Sewing Techniques - Fleece Techniques

Stitching and Applique

Blanket Stitch

The blanket stitch is one of the most familiar finishes for fleece projects, used to secure applique's as well as to trim garment edges and detail areas like pockets, necklines and more. It takes just a few stitches to get into the rhythm of this easy stitch.

blanket stitch 

Running Stitch

Looking for a super-simple yet effective touch of embellishment that's great for fleece? Accent your fleece project with running stitches. These long hand stitches are worked in yarn, embroidery floss or other highly visible threads. 

You can also twist several strands of thread together - try using different hues and textures together - for a true one-of-a-kind designer effect - be creative! 

Your choice of yarn for the running stitch can dress fleece up or down with ease - imagine gold threads worked through a black fleece scarf and hat set for evening flair... or pair up the team colors of your favorite sports enthusiasts for the big game! 

Running stitches are usually sewn along seams, where you would normally use topstitching. 

When sewing multiple rows of running stitches, match them up along each row, or alternate the stitches row by row for a different look (think of the layout of a brick wall). Whichever stitch layout you prefer, be sure your stitches remain consistent throughout the piece.

 running stitch

Appliques

Colorful, non-raveling fleece fabrics let you be creative in so many ways, whether you're a beginning sewing enthusiast or a seasoned professional. Applique's are a quick, eye-catching embellishment just right for fleece fabrics. Layer applique's for a three-dimensional effect, choosing easy shapes such as flowers, geometric shapes, even lettering. Show off your artistic side on ponchos, jackets, hats and more. 

When sewing appliques to fleece, you can use a highly visible stitch that becomes part of the design, such as a hand blanket or running stitch in a contrast color thread, or you can simply sew on the appliques using a machine zigzag stitch in matching thread that will blend in with the appliqué itself.

 appliques

Applique Tips

  • For multi-layer appliqués, like a two-tone flower with a round center, layer the components and appliqué the smaller on to the larger one. When the layering is complete, treat it as a single appliqué, stitching it to the garment around the edges of the largest layer. You can also attach multi-layer appliqués in the center only, leaving the edges free, to create a 3-dimensional affect.
  • When positioning the appliques on the garment, be sure to clear all seam allowances, zippers, buttonholes and other garment details.
  • For hand stitching around the appliques, several stitches can be used. Try several threads together, or embroidery floss, so stitches will be visible, and use a large eyed needle.
 applique tips

 

Fleece For Pets

Fleece For Pets

  • Fleece coats and hats will protect them from the elements.
  • Softness and durability make fleece a perfect choice for pet beds.
  • Blankets made of fleece stay soft and are easy to clean.
fleece for pets 

 

 

Weaving Workshop

Garment Details: Weaving Workshop

This season, fashion trims and special effects that add dimension are the scene-stealers! Weaving strips of fleece through the body of the garment is a simple way to achieve the look. Use one or more contrasting fleece colors; you can lace a single strip along the edge of the garment, or weave multiple strips to create an entire woven block.

weaving workshop
 

Appliques

  • Begin by slashing the garment vertically in equal increments. Cut away seam allowances at ends of slashes, to minimize bulk at the edge of the garment once the fleece strips are woven in.
  • Cut strips longer than the garment section to be woven.
  • Weave the first fleece strip through the slashes, then continue with the remaining strips, alternating the under-over weaving to create a checkerboard effect.
  • Baste edges of the strips to the raw edge of the garment. These will be secured when the garment seam is stitched. Cut away seam allowances at ends of slashes.
appliques 

Knotted Accents

The fleece strip that is woven through the slashes is also knotted at regular intervals, to create a unique textured cutwork effect.

  • To prepare slash bands, cut slashes in equal increments. Cut sway the second slash band, then cut away every third band, working from the front to the back or the garment.
  • Tie the end of the fleece strip into a tight knot around the center of the first two slash bands. Position the end of the knot at the back and cut off its end even with the knot.
  • Continue to tie knots around pairs of slash bands until the end. Hand-sew lapped ends of fleece strips together when a new trim section is needed.
 knotted accents

"Braided" Accents

This look takes classic weaving a step further, by twisting the slashed sections as you weave through them. The braided accent looks great when coupled with knotted fringe, and on collars, cuffs, even pocket openings.

