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Monday, January 13, 2014

Hammocks with a Fleece Border

Here is a fun trick I have been working on for dressing up certain types of hammocks: adding a fleece border to the open edges. This works extremely well for pocket hammocks, tunnel pockets, tubes, and double deckers. Not only does it look nice, but it cuts down slightly on the amount of cotton print that you will need, which sometimes comes in handy if