Tackling Fluffy Fabrics

Fluffy fabric like faux fur, teddy and sherpa fleece look amazing and feel even better. However, they aren’t always the easiest fabrics to handle and sew, so before you jump in, have a look through these top tips for tacking fluffy fabrics.

First some basics:

  • Go slow – take your time when working with fluffy fabric, it doesn’t always cut and sew in the same way as non-fluffy fabric
  • Try clips – fluffy fabric can be bulkier than other fabrics and the weave of the base fabric if often very open so pinning is tricker than using sewing clips as pins shift and move around too much
  • Walking foot – if you have a walking foot for your sewing machine I’d recommend using it for fluffy fabric as it will help to move the bulk of the fabric under the machine foot more easily and more evenly than a regular machine foot

 

Shedding

Fluffy fabric will shed (probably a lot!) during both the cutting and sewing stages of your project. Try not to shake the fabric too much to help reduce the amount of shedding. If you’re using a fabric is quite long pile, like faux fur, you can push the fur away from where you are cutting so you don’t cut too many of the longer ends of the pile but be careful when you’re doing this so you don’t cut yourself!

 

Shifting

Fluffy fabric has a tendency to shift during sewing; fabrics like faux fur can have a slippery surface which causes movement, and fabric like teddy fleece often has a very open weave (and stretchy) base fabric which again can move around a lot when it’s under the sewing machine foot. Try using more sewing clips than usual to steady the fabric. Some very fluffy fabrics can be difficult to clip or pin due to the bulk; for these fabric its best to hold the seams together during sewing but only sew in very small sections (and slowly) so you can keep adjusting and lining up the fabric edges.

 

Seams

With fur or fluff it can be more difficult to see the cut edge of your fabric. You need to be able to see these cut edges so that your seam allowances are sewn accurately and to make sure the sewn seam is going through all of the base fabric so that it’s a strong seam; if you sew a seam through two layers of just fluff, the stitches will pull out.

Try to tuck the fur/fluff pile into the seam and away from the cut edge of the fabric. As well as helping with an accurate seam allowance, this will also make it easier to check that both edges of your seam are lined up and stay lined up whilst sewing.

 

Shear

Maybe not “shear” but certainly trimming some of the fluff from the area very close to the fabric’s cut edge can help to reduce the bulk around the seam which will make the seam easier to line up and sew. Be very careful when doing this (and I’d only recommend trying it with very fluffy fabric) as you don’t want to end up with visible bald patches next to your sewn seam!

 

Which patterns?

If you fancy tackling a project using fluffy fabric, the following Waves & Wild patterns specifically mention it in the supplies list:
AJ Aviator
Animal Appliques
Charlie Bear & Friends Hood
Fireside Slippers
Storybook Cape
Woodland Wanderer

And although it isn’t listed in the pattern instructions, a teddy or sherpa fleece lining on the Hot Chocolate or ladies Hot Coffee / men’s Hot Coffee hood makes an even cosier hoodie.

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