How to Make a Fleece Shawl

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Fleece is a miracle fabric: It's a polyester fabric with a soft, felt-like finish that's lightweight, yet warm. The edges don't fray or unravel when cut, and you can opt for no-sew, easy fringe edging or a simple whip-stitched finish with contrasting or matching thread. Fleece is so user-friendly that anyone can make clothes and throws. It's also economical, which gives you even more choices for patterns and colors to match your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Spread the fleece on a large, smooth, flat surface. You can make a rectangular shawl or a triangular one. For either style, you'll need at least 60 inches by 30 inches of fleece. Use the measuring tape to square the piece -- all corners should be 90 degrees and the edges should be straight, not tapered. For a triangular shawl, fold the squared fleece in half to form a 30-inch square. Cut on the free edge -- not on the folded edge -- from corner to corner to make the triangle.

To finish the rectangular shawl, measure 4 inches up from each short edge. Mark with chalk. Cut 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch wide strips to make fringe. Brush off the tailor's chalk. Leave the long edges plain or sew a whip-stitch border by hand. To do a whip-stitch, bring the needle from the back to the front and "whip" it over the edge, bringing the needle through again from back to front. Keep the holes about 1/2-inch apart. At the end of the raw edge, tie a knot in the thread and clip the excess away.

To finish the triangular shawl, whip-stitch it all the way around or whip-stitch the one long edge and fringe on the two short edges. Or, attach a silk tassel to each point, which goes well with the whip-stitch finish, especially if the thread matches or complements the tassel color. To attach the tassels, thread the top loop through a large needle and pass the needle through the fleece about 1/2-inch away from each point. Remove the needle and feed the tassel through its loop and pull tight to secure.

Tips

If you don't have sharp scissors, you can use a cutting wheel -- similar to a pizza cutter -- and a special cutting board.

If you whip-stitch the shawl edges, you can use either matching thread or heavy, contrasting thread.

Warnings

A cutting wheel is basically a round razor blade. Make sure your work area is well lit so you can see what you're doing.

If you use a cutting wheel, make sure to use a special, self-repairing cutting board as a base. If you use the cutting wheel on a bare table or surface, it will be cut and even ruined.

Make sure your scissors are sharp. Fleece is fuzzy and can get caught in scissors if they're dull.

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