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How to Sew Fleece: Easy Tips (2023)

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how to sew fleeceLooking to learn how to sew with fleece fabric? You’ve come to the right place. Fleeece is a great choice for many projects since it’s comfortable, warm, and easy to care for. Plus, so many items can be made using it! In this article, I share my top tips for working with fleece when sewing.

I’ll cover everything from choosing the right fleece fabrics and cutting techniques to stitching options and seam finishes.

Key Takeaways

  • Fleece is synthetic and made from polyester.
  • Use polyester thread and ballpoint needles when sewing fleece.
  • Cut fleece while it’s a single layer using a rotary blade for clean edges.
  • Finish seams by zigzag stitching, serging, or folding the edges. This will prevent fraying.

What is Fleece Fabric?

What is Fleece Fabric
Fleece fabric is a synthetic pile fabric made from polyester. It doesn’t absorb moisture but its soft nap traps air to keep you warm. Fleece has stretch for comfort and won’t fray when cut. It’s thicker than other synthetics like polyester taffeta or microfiber.

Blends with spandex add even more stretch. Polar fleece and microfleece are common types, with various weights and surfaces.

For sewing, use polyester thread and ballpoint, stretch, or microtex needles. Lower presser foot tension, lengthen the stitch, and use a zigzag or narrow zigzag stitch.

Fleece’s warmth, softness, stretch, and ease of sewing make it ideal for loungewear, jackets, blankets, and more cozy projects.

Main Types of Fleece Fabric

Main Types of Fleece Fabric
The most common fleece is Polar Fleece. It has a plush pile on one side and is ideal for outdoor gear and casual wear. Then there’s microfleece, a lighter version with a soft brushed finish. Anti-pill fleece also resists fuzzing.

When selecting fleece type, consider the project purpose. A cozy scarf? Choose plush Polar fleece. An athletic jacket? Go for sweatshirt fleece. Whatever variety you use, fleece makes comfy creations. Just remember to prep fabric properly and adjust sewing settings for best results.

With the right know-how, fleece’s a fabric you’ll turn to again and again.

Step 1: Preparation

Step 1: Preparation
Your heart races as you eagerly gather fleece, scissors, and thread, ready to make something cozy.

  • Check the fabric’s nap and mark the right side to cut consistently.
  • Select sharp scissors to avoid fraying edges.
  • Consider using a rotary cutter and mat for straight edges.
  • Pay attention to pattern layout to maximize yardage.

Select needles and threads well-suited for stretchy fleece. Ballpoint needles and polyester thread work well. Interface zippers or use water-soluble stabilizer to reduce stretching. Lengthen your stitch length to 8-10 stitches per inch to prevent puckering.

Grade seam allowances, clip curves, and finger press to reduce bulk. Maintain your equipment by cleaning lint frequently and replacing dull blades.

Step 2: Cutting Before Sewing Fleece

Step 2: Cutting Before Sewing Fleece
Having the fabric’s nap marked, mirror any challenging patterns since cutting against the grain may lead to wonky stitching.

  1. Always cut fleece on a single layer to avoid shifting.
  2. Use a new rotary blade for clean cuts.
  3. Mark darts, pleats, and any pattern markings before removing pattern.
  4. For piled fabrics like sherpa, cut with the pile running down.
  5. Preshrink interfacing and lining to prevent puckering after construction.

When working with fleece’s plush nap, pay close attention to pattern alignment and fabric orientation for the best results. Sharp scissors will glide through fleece’s plush fibers. Grading seam allowances reduces bulk, helping projects maintain their lofty softness.

With thoughtful preparation, your cozy fleece creation will come together beautifully.

Step 3: Sewing Fleece Tools

Step 3: Sewing Fleece Tools
Sewing Fleece Tools:

After prepping, use a jersey or ballpoint needle when sewing fleece for the best results with that fabric. Fleece’s stretchy knit construction works best with a specialty needle’s round tip that slides between the knit loops rather than piercing them.

Pick a jersey/ballpoint needle size 70/10 or 80/12 for lightweight fleece or 90/14 for heavy fleece. Lengthen the stitch length to 3 to 4 mm to handle the fabric’s stretch. Lower the presser foot tension if possible.

When pinning, rely on long flower pins so short pins don’t disappear in the fleece. Keep sharp sewing scissors for precise cutting and frequently clean away lint buildup around the bobbin case, feed dogs, tension discs, and serger knives.

Doing so prevents skipped stitches, thread jams, and frustration when sewing fleece projects.

