Tips and Tricks for Working with Cuddle Fleece

 

Tips and Tricks for Working with Cuddle Fleece - from Shiny Happy World

I loooove using Cuddle Fleece for making softies!

I discovered it at Quilt Market last year and fell in love – and then couldn’t find it in any shops. It was even hard to find online! So I ordered a few bolts to carry in my shop and I’ve been using it for softies and quilt backs ever since.

It’s mostly very easy to work with – similar to polar fleece – but I do get some questions about it. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions. . .

It’s so shifty! How do you keep the layers from moving around?

The layers come in two times in the process – when you’re cutting and when you’re sewing. I prefer to cut mine one layer at a time instead of folding and cutting through two layers. That way I get the most accurate cut possible. Do be sure to flip the pattern pieces for the second cuts so you’re still getting one reversed!

When you’re sewing two layers together you have to deal with layers. There’s no way around it. That’s when I use Wonder Clips. You can use pins instead, but Wonder Clips handle the fat fabric really well and without distorting the layers at all. You can clip them really close together (every inch or so) and just sew slowly, unclipping each one as you get to it.

It’s so fat! Do I have to do anything special to sew through it?

Cuddle Fleece shares one of the same challenges as polar fleece.

It’s fat.

The thickness of the fabric can make the layers shift while you’re sewing – especially when you’re sewing through two layers plus the additional layers of an arm or leg in there. There’s a video showing how I deal with the fatness here. It’s specifically about polar fleece, but all those tips also apply to Cuddle Fleece.

Do I need a special needle?

I sew mine with a basic universal needle and have no problems. If you find your machine is skipping stitches I recommend switching to a stretch needle.

If you have a walking foot – use it!

If you don’t have a walking foot – pin like crazy.

Cuddly Bailey Bear - fabric and pattern from Shiny Happy WorldWhich is the right side of the fabric?

They’re both good – but they are different. You just have to choose what works best for you for a particular project. One side has a shorter, smoother pile. That’s the one I often choose as the “right” side. It’s what you see on the bunny up there.

The other side is a little shaggier looking. The pile is a bit longer, and a teeny bit more irregular. Use this as the right side when you want a rougher look.

You can also combine the two textures in one softie like I did with this Bailey Bear. I used the shaggier side on his belly patch.

How do you mark on it?

Cuddle Fleece, like polar fleece, can also be difficult to mark on. With polar fleece the problem is that it’s basically made out of plastic, so markers tend to bead up on it, take a long time to dry, and smear easily when wet.

The problem with marking on Cuddle Fleece is that it has a bit of a nap to it.

Marking eyes is easy – I just punch holes in my pattern piece and then mark through the holes with a fabric marker.

Marking lines is a bit trickier. For them I turn to The Magical Embroidery Stuff (aka Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy).

Seriously – is there anything this stuff isn’t good for?

For the bunny you see at the top of the post I marked the eyes as mentioned above. I could have eyeballed the nose and mouth, but I wanted to make sure I got those whiskers balanced. That meant sticking to my pattern piece exactly as drawn. 🙂

I traced the entire face on a scrap of Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy and then stuck it down to the fabric, using those eye markings to guide my placement.

Yes – it sticks just fine to the Cuddle Fleece. It’s amazing stuff!

Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is great for transferring a face to cuddle fleece.

I embroidered right through the stabilizer, then soaked it away in cold water and tossed it in the dryer for a quick dry and fluff.

Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is great for transferring a face to cuddle fleece.

Perfect! And since I used a fabric marker to mark those eyes, the dots are still there after rinsing The Magical Embroidery Stuff away.

The fluff! Is there any way to keep the fluff under control?

That’s the most common question people have. Cuddle Fleece is fluffy and soft – and when you cut it that fluffiness can go everywhere!

When I cut pieces to make a softie, I walk them straight to the dryer and toss them inside. I tumble it all with no heat for about 10 minutes. When I pull them out – all the fluff is gone. The edges won’t fray after cutting, so once you get that initial cutting fluff off, you can continue work on the rest of the project with no more shedding.

Awesome!

If you have any other questions about this lovely fabric, just let me know in the comments. I’ll either update this post or (if there are enough additional questions) I’ll do a follow-up post.

Here’s one of those follow-up posts. 🙂 A video answering lots of reader questions about using cuddle fleece for quilt backs. Watch it here.

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

 

26 COMMENTS

  1. Very cool! I haven’t tried this stuff yet, but you’re making me think I need to get using it!

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      Give it a try! I think using this fabric and safety eyes has made my softies look and feel a lot more professional. 🙂

  2. Gayle SAYS...

    I love cuddle fleece. In South Africa it is called Coral Fleece. The only problems I have is that it “ladders” when stretched around a curve as at a neckline when attaching the neck binding and that it gets in between the plates of the serger and gunks up the works so that the blades do not cut anymore and causes huge jams of fabric and stitches. Any advice will be most welcome.

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      Sorry – I used to have a serger but I had a terrible time with it. It was a cheap one that never really worked right and I finally gave up on it. I am NOT the person to turn to for serger advice. 🙁

  3. Robyn Miller SAYS...

    Any advice for putting a belly patch on without leaving a rough edge?

