Jersey fabric is a type of knit textile made from cotton or a cotton and synthetic blend. Some common uses for jersey fabric include t-shirts. The fabric is warm, flexible, stretchy, and very insulating, making it a popular choice for the layer worn closest to the body. Jersey also tends to be soft, making it very comfortable.
The textile is named for the island of Jersey. Jersey is the largest of a group of islands known as the Channel Islands, located between England and France. The island has a long history of human occupation, and is also well known for Jersey cows, typically raised for their rich, creamy milk.
A knitting machine is used to make jersey, since it can create the small, even, close grained stitches associated with jersey fabric. Like many other knit fabrics, jersey fabric has a right side and a wrong side. The right side of the material is marked by a series of very small lines which run vertically, and the wrong side has a horizontal grain. In most cases, a garment made from jersey fabric is sewn with the right side facing out, unless the seamstress is making a deliberate stylistic choice.
In 1916 Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel outraged the fashion industry by using jersey at a time when it was strictly associated with underwear. 'This designer made jersey what it is today - we hope she's satisfied,' snapped Vogue in 1917. 'It's almost as much part of our lives as blue serge is.'
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