adventures in rayon jersey


[ happy dance. … or is it? ]

2015 will be known as the year I first experimented with rayon jersey. It’s probably not as cool as the kind of experimentation that so many people do in college, but guys, this is a sewing blog, so dial down the coolness expectations.

Anyone else love rayon jersey? Anyone else hate rayon jersey? Me too, on both, and I’ve got evidence in support of each.

There’s a lot to love about rayon jersey: It’s easy to find; you can get it for a song; it comes in seemingly every color; it drapes beautifully and feels great.

And then the hatred: If it’s cheap, which it often is, it pills easily; if it’s a light color, it’s almost always sheer; it will periodically challenge your sewing machine to a duel to the death; and it makes the most ripply seams you ever did see. LOOK:


That’s my first attempt to topstitch a tee neckband. That’s after pressing. And all the seams and hems look like that.

So, yeah, we got off on the wrong foot. But we made up with this bad boy:


I took the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee and made it way, way bigger, with the shoulders extended by about 1 3/4″. I liked it a LOT. Baggy is my new favorite thing. Then I realized I didn’t need to hem the sleeves and bottom, and it really became my new fave. (The neckband isn’t going to win any blue ribbons at the county fair, but you can’t really tell in this fabric.)

Then I branched out into a stripey Plantain. And it worked so, so much better once I learned how to use my twin needle:


Choirs of angels! Bring on the rayon jersey! Who cares that you can see my bra?


[ love that narrow stripe. ]

I was ready at that point to make all the rayon jersey things. So I cut out another Plantain in a similar fabric, and this happened:


That, friends, is the result of a death match between machine and fabric. Every time I tried to sew a seam, this fabric would slither down past the throat plate and commit unspeakable violence there. I generally only figured this out after several stitches, when the fabric was well and truly stuck, so my solution was to yank it out with all my strength. And …. that’s where all those holes came from.

This fabric is currently sitting in my sewing inbox while I decide whether it’s worth saving.

After that, I ran out of rayon jersey and turned my attention to more easygoing knits. (Coming soon to the blog: Seamwork Mesas.) But I haven’t given up on it altogether; my loose kimono tee is perfect with shorts, and I’ll wear that Plantain a thousand times this fall.


Guess I can’t quit on it yet.


2 thoughts on “adventures in rayon jersey

  1. Haha this made me laugh! Your t-shirts look worth all that frustration though! I love my twin-needle, even though sometimes the tunnelling is terrible & it takes an age to get the tension right. I made a rayon Jersey platain dress, which looked lovely, till I realised it was see-through! It’s in the refashion pile to be cut into a T-shirt now. Looking forward to seeing your mesa’s (I just found you via Morgan at Crab & Bee.)

    • Thanks! I’ve been relentlessly ignoring the pile of blog makes that need to be photographed for the blog … one day, the Mesas will arrive…

      The Plantain dress sounds pretty neat. Would a half-slip underneath it solve the sheerness issue?

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