What is “Jersey” Knit and Where Did It Come From?


Every year we buy an incredible amount of clothing in the United States. On average, about 60% of American women say that they struggle every day with finding something to wear. About 62% of men and women say that they own more than 10 tee shirts. Back-to-school expenses in America comprise a lot of different things, but 55% of those expenses is spent on clothing like caps for ponytails and girls fashion accessories. A woman in America who lives to be 80 will have spent an average of $125,000 on clothes and accessories that go with them. Of all this expenditure, a lot of it will be on a Jersey knit shirt or similar type of Jersey woven article of clothing. Why?

What is “Jersey” Fabric?

The term “jersey” refers to a type of knitting known as plain or single knit. Some people will use the term “jersey” to refer to any type of knitted fabric that has no rib, but the name comes from the island off the coast of England. The name of this island is Jersey, and, as you may have guessed, this is where the Jersey cow comes from and is what New Jersey is named after .

Medieval Knitting Powerhouse

The island of Jersey and neighboring Guernsey were famous for their fabrics and knitted goods as far back as medieval times. Different areas of the world have always had different types of knitting styles, but over time the plain knits, or flat knits, became associated with the materials coming from Jersey. A plain knit has a flat surface with horizontal loops on the back. Originally, this type of knitting was used primarily for hosiery and underwear. There was no such thing as a jersey knit shirt, but the jersey stitch was very good for any kind of draped fabric.

Gabrielle Chanel

Over the years, as people wore fewer draped garments like those favored in medieval days, the jersey knit became firmly associated with underwear. This would all change in 1916 when Gabrielle Chanel, better known as Coco Chanel, began using jersey for dresses and the women’s jersey knit shirt. This rocked the fashion world to its core, but it started a movement that lives on today. People could not help but acknowledge that the jersey knit shirt and jersey dresses were comfortable and flattering.

The Jersey Knit Shirt Today

Today, Jersey is used for both elegant clothing and as a practical choice. People who know clothes have always appreciated its excellent qualities, and you can now buy not only a jersey knit shirt or dress, but also knit caps and a variety of cold weather accessories made with jersey knit. In recent days, even jersey sheets have become popular as a bedding choice.

What Are Jersey’s Benefits?

Jersey refers to the knit, not the fabric, so jersey clothing is flexible and can be made from wool, synthetics, or cotton. It is low-maintenance, warm, and easy to dress up or dress down. It does not wrinkle or need to be ironed, does not shrink, and retains its color far longer than other knits. It is breathable, easy to wash in washing machines, reasonably priced, and youthful-looking. Fabrics manufactured with a jersey knit are flexible and do not lose their shape easily, either.

The jersey knit shirt and other jersey clothing has been around for a long time. They’re not going anywhere soon, and with good reason. Jersey is some of the most flexible, flattering, and easy to care for clothing anyone can buy.

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