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How to Sew Fleece: Tips and Tricks

Have you been longing to sew fleece? With fall here and winter in the works, there is no better time to experiment with fleece. You may have heard sewing fleece is difficult, but just like sewing any fabric, there are tips and tricks to taming the beast.

In this video, we go over some basic tips and tricks I use when sewing fleece. I’ve always found that a 90/14 ballpoint needle gives me the best stitches. I’ve also heard people swear by universal; you can try both if you like.

I always increase my stitch length to at least 3.0 mm and decrease my stitch tension. If you have a presser foot pressure dial, reduce it as well. This is one of the most important tips. If you don’t adjust your stitch settings, you’ll encounter the dreaded thread nest.

You don’t have to use a Walking Foot to sew fleece, but I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful because I don’t have to pin as much (or sometimes, not pin at all). Fleece has a tendency to shift around, so having an extra set of feed dogs really helps. If you don’t have a walking foot, utilize long straight pins or Wonder Clips. If you have more than two layers to sew or your seams must be perfect, I recommend hand basting first.

Speaking of hand sewing, let’s talk about thread. Polyester All Purpose thread is your best choice. It’s strong and resilient enough to hold up to the weight of fleece and to accommodate fleece’s “give”.

Fleece has a natural 2-way “give”. This “give” causes high-stress seams to break easily. Simply stabilize those seams and all closures. If you plan to embroider, use a clear water-soluble stabilizer on the top of your fabric in addition to stabilizing the back.

It’s intimidating to sew something new, but I really encourage everyone to give it a try. Not only is fleece soft and warm, it’s incredibly versatile. It can be used to sew home goods, craft items, and even clothing. I hope this video was helpful and that you feel more confident sewing fleece. Thank you for watching and feel free to leave any questions in the comment section below. Happy Sewing!

75 thoughts on “How to Sew Fleece: Tips and Tricks”

  1. Thank you, first time to your site, I haven’t used a machine in 20 years!! Great quick tutorial on how to get fleece to not be so…fleecy!

  2. I have some gorgeous red fleece that is smoother on one side and more character on the other so it is reversible. How do I sew this do it possible to make it so both sides are the right side in a garment. Thank you.

    1. I love you sewing tips, but I noticed that you sewed right over the pin? I thought that was not a good thing to do? I see you have one of the newer sewing machines, does that make the difference?

    2. Lou Johnson-Comfort Creations–Thanks for your tips and ideas. Since 95% of our charity work is in fleece they were much appreciated.. Great video.

    3. I’m 88 years old, haven’t been able to sew for seven years because of multiple spinal fractures & broken hip. This left my spine severely deformed; consequently nothing fits. I want to make some old-fashioned briefs with elastic around the legs out of nylon material. Are there any patterns available? Do you have a video I can watch? I love your videos!

      1. HI, Hazel! Thank you for watching our videos – I’m sorry to hear about your struggle with fractures. We don’t have a pattern for old fashion briefs, however, I’ve seen patterns for bloomers that might work for you. Here is a link to some easy bloomers with a free pattern download:
        They’re a bit short, but I think you could easily make them longer if you prefer.

    4. Another stabilizer question, Sarah. For use with fleece, do you mean interfacing? Generally stabilizer applies to embroidery and would be tear away or wash away.

      Also, how much of an adjustment should we try for sewing machine tension with fleece?

      1. Hi, Beth! Yes, interfacing – didn’t mean to confuse anyone! Though, a stabilizer can be utilized as well, especially to assist with the weight of fleece, depending on your project. For fleece, you only need to alter your tension by 1 or 2 settings. Nothing too dramatic.

    5. Sarah, I too have avoided fleece. I like the way you manage to convey such a lot of relevant information in a short period of time. As mentioned it those tips that make all the difference, and none of us know everything.
      My only suggestion to help us learn would be to edit the background ‘jangling noise’ when you are speaking. I find it distracting.
      Will be delving into more of your vast collection of helpful videos.

    6. Horrible Video!!!! The information was fabulous, but there is the most nerve grating music competing with the voice track. PLEASE tell your video crew to lose the background noise. We want to hear what you have to say, not listen to cheap music from some caribean night club.

    7. Sarah
      I want to sew or serger edges to a piece of fleece any suggestions recommendations??
      This is just a throw size blanket?? Im not a great serger yet but would love to so a fancy stitch on edges

    8. Sarah, for zipper, did you stitch originally on the right side of zipper foot, then on left side of the foot? I saw two rows of b e a u t i f u l stitching. Your videos are awesome.

    9. i’ve benn sewing for 50 years and fleece is something i never learned in school so i’m an old dog learning new tricks, very easy to understand. thanks janet

    10. Do you use a stretch stitch? I had heck sewing fleece last year. I told myself it would be a while before I tried again. With you tips I can sew my other projects. Thank you for the very informative video.

    11. I just wish I had seen this a month ago. I finished a fleece jacket lined with fleece and having 3 separating zippers a couple of weeks ago. I finished a flannel lined hooded fleece poncho yesterday and working on another today. I ended up using a sharp needle on the sewing machine and ball point on the serger.

      I enjoy your videos but would like it if there was contrasting thread and maybe lighter colored fabric to make it easier to see. Your camera work is excellent, the shots are very ckear.

      Thank you

      1. Hi Jane! Stabilizer is essentially a thin piece of flexible material that is either sewn to or fused on to fabric to add structure, strength, and stability to both seams and the shape of the fabric. Stabilizer comes in a variety of weights and types, depending on your project.

    12. I am 90 years old and have been sewing since I was 7 so I have ha a LOT of experience but I was glad to learn about using stabilizer in fleece. This is something I haven’t tried. Thank you.

    13. Very helpful. Thanks. I plan on using fleece to back a quilt. Tension and stitch size is a great idea. Any other helpful tips for a quilt back, please let me know.

    14. Thanks for your instructional video sewing with fleece. The use of stabilizer is definitly the answer when sewing a zipper.

    15. Catherine Richardson

      I didn’t know these lessons were available . I just learned a lot about sewing fleece. Did not know any of the lesson and I have been sewing forever but not fleece as I could not seem to do a good job. . Thanks much

    16. an idea I’d like to present to you, would you share with us by video about edge stitching, even after sewing for over 60 years I am not satisfied with past endeavors, i.e. attempts, not top stitch but edge stitching using the foot you recommend – this would involve several layers of fabric on a dress jacket of medium weight cotton (front piece plus facing of same material) thank you for considering…or if there is already one on your sight, please advise me as to finding it

    17. Great video. Question: Did you sew the zipper down twice? We only saw you do it once, but the finished image looked like it was sewn twice. Once really close to the teeth and once where you showed us.

      1. Hi Sandra! It is a WONDERFUL quilting extension table. We don’t have one listed specifically for your machine, but if you can measure the width and depth of your sewing bed (with free arm attachment removed), then we can find a acrylic table to match your machine. Otherwise, we have this huge universal extension table available. It’s not clean, but people usually love the size and built in storage area:

    18. Beryl Lockett

      Really good info…..just about to sew fleece. Have a big Janome like the one in your video and looked like you used the walking foot that came with that machine.
      Thanks. Pls. include me

      1. Great tips and very nicely explained. Thank you! You covered it all — from stabilization, thread (tension & length), needle and feet. Answered all my questions.

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