this type of jersey is double knit, meaning it’s made using two sets of needles. Think of it as taking two sheets of single knit jersey and attaching them together so that their looped sides are stitched together. So, double knit jersey fabric is smooth on both sides and doubly thicker than single knit jersey. It’s typically used to make skirts, pants, or blazers. 

Jacquard Jersey

Jacquard jersey is a single jersey fabric woven on high-tech industrial knitting machines using the Jacquard mechanism. This means it has different colored loops made of different threads, leading to interesting patterns woven into the fabric. It’s used to make home furnishings or women’s wear. 

Stretch Jersey

Stretch jersey is simply your typical jersey fabric made by adding a little spandex (or some other elastic material) to it. This gives the fabric more stretchability. The stretch jersey is lightweight and very soft. 

Cloqué Jersey

Also known as the blister jersey, this type of jersey has a puckered and raised weave pattern and is created using knitting machines.

Properties of The Jersey Knit Fabric

Jersey knit has several characteristics that make it a very popular fabric choice for everyday wear. 

  • Soft and comfortable. The piles on the inside of the jersey knit fabric feel very soft against the skin, providing ultimate comfort to the wearer. The fact that it’s predominantly made out of cotton, a soft fiber, only adds to the softness of the jersey fabric.
  • Stretchy. Even though cotton isn’t inherently stretchy, jersey knit is stretchy. This is because knit fabrics like jersey are made by weaving interconnected loops together. These loops allow the fibers to move and stretch without causing any damage to the shape of the fabric. This is where the jersey fabric gets its stretchiness from. Additionally, elastic fibers like spandex are also mixed in with cotton to give jersey knit some extra elasticity. 
  • Breathable and absorbent. The loops on the jersey knit fabric leave room for air circulation, making jersey very breathable. Moreover, since cotton is highly absorbent, so is jersey knit. Together, these two properties make for a fabric that absorbs your sweat, regulates your body temperature, and keeps you cool and dry. 
  • Wrinkle-resistant. The stretchier the fabric, the more resistant it is to wrinkles. So, jersey knit tends to keep its shape intact and doesn’t wrinkle. 
  • Opaque with a nice drape. The knitting composition of the jersey fabric keeps the fibers close together, preventing any light from passing through, making jersey knit opaque. The fabric also has a nice drape, although this differs based on its composition. The thinner the type of jersey, the smoother its drape. For instance, silk jersey has a better drape than jersey cotton.

Easy to maintain. Jersey knit is machine-washable and also resists wear and tear even after multiple washes, making it a low-maintenance fabric.

Ready to start creating your own Jersey Knit garments? Let Melengo work for you throughout the process. [Start your project now.]

Explore other articles