Sewing with fleece is quite fun and can be a very rewarding winter past-time. Fleece fabric is very forgiving: you don’t have to interface it, you don’t have to line it, and you don’t have to finish the edges unless you want to. This makes it easy to complete professional looking projects quickly.
Sewing and crafting with fleece fabric is different simply because of its’ thickness, but it is easy to work with once you get used to it.
There are a few keys to getting off to the right start. First, be aware that fleece has a right side and a wrong side. There are two ways to determine which side of the fleece is the right side. One is to gently pull along the selvage: the selvage will naturally roll to the right side of the fabric. The other way is to look at the cut edge. The cut edge will always curl in the direction of the “wrong” side.
You will want to take note of your right/wrong sides when tracing patterns, assembling your garment or project, etc. Also, be sure to cut out your fleece fabric in the same direction as the nap to keep the shading of the fabric similar throughout the project.
Select the right needle. A Universal size 11(80) needle is generally appropriate for most types of fleece.
Use a longer stitch length when you sew fleece. Rather than your normal setting of 2 or so, you may want to go up to a 4 or 5.
While fleece does not require a finished edge, a decorative stitch on edges and detail areas can add a lot to your project. The blanket stitch is one of the most common finishes for fleece projects.
Another useful stitch is a nice, long running stitch.
Fringe is another favorite “edge” for fleece projects – you gotta love being able to make a cute no-sew blanket in a day simply by putting two pieces of fleece together and knotting the upper and lower layers of fringe together. The key is straight and evenly spaced cuts. Keep in mind that the length and width of the fringe cuts should be in proportion to the garment — cuts are generally spaced at 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch intervals.
Selecting a project
Most books and patterns for fleece projects are easy enough for the beginner, yet versatile enough for the expert. From blankets and pillows to children’s toys, scarves, vests, and more…. The possibilities are endless.
Here are a couple of books that are great for brainstorming:
Bean Bag Buddies and Fleecie Dolls books – find numerous character designs
90 Minute Fleece – 45 projects: pillows, throws, scarves, capes, vests & more.
Quick and Clever Fleece – . Includes scarves, home spa accessories, an arty tote, baby toys, a preschooler nap mat, gifts for men, tween fashion accessories, and home décor accents.
The “two-in-one” stands for two separate items – an embroidery design pack and a pattern – that are packaged together. It sounds simple, but the resulting combination is spectacular!
The creative people at Sewing with Nancy and Amazing Designs select a category – for example, toddlers. They choose a McCalls pattern and develop a CD of embroidery designs selected and sized to fit a specific area on the pattern, such as top yoke, sleeves and hem, pants leg hem, jumpsuit bib front and leg hem.
Then of course, they sew out examples so you have an idea of how it all fits together.
Thus far, they have developed 3 collections of Two-in-One Embroideries. They are Babies, Toddlers, and Jackets (available in misses and women’s sizes).
Combination packs like this are sure to make it faster and easier to create the perfect one-of-a-kind garment.
I am sure we will be seeing more of these in the future.
Maybe it’s my penchant for creating Christmas gifts or perhaps it’s too many episodes of “The Biggest Loser”, but either way, it leads me to t-shirts and how to give them new life and a little pizzazz. Let’s face it, we all have t-shirts that are now a little too snug and/or we are wearing over-sized t-shirts that are 2 sizes too big. Hence, an over-haul is in order!
Some fixes are quick and easy, like adding a small piece of elastic in the center back of a too-big tee to give the shirt some shape. Other techniques involve some serious cutting and reconstruction that turn your t-shirt into an amazing work of art.
There are numerous books, patterns, and DVD’s on the market to help in the process. Sometimes the title of a book says it all, like: 99 Ways to Cut, Sew, Trim, and Tie Your T-shirt Into Something Special or the book simply entitled, Fashion T-shirts.
The Little Black Tee is a 30 minute video CD from the “Embroider it Yourself” series by Eileen Roche that shows you how to transform a simple black t-shirt or turtleneck into an elegant top using lace embroidery. The CD includes six large lace embroidery designs that can be used to create four fabulous and distinctive looks.
Eleanor Burns T-shirt Quilt book gives us yet another option. If your t-shirt concerns consist of a husband with a drawer full of concert t-shirts from the 80’s or your cedar chest is full of clothing that your children outgrew years ago. Revive these treasures! Turn your keepsakes or those of a loved one into a memory quilt or throw.