This or That? Cotton and Bamboo Jersey Edition.

Sewing patterns will always include recommendations for the right fabric to use but sometimes there will be a few different suggestions listed so how do you choose between them? If they will all work for the pattern, how do you decide which is better for exactly what you are making?

Our second blog post in the This or That series compares cotton jersey and bamboo jersey. What are the pros and cons to both of these light to mid weight stretch fabrics? When should you choose one over the other? Which patterns are ideal for each one? Read on to find out more…

Cotton Jersey Vs Bamboo Jersey

Cotton Jersey

A few advantages of cotton jersey:

  • as it’s such a popular choice for stretch fabric there is a huge range of colours and prints
  • cotton jersey comes in a variety of weights so you can buy heavier or lighter depending on the weather etc
  • it is more structured than other types of jersey which is great if you need part of your garment to hold its shape like a hood or pockets

And a few disadvantages of cotton jersey:

  • it is more structured (yes this is both an advantage and disadvantage!) and this lack of drape can make garments less unflattering
  • 100% cotton jersey will likely have great stretch but may have poor recovery which means it doesn’t spring back to its original size and shape; the addition of a synthetic fabric, like Lycra, to the fabric blend will really help with this issue


Bamboo Jersey

A few advantages of bamboo jersey:

  • it is super soft
  • bamboo may be more eco-friendly than cotton – it grows faster and uses less water than cotton-based fabric (but sustainability and fabric is a complex issue and there are many areas to consider)
  • it has more drape than cotton jersey so is more flattering for shaped garments like fitted tops and dresses
  • bamboo fabric is great at regulating body temperature which means its a great choice for both hot and cold weather

And a few disadvantages of bamboo jersey:

  • it’s usually more expensive
  • it is generally less readily available but this is improving, plus there are less colours and prints compared to other fabric types but, again, this is improving


Which patterns for which fabric?

Although both of these fabrics might be listed as suitable for lots of patterns (and they absolutely are) you might have times when you want to choose between the two to find the perfect combination of fabric type and pattern.

Cotton jersey (and Cotton-Lycra jersey) is perfect for garments with hoods, children’s t-shirts and joggers like the I CAN Zip Hoodie and the Four Seasons Joggers.

Bamboo jersey is perfect for garments that have a bit of swing, where some draping would make the shape even more flattering like the Ladies Beachcomber.