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two way stretch jersey?

bbiles | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Hello all,

I am fairly new to sewing and I have a fabric question.  How do you know if a jersey fabric has two way stretch?  I would like to sew a top for myself from the April issue of Burda WOF.  The pattern info says not to use anything but two way stretch jersey.  Also, any good web site recommendations for jersey fabric?  Thanks so much for your help.



  1. kjp | | #1

    Which top are you planning to make??

    If you are buying online, the description will tell you if it is crosswise, lengthwise or 2 way stretch fabric and will give you an approximate percentage of stretch, usually.  If you are buying off the bolt, simply stretch the fabric first lengthwise (along the selvage edge) and then crosswise (edge to edge).  That's it! 

    Good online sites for jersey/knits:  http://www.emmaonesock.com http://www.fabricline.com (I think they have changed to rct fabrics or something like that, but I think the link will forward you still there)

    1. bbiles | | #2

      Thanks for your reply!  I want to make pattern 118.  I have not sewn with jersey fabric yet, so we will see how it goes.  I am sure I will have all of my sewing "how to" books out and the web sites up for help.   I just love Burda WOF.  The April issue is my first from WOF, besides the Burda Easy magazine.  I made a great A-line skirt from that magazine, I have been wearing it every day.  I need to make more.  Hopefully this next project will go half as well.  Thanks for your help I will check the site you recommended for the fabric.



      1. kjp | | #4

        Very cute and a great basic pattern!  I was thinking of making it, too.  You will definitely need your books as a beginner, but once you make it once, you will be able to repeat it.  I'm not sure what stretch binding they use, but you have lots of options to treat the neckline edges if you can't find the right binding (including making your own bias binding). 

        I'm going to start tracing off the pattern for 113 tomorrow.  I can't wait to make it up! 


        1. bbiles | | #5

          Oh ya, I like 113 too.  I almost decided to do that one first.   I think I have seen a few reviews for 113 at patternreview.com.  Do you have your fabric yet?  It seems that most of the jersey I have seen is solid.   I'm happy with a solid, but it would be nice to use a print or striped fabric. Thanks for the tip about the stretch binding.  That was going to be my next question!  I wondered about using bias strips. That is probably what I will try to do.  Have fun with you pattern tomorrow.  I will have to wait until next week to start mine.  I need to finish the skirt and top I started for my daughter! 

          1. kjp | | #7

            I need to start using patternreview.com! 

            I think the wrap shirt you are making would be a better one to start with if you are a relative beginner. 

            I should get commission from this web site...take a look at http://www.emmaonesock.com .  I bought some absolutely beautiful print jerseys (onionskin and buttermilk) to make summer tops.  Reasonably priced (not bargain) and comparable shirts sell for 100 in our local shops!

            Bias strips work well.  I have also used fusible bias tape, serged, folded and double needle stitched the edge.  The same works well with clear elastic.  If you don't have a serger, zig-zag works, too.

            We'll have to keep eachother posted on our progress.  Meanwhile, have fun sewing for your daughter.  I have one son, so I don't do much sewing for him.  Karin

          2. SewNancy | | #8

            What is onionskin and buttermilk?  I had never heard these names before.


          3. kjp | | #9

            Both are knits:  Buttermilk drapes like it's name, stretches beautifully, and comes in wonderful prints.  Onionskin is slightly sheer also 4way stretch and great prints.  you will see both in better rtw tshirts and other tops selling for around 100 and up.   There are good descriptions on emmaonesock's web site. 

            Quick question --- have you received your May Burda WOF yet??? I usually get mine by the first of the month and it's not here yet!!!  I'm going crazy!  I'm in NJ and pretty sure you are in the metropolitan area, too, so shipping times would be comparable.

            Thanks!  Karin

          4. HeartFire | | #10

            I got my May Burda in Houston last week

          5. kjp | | #12

            Ok, thanks, Judy!  I thought mine might be lost.  :(  Now to figure out what to do about it!

          6. mem1 | | #11

            Is onionskin a sheer stretchy net like fabric??

          7. kjp | | #13

            I'd say it is a little more opaque than mesh, but still sheer.  You actually can wear it unlined, although I prefer to line the bra area (at 40 I don't like to show my lingerie as seems to be the style these days - grin - ) 

          8. mem1 | | #23

            Thanks I know what you mean re the lining !!

          9. SewNancy | | #14

            Got it yesterday.  Not as good as last month's at least for me.


          10. kjp | | #15

            Last month's was quite good, wasn't it?  I'm finished tracing off my twist top pattern & going to cut it out this morning. 

            Maybe I'll get mine today.  I'm going to call them this morning anyway. 

            Edited 5/6/2005 8:39 am ET by kjp

          11. SewNancy | | #16

            I traced mine off a few days ago, but I am not sure how to enlarge the bust for my D cup and I am going to cutr it out in a cheap knit first.


          12. kjp | | #17

            I wouldn't know how to begin to do a bust alteration on this one!!  However, I do think that I saw someone review it on patternreview who had a Dcup and did not alter it.  I think if you have enough stretch? 