Step 4: Stitching for Sewing Fleece

Step 4: Stitching for Sewing Fleece
Set stitch length between 6-8 stitches per inch when sewing fleece fabrics. This longer stitch is ideal for preventing stretching as you sew. For seams, use a zigzag stitch up to width 4. This provides give for the fleece’s natural stretch.

When possible, lower the foot pressure on your machine so the fleece can move freely under the foot. Bulky fleece seams can be managed by placing a hump jumper or folded cereal box under the foot to level it out.

Never iron fleece seams; instead, press gently with your fingers to encourage the fleece nap in one direction.

Keep your serger well-maintained and frequently cleaned of lint when finishing fleece. The built-in stretch is ideal for overlocking seams. Adjust tension as needed and use various decorative stitches to add interest to your fleece project.

With some thoughtful preparation, you can achieve lush results sewing with fleece.

Step 5: Seam Finishes When Sewing Fleece

Step 5: Seam Finishes When Sewing Fleece
With fleece projects coming together, it’s time for seam finishes. This prevents unraveling and gives your project a polished look.

Here are 3 seam finish options for fleece:

  1. Zigzag stitch or overlock stitch along the raw edge. This acts as a stretchy reinforcement that contains the fleece edge.
  2. Finish with a serger, trimming and enclosing the raw edge as you stitch. This is my favorite for knits like fleece.
  3. Fold and topstitch the raw edge under. Or try a binding technique like using fleece strips or a blanket stitch.

For exposed seams, consider decorative stitching like a zigzag or overlock. Play with thread colors too. However you finish fleece seams, allow ample seam allowance. You can trim later for less bulk. With the right techniques, your fleece projects will have a flawless finish to match the soft coziness of this fabric.

What Kind of Stitch Should I Use on Fleece?

What Kind of Stitch Should I Use on Fleece
You’d have success using a zigzag stitch or straight stitch on fleece fabrics. For stretch, a zigzag stitch allows the seam to stretch with the fabric. Lengthen the zigzag stitch to prevent puckering. A straight stitch works well on stable, non-stretchy fleece.

Try decorative stitches on fleece too. Adjust tension for even stitch formation. If skipping occurs, increase stitch length or use a stabilizer.

Sew lush fleece with care, starting your project on the fabric’s right side. With the right tools and techniques, you can create cozy fleece outfits, blankets and more.

Do I Need a Stabilizer to Sew Fleece?

Do I Need a Stabilizer to Sew Fleece
You’re right, using a stabilizer for fleece can help when wanting fancy stitching without distortion. While fleece itself doesn’t usually need backing, creative projects call for extra support. Embellishing fleece with satin stitches, dense zigzags, or detailed thread painting stretches the fabric, leading to puckering and pulling along the seams.

Applying a water-soluble stabilizer before significant topstitching keeps things flat and precise. Consider wash-away options that disappear after rinsing. Fusible types also reinforce, just avoid excess adhesive residue.

Beyond decorative accents, backing helps when sewing patterns with curved seams or small pieces. Try tear-away for clean removal after construction. Properly stabilizing allows the freedom to attempt any fleece project without frustration over stitch quality.

With the right preparation, you can achieve perfectly smooth lines for everything from plush toys to trendy jackets.

Sewing Fleece Projects

Sewing Fleece Projects
Before stitching that cozy fleece hoodie, check your machine can handle the thick fabric. Reward yourself with satisfying fleece projects like pillows, pj pants, mittens, and blankets. For fleece blankets, focus on straight stitching and mitered corners. Zigzag stitching adds flair to fleece skirts and shirts.

Take on fleece outerwear like ponchos, jackets, and coats. Mind the bulk when sewing fleece – use long pins, grade seams, and finger press. Tame stretching by stabilizing zippers and marking nap direction. Fleece’s ease excels for leisurewear, but projects require planning for charming results.

Equip yourself for success by preparing your tools and knowing techniques like binding edges or using a hump jumper.


It’s not rocket science, but sewing fleece can still be daunting for the novice. With the right tools and techniques, you’ll have no trouble mastering this cozy, comfortable fabric and creating projects that are both fashionable and warm.

From understanding the basics of fleece fabric to pinning, binding, and troubleshooting–you now possess all the knowledge to tackle any fleece project confidently. So go out there and start sewing! Whether you desire to craft a snug scarf, toasty hat, or something else, with the tips we’ve provided, you’ll have no issue mastering how to sew fleece.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.