Serger Wars 1: Fleece

Last year I decided I was finally, finally going to learn to use the serger I’d gotten for Christmas in 2017. I also decided I was finally going to learn to sew clothing, and use some of the patterns and fabric that I have collected over the years, and inherited from my grandmother. I also decided I was going to learn to sew with knits. All these plans are linked by the desire to sew my own knit clothes in a semi-pro-looking manner.

Flash forward to September and I actually did learn to thread and operate my serger with a dress I made my daughter. After a lot of false starts and effort, I managed to serge all the interior seams of this cute dress. I figured I’d start with wovens, because I know a lot more about them.

The machine lay there for a while while I tried hard to forget how to use it, but in December I picked it up again with the intent of making two fleece sets (pants and shirts) for my kids out of scrap fleece. So here’s my review of that process of making these, which turned out to be really cute!


Fleece fabric in shades of purple from the bargain section at Jo-Ann. Probably intended for blankets, but I got relatively thin fleece with the intent or making clothes. I had just enough, used as you see here.

Pros: Most of it was reversible. One pant half leg did end up wrong-side out, but the difference was just in the nap. It was also thick. The thickness worked for most of it, though my machine chugged a bit on thick spots. It was a very stable knit to work with, and I got great practice serging seams and adjusting tension on both the serger and my machine.

Cons: It wasn’t quite stretchy enough. I shouldn’t have tried to do the necklines with it because it wasn’t stretchy enough. I made those work but wished for ribbing the entire time.

Still, serging these was easy, and it was great for getting it done quickly. I serged (instead of sewed) the inner and outer legs, and the raglan sleeves and sides. The rest is sewn with a small zig-zag, and the neckline was twin-needled.


Butterick See & Sew B6404. Raglan tee and pants, intended to be for pajamas (and boys? It’s so neutral! Why is that designation necessary?). It’s a basic raglan tee and pants pattern. I made size 3 and size 8. I initially made size 6 for Younger Daughter but she is definitely a size 3 in sewing patterns. Elder Daughter is a size 8 top and a size 7 or 6 bottom, lengthened. Always look at the measurements!

Pros: It’s a fine basic set of patterns, and I will probably make them another set of summer-weight clothes and keep building my skills with necklines and hems in a stable lightweight knit. I had no issues with the directions, just my own newness to sewing clothes. I chose raglan sleeves because I’m not feeling quite ready for set-in sleeves.

Because I’m new to this, I sewed one half of one leg of the pants backward for each child. It wasn’t egregious, as for these particular pants the front and back pieces were mostly the same, particularly since I had to size them down for each one. It was fine, and I did the waistbands in my own way. I didn’t manage to sew anything else backward!

I’m not going to tell you that I exactly enjoyed making the entire project, because it was difficult and I was constantly learning, and constantly figuring things out! So it was exhausting in that way. But I’m pleased that it turned out two very cute (and super warm) outfits!

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