Shelley the Snail pattern available right here.
Fleece is an amazing fabric for sewing softies. Here's why:
- it's machine washable
- it's easy to find in almost any fabric store
- it comes in a huge variety of colors and patterns
- it's super soft and huggable
- it's durable
- it's forgiving of stitching mistakes
Despite fleece's many fantastic qualities I avoided it completely for years.
First, I was convinced that fleece was too stretchy for softies. I like to stuff my softie parts pretty firmly and I felt sure that if they were made from fleece they'd stretch out of shape and be super lumpy.
Second, I thought sewing through layers of fleece on my sewing machine would be too difficult. The fabric would be too thick and bulky to cram under the machine needle, and then the layers would shift while I was sewing leading to inaccurate seams.
Hobby Horse pattern available right here.
Now that I know that I can easily avoid both of these problems I totally appreciate the wonders of fleece for softies.
Here is how to avoid common problems and increase your success when sewing with fleece:
Fleece has grain direction that needs to be respected. The difference between the level of stretch on the warp threads versus the weft threads on fleece is dramatic. To demonstrate, pick up a piece of fleece (or use your fleece sweatshirt or scarf) and stretch it in one direction, then in another.
Not stretchy! And look how pretty! I love rainbow fleece.
When you pull the fabric parallel to the grain (with the warp threads), there is virtually NO STRETCH at all!
Perpendicular to the grain (with the weft threads)? Crazy amount of stretch!
On every pattern piece I draw an arrow to indicate how to place th pattern on the fabric.
Softie parts cut parallel to the grain will not stretch out of shape when stuffed, even when stuffed really firmly. Problem 1 resolved!
Problem 2 was the thickness and shifting of fleece layers when you take them to the machine. Want to know the trick? PINS! Pins are your very best friends. Pins are tiny little fingers that hold fabric in place when you can't.
I am not kidding you when I say that I place a pin every 1/8 inch when I'm sewing with fleece. And remember to place your pins perpendicular with the edge of the fabric with the pinhead extending off the edge. This way you can easily pull the pins out as you sew.
Placing all those pins and taking them out is time consuming, yes, but it is so worth it! Neat and accurate seams that don't need to unpicked? Yes, please!
The next time you are thinking of sewing a softie and you want a fabric that is soft, comes in vibrant colors, is washable, cheap, durable, forgiving, and EASY TO WORK WITH, choose fleece! It's awesome.
If you have other issues or questions about sewing with fleece or choosing fabrics for softies fire away in the comments! Let's share our great tricks with one another.