How to Sew with Merino Wool Jersey

Whenever I travel for work or personal, I really want to check out the local fabric shops. On a trip to Washington, D.C. for a conference, I took some time to visit Stitch Sew Shop in Alexandria. It was worth the metro trip for sure. I’ve never been to a shop that specializes in garment fabric. Everything we have here in Utah is all about quilting! There was a lot of wonderful fabric, but I had to make sure whatever I purchased would fit in my luggage.

I settled on a lightweight 100% merino wool jersey fabric that I could use to make a basic t-shirt. Eventually, when I got back home from my travels, I pre-washed my fabric on delicate / hand-wash cycle, cold water, with Vaska unscented laundry soap and household white vinegar for “softener”. I laid the fabric flat to dry.

Whenever I make t-shirts, I always use a knit fabric with a little bit of spandex. My preferred brands are Art Gallery and Nosh. I did not make any alterations to my t-shirt pattern when I cut out the merino wool jersey. I even cut the same length for my neckband as well.

I was worried about the fabric being like rayon where you hear about problems with your sewing machine “eating” it. However, I found the wool fabric far superior to even my cotton/spandex fabric from Art Gallery and Nosh.

  • Edges rolled LESS
  • Fabric stretched similarly
  • Pressed like a DREAM
  • Didn’t have that warble effect after stitching that knits tend to do
  • Able to easily feed through the serger and sewing machine

The only negative is the price, but if the shirt lasts long and doesn’t fall apart, the price is worth it. I found working with the fabric easier than my standard cotton/spandex knit fabric. Every aspect was easier, surprisingly. If you have some merino wool jersey in your fabric stash, don’t hold back! It is lovely.

Now the only problem I have is realizing how much bunching I have on the back of my pattern. That’s the problem with taking photos and blogging; you get to see your backside and realize all the problems that need to be fixed! Sigh.

8 thoughts on “How to Sew with Merino Wool Jersey

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  1. Such a lovely vibrant colour! I’ve never sewn with Merino but I had a RTW sweater once made out of it and it made me so itchy I’ve avoided it ever since (I’m not usually bothered by wool). Glad to read you found it so nice to work with!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was a kind I found wool sweaters to be EXTREMELY itchy and annoying. I would even develop an allergic reaction to the wool and break out in a rash, my nose would get runny, and I would get a sore throat. However, I don’t know if I grew out of it, or if the processing of the wool has gotten better, but the merino wool jersey is extremely soft (like silk) and doesn’t leave me with any allergic reactions. This material is the opposite of itchy and uncomfortable. It’s probably softer and smoother than cotton/spandex fabric.


  2. Hi thanks for your post.
    I think the bunching might be resolved by making the hip region a little wider, so the fabric can fall. I too find jersey very easy, Even making leggings with merino interlock is very easy, the difficulty is working out how much narrower the pattern needs to be for interlock to work. I am about to try and make an interlock singlet…Scary with bands. Thanks again.


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