fleece fabric samples

Sewing with fleece 101: essential info about this versatile fabric

Seam finishes for fleece fabric

Fleece is not picky when it comes to seam finishes. You can do any number of things to finish off a seam. Fleece will not fray, so that leaves open a huge variety.

My personal choices are always to help tame the bulk, so I always choose seam finishes that flatten out the bulk a bit.

clockwise from upper left: pressed to one side + coverstitch, pressed to one side and topstitched, serged
pressed open and coverstitched from wrong side

Here’s some ways to finish off fleece seams.

  • Pink: sew the seam, trim seam allowance with pinking shears or a rotary cutter + a pinking blade.
  • Raw: press seams open and leave the seam allowance raw.
  • Serge: serge the seams or sew a seam and use a serger to finish the seam allowance.
  • Topstitch: Press a seam to one side or open. Use a twin needle, single needle or coverstich to stitch down the seam allowances

Basting multiple layers of fleece

Fleece is pretty easy to sew, but one thing you might have a problem with is it shifting on you.

If you have more than 2 layers to stitch through, you might notice one of them rolling off to the side. You can end up with narrower spots on one of those layers or missing a layer completely in spots.

This can happen on neckbands, hembands, and cuffs. If you use any of these elements in a fleece project, first baste the edges of the band together.

This way, you’ll keep those doubled layers firmly together, and it’ll stop the shifting when you sew it to the full project.

Use a stitch starter when you sew with fleece

I’m a big advocate of using a little piece of fabric to start sewing a seam.

Take a scrap of fleece and fold it to the thickness of the number of layers you’ll be sewing. Next, start stitching on the scrap. As you get to the end, butt up your seam that you’re going to sew near the end of the stitch starter.

The stitch starter will help stop threads getting tangled up in the first stitches and help you get a good clean start to your seam.

You can do the same thing on a serger or a coverstitch machine.

Lighten up your hands with fleece

It can be tempting to manhandle fleece what with it’s bulk, but resist the urge.

Because fleece can stretch out and get wonky on you, treat it gently. Lighten up the pressure on your hands, and make sure that the fleece isn’t dragging as it comes through the machine.

Use a longer stitch

When you’re stitching on fleece, use a slightly longer stitch length. This will help each stitch get through the bulk of the fabric without looking all sad and bunchy.

Use a straight stitch for more stable fleece. If the stitches are popping, switch to a narrow zigzag with a longer length.

Read on for thread talk and finishes for fleece…

next page graphic with spool of thread

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