Sewing fleece, lining pants, shortening a zipper

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Sewing dilemmas usually have simple answers.

How do I finish fleece edges, both on clothing and on a double-layer blanket?

Fleece is one of the easiest fabrics to work with, as it doesn’t ravel. On garments, you can finish the edges by simply turning them under once and stitching, either with one or two needles. Another option is to add ribbing to the edge–like at cuffs, necklines or lower hems. Depending on the project, you can also simply cut slashes and make fringe. For a double-layer fleece blanket, a quick and easy finish is to fringe the edges and tie the two layers together in overhand or square knots.

How do I line pants that don’t call for it?

Cut the lining using the same front and back pattern pieces as you did for the pants themselves, eliminating any pockets. After constructing the pants and lining up to the point of the waistband, slide the lining into the pants wrong sides together and baste at the upper edge. Turn and finish the zipper area of the lining. Attach the waistband to the pants catching the lining in the seam. Hem the pant lining legs 1-2″ shorter than the actual pant leg and stitch a French tack to anchor the leg lining at the seamline. Hand tack the lining around the zipper area.

How do I shorten a zipper?

It’s easy to shorten most zippers–simply do so at the upper edge. Stitch the zipper in place first, extending the length into the upper seam allowance. After stitching, trim the excess zipper tape length 1/2″ above the desired finished length and clip off the extra teeth. On metal zippers, you can use pliers to remove the original stop and relocate it if desired. On molded plastic tooth zippers, simply hand stitch a bartack at the upper edge to keep the pull from sliding off, then finish the upper edge opening as the pattern recommends. If you prefer to shorten a placket zipper from the lower end, extend the tape beyond the opening, stitch across the tape/teeth several times, and trim the excess length after installation.