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Polar flreece
lgrande
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lgrande  Friend of PR
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Subject: Sewing with Polar Fleece Date: 3/25/12 6:31 PM

I haven't sewn a garment in about 40 years and am about to start on a pair of men's fleece pants (VERY easy pattern).
Never having made anything with fleece before I'm wondering if there are any special techniques or tips that are important when working with this type fabric. The pants are straight, hemmed legs, elastic waist and, important - side pockets...I'm wondering how to mitigate the extra bulk here or if that is really necessary.
Any hints would be much appreciated.
-- Edited on 3/25/12 6:32 PM --

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Linda

Bernina 830LE - Brother Dreamweaver VQ3000 - Bernina B530 - Janome 6600P - Pfaff 1209 - Babylock Evolution - Janome 644 - Babylock Sashiko2 - Babylock BLCS-2

JeanM

JeanM
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In reply to lgrande <<


Date: 3/25/12 7:48 PM

The base of polar fleece is a knit fabric.

So hems don't have to be folded twice and sewn - fold once and stitch down near the cut edge. Same technique for the waistband, if it is a fold-over at the top type, you can skip folding the raw edge under, just turn on the fold line and stitch near the cut edge.

You can serge (overlock) seams, or just sew (I usually use a small width zigzag stitch, and stretch the fabric slightly while I'm sewing; sometimes I sew a second line of stitching about 1/8" away from the first seam; then I trim the seam allowance down to about 1/4 - 3/8").

Depending on the type of pockets, you might be able to use a different, lighter fabric for the pockets - a light jersey or interlock knit in a matching (or contrasting, if you prefer!) color.

Fleece will often generate a good deal of lint or 'fluff', so plan to clean your sewing machine off!

Good luck!

FaithM

FaithM  Friend of PR
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Maine USA
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In reply to lgrande <<


Date: 3/25/12 8:09 PM

The key is to practice on some scraps to see how your machine handles the bulk of fleece. I use a walking foot although I bet there are other ways to keep seams from shifting. A Universal 80 needle will be fine. You'll want to put your stitch length at a pretty long setting. I use 3.5-4ish.

Leorah
Leorah  Friend of PR
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Subject: Polar fleece Date: 3/25/12 11:05 PM

I sew a lot of fleece every winter. I serge most seams. To reduce bulk, i use a matching or contrasting flannel for the outside layer of the pocket. For the waist, too many gathers creates bulk, so I reduce the waist circumference to slightly larger than the hip circumference, stitch a casing and insert the elastic. The natural stretchiness of the fleece makes it easy. Once the elastic is sewn together, the pants should slip over the hips and fit smoothly around the waist with few gathers.

Janie Viers
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Janie Viers  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/25/12 11:07 PM

Another option for sewing is using your straight stitch foot and throatplate. I find that it keeps the seam allowance more even and I can sew the slightest zig zag (barely enough zig to call it that!) nd pull the fabric taunt by hold the fabric behind the foot and before the foot. DON"T FORGET to change the foot AND throat plate to the zig zag one before ziging a hem...I still forget about 20 percent of the time and break needles!

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JanieV

mssewcrazy
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mssewcrazy  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/26/12 7:16 AM

I did samples before making grandson a fleece robe. I used the teeny zig zag and a walking foot to hem the sleeves and the bottom and also topstitched the facings down. I tried my coverstitch machine and due to the thickness of the fleece thought the really tiny zz worked as well. I did use the serger to finish side seams and arm area but wider zz and trim would probably have worked ok too. I did feel the walking foot made a nice looking hem. I did two rows of topstitching in the hem areas. My fleece was thick and you couldn't see the difference in the coverstitch or the tiny zz so I didn't even bother with the cs machine or a double needle to hem. I didn't pull on the fabric when hemming as that made my hem samples a little wavy. With the stitches down in the fleece the tiny zz was not visible at least in the fabric I used. I had never sewn a thick fleece garment so had to play with some samples and this is what I came up with.

Michelle T

Michelle T
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Date: 3/26/12 10:21 AM

Lots of good replies. One thing to do is measure the amount of ease in the pattern. Which pattern are you using? Some of the Big 4 patterns have far too much ease for fleece.

I made my son a pair of fleece pants using a McCalls pattern (sorry do not remember the number) and there was about 8 inches of ease at the waist and more at the hip. I had to trim off inches everywhere.

Flat measure the pattern to see find the ease.

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Proud parent of a Dwight International School Honour Roll Student

Laima1956
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Laima1956  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/26/12 12:00 PM

And NEVER iron fleece!!!

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Laima

lgrande
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lgrande  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/26/12 4:46 PM

Thanks all for the wonderful suggestions! I will definitely test drive on scrap fabric, will line the pockets with matching flannel or knit and I promise not to iron it!
I plan to finish all the seams with serging and to coverstitch the hems.

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Linda

Bernina 830LE - Brother Dreamweaver VQ3000 - Bernina B530 - Janome 6600P - Pfaff 1209 - Babylock Evolution - Janome 644 - Babylock Sashiko2 - Babylock BLCS-2

FaithM

FaithM  Friend of PR
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In reply to lgrande <<


Date: 3/26/12 7:32 PM

Fleece is susceptible to damage from an iron, it's true, but if you test with scraps you may well find that your fleece tolerates the heat. I just finished a fleece jacket using lots of pressing to tame seams and Steam-a-Seam 2 for the hem; it worked like a charm.

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