Problems Sewing Fleece? 5 Common Issues (With Solutions)

Working with fleece can be a bit tricky, and there are some common problems that sewists often encounter when sewing with this fabric.

If you’re new to sewing with fleece or are experiencing issues with your current project, don’t worry.

There are plenty of tips and tricks to help you overcome these challenges and create beautiful, cozy projects.

With the right tools, techniques, and a bit of patience, you can master the art of sewing with fleece and enjoy all the cozy warmth it has to offer.

Here are a few of the most common issues with solutions.

Stretching and Distorting

One of the biggest challenges when sewing with fleece is managing its stretch and distortion.

As a knit fabric, fleece is naturally stretchy and the fuzzy pile on top can make it difficult to sew evenly.

This can result in uneven seams and distorted shapes, which can be frustrating when working on a project.

To prevent stretching and distortion, there are several things you can do. First, use a longer stitch length when sewing with fleece.

This will help to control the amount of stretch in the fabric and prevent it from pulling and distorting. Additionally, be careful not to pull the fabric as you sew, as this can cause stretching and distortion.

Using a walking foot can also help to prevent stretching, as it evenly feeds the fabric through the machine and reduces the likelihood of it getting pulled out of shape.

Pilling and Shedding

Fleece is known for its tendency to pill and shed, which can be frustrating for sewists.

Pilling is the formation of small balls of fibers on the surface of the fabric over time, while shedding is the release of loose fibers from the fabric. Both of these issues can make your finished product look worn and less attractive.

To prevent pilling, it’s important to choose high-quality fleece that is less prone to shedding. Avoid washing fleece too often, as this can cause the fibers to break down and pill more easily.

When it comes to shedding, try using a lint roller or a fabric shaver to remove any loose fibers before you begin sewing.

Fraying Issues

Another common problem when sewing with fleece is fraying. Fleece can be prone to fraying, especially if it is not finished properly.

This can lead to unraveling seams and a messy finished product.

To prevent fraying, there are several things you can do. First, try using a serger or a zigzag stitch to finish the edges of your fabric. This will help to seal the edges and prevent fraying.

You can also use a fray stopper or a fabric glue to help prevent fraying.

It’s important to note that fleece can be thick, so you may need to adjust your machine settings or use a heavier-duty needle to accommodate the fabric.

Trouble Getting the Tension Right

Getting the tension right when sewing with fleece can be a challenge, especially if you’re using a machine that is not equipped to handle this thick, bulky fabric.

If you’re having trouble getting the tension right, try adjusting the tension on your machine and doing a few test stitches before you start your project.

You may also want to use a heavier-duty needle, such as a denim or leather needle, to help feed the fabric through your machine.

Difficulty in Cutting

Cutting fleece can also be a challenge, as the fuzzy pile can make it difficult to see your cutting lines.

To make cutting easier, try using a rotary cutter and a cutting mat, as these tools can help to cut through the fabric more easily.

Be sure to use sharp scissors or shears, as dull blades can make cutting even more difficult.

Can All Sewing Machines Sew Fleece?

While most sewing machines can sew fleece, some machines may struggle with this thick, bulky fabric.

If you’re having trouble sewing fleece on your machine, try using a heavier-duty needle or a walking foot to help feed the fabric through your machine.

You may also want to adjust your machine settings to accommodate the fabric, such as using a longer stitch length or adjusting the tension.

If you’re unsure if your machine can handle fleece, try doing a test stitch on a scrap piece of fabric before beginning your project.


Let’s look at what we can do.

Pre-washing and Drying

One solution to avoid problems with fleece is to pre-wash and dry the fabric before sewing.

This process helps to remove any shrinkage and excess fibers that may cause problems during sewing. Wash the fabric in cold water and use a gentle detergent.

Avoid using fabric softeners as they can leave a residue on the fabric.

Using the Right Needle and Thread

Using the right needle and thread is crucial when sewing with fleece. A universal needle may not penetrate the thick fabric layers of fleece, leading to broken needles or skipped stitches.

Instead, use a Microtex or ballpoint needle.

Use a good quality polyester thread and a slightly larger stitch length (3mm-5mm).

Using a Walking Foot

If the thick layers of fleece do not feed evenly, a walking foot can solve that problem.

A walking foot is designed to move the fabric layers evenly through the machine, preventing any shifting or bunching.

This can help to create a more professional-looking finished product.

Using a Stabilizer

If you are having problems with the stitches sinking into the fleece and skipping, try adding a stabilizer along the seam only. You can use a water-soluble stabilizer that will disappear in the wash.

This can help to create a more stable seam and prevent any puckering or stretching.

How is Fleece different from other Fabrics?

This makes fleece an affordable and widely available fabric, but it can also make it more prone to issues like pilling and shedding.

In Closing

Sewing with fleece can be a cozy and rewarding experience, but it can also present some challenges.

Fleece is a knit fabric that has a fuzzy pile on one side and can be stretchy, making it prone to shifting and distortion.

Additionally, the lint build-up from fleece can cause issues with your sewing machine, leading to jamming and other problems.

One of the biggest problems when sewing with fleece is achieving a clean finish on seams and edges. Fleece does not fray, so finishing raw edges is not necessary, but it can still be tricky to get a neat and tidy look.

Another issue is the bulkiness of fleece, which can make it difficult to sew through multiple layers or to achieve a smooth and even seam