Sewing fleece and cotton together can be very tricky. They are both stretchy and that means a different type of sewing method. Also, they are not usually pure, which means that not every fleece or cotton fabric you buy will be the same as other fleece or cotton fabrics. Read the label to know exactly what you are dealing with.
With that said, there IS a way to sew these two fabrics together.
So how do you sew fleece and cotton together? When sewing fleece and cotton together, the most important thing to keep in mind is the difference in flexibility. Although both are flexible in their own right, fleece is more so. A key motto to keep in mind: measure twice, cut once.
What do I mean? Don’t worry, that’s what this article is all about. Read on for the step-by-step guide to sewing fleece and cotton together.
The Fleece and Cotton Guide
The fabric you choose depends on the project. Take into consideration how the finished project will be used, the age of the person the garment is created for and how durable you need it to be.
Fleece is a synthetic wonder product. Despite bearing a close resemblance (and same name) as the fleece wool on a sheep, it is 100% man-made. The material is composed of a plastic base, not the fluffy coast of sheep.
However, it is still extremely soft and fuzzy. The different types of fleece available in the market include a cotton blend, polyester, lycra, microfleece, spandex and slub fleece.
Cotton is all-natural and usually white in color (however, manufacturers dye it to create every color imaginable).
It grows in small bolls (protective layer) on plants above ground. Each plant grows hundreds of these little bolls.
After harvest, the cotton is removed from the boll and processed. It then goes to the manufacturer to be turned into all types of textiles.
Depending on the blend (what other materials and amounts of each are added to the cotton), cotton can be transformed into super absorbent terrycloth for bathrobes and towels, denim or corduroy for jeans and shirts, cambric, popularly used to make work shirts and overalls, and seersucker and cotton twill.
Pure cotton is often used to make socks, t-shirts, underwear, and bedsheets, although many of these products more commonly use a cotton blend for durability. Cotton is also a very popular material for knitting and crochet yarn.
Sewing Fleece and Cotton Together
Fleece has a distinct grain (pile or plush) that has to be taken into consideration. Cotton is generally quite forgiving. You really can’t mess it up too much.
The first step for beginners is gathering adequate information about the type of fabric you plan to use. Read the label carefully to understand the blend and find blends that work together best.
The choice of thread and needle are also affected by your choice of fabrics. Once you have chosen the fabric you want to use, then you can begin preparing for your sewing project.
Sewing fleece and cotton together is tricky, but not as difficult as it may sound.
Follow these simple guidelines and you will be able to sew fleece and cotton together like a pro.
1. Preparing Your Workspace
If you have a dedicated sewing room, great! Getting prepared for your new project will be easy. Simply clear away any remnants from your previous project.
Clean the room thoroughly, working in a neat and clean environment is so much more fun than trying to maneuver around clutter and debris.
If you don’t have a separate room, step 2 can be quite important. Try to choose an area of the house not frequently used so that you are able to leave your project undisturbed when you have to step away for meals, breaks, or other important matters.
If you have small children or animals in the house, make sure your work area and supplies are far out of their reach. You don’t want any premature damage to your project and you certainly do not want any injuries or accidents.
2. Gather Tools and Supplies
Gather together all the tools and supplies you need for your project. This will save a lot of time and energy later, making the whole project run much smoother.
You will need:
- Needles of differing sizes (including a few spares in case one gets lost or broken)
- Thread or several different spools of thread in your choice of color
- Fabric scissors – these are the best scissors for cutting fleece
- The pattern you plan to use
- The material to be sewn
- Optional supplies include a thimble and needle threader
3. Patterns, Trace, and Cut
Once you have your workspace all set and ready to go, you are ready to really get your project started.
- Layout your fabric and place the pattern on top. Carefully pin the pattern to the fabric. Be careful not to rip the pattern or tear the fabric.
- Place the pins longways, from the edge of the fabric and pattern inwards to the center of the piece. Space the pins about one inch apart.
- You can use a pattern that was handed down from your mother or grandmother, a pattern you created yourself or a pattern you bought from the sewing and craft store. Just make sure there aren’t any missing pieces to the pattern.
- Beginners may want to trace the pattern onto the fabric first, while more experienced sewers probably prefer to just cut the fabric directly from the pattern itself.
- Either way, keep in mind that patterns usually include important markings (instructional markings), crucial to the end result. These markings should be transferred onto the fabric so that you can incorporate the proper stitches, in the right places, into the item you are making.
- Patterns generally involve several different pieces. So as not to get confused or mix up the pieces, it is better to layout and cut one piece at a time.
- Prepare the first pattern, pin and cut carefully. Remember, you can always cut it down if you cut too wide, but you can never make it bigger if you cut too short.
- Lay it in a safe place. Someplace where it won’t get lost or mixed up with the rest of the pieces. Continue until all of the pieces of the pattern are cut. Try to be economical and cut down on waste by cutting small pieces from the leftover fabric after cutting larger pieces.
When sewing cotton and fleece together, you will have these materials pinned together on the pattern. It is important to use very sharp scissors or shears. If the fabric is pinned together well, the sharp scissors should be able to easily cut through all of the fabric without it slipping and sliding all over the place.
After extensive use, the pivot point on your scissors might get clogged. A piece of cloth moistened with alcohol will take care of this in a snap.
After your pieces are cut, carefully remove all of the pattern pieces. When sewing fleece and cotton together, you will need to leave the pins in place. But, you don’t need the pattern anymore.
4. Let the Sewing Begin
The moment you have been waiting for is finally here. Prep work is necessary and a crucial step towards a successful end result. However, it can be a bit tedious, especially if this is a project you are very excited about!
But, don’t let the excitement overwhelm you. You have to concentrate on neat and uniform stitches. This is easier if you are using a machine, but if you are sewing by hand, keep your full attention and all of your focus on the stitches.
After you have cut the pieces and have them laid out in a logical order, you can begin.
- Pick up the two sections you want to sew together first. Thread your needle. Get a light, yet firm grip on your fabric and insert the needle at the starting point.
- Do not allow the fabric to stretch or slide. Hold the fabric firmly and sew the stitches as carefully as possible. You may be tempted to rush through once in a while, but that will only defeat the purpose of crafting a beautiful garment or blanket or whatever product you wish to create.
- Stay mindful of the stitch length. Fleece generally needs a bit of breathing room – stretching space. Although not as elastic as fleece, even cotton tends to stretch.
- Short stitches can cause the fabric to bulge and lose their shape. Allowing a little space for flexibility will ensure a much nicer finish.
- If you notice that your stitches are too close together or too far apart, the best thing to do is remove them and start over. Trying to correct this after the fact will only make matter worse.
Some people suggest a test patch to gauge the correct stitch length, which could be very helpful if you are unsure of how to tackle fleece and cotton. Others suggest cutting off the excess when a bulge develops.
That is not a good idea. Remember: measure twice, cut once.
Unless your project is totally forgiving and the end result has a lot of room to play, never ever cut again after the pattern has been cut to shape. That is a rookie fix and the end results will look accordingly.