This tutorial walks you through how to make a fleece neck gaiter.
I am a big fan of this easy-to-make winter accessory because it’s a quick and simple sewing project that can also be a fleece scrap buster.
Fleece neck gaiters are perfect to donate to a variety of organizations like homeless shelters or domestic abuse shelters. They are not only useful but also light and compact.
What’s Special About A Fleece Neck Gaiter?
I have been a long-time fan of neck warmers for outside activities like skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating.
I wasn’t always a fan of long scarves because the seemed time consuming (and sometimes even frustrating).
So pulling a fleece tube over my head seemed to be the perfect solution.
Then, a friend recently reminded me of a quote from Alfred Wainwright, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing,” and it got me thinking about how such a simple item could make a world of difference to a lot of people.
Fleece neck gaiters are also a great service project because they can be very inexpensive.
They don’t require a lot of fabric and since stores like JoAnn regularly have deep sales on a variety of patterns and colors you can buy a lot of fleece without spending a lot of money.
In fact, if you shop the remnants bin at JoAnn’s, you can find some amazing deals on fleece.
You can even find some fleece from some of local area professional sports teams at bargain prices.
This fleece accessory is also versatile because it can be used as both a neck warmer, a hat (without a closure) in a pinch, or even something soft to put on top of a makeshift pillow.
DIY Fleece Neck Gaiter For Adults & Kids
If you’re new to sewing with fleece, when you first look at how to make a neck gaiter, it may seem a little daunting.
You will only have to sew a couple of seams (at most) to make this piece.
You have probably also heard that fleece has a good bit of stretch to it and may not behave as well as woven cotton.
It may take a little time to get used to fleece, but it will do just fine with the right stitch type (more on that later).
Plus, neck gaiters are a very forgiving first-time project with this soft, stretchy fabric.
Materials Needed for Fleece Neck Warmer
The materials you need for a fleece neck gaiter are super simple.
– 20″ x 20″ piece of fleece (for adults) and 18″ x 18″ (for kids ages 6 – 12)
When selecting fleece fabric for a neck warmer, any fleece will do, really.
You can use a patterned fleece to add a little flair or go with a standard solid color if you want the gaiter to be versatile.
As I mentioned before, the remnants bin at places like JoAnn’s is a great place to find fleece for a neck gaiter. Make sure to shop the holiday sales because then the remnant is 50% off the SALE price.
I typically stock up on solid colors during the holidays because I can really stretch my dollar.
– Sewing machine
You’ll want a machine with a zigzag stitch. You can also make a fleece gaiter with a serger if you prefer.
– Cutting tools
You’ll need a rotary cutter and a mat, or scissors, and a ruler.
I prefer a rotary cutter because, for me, it’s more enjoyable to cut the fleece with a rotary blade than with scissors.
6 Simple Steps To Make A Neck Gaiter From Fluffy Fleece!
As with the chemo port pillow, the steps to make a neck gaiter are very straightforward so if you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to sewing, these steps will be a no-brainer.
A fleece neck gaiter is basically one big rectangle that you fold in half and sew together.
The way it’s sewn, however, does require a certain sequence to make sure the stretch of the fabric ends up in the right direction.
(Don’t ask me how I know…OK, OK, I’ll share. As you may have already guessed, the seam ripper and I were fast friends recently because I kept getting it backwards.)
Step 1: Cut the material to size.
I realize cutting the fleece doesn’t typically require explanation.
I wanted to mention, however, that you can always change the original dimensions to accommodate a specific size.
The fabric square I list above is for standard sizing, but if you’re making it for someone in particular, change the size accordingly.
Step 2: Fold the material in half and clip.
This first fold is important!
Fold the fleece right sides together and this first seam should be sewn in the direction of the stretch of the fabric.
I will stress, once again, that I recently learned this the hard way (even after having made a bunch of these only months ago).
