Jerseys often get baggier over time. Their knitted material however makes me hesitant to even attempt to tailor them.

Assuming we're talking about factory-produced knitted jerseys, what is the best way to tailor the width of such jerseys?

(I assume that home-made jerseys might best be unraveled and knitted again)

As an example, here is a standard looking factory knitted jersey in an image from Wikipedia:



2 Answers 2


Get a knitting specific needle for your sewing machine!! Ball point needles are generally better for knits than universal needles. It varies by machine so you’re gonna have to look into what’s specifically needed for your machine: enter image description here

It’s still gonna be difficult so if you have any test material I would practice on that first.

Turn it inside out, wear it, pin it and get to work!

Use something like the blue stitch in this pic and go SLOW:

enter image description here

You won’t have to worry about finishing your seams with that stitch.

If it feels like it’s not doable on the machine I’ve had a lot of luck backstitching knits by hand and just sealing them with a French seam. I think it looks nice and it lays flat also. You can also just backstitch it and pink the seams altho that might be kinda pokey to wear comparatively.

Something to keep in mind is a lot of big machine stores actually use something called a surger for knits! It’s big and expensive but it cuts and sews the fabric all at once with basically no errors so it’s okay to not be as good as machinery you don’t have access too!

If something is already on it’s way out there’s nothing lost in trying to fix it up. I tend to avoid knits on the machine myself but honestly it’s something I think every seamster should try at least a handful of times because I learn something new every time!

It can be hit or miss starting out but it’s impossible to get better at something you never do! Good luck!!


Sewing jersey is not as easy as sewing woven fabrics and should be avoided by a beginner sewist. When using Jersey or any knit fabric to make your own clothing, it should be treated almost like any other fabric. However, the quality of the fabric and how you treat it (especially when washing it) influences how well it keeps its shape or how quickly it becomes baggy.

If you make your own sewing pattern from your individual measurements, remember to add some width to make the garment comfortable. Thick knits like in the picture above should not be skin tight! If you use a commercial pattern, compare the actual measurement of the waist (of the front + back piece) with your own waist measurement and make sure it will fit you comfortably.

When cutting the fabric, lay it flat on an even surface. I highly recommend a big table with a smooth surface, but sometimes the floor is the only available space. Try to lay the fabric out as relaxed as possible, meaning you shouldn't stretch any side. But you also shouldn't bunch the fabric up because then your pieces will be bigger than intended. Make sure your fabric isn't pulled in any direction by gravity or any objects. If the fabric is skewed in this stage, the finished garment will be wonky.

Marking knit fabrics is difficult because you can easily stretch them while doing so. Most tailors chalk I used requires too much pressure to leave a line. There are chalk rollers, water-soluble pens and heat-erasing pens you could use. If nothing else works for you, there's still the good old method of marking your pattern with tailor's tags.

You should use a special jersey needle when sewing the pieces and try not to stretch them while sewing. I suggest using lots of pins or clips to ensure nothing can slip around. Handle cut pieces delicately because they might start unraveling. All raw edges should be overlocked.

Now, once you have your finished garment, you want to keep it in pristine shape as long as possible.

If your knit fabric is actually made from wool, you must either hand wash it or use a wool cycle on your washing machine. You should also use a special wool detergent because regular detergents make wool itchy. Wool must not be put in a dryer.

I would avoid tumble dryers for any heavy knit fabrics. The tumbling damages the fibers and the constant pushing and pulling of other clothing items in there can make the garment baggy. However, thick sweaters also shouldn't be hung up to dry. The water still in them makes them heavy and permanently stretches them. I usually lay my sweaters flat on top of the drying rack (over the other stuff that hangs there to dry). For wool sweaters it's recommended to lay them flat on a towel to dry.

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