How to Sew a Fleece Vest

Three Methods:Making your Vest PatternCutting your FleeceBinding your Edges

Fleece vests help to conserve body heat in cold weather. Although the name also means sheep's wool, modern fleece, or polar fleece, is a lighter and softer synthetic fabric. It is a popular material for winter clothing, lining and accessories because it is lightweight, easy to work with and it doesn't fray. If you are looking for a way to enhance your wardrobe and your personal style, then consider making this women's fleece vest project out of a circle of polar fleece. You can use a sewing machine or a needle and thread. Read more to find out how to sew a fleece vest.

Method 1
Making your Vest Pattern

  1. 1
    Use a fabric measuring tape to find your bust circumference. Place the tape at the widest part of your back and the widest part of your chest. Breathe out to ensure it is wide enough.
  2. 2
    Draw a large circle using the bust measurement as the diameter of the circle. You can do this by placing a large, durable piece of paper on top of an empty table. Calculate the radius of the circle, which is half the diameter and bust circumference.
    • Take a compass and set it to the length of the radius. Place the needle of the compass at the center of the piece of paper. Draw a circle around the needle with the pencil portion of the compass. Your circle should be the correct measurement. Use a ruler to ensure it is correct.
  3. 3
    Ask a friend to help you measure your upper back from arm to arm. Start just below the armpit and end at the other armpit.
  4. 4
    Ask your friend to measure the armhole depth. Begin 3 inches (7.6 cm) below your armpit and continue up to the top of the shoulder.
  5. 5
    Draw a horizontal line that equals the length of your upper back measurement across the middle of your circle. Make sure the line is centered, with the mid-point transecting the center point.
  6. 6
    Draw 2 vertical lines at either end of the horizontal line. These will be your arm holes. Each line should be equal to your armhole measurement, with 3 inches (7.6 cm) extending below the line and the remainder above the horizontal line on each side.

Method 2
Cutting your Fleece

  1. 1
    Choose a yard (0.9 m) of fleece. The thicker your fleece, the warmer and more bulky the vest will be. Try to find fleece that looks good on both the front and back sides, because the vest will have some overlap.
    • If you cannot find a fleece that looks good on both sides, choose a thin fleece. Cut out 2 pieces of fleece with your pattern and top stitch the back sides of the fleece together.
  2. 2
    Pin the pattern to your fleece fabric.
  3. 3
    Cut your circular piece of fleece with sharp fabric scissors. You can also use a self-healing mat and a rotary cutter.
  4. 4
    Cut through the pattern paper and into the fleece where the arm holes should be. It may be easier to use a rotary cutter for this step.

Method 3
Binding your Edges

  1. 1
    Buy ribbed knit binding at a craft store. You can choose binding that is in a contrasting or similar color to the fleece, depending upon your preference.
    • You can also make your own binding. Cut out long 3-inch (7.6-cm) wide pieces of ribbed knit. Make sure the ribbing runs perpendicular to the cut. Fold the knit along the width and iron it to crease the fabric. Fold the unfinished edges in toward the center crease on each side. Iron the folds again to create your strips of binding.
  2. 2
    Place the inside crease of the binding around the raw outside edges of the fleece circle. A 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) piece of binding should extend on either side of the fleece.
  3. 3
    Pin the binding onto the edges, so that they stay until they are sewn in place. When 1 piece of binding ends, overlap the binding with another piece and pin it in place.
  4. 4
    Sew a top stitch through the bottom edges of the binding. You can use a contrasting thread color or the same color as the binding.
  5. 5
    Measure 4 strips of binding so that they are 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) longer than the armhole measurement. Cut the strips.
  6. 6
    Unfold the bindings. Pin 2 of them together with the right sides inwards.
  7. 7
    Measure and draw a 1.25 inch (3.2 cm) line through the center crease at each end. Sew a 1/16 inch (0.16 cm) stitch in a rectangle around the line you have just drawn on both sides. Make sure you sew through both pieces of binding.
    • Repeat with the second set of bindings to make your other arm binding. These sewn sections will help your bindings to stay flat and together on either side of the arm slits.
  8. 8
    Turn the armhole bindings right side out. They will remain stitched together on the edges so there is a continuous binding in the arm holes. Fold in the raw ends by 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) and press with an iron.
  9. 9
    Pin the 2 sides of the bindings inside the arm holes. Hand sew with an edge stitch around the perimeter of the binding to affix it to your fleece.
  10. 10
    Try on your fleece vest. When you place your arms through the arm holes, the top of the circle should fold down over the tops of your shoulders and make a lapel on your chest.


  • For a no-sew fleece vest, skip the binding and cut the edges of your circle with pinking shears.
  • If you can't find any low-cost fleece, buy a fleece blanket at a store or a thrift store and use it for this project.

Things You'll Need

  • Fleece
  • Fabric measuring tape
  • Compass
  • Fabric scissors/rotary cutter
  • Paper
  • Craft table
  • Calculator
  • Friend/helper
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Knit binding
  • Ruler

Article Info

Categories: Sewing