“Binding with Fleece”

I really enjoy using left over material from one project to help create another.  I don’t know if it’s the fun of using a fabric in a completely different way from what I first intended, or if it is the frugality of the practice (I’m pretty sure it’s both), but I really feel good about my “bonus” projects.  Today I started working on a poncho using the left over fleece from the top I made in October to add accents in the collar and along the outside edges.  If you have never used fleece as a binding, I encourage you to give it a try.  It’s very forgiving and has lots of stretch.  If you know how to put binding on a quilt, you know how to use fleece as a binding for a project. 

When cutting fleece binding keep in mind that most fleece is 60 inches in width, so when you cut off the selvages you will have about 58 inches in length for each piece of binding cut.  Since fleece has so much stretch, there is no need to cut on the bias; cutting on the width of fabric works fine.

  Fleece tends to get very bulky very quickly so I cut my fleece 1.25 inches wide.

I do not cut the usual 2.5 inch wide binding and then fold it over before applying.  My binding is one layer.  This works since fleece does not fray.  If you think you will need very long runs of binding you can join strips together at a 45 degree angle just as you would for woven binding.

I apply my binding to the front of the project with a quarter inch seam, using a stiletto to help guide the fabric underneath the presser foot.

  Next I press the seam towards the binding and fold the binding towards the back of the project, covering the seam.  I use clips to keep everything in place while I stitch in the ditch to secure the binding from the right side of the project.

Since the fleece gets so bulky, I do not use mitered corners.  I find they never look sharp.  Instead, I sew the binding on one edge and, after stitching it in the ditch, I come down the perpendicular side and fold the fabric to finish the edge, folding it to the back to create a nice neat corner from the front as well as from the back.
Corners as seen from the front.
Corner as seen from the back.
This is how the binding looks from the back of the poncho (the wrong side).

You can trim the fleece if you wish, but I find that I like the crisp edge of the fleece that was cut with the rotary cutter better than an edge I trim by hand.  Just keep in mind you are working with a very stretchy material, so no pulling!  Also, remember to lower the presser foot pressure no matter what foot you decide to use.  Presser foot pressure should be no more than a 3 on your machine’s gauge.