How to Sew with Fleece
Mmmm, warm cuddly fleece. Is there anything better to keep the chill air at bay on a cold autumn afternoon? Fleece fabrics are generally made of polyester or acrylic fibers which are inherently water resistant. These fleece fabrics are knitted, then brushed, to create a warm cuddly surface. The fibers are compacted during the brushing process, which gives fleece a nice wind resistance. Fleece doesn't ravel or run so it can be made into a variety of items with very little sewing. No need to finish the edges!
Fleece cuts easily with scissors or a rotary cutter. Unless you have a 60mm rotary cutter, though, just cut one layer at a time. Fleece does have a nap, so make sure you cut all your pieces in the same direction and all on the same side. It's hard to tell the right side from the wrong side on most fleece. Here's a tip: as a general rule, fleece fabrics curl to the wrong side when stretched on the cross- grain.
Fleece fabric is very easy to sew. Use a 12/80 or 14/90 universal, stretch or ballpoint sewing machine needle with a rounded tip and polyester thread. Loosen the pressure on the presser foot slightly and use a medium stitch length. Keep your machine clean - fleece fuzzies build up quickly. Since fleece doesn't ravel, the edges don't need to be finished. Use your pinking shears or wavy rotary cutter tool.
If you prefer a hem, fold the fabric to the wrong side and stitch very close to the raw edge using a straight stitch. You can use decorative stitches if you place tissue paper between the feed dogs and the fabric to serve as a stabilizer and prevent stretching. Remove the tissue paper when you are done. You can also finish the edge using a wide zigzag stitch making sure the needle sews off the fabric when the zigzag is made. If you would prefer a hand stitched edge, try a nice blanket stitch.
Fleece washes easily in cold water and does not shrink, but you shouldn't use bleach. Don't over dry the fabric as fleece is sensitive to heat. Use the low heat setting. Do not use an iron directly on the fabric as you may melt it. Steam your seams open if necessary.
Here are some links to projects you can make using fleece:
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