  4. Pam SAYS...

    Hi Wendi,

    I enjoyed your video on sewing with fleece. I make double-layer fleece blankets and I sew the edges together rather than tie the edges. I have the “creeping” problem that you described in the video where the top layer of fleece creeps over the bottom layer and the seam allowance is smaller on the bottom layer. I pin a lot and I also use a walking foot on my machine but I am still having the problem. Does it matter whether you insert your pins vertically or horizontally? Do you position your pins perpendicular to the stretch direction of the fabric? I am working with two pieces of fleece approx. 50″ x 65″. This problem is driving me nuts! Any advice would be very helpful.
    Thank you.
    Pam

    • Hi Pam! I always pin perpendicular to the edge of the fabric so that the ends of the pins hang off the edge of the fabric and are easy to grab and remove. Have you tried using Wonder Clips? They’re kind of expensive, but they are FANTASTIC for holding fleece. If you sew with fleece a lot I think they’re worth every penny. Also – if your sewing machine has the ability to adjust the amount of pressure on the presser foot, reducing that can help.

  5. Anonymous SAYS...

    Love the tip of using the dryer to get rid of most of the fluff! I love cuddle fleece but the last time I sewed with it I felt like I had breathed in fluff for days after, so I didn’t want to do it again. Now I think I will make up that quilt kit I bought 😉

    • Jill SAYS...

      Wear a breathing mask when you are cutting the fleece! Vacuum after cutting. I love the dryer idea.

  6. Leeann SAYS...

    Love the tip of using the dryer to get rid of most of the fluff! I love cuddle fleece but the last time I sewed with it I felt like I had breathed in fluff for days after, so I didn’t want to do it again. Now I think I will make up that quilt kit I bought 😉

  7. Lisa SAYS...

    Hi Wendi, do you prewash this fabric before sewing it? Thanks, Lisa

    • I don’t because it doesn’t shrink and I’m not trying to get it to stick to anything. One customer wrote that her granddaughter was sensitive to the sizing on it and now she prewashes it before making softies of quilt backs and has had no more problems.

  8. Jennifer SAYS...

    HI Wendi, I need to back a patchwork quilt with cuddle fleece. If I put fleece & quilt top right sides together to sew and turn right sides out, would I put the fleece on the bottom when sewing or on top where the walking foot is feeding it? Also, if I then wanted to top stitch, say, in the ditch, would I have to pin all over like normal? I did see your video on cuddle fleece with softies, but I think using cotton layer and fleece layer may sew easier? Thanks for any help!

  9. Steph SAYS...

    I tried to make a fleece tie blanket with the cuddle fleece on one side and regular fleece on the other side for when my son gets here in June. I got a whole side tied with no problems but as soon as I went to tie the next side one of the tabs that I cut to tie together pulled right off even being super gentle!!! 🙁 would iron on interfacing work so they don’t just pull off?!?!

    • I’ve never tried using cuddle fleece for a tie blanket – but one of the reasons it’s so drapey is because it’s a bit “looser” than regular fleece. I don’t think you could iron anything to it – the temp high enough to melt the fusible on the interfacing would also melt the fleece.

      • Shannon Coffey SAYS...

        Genius! The dryer worked like a charm! Thank you so much for posting this I had quite a mess on my hands now I have been able to contain it somewhat. I also found it easiest to clean up with a sweeper vs a damp cloth…any ideas for getting the fluff off of your pattern pieces?! ?

  10. Jane B. SAYS...

    Help !

    I am sewing with extra fluffy Star Wars fleece.
    The fabric has ripped down to my zig zag stich .
    What did I do wrong

    • Sorry, I’m not sure what you mean by “ripped down to my zigzag stitch.”

  11. Sue T SAYS...

    I realize this is an old thread, but I’m hoping you can help. I’m a newbie and attempting a fleece robe. The area where my bobbin is keeps getting lint in there, sending my machine into fits. Is there a way to keep the stuff away from my bobbin?

    • Sorry – I think all you can do is clean it frequently. That’s best for your machine anyway. No matter what I’m sewing with, I give the bobbin area a bit of a brushing every time I sit down to my machine – and I give the whole thing a good cleaning every time I replace the bobbin or the needle.

  12. Cindy Currier SAYS...

    I’m trying to make a blanket and I need to mark the fluffy material because there is no easy to follow pattern to machine quilt it. It needs some stability. I’ve sewed the two pieces together each piece is 2 1/2 yards long. It’s for my 21 year old son who absolutely loves the fabric. I could use the tear away I guess but we’re talking about a 60”x90” blanket here. Any other ideas?

    • Sometimes I mark things with painters tape. It works great if you only need straight lines, and it will pull right off the fabric when you’re done. Lay the tape down where you need a line and then sew just along the edge of the tape. I’ve found that it works best if you position the tape so that the presser foot rides on top of the tape – not along the side. Also – be sure to stitch immediately and remove the tape. If you leave the tape in place for weeks before you finish stitching and remove it, it will leave a sticky residue behind. Ask me how I know. 😛

  13. Emma SAYS...

    I use cuddle fleece with a lined type background with my taggie’s
    I wanted to make a Tie Tag blanket wasn’t sure If it would work with the shedding? Have you tried this?

    • That cut edge only sheds right when you cut it. Once all the loose fuzz from the cut edge fluffs off, there’s no more shedding. I usually pop my cut pieces in the dryer on air dry for about 10 minutes. All the loose fluff goes into the lint trap instead of all over my sewing room. 🙂

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