Tips for Sewing French Terry Fabric

French Terry is a great fabric to sew and wear, and it comes in many weights and fibers. Learn how to sew and care for French Terry fabric.

One of my favorite fabrics to sew and wear is French Terry. When I first heard about it years ago, I thought everyone was talking about the fabric used for napkins. Now that I know more and have used lots of different kinds, I can teach you tips for sewing French Terry!

Tips for Sewing French Terry Fabric

What is French Terry?

fleece details

French Terry is a knitted fabric and not a woven fabric. The front of the fabric is a single knit jersey. The back of the fabric has many loops throughout the fabric. The loops are really effective at trapping warm air close to your skin and keeping you warm.

French Terry is an ideal fabric for fall, winter and spring. The stretch makes it comfortable to wear and the loops along the back keep you warm.

The print is usually on the right side of the fabric, but sometimes it is on the loop side like the fabric underneath.

French Terry front and back

What is the difference between French Terry and Fleece?

The fleece is 100% polyester. Both sides are blurred and almost have a brushed look. It is very hot and retains heat.

Sweatshirt fleece can come in different blends and is often 100% cotton or 50% cotton/50% polyester. The front side is single jersey and the back side is brushed and plush.

French Terry or fleece

What is the difference between French Terry and Jersey?

Jersey is a knitted fabric made up of loops that go in and out of each other. The front features “V”s all over the front and “M”s all over the back. Jersey is a lightweight knitted fabric. It is most often used for knitted t-shirts and dresses.

Check out these tips for sewing jersey fabric

Tips for Sewing French Terry Fabric

What is the difference between French Terry and terry cloth?

Terry cloth is a non-stretch woven fabric with loops on both sides. It’s towel fabric and wouldn’t be that comfortable to wear. It is also a medium to heavy weight.

French Terry is a knitted fabric with loops on one side and smooth on the other side. It can be light or medium.

sewing French terry cloth

How to wash French Terry?

Follow fabric care instructions. I like to wash my fabric like I would wash it after wearing it. To test my fabric, I usually cut two four-inch by four-inch pieces of fabric. I wash and dry one, then compare it to the original. If I like the result, I will wash and dry the fabric before sewing it.

terry cloth cardigan

Sewing French Terry fabric

French Terry can be light or heavy. Depending on the weight of the French Terry I use, I treat it as a lightweight knit or a heavy knit. I use these techniques to sew knitwear. I also like these tips for overlock a thick knit.

  • Use a ballpoint sewing machine needle
  • Use a stretch stitch
  • Do not push or pull the fabric when sewing
sewing French terry cloth

The only downside to sewing French Terry fabric is that it is difficult to rip the seams. You don’t want to tear any of the back loops, but it’s really hard to see your stitches. Really try not to make mistakes so you don’t have to uncheck them.

terry cloth weight

Patterns for French Terry

I love using French Terry for warm, cozy clothing, earmuffs, or cozy hats. Here are some of the designs I like to sew with French Terry fabric:

sewing French terry cloth

Where to buy French Terry

There are different types of French Terry that I really like to use. I’ll link to each store and what I like to buy there:

  • Raspberry Creek Fabrics – French Terry in cotton spandex: this fabric has the best finish of all French Terry, but it does not have much drape. There are many prints to choose from and they are constantly changing.
  • – French Terry*: the widest range of different types of French Terry in one place. My favorite is Telio brand or rayon from bamboo.
  • APC Fabrics – The selection is constantly changing, but the cardigan I made for this post is from here. It’s a thick 100% cotton and has a nice drape.
sew a fleece cardigan

If you make anything using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and identify me!

sew French Terry fabric

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