Sewing with Fleece: Tips and Tricks

Synthetic fleece can be coined as a recent invention, making cold bodies warmer since 1979. Synthetic fleece was the new alternative to wool garments created by Malden Mills out of Maine. A few years later the clothing company, Patagonia, worked with Malden Mills to create their patented fleece called “Synchilla.” This fleece fabric would be used in the creation of their iconic Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover, creating a fleece production boom. Fleece is readily available in any color, pattern and thickness one can think of.

Sewing with fleece

Fabric Characteristics of Fleece

Positives

  • Won’t fray or ravel
  • Most fleece on the market is polyester but can have blends with cotton, lycra/spandex or rayon
  • “Anti-pill” fleece was also invented to combat the wearing out of the fabric over time/washings
  • Doesn’t shrink when washed
  • Has a right and wrong side, the fabric will curl towards the wrong side
  • Repels water
  • Breathable, but also insulating

Challenges

  • Certain types of fleece can pill with extensive wear/improper washing
  • Can be bulky
  • Static (people will know if you have a dog or cat!)
  • Will melt under an iron
  • Will stretch when sewing

Types of Fleece

Here are some popular types of fleece and their uses:

Sherpa Fleece

Looks like fluffy wool, used in linings, jackets and blankets

Sewing with fleece - Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_02_Sherpa_Fleece_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_500x436px

Slub Fleece

Usually two different colors for a “heathered look”, used in clothing popular for work/office wear

Sewing with fleece - Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_03_SLub_Fleece_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_500x553px

Microfleece

Thin, soft double-sided, popular in workout wear/outdoor gear

Sewing with fleece

Polar Fleece

Blankets and jackets

Sewing with fleece - Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_05_polar_fleece__BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_500x468px

Cotton Blended Fleece

Sweatpants, sweatshirts

Sewing with fleece - Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_06_cotton_blend_fleece_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_500x843px

Lycra Spandex Fleece

Fitted women’s and kid’s clothes (Think fall/winter fleece lined leggings)

Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_07_lycra_spandex_fleece_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_500x772px

Polyester Fleece

Smooth shiny outside, plush inside, used in blankets

Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_08_Polyester_Fleece_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_500x471px

French Terry (Fleece)

Sweatshirts, casual wear, lounge shorts

Sewing with fleece - Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_09_french_terry_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_500x499

Choosing the Right Weight of Fleece

  • 100 Weight—Thinnest option, great for transition temperature days
  • 200 Weight—Most common of fleece, jackets, great for fall and early winter
  • 300 Weight—Best for the coldest winter days/very chill temperatures

Care and Use of Fleece

  • Do not iron directly on fleece. . . it will melt
  • Stain? Spot treat/hand wash if possible
  • If an all-over wash is needed, turn inside out, gentle cycle, cold water, lay flat to dry is preferred
  • No bleach, fabric softener or dryer sheets, this will damage your fabric
  • Fleece can go in the dryer if in a hurry, lowest heat setting and remove when done

BERNINA Presser Feet to Sew Fleece

Depending on the project, you can use many BERNINA presser feet to get great stitches. BERNINA Overlockers also do a wonderful job with fleece.

Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_10_Overlocker_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_1200x675px

BERNINA Edgestitch Foot #10D

BERNINA Edgestitch Foot #10D is great for joining two pieces of fleece without the bulk of a seam by using a zig-zag stitch.

Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_11_#10D_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_600x655px

BERNINA Three-Sole Walking Foot with Seam Guides #50

BERNINA Three-Sole Walking Foot with Seam Guides #50 helps to keep both layers from shifting and/or stretching.

Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_12_walking_foot_

Tips for Sewing Fleece

  • Longer stitch length
  • Zigzag stitch or a straight stitch
  • Lower your pressure foot pressure
  • Keep your sewing machine clean when sewing with fleece—time to break out the lint brush

Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_13_lint_brush_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_1000x425px

  • Needles to Use: Universal or Stretch use size appropriate for your thread

Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_14_universal_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_600x600px

Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_15_stretch_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_600x600px

  • Fleece does stretch, so make sure not to pull or stretch the fabric when sewing
  • Use pins or Wonder Clips to help fabric from shifting

Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_16_pins_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_600x600px

Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_17_wonder_clips_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_250x663px

  • Use the Height Compensation Tool to stitch over extra bulky seams

Fear_No_Fabric_Fleece_18_HCT_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_1000x311px

As I sit here at my desk writing this post, I’m wrapped up in my fleece “Desk Blanket,” the one you keep in the office for when the AC is blasting in the summer or snuggle under in the winter. Fleece is such a popular textile these days, you can make almost anything with it; clothing, blankets, winter wear to pet accessories. Get ready for winter today and find the right fleece to keep you warm and stylish!

Fear No Fabric!

Print this page

What you might also like

10 comments on “Sewing with Fleece: Tips and Tricks”

Leave a Reply