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Synthetic Fleece Update 1999

by Linda Beer, Sundrop Outerwear Textiles

 

No other fabric can compare with wonderful synthetic fleeces. Warm and cozy, they are easy to sew and beautiful to work with. Most patterns calling for these fabrics are fairly easy, making fleece projects fast and rewarding. But where do you start?

There are so many different fleeces on the market that choosing a good one can be the most challenging aspect of your project. The most important aspect is to purchase high quality non-pilling fleece. Non-pill fleece will still look wonderful for years.

I recently had a customer come into the store wearing a print I recognised from about 8 years ago. I laughed and told her I could date her garment from the print. "I know" she wailed in reply, "I desperately want a new one but this one still looks so good I can’t justify it!" You do not need to pre-treat synthetic fleece and it washes beautifully in the machine but always hang it to dry.

There are lots of fleece fabrics on the market. Here are my picks and some suggested patterns or ideas of what to make to go with them.

POLAR TEC® 300

Polar Tec® 300 is great as an outerwear garment or as a combination lining/insulation in an outerwear garment. This is the warmest and thickest fleece made by Malden Mills. Polar Tec 300® provides warmth without weight and can be used as the inner or outer layer in garment construction. Air pockets on both sides trap body heat while body vapour passes through. Use it also for hats, mitts, socks, slippers, housecoats, blankets and quilts. Polar Tec 300 is quite warm so is good for those who are always chilly, colder climates or low activity.

300 weight Polar Tec® is pretty cosy stuff. If you are not generating a lot of heat this makes a wonderful blanket (see how to on www.getcreativeshow com).

We have a representative from almost every species of animal kingdom residing in our home, including 2 dogs. I noticed that fleece seems to act as a pet magnet. Without fail if there is fleece fabric (or a garment for that matter) on the floor soon one or both dogs are curled up on top of it. If you have an elderly, chilly or pampered pooch making a blanket is as easy as cutting around the edges with pinking blades or leaving it as it came cut from the store. My dogs have yet to complain about the occasional selvage left on their blankies (works for cats too).

For people projects try: Northwind Designs Children’s Powder Mountain Jacket Pattern. Use view A body, sleeve and hood piece for a fast cosy jacket. You could actually lengthen it and make a housecoat at this point. Add a zippered front and some elastic at the waist for an almost instant coat.

Green Pepper pattern 507 makes a super cosy vest or jacket. Since Polar Tec® 300 is a bit heavier I suggest going up1/2 size.

POLAR TEC® 200

100% polyester Polar Tec 200 is the best all round fleece for most projects. It is great in outerwear garments, garment lining/insulation, mittens, socks, slippers, blankets, quilts, housecoats, and pyjamas to mention a few. It makes excellent sleep and lounge wear especially for people who have trouble staying warm. Because synthetic fleece is warm when it is wet it makes perfect baby clothes, we all know a cold baby is an awake baby! Also great for invalids or handicapped people. Not only because of its warmth but because it is soooo…. soft Polar Tec 200 provides warmth without weight and can be used as the inner or outer layer in garment construction. Air pockets on both sides trap body heat while body vapour passes through.

Christmas has become such a busy time. As a last minute kinda gal you can imagine my mental state let alone the state of my sewing room on the 24th of December. My "I have to make everything for everybody" attitude was causing me so much angst that I was planning a vacation that would absent me from my loved ones at the critical gift giving time. A few fast projects using fleece, sewn now ,will mean I can stick around to open presents with the rest of the crew.

Try Sundrop’s Mountaineer Mitten pattern sized for the whole family. Create a cool, cosy or crazy hat with one of Sundrop’s 3 hat patterns, the Starburst, the Magpie or the Dragon hat. All three hats are fast and fun and come multi-sized. The smallest hat fits a teddy bear. I love to make a hat as a gift for my niece or nephew and include a matching hat for their bear or doll. I finish the gift with a quick scarf cut from .2m (8") of fleece.

COOL TECH®

Cool Tech® is 100% polyester. It provides warmth, wicks moisture away from the body, is quick drying and breathable.  It is great in outerwear garments, garment lining/insulation, mittens, socks, slippers, blankets, and quilts.  We are really impressed with the quality and selection of this Canadian product - well worth a try! The colours and prints are excellent! This fabric is very soft and has good pil resistant qualities. It can be used for any of the projects listed in Polar Tec® 200 or;

Try Stretch and Sew 196 for an excellent vest or Green Pepper 507. Sundrop's hats and mittens also look great done up in Cool Tech®. The pastel colour selection this fleece comes in make it a sure fire winner!

POLAR TEC® 200 STRETCH

You can’t find a cosier stretch fabric than Polar Tec® stretch. This 4 way stretch fleece is great for all seasons. Use it for pants, dry suit linings, tops, socks, hats, and gloves. Great for layering under ski wear, or as hiking, cycling or curling up in front of the fire garments!

Try some leggings Use Stretch and Sew 719, or my personal favourite Rainshed sock pattern 220. I round the toe slightly as I find the pattern is quite boxy in that area and zig zag the seams using a butt edge (zig on the fabric and zag off over the edge) using the widest zig zag your machine will do.

POWER STRETCH by POLAR TEC®

Power stretch by Polar Tec® has a smooth finish on the face and a delightful cosy fleece velour finish worn next to the skin. You can use it for all the same garments as Polar Tec® 200. It is a slightly lighter fabric and makes great socks for inside dress shoes!

