A jersey knit is type of stitch that produces a smooth, flat face on a fabric, as well as a textured back to the fabric. Originally made of wool, this knit gets its name from the island of Jersey, where it is thought to have originated. This contrasting fabric is created by the inter-looping of the yarn as it passes over itself again and again. Jersey knit fabric boasts several advantages over other types of material. For example, it is soft, has excellent durability, and has great draping properties. This type of knit can be used on anything from tee shirts to dresses to sleepwear and is often thought of as a casual knit, though under the right circumstances, it can produce very elegant clothing.

An artistic dress maker can easily shape the utilitarian jersey knit into a wonderful, aesthetically pleasing object. Appealing to the more traditional style of dresses, this knit can be used to mimic elegant creations, substituting the hardy jersey knit for more expensive (and delicate) fabrics such as silk. More avant garde artists borrow from past traditions as well as modern movements. For example, taking elements from the earth movements of the 60s and 70s and tying them with grunge of the 90s, one could envision a jersey-based tee shirt dress. An elongated tee, faded and exuding warm and neutral tones would be an excellent base for a neo-hippie type dress. Many designers have embraced this cross-cultural, temporal skipping and have found favor with their clients.

Though the former dress design is simplistic and has proven to be quite popular in certain circles, other dress makers take a different approach. For example, using the jersey knit stitch and some advanced knitting techniques, many innovative designers have created some great, complex pieces. One design involves using both sides of the jersey knit, the flat, smooth exterior and the coarser, textured interior in different ways. Some designs call for a complete juxtaposition of the normal usage of the fabric. Where one usually uses faces the smooth side the coarse side is presented, and vice versa.

Other dresses use the different sides of the fabric to create patters, showing a bit of one here and a bit of the other there. This creates a woven, textured feel without actually incorporating any advanced knitting techniques. A common analogy can be found in scrutinizing a golf course or a freshly manicured lawn. The lines that appear are caused by the way the light reflects off the textured surface. This holds true for the dress as well.

Dress artists who are more interested in pop art and literary implications use this stitching technique to actually create words within their clothing. Much like a hidden symbol or an implied meaning, a sub-context can be easily hidden just below the surface of a fabric. When the world encounters this dress for the first time, not only will the body be accentuated, and not only with the dress shine, but a higher meaning can, in time, become apparent as well.

About the author:

Alexander Grigor - Zoya Woolwitch is a professional knitter and knitwear designer, and the author of "150 Haute Couture Knitting Ideas" eBook. If you are a knitter, you too can discover the most incredible collection of mind blowing inspirational ideas at http://www.hautecoutureknitting.com


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