Jersey fabric is a knitted fabric that stretches a lot. This makes it difficult to tighten this fabric in a frame. In general, this fabric will not easily be chosen for embroidery with the tambour hook. My advice here is: if you like to use tambour hook: just try it! Each fabric is different. If you first make a test piece, you will see for yourself how the result will be.
Jersey is a single-knit cotton fabric that’s known for its stretch and softness. Because of how jersey is knit, there is a natural elasticity without using stretch fibers like elastane.
Also other stretch fabrics should be treated as if they were jersey.
To remove the stretch from the fabric, you can “stabilise” it. To do this, reinforce the jersey with a piece of embroidery foil (available from wholesalers or embroidery shops) or a piece of silk organza. Now you can embroider your design without it being “distorted” by the stretching of the fabric.
To stabilise the fabric, place it flat in front of you on the table, wrong side up. Place a piece of foil or organza on top, without folds or creases. Pin the layers together. Baste the fabric and the foil or organza on top of each other on the outside of the piece, but also around the embroidery designs for more strength. (Remove the basting threads after embroidering).
Retaining elasticity of stretch fabrics
To ensure that you do not completely lose the characteristic of jersey (elasticity of the fabric), it is important to tie off or stitch on each embroidered part separately. For the same reason, after embroidering remove as much as possible of the foil or organza around the embroidered parts. Ensure that the fabric is free to stretch as much as possible. With Al Aire Embroidery the same priciples apply as with broderie d’art.
If you want to be able to wash your jersey after embroidering, keep this in mind when choosing your embroidery materials. Sequins in particular have a tendency to deform when exposed to heat. Washing and ironing at your own risk.
Alternative solution: applications
Of course, an easy way to deal with the peculiarities of jersey is to work with loose applications. To do this, embroider the intended motif on a firm, woven fabric. Finish and attach it to the fabric by hand.The advantage of this way of working is that you can remove the application to clean the garment. Then reattach it to the fabric.