  • Begin by slashing the garment vertically in equal increments. Cut narrow fleece strips to weave through the slashes, several inches longer than the section to be woven.
  • On the outside, starting at one end of the slash bands, bring the second slash behind the first. Thread the fleece strip behind the second slashing and in front of the first, centering the strip vertically between the upper and lower ends of the slashes. Continue weaving across the piece in this manner, taking care that the woven strip does not restrict the garment section.
 braided accents

 

Classic Weaving

Woven Trims

Woven trims lend quality and visual appeal to any garment, and fleece projects are no exception! They function as a simple finishing technique for hems, sleeve and neck edges, and can help define the "mood" of the garment — choose your woven trim carefully, for a look that's sporty, dressy, or somewhere in between. 

Any trim with two finished edges can be applied to the garment. If your chosen trim is too narrow for the desired effect, make it look wider by applying the trim in parallel rows. 

A wide trim should be applied to each garment section before the sections are joined together — this allows you to encase the trim's raw edges within the seam allowance. Topstitch along both sides of the trim. Depending on its width, a narrow trim may be attached using a single row of stitching along the center of the trim, or along both ends as for a wider style.

woven trims 

Fringe

Fringe is another favorite for fleece projects, whether plain or knotted for added interest. The keys to a professional-looking fringe are straight and evenly spaced cuts. Practice on a scrap piece of fleece to determine how wide you prefer your fringe cuts to be. Keep in mind that the length and width of the fringe cuts should be in proportion to the garment — fringe sections for a toddler's garment might be smaller and/or more narrow than fringe sections on a man's scarf. Cuts are generally spaced at 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch intervals. If necessary, adjust the width of your cuts toward the end to avoid an odd width of fringe at the end.

 fringe

Knotted Fringe

Knotted fringe is easily created by tying every other fringe section together once they are cut. Note that you might want to cut the fringe longer to allow for the knotting, which will shorten the fringe overall. If the pattern calls only for plain fringe, consider adding about one inch to the end of the garment piece so that you'll be able to cut the fringe sections longer and allow for knotting, without cutting too far into the garment itself. 

Knotted fringe for home de´cor projects can be a wider, "chunkier" look, where the strips are cut wider. Upper and lower layers of the pillow or throw are cut and tied together into a single knot.

 knotted fringe

Ribbon Trim

Ribbon trim is a great decorative touch on fleece projects especially when you select a satin, grosgrain or other textured ribbon that contrasts with the matte surface of the fleece. Depending on the width of the ribbon you choose, consider adding two or three rows of ribbon. For visual balance, remember that the narrower the ribbon, the more rows you can add.

 ribbon trim

 

Fleece as Trim

Since fleece is so easy to sew, why not use it to trim the garment, too? Fleece is a versatile trim option, made even more appealing by its non-raveling properties. Express your creativity by combining various techniques, like diamond trim with knotted fringe. Fleece can easily be folded, shifted and stitched into a number of trim styles, including these variations that begin as one-inch strips:

Twisted Trim

  • Mark strip with a horizontal broken line at regular intervals.
  • On outside, pin trim to front of garment. Stitch trim along each of these horizontal lines, pivoting at corners of the garment with diagonal stitching. Do not stretch the strip of fleece so that it restricts the garment. To join strips for a continuous trim length, butt the ends.
  • To create the twists, fold the inner edge of the trim even with the outer edge of the trim at the center. Pin flat. Stitch in place through the center, between each horizontal line of stitching along the strip.
twisted trim 

Diamond Trim 

  • Make vertical slashes along the center of each strip, about one inch apart, or as indicated on the pattern instructions. Mark the beginning and end of each slash with a horizontal broken line.
  • Pin the strip to the outer edge of the garment. Do not stretch the strip of fleece so that it restricts the garment. Always end with either a full slash or solid section. To join strips for a continuous trim length, butt the ends.
  • Stitch along each broken horizontal line and where any ends butt, using a straight stitch or a very narrow zigzag stitch.
  • Spread apart the slashed areas of the strip about 1/2 inch; pin in place. Stitch across the center of the slashed area, creating a repeating diamond effect.
 diamond trim

Tips: Ponchos 

  • For a fun look choose brightly colored, highly contrasting fleece fabrics.
  • Make it original by combining different techniques, for a look all your own.
  • Personalize it – add a monogram or an appliqué!