As always, you should also double check the pattern direction of the fleece fabric. Fleece typically stretches in with the pattern (as you can see in the above photo).
Step 3: Sew the fleece together using zigzag stitch and 1/4″ seam allowance.
The neck gaiter will be stretched over a person’s head every time it’s worn.
So, you need to use a zigzag stitch instead of a straight stitch to ensure the stretch of the fabric and the seam have some give.
While fleece can be temperamental, a 1/4″ seam allowance works here because you’re using a zigzag stitch.
Even if the fleece pulls a little bit, you can easily see that both edges are caught in the stitches.
Step 4: Double up the fleece tube to form the neck warmer.
The first seam you sewed was to create a really long, single layer fleece tube.
The final neck warmer is a double layer, though.
So it’s time to double up. The easiest way to do this is this:
– stick your arm through the tube,
– grab the far edge,
– pull your arm through the tube and the edge with it until it meets the other edge.
Step 5: Clip raw edges together and sew using zigzag stitch and 1/4″ seam allowance.
Clip the raw edges together to prepare for sewing. Now that you’ve created the double-layered tube, the fabric and clips form a circle.
You can also use the clips to mark where you want to have your turning hole.
I typically use a lot of clips to make sure the fleece doesn’t get pulled in the wrong direction.
The spacing of the clips is also used to mark the turning hole which I typically place near the first seam.
This is best because when you finish the turning hold, all of the finished seams can be hidden on the inside of the neck warmer.
Even though everything is clipped properly, you want to make sure you start sewing in the right place so that the hole ends up where you want it.
To do this, start your second seam close to the first seam (like the above picture) as the beginning of the circle.
Step 6: Turn right sides out and finish.
Use the turning hole to turn the fleece neck gaiter right sides out.
Stitch the hole closed by hand using a ladder stitch, or use your sewing machine and 1/8″ seam allowance (pictured above).
It is faster and easier to machine stitch the hole closed, however, since you can hide that stitching on the inside of the neck warmer.
I like the call the above picture, “Seams at a crossroads” because it reminds me of highway bridges coming together.
I recommend starting the second seam close to the first seam so that this crossroads happens because now all you have to do to hide the is to turn the fleece neck gaiter ‘inside out’.
All of the seams will be hidden on the inside of the neck warmer.
Once you’ve turned the tube, the majority of the seams are on the inside of the neck gaiter. Now, you should only see one vertical seam on the outside.
Keep Warm This Winter With A Comfy Accessory
Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective.
This is definitely true of a fleece neck gaiter: the material is cost effective, it’s easy to make, and it will make a world of difference when the cold of winter takes hold.
Neck warmers are not only a thoughtful gift for family and friends, but they are a great option to donate to local shelters and organizations that supply winter gear to children at local schools.
Free Printable: Make A Fleece Neck Gaiter In Six Simple Steps
- One piece 20" x 20" fleece fabric (adult) or 18" x 18" (youth)
- Sewing machine
- Sewing clips
- Fold the fabric in half right sides together. The direction of the fabric is important. This first fold should be the edges that stretch.
- Sew edges together using zigzag stitch and 1/2" seam allowance. The zigzag stitch will allow the fabric to have the proper give when people pull it over their necks.
- Fold the tube in half with right sides of the fabric together, long edges touching, and clip.
- Now you will start creating the final shape. Fold the tube in half by tucking it toward the inside of the tube. You want the right sides of the fabric together and the edges of each end touching each other. Once you're finished with this step, you should be able to stick your hand through the inside of the tube and the wrong sides of the fabric should face outward.
- Clip all around the edges to prepare for sewing. Leave a 3" gap for turning.
- Sew the edges together around the whole circle. Leave a 3" turning hole.
- Push the fabric through the hole to turn it right sides out.
- Close the hole by hand using a ladder stitch or with a sewing machine. Since the the stitching can be hidden on the inside of the neck warmer, it's faster and easier to use a sewing machine.