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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fleece Scarves Tutorial With or Without Embroidery by Karin

Hello there!  The other day, I realized that we had THREE birthdays coming up, all within the first 10 days of February.  I mentioned it to Kelly and she asked me what I was gonna do about it.  Well, since they were all in Virginia, and I'm in South Texas, I also had to factor in some shipping time....what to do, what to do?  I was gonna use up some fleece, that's what I was gonna do!  That would solve a couple of problems - easy, quick birthday presents, and use up some fabric, how could I go wrong with that??  So, I got busy and embroidered and  sewed up four scarves real quick.  I sent Kelly a picture of some of them, and she wanted to know how I made them.  So, here I am, sharing with her, and you, her dear readers.  So, grab some fleece, a ruler and thread, and let's go!

There are a couple different layouts for your design, and you'll have to figure out which you want before you begin.  If you have fleece that's wide enough to accommodate your design AND a backside, you can use that, but if you only have a narrow scrap of fleece, you'll want two lengths, so you can sew them together down the long sides.  For the pictures and  tutorial here, we're going to assume you have an unlimited supply of fleece (or at least sufficient).  (Everyone has a bunch of fleece in a tote bin in the corner of their guest room, right?'s just me?)

For these scarves, I decided to use some of the  Wrapped Up in Winter designs from Embroidery Library.

They're just too cute, aren't they?  And sooo easily customized with simple color changes.
These designs are about 7 inches wide, so I cut my fleece at 18 inches wide, selvage to selvage 
(7x2 plus 4 (seam allowance and 1 inch on each side of the design)).

Remember, if your selected design isn't as wide as mine, you won't need to cut such wide fleece, and if you're doing another color fleece for the scarf back, you'll need TWO long pieces of fleece, but only wide enough for the seam allowance and design.

For this  tutorial, I'm going to assume you're working with one piece of fleece.  Find and mark your center.  I put a light chalk mark, but then I stuck a pin through it so I could see it better.  You'll want to make this mark at least 6 inches up from the short end of the scarf.  This'll allow room enough for you to add a name and a fringe later on.

Pick your colors - this was the hardest part for me - always is.

Hoop your fleece and stabilizer.  Now, you've got a couple options here.  You can use one piece of Floriani Cutaway, or a couple of pieces of Floriani Tearaway - totally your choice, and dependent upon how dense your design is.  There's no need to hoop the fleece (and if you try to do so, you'll probably get aggravated, not to mention, hoop burn on your fabric).....just hoop your stabilizer, then pin your fleece to the stabilizer.

Below you can see the pin I placed for centering.  Let me warn you - I just bought a new Babylock, and one of the advanced features is that automatic targeting system, using stickers that look like baby snowmen.  I used one of them on the first scarf I did...follow my advice, not my lead, and DON'T.  Do NOT use those stickers.  Those babies are just tooooooo sticky, and a lot of the fleece's pile was removed when I removed the sticker.  Surprise!  (Same reason I don't recommend Adhesive Stabilizer for this fabric.)  So, I used a pin for centering all the rest.  Move your needle over to the pin, but don't start sewing yet!!!!  Just move your design so the center of it is roughly where your pin is.

Remove your hoop, but don't take your fabric out of it...just pin a layer of Floriani Water Soluble Topping  over your design area.  This will help lay the fuzzy pile down and float your stitches on top of it, giving a nice, even fill that will appear nice and dense.  Why didn't we lay down the topping before centering the design?  Because we would have laid that topping down right over top of that centering pin, and we all know what happens when needle strikes pin, right?

Here's the Floriani Water Soluble Topping added...
Now, this next part is totally optional, but since it adds stability, you'll lessen the chance of wrap-arounds and  pull-aways.  Wrap-around is where the bobbin thread wraps to the front of the stitching, and pull-away is where your stitching areas separate from one another, leaving your fabric peeking through (trust me, neither is ever a good look).  A good rule of thumb is one sheet of stabilizer for every 8,000 stitches.  So what I've done here is taken one of my scraps of tearaway and tucked it under the's not attached to anything, it's just laid down on the bed between the hoop and  the throat plate.  Obviously, you'll want to make sure your design is going to stitch in the same area as your floating stabilizer...So, this design is about 18,000 stitches, and I've got 3 layers of tearaway, which will hold about 24,000 stitches - I'm good to go.

Load up your first color and press START.  Let 'er rip!
When your stitching is all complete, remove the hoop from the machine, remove all the stabilizer and topping and  trim any long jump stitches.
Now it's time to turn your embroidered fleece fabric into a scarf!  Fold it in half, lengthwise (or put your two pieces right sides together), and pin.  If you're going to make a fringe, be sure to start and  stop your seam accordingly...see where I double-pinned?  That's approximately where my fringe is going to start.
Because fleece is stretchy, be sure to use a long zig-zag stitch.  You know what'll happen if you don't? You'll have wavy seams and broken stitches.  Trust me on that.
Oh yeah, a walking foot will make it much easier and  neater to sew.
When your seam is sewn, turn your tube right side out and roll that seam around to the center back (if you're using 2 separate pieces of fleece, just make sure your side seams are lined up nicely on each side).
Run a line of zig-zag across the scarf, just past the start/stop point, leaving the fringe end open.
Trim the selvage off each short end and fringe as desired.  Just be careful and don't make your fringes so skinny that they pull off.  And don't cut all the way through the line of stitching (I probably didn't have to tell you that, but I'm sure McDonald's didn't think it had to tell people its coffee was hot, either).  Since it's not woven, fleece won't ravel, but I prefer the look of the pinked edges.  Feel free to use straight scissors if you wish.
And that's how she did it.  These sew up quick and easy and nice they're so light, they were easy (and inexpensive) to ship.  I'm told the kids loved 'em, and my hubby is thrilled that fabric went OUT the door instead of in  (sshhhhhhh, don't tell him I bought about 5 yards of something pretty when we were in Austin the other day.....)!  Win-win-win!
Thanks for letting me crash your blog, Kelly.  Let me know if you have any questions!

THANK YOU Karin....another wonderful tutorial!  I love the scarves and I know the kids do too.  Big hugs to you and Driver :)


  1. How appropriate with the cold weather holding on--we should all be styling!

  2. What a cute scarf! Great job Karin!
    I need to use my embroidery function more.

  3. What a great tutorial and inspirational project. Absolutely love it. This would also work to Make It A Handmade Gifts for Christmas too. Wish you had entered it in the challenge (but there are monthly challenges all year).


  4. Awesome tutorial! This is great idea for kids and leftover fleece scraps. Thanks!

  5. I think this is perfect, especially now since we got another 6 inches of snow last night. Thank you for a great tutorial. I look forward to making a couple of scarves.

  6. Thank you Karin for a wonderful tutorial, makes me really wish I had an embroidery machine, such a cute project.

  7. Love seeing your pictures. And I'm so happy your class and time an embroidery machine!! Your work is gorgeous!


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More Later-Beth


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