 

Attention to Detail

Since fleece is so easy to sew, why not use it to trim the garment, too? Fleece is a versatile trim option, made even more appealing by its non-raveling properties. Express your creativity by combining various techniques, like diamond trim with knotted fringe. Fleece can easily be folded, shifted and stitched into a number of trim styles, including these variations that begin as one-inch strips:

How-to: Make Flower Accents

  • Pretty flower accents are one of the easiest and most effective dimensional touches you can add to a fleece garment. Their plush look begs to be touched, whether the flower is accenting a neckline, lapel or purse, or covering a closure.
  • To make a fleece rosette, cut a strip of fleece approximately 15 inches long by 2 inches wide. Run a gathering stitch through one long edge of the strip. Draw up the gathering stitches, allowing the flower to take shape as you roll the gathered strip. Adjust the gathers and fullness of the flower, then hand-stitch through the gathered end to secure the arrangement of the flower. Be sure to anchor both the inner and outer short ends of the flower with the hand stitching.
 flower accents

Ruching

This high-style designer detail is a great way to add dimension to fleece garments. Simply put, ruching (pronounced ROOSH-ing) is a French word for pleating. Strips of fleece are gathered in a repeat pattern, and as the gathering thread is drawn up, uniform scallops or ruffles are formed. 

Use ruching to give fleece scarves, hats or other items a decidedly feminine look. Make the ruched edges in matching or contrast color fleece for different effects. Here's an easy ruching technique that's perfect for a fleece scarf: 

  • Lap and pin one scarf ruffle over each long edge of the scarf, matching stitching lines. Stitch each ruffle along the double stitching lines, forming casings on each side of the scarf. With pinking shears, trim away the seam allowance of the ruffle, close to the scarf.
  • You can add extra fullness to the ruffles by zigzag stitching over the outer edge, stretching the fleece ruffle as you sew. (Begin by making a practice ruffle in this manner, to determine the correct machine settings for the desired effect.)
  • Next, cut two lengths of middy braid 40 inches long. Insert one braid into each casing, having raw edges even. Stitch across the ends of the casing, securely catching the ends of the braid in the stitching. Distribute the fullness of the ruching evenly along the length of the scarf.
 ruching

How-to: Add Purchased Trim

This high-style designer detail is a great way to add dimension to fleece garments. Simply put, ruching (pronounced ROOSH-ing) is a French word for pleating. Strips of fleece are gathered in a repeat pattern, and as the gathering thread is drawn up, uniform scallops or ruffles are formed. 

Use ruching to give fleece scarves, hats or other items a decidedly feminine look. Make the ruched edges in matching or contrast color fleece for different effects. Here's an easy ruching technique that's perfect for a fleece scarf: 

  • Faux fur and chenille or knit fringe trims purchased by the yard can give your fleece garment a luxurious look and feel, as well as textural interest. Just a touch is all you need at the neckline or garment edge. Choose your fur or fringe trim to match the color of your fleece, for a tone-on-tone effect that really plays up the difference in textures, or add contrasting fur or fringe that will really stand out against the fleece.
  • To attach fur trim, line up the trim's lower edge with the finished edge of your garment, and pin in place. Stitch along the straight edge, through all thicknesses. Once the outer edge is stitched in place, do the same to the other straight, inner edge of the trim. Because of the plush surface of the fur, the machine stitching will sink in, making the stitches nearly invisible.
  • To attach fringe trim, pin the straight edge of the fringe to the lower edge of the garment, turning under and having both ends meeting at one seam, folding out fullness at points. Stitch close to the straight edge of the fringe, through all thicknesses, securing the fringe to the fleece. Slip-stitch the turned edges of the fringe together.
 purchased trim