Sewing Bee Fabrics Tutorial
Fabric Guide - Cuddle Fleece
Cuddle Fleece is a soft luxurious fleece which comes in all sorts of lovely patterns. It is 100% polyester so should not shrink at all in the wash (although we recommend all fabrics are pre-washed as a precaution if they will be washed during use).
Some cuddle fleece patterns have an obvious right and wrong side. If you aren't sure which is which, or want to aim for consistency, then try stretching the fabric - it has a tendency to curl under to the wrong side along the edges. Because of it's tendency to curl under, I would recommend sewing cuddle fleece with a half inch seam allowance as opposed to quarter inch if accuracy is required. Direction of nap (the direction the fluff is laying) needs to be considered too as you don't want to make a project where the fibres want to lie in different directions and catch the light differently - this is especially obvious on toy faces!
It does not stretch on the length of the fabric grain (parallel to the selvedge edge) but will have some stretch on the width of the fabric (cross grain) and diagonally (along the bias). Therefore, keep this in mind while you are cutting out your patterns. Because of the stretch, I would use more pins that you think you need, both while cutting out patterns as well as when sewing. Some people recommend reducing movement by using a rotary cutter to cut out their cuddle fleece. In my experience though it tends to end up with a lot of fluff getting caught up in the cutting mat, so unless your wanting to clean your mat after, I'd stick to the fabric scissors.
It is a knit fabric so doesn't fray, but keep in mind that the edges do shed fluff! When I say this, I mean it gets everywhere! So you may want to consider shaking your pieces off outside and having a hoover or dustpan and brush handy for after. As it doesn't fray, you can leave raw edges if you want. For example I don't mind this at the bottom of a pocket, but I personally wouldn't leave an edge raw on a blanket. Once washed, what was going to shed from the edges has gone, so it wont be a constant annoyance!
Because of the pile on the fabric as well as the ability to stretch and move, you may find you get better accuracy in sewing with this material by using either a walking foot, knit foot or roller foot. Use plenty of pins, sew slowly and consider hand basting if you need high accuracy for your pattern.
When sewing you might want to experiment with the stitch width. A wider width will usually be easier to work with. You will also need to clean the machine often, due to the fluff which has a habit of building up inside - especially around the bobbin. If you don't, then it can cause thread tension issues and thread breakages. A universal needle should work fine, but you may want to consider sewing with a ballpoint needle due to the natural stretch of the fabric, especially if you are noticing any dropped stitches or stitch tension problems (if you can even see that much detail under the fluff!).
Cuddle fleece is bulky when sewn as 2 layers. This is great for snuggly scarves but may not be the appearance you were going for on a collar for example. In that case you may want to consider a thinner lining fabric to compliment it instead. Overcast stitching might also be used to compress the cuddle fleece edges to make seams a little less bulky for example when wanting to make a seam smaller inside baby gloves.
We recommend never ironing this fabric as the heat can damage the polyester fibres which can ruin the plush feel. If you absolutely must, then try on a scrap piece first by ironing on the back of the fabric with cotton covering it and the iron as low as possible. Also it's worth noting that if you do manage to iron it without damaging it, it wont hold a crease, so there is no point trying to press one in to the fabric.
Example of iron damage:
It is for the same reason that you need to be cautious of tumble driers. Only the lowest heat settings should be used if used at all. Machine wash on cool (up to 30 degrees) on a gentle wash setting such as a hand wash cycle. Adding an additional rinse cycle can help remove any detergent build up which can keep it feeling softer. Avoid putting it in the same wash as any rough clothing or overfilling the machine to reduce how much abrasive stresses are placed on the fabric which will also keep it softer for longer. Fleece also has a habit of attracting lint so if you wash with other high lint items such as towels in with it, it may get caught up in the fabric.
Cuddle fleece makes a fantastic blanket backing. It is both warm and snuggly, whilst being light weight and takes out the need for using wadding. However, I would highly recommend using a fabric basting spray to reduce the amount of movement as you quilt your layers together.
I personally wouldn't use an embroidery hoop on cuddle fleece as it can be difficult to make the pile stand back up uniformly after being crushed for a prolonged period.
If you want to applique on to your cuddle fleece, you may want to use a stabiliser behind the cuddle fleece, and a pin to help ease some of the pile out from under the applique after stitching so it gives it a fluffier appearance around the edges.
Baby car seat covers
Pram foot muff
This list is in no way exhaustive! If you have used cuddle fleece for something else, drop us a comment to inspire others!
We hope you enjoy our tutorials and love hearing what you think so please leave us a comment or send me an email to email@example.com