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Sewing with microfleece

smr | Posted in General Discussion on

I am making a vest out of microfleece…actually copying one that I already own.  My question is how do you keep the microfleece from strething sideways? This is my first venture in fleece.  I;ve read that is will stretch side to side so I’m naturally concerned. I seems that outer shell has “grown”.  I stay taped areas of the vest to try and avoid this.  I could use some suggestions.


  1. ellalouise | | #1

    are you using a serger for this?this will strech as you sewhope this helps,also using a sstrech stitch on your sewing machine will help.  ella

  2. woodruff | | #2

    Well, microfleece is a knit, so it will stretch crosswise, just as your favorite sweater will. That means that it will fit nicely over your curves, which is a good thing. However, it has no reason to stretch sideways all by itself. Are you using any techniques which could cause you to stretch it out of shape accidentally while you sew?

    I don't understand how the shell could have grown. Let's see: Are you using a vest pattern that has an outer woven shell?

    If the pattern is still in print, and you give us its brand and number, we can look it up and offer more advice.

    1. smr | | #3

      I made the pattern from an existing vest.  The original vest is fleece with a silk lining.  The silk is a very nice touch, being a natural fabric that breathes.  I am using a regular sewing machine, not a serger. 

      I preshrunk everything including the zipper...it was recommended in an old article from Threads...

      I've just never had a meterial stretch sideways. Maybe I should just try a differnt type or brand of fleece.

      1. Teaf5 | | #4

        Fleece is basically a knit fabric, so you should use pattern ease and sewing settings for knits rather than wovens, including a much lighter pressure foot setting. This is usually a ring on top of the machine directly above the needle; as you tighten it, the pressure foot pushes down harder on the fabric, and when you loosen it, the pressure foot rests more gently on the fabric. A loose tension allows knits to glide under the foot without stretching.If your pressure foot tension is too hard, the fabric will be pressed and stretched as you sew, giving you the sideways stretch. Fleece usually doesn't need to be lined, but if you want to do so, you should probably use a knit fabric that has about the same amount of stretch as the fleece does. I have had very limited success getting a woven lining to work with a knit fabric, and then only because I connected the two only at the neckline!

  3. woodruff | | #5

    Hmm; weirder and weirder. When you say the fleece has stretched sideways, do you mean that the whole fleece part of the garment is wider than when you cut it out? If so, how much wider? Is it wider when it's lying flat on your cutting table?

    I'm just having real trouble envisioning what's happened. Good fleece--and Malden Mills' Polartec is the best, IMHO--just doesn't do anything like this. By the way, there's a little online tutorial for sewing with fleece on the MM site:


    I agree with the previous poster about using a woven as a lining for a knit. The two types of fabric usually are not compatible, and the garment will hang funny, because the knit has more give than the woven. I think you got lucky with the silk-lined vest you are trying to copy.

    1. smr | | #6

      Thanks so much for all the tips....I think I am going to readdress the project after the holidays when I have more time to concentrate. 

      The one thing I really didn't consider is that all fleece is not equal.  Like other knits Some are going to have more stretch than others.  I may have to find a tighter knit, which would replicate the existing vest I am trying to copy. 

      I did loosen the tension and used knit stitches on my Bernina along with a stretch needle.  I did look at the project over the weekend and think the issue is really the type of fleece that I chose. 

      Thank you for sharing the website with me...I will definately be looking at it today.

      Also, thanks to everyone for taking the time, during this busy season to lend a hand.  Happy holidays to all of you!



      1. ixs | | #7

        Please take the time to learn something about Malden Mills, who invented polarfleece.I went to the factory outlet in Massachusetts and found out there are a lot of different fleeces that have different qualities, including stretchability. Some of the "less expensive" other brand fleeces are very thin and would probably stretch more. Good luck. I made fleece fall/winter jackets for two grandgirls with a red flannel lining with buttonholes that turned out great. I even pieced and turned the fleece to get the pattern to look better.

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