Use high tech fabrics to your complete advantage by making fashion garments for yourself. Yes Power Stretch® makes great socks but I like Kwik Sew pattern 2415 for a super twin set. The Sewing Workshop Cowl Neck Top pattern makes an elegant top that will keep you warm and comfortable. Today’s synthetics are amazing as they act as almost a personal heating –cooling system. Because they wick moisture away from the body you won’t feel sweaty if you are slightly over heated, yet they will keep you warm in cooler situations. So whether you are always too cold or as one of our customers put it "having your own personal summer" the lighter weight fleeces can keep you elegantly comfortable.

SKIN THERMALSTRETCH

This is an innovative fabric with neoprene on the face and fleece on the side that goes next to your skin. It is meant to be warm when it is wet. Think of the possibilities! Safety wear for canoeing, kayaking and power boating swimwear, water-skiing suits, river rafting, tensor bandages, lightweight wetsuits, cycling gear including socks and gloves & more.

Tanja at our store made a fishing jacket, she had no intention of getting wet but you never know when you might have to go in after that big one! Try one of the Kwik Sew specialized patterns to make a perfect fishing, kayaking or boating garment. Try Kwik Sew 2335(men’s), or 2336/7(children’s) for a perfect wet suit or boating water skiing

POLAR TEC® THERMAL 2000 STRETCH

Polar Tec® 2000 laminate is a revolutionary laminate fabric that has multiple use possibilities. The weather resistant breathable membrane will keep you protected from the elements. The outer shell is nylon /Lycra® tricot knit polyester fabric that is perfect for skiing, cycling, equestrian, and more. The stretch fleece inner layer wicks moisture away from the body while retaining heat. Three layers combine to create a water resistant, breathable, warm, wicking, stretch fabric. What more could an extreme sewer ask for! Suitability has breeches in ladies, men’s and children’s sizes. Controlled Exposure 65 stretch fleece pants would make awesome cycling or climbing pants.

Kwik Sew 2440 has 2 great views for ski wear

POLAR TEC® 100

100% polyester. Polar Tec® offers lightweight warmth and cosy next to skin comfort. Because it wicks moisture away from the body it is perfect as the first layer next to your skin. This very soft and lightweight fleece is wonderful in sleepwear, robes, shirts, high tech jogging suits, and sweatshirts and as lining. Polar Tec 100 ® has an odour resisting anti-microbial finish. See also micro chamois 100. Perfect for all high activity sports in moderate temperatures.

You can make a lot of good things with this fabric. Try Stretch and Sew 194 jogging gear to make a warmth layer for people who work outdoors in the winter or for someone confined to bed try the Stretch and Sew 2000 housecoat pattern.

POLAR TEC® 100 MICROCHAMOIS

Polar Tec® 100 Microfleece is softer and finer than Polar Tec® 100. This is a fabric that belongs in the collection of all reputable fabriholics! Too soft to believe this is a perfect fabric, for high tech applications in the outdoors and was designed to wick moisture away from the body while allowing body vapour to pass through. It is so soft and lightweight that I love to make sweat shirts for everyday wear. These are perfect for keeping you cosy indoors but are ready to perform as layering under your outerwear when you are heading out for a hike. I made an outfit for my daughter that consisted of leggings, Henley shirt and vest. She wore the outfit to school during the week, the legging and vest under her ski-suit in the winter and as camping p.j.’s in the summer. Yes we did wash it! Too many times to count. Well worn for 2 years, the outfit still hangs in the store and we use it in our fashion shows!

Stretch and Sew 302 henley shirts, with all sizes, both children and adult on one pattern, is one of my favourites. Or go crazy making sweatshirts with Kwik Sew’s Sweatshirts unlimited book. Make a microchamois outfit for your favourite toddler using Kwik Sew 2260

POLAR TEC® WINDBLOC VELOUR DOUBLE SIDED AND MESH BACK VELOUR

Three layer Polar Tec® Windbloc not only keeps you warm it looks great too! Best of all the work is done for you; it’s already lined! The outer layer is luxurious popular Polar Tec® and the inner layer is mesh or another layer of Polar Tec® velour. Sandwiched in between to keep you protected from the elements is a layer of polyurethane. It breathes but no need for a windproof shell! Great for jackets, vests, pants for cycling, hiking, skiing, boating and more.

If you have been in our store you have probably met Linda McLeod. After working with Windbloc velour double sided. Linda wore her coat on a recent excursion to Alaska and certainly put this fabric’s wind-blocking, water repellent and warmth qualities to the test. Windbloc passed with flying colours because Linda swears she’ll never sew with any other fleece from now on! On top of being comfortable and warm Linda looked great too.

Save all those bits and pieces! No piece of fleece is too small to throw away! Use Northwind Designs West Coast Tree Frog Appliqué pattern to have some fun creating wearable art or, make some of the Carols Zoo patterns up. The Sundrop Mountaineer mitten pattern has instructions included on making mittens from scraps.

Whatever projects you choose have fun sewing your fleece!

 

All patterns and fabrics are available
Sundrop Outerwear Textiles
#310 - 2071 Kingsway Avenue
Coquitlam B.C. Canada
V3C 6N2
604-936-5236
604-464-5237 fax
www.sundroptextiles.com

Happy sewing!
Linda M. Beer

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