          13. HeartFire | | #18

            Question about 2 way strech again,
            There is another twisted neckline top in the May Burda WOF - NO. 124 that I want to make (though I may make the back one piece, I don't see the need to piece it)
            But, I've seen knits described as both "1 way vs 2 way strech" or "2 way vs 4 way" so is the 2 way strech they talk about the same as a 4 way strech?

          14. bbiles | | #19


            I have not received my WOF May issue yet either, but I have been out of town  just got back today and haven't picked up my mail. 

            Thanks for all the great info on fabric.  I still have a great deal to learn.  I have been looking for fabrics that specifically say two way stretch "jersey"  now I understand that a lot seems to fall under that category.  I think you are right about starting with the wrap top.  I may try one of the twist tops later.  Judy, I'm glad you asked the 4 way stretch question.  I was wondering about that too.  Looking forward to hearing more about everyone's progress.  Hopefully I will have a chance to trace out my pattern on Monday. 

          15. kjp | | #20

            I called GLP yesterday and they said May WOF was mailed on the 28th.  Since I live in NJ, I probably should have gotten it by now!

            As to stretch question - I consulted the expert:  Claire Schaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide.  She defines them as follows:

            "4-way stretch knits have stretch in both the length and width.  Compared to two-way stretch knits which are knitted on a tricot machine, four-way stretch knits are knitted on a raschel knitting machine and are usually heavier in weigtht.  They have good stretch and recovery.  (See Action Knits)."

            "2-way stretch knits stretch in both length and width.  Used for active sportswear, two-way stretch knits have good stretch and recovery.  (seeAction Knits)."

            "Action Knits:  ...2-way and 4-way describe knits which stretch in both the width and length.  4-way stretch fabrics have more stretch.  They are heavier, cover better, pill less, and do not run.  Most 4-way stretch knits are raschel knits with stretch knitted into the length as well as the width.  By contrast, 2-way stretch fabrics are usually tricot knits and the length wise stretch comes from the yarn (spandex), not the structure of the knit. "

            More information than you probably ever needed to know.  But - rest assured that you can use either to make your Burda tops.  Just make sure you have stretch in BOTH the length and the width.  Other than that - don't worry about it - buy a fabric you love!

            Happy sewing, Karin

          16. bbiles | | #21

            Thanks so much for looking that up!  I visited emmaonesock and found some great fabrics!  You have been a great help to me.  I feel fairly educated about jersey now.  But I definitely need to purchase a fabric guide for future reference.

            I did receive my WOF May issue while I was out of town.  Hopefully you will get yours soon.  I have my eye on one of the skirts in that issue, but I agree that the April issue is better.

            Thanks, Brett


          17. kjp | | #22

            Yeah!! Got mine this afternoon in the mail.  Haven't had a chance to look at it yet since we just got back from a Kentucky Derby Party. 

            As for a general fabric guide, I highly recommend Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide.  It is very comprehensive and includes many great sewing references.  Good first and general reference. 

            Now, off to the couch to look through my May WOF!

      2. sewbody | | #24

        Please will someone let me in!  What is Burda WOF??  I have been sewing personally and professionally since the age of 5 and have never come across this.  Thanks.

        1. SewNancy | | #25

          Burda has a magazine that has all the patterns for the fashions shown on large removable sheets  that you trace off.  BWOF is an abreviation for Burda World of Fashion.  They are well designed and more current than a lot of patterns.  Minimal instructions though.


          1. bbiles | | #26


            I wanted to add that you can view their web site at http://www.burdamode.com the web site is in German though.  But they do print an English version of the magazine.  Threads had a great article a few months ago about European pattern magazines and European patterns.  That is how I learned of Burda World of Fashion.  You can order a subscription through http://www.glpnews.com .  I also ordered the Spanish pattern magazine Patrones (only a single issue) and a subscription to Ottobre, a children's pattern magazine from Finland.  I have loved all of these magazines.  They seem a bit more fashion forward that many of our typical sewing patterns here in the US, but I find plenty to sew here too!  Since I have taken up this hobby, I seem to have this illness that I must have and try all thing sewing!  I also have quiet a collection of vintage patterns.  If I sewed every day all day for the rest of my life I still probably would not get to all of my patterns! 

            If you do a search in Gatherings for Burda WOF or Ottobre you will find more about these magazines.  I think the author of the article has answered some questions in one of the threads.


            Oops nancy,  I know you probably have this information, I meant to address the message to sews.  Thanks I just edited the message.   

            Edited 5/19/2005 6:53 pm ET by ddsx3

            Edited 5/19/2005 6:56 pm ET by ddsx3

          2. sewbody | | #27

            Nancy,   Thanks for your response.  I am going to enjoy discovering BURDA.  Also, I am tickled to be in touch with all the on line groupies of THREADS.  Thanks, Joyanne.

          3. SewNancy | | #28

            By the way they advertise in the back of Threads with a good deal for a trial 3 month subscription.  Even the yearly rate of $60 is good as when I bought it  monthly it had gone up to $7.50 or $8.


  2. mem1 | | #3

    It stretches both across and down . Christine Jonson has a good range of basic colours

    1. bbiles | | #6

      Thanks, I like her website.  Looks like she has some good fabric choices and patterns too.  It's always fun to come across a good sewing related site! 

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