I always iron my jersey first, seems weird I know, but it does help. Fold the 1/2 yard piece in half lengthwise, so you end up with a 9" x45" rectangular strip. Sew/serge the edges shut leaving a gap to turn it right side out. Flip it out, iron it and sew the opening shut. Now you have a lovely long rectangle. Thrilling, I know.
Then take the fabric and pleat it upwards one inch so your ruler only shows 2 inches. I find this the easiest way to pleat since I haven't tried making a pleating board yet.