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Tips for Sewing with Fleece

Learn how to wrangle the fluffy and fuzzy favorite winter fabric.
Photo courtesy of KellyHoogaboom under CC BY-SA 2.0

In my neck of the woods, the weather has turned chilly. Chilly weather means it’s time to pull out the fleece. For seamsters, fleece is very easy to work with. There are a few tips that I have found may make it even easier for you.

* Use a ball point or Microtex needle. To avoid skipped stitches, I prefer to use a ballpoint (also called a Jersey) needle. On microfleeces, which are very closely woven, I prefer a Microtex needle.

* Use a longer stitch length. If your standard stitch length is 2.5mm, lengthen it to 3.5mm. You’ll find you get smoother seams.

* Use a very narrow zigzag stitch. I find that using the narrowest zigzag setting (0.5mm on my machine) gives straight seams the give to prevent them from popping under stress.

* Stabilize shoulders with fusible interfacing. To keep shoulders of jackets and tops from stretching, fuse a strip of tricot interfacing 1/2-inch wide along the seamline. This will keep your shoulder shape without adding bulk.

* Use a strip of tear-away stabilizer for hems. To keep hemlines from stretching out or getting wavy when sewing, place a strip of tearaway stabilizer between the fabric and the feed dogs.

* Pink raw edges to finish. Fleece doesn’t ravel, so you don’t need to turn under or overcast raw edges. Just trim with a pinking blade (shears or rotary cutter) and sew. As an alternative, you can simply pink the hems, and leave them unturned for a casual-chic look that I’ve seen on many RTW fleece garments.

* Stabilize zippers and closures with fusible interfacing. As with shoulders, you need to stabilize garment closures, especially before inserting a zipper, to avoid rippling. For this, I prefer to use a strip of woven interfacing, such as Armo-Weft. It will add slightly more body to most fleece without too much bulk and will keep your zipper closure from rippling.

* Use “blending” thread colors. Because thread tends to sink into fleece and be covered by the fibers, I’ve found that I can get away with thread colors that blend, rather than perfectly match-my fleece.


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  1. FangFan | | #1

    I'm a new sewer... How do you keep the fleece from melting when you apply the fusible interfacing?

  2. PattieWV | | #2

    You are right, fusibles should not be used on outerwear fleece. It can be applied using a glue stick and not fuesd. I prefer to use scrap of no-show mesh and apply it with a glue stick or temporary spray adhesive.
    As for seam finishes, they should be serger or finished with a wide long zigzag. Pinked seams will still curl and cause bulk.
    I sew and designs fleece professionally and have been doing it for over 20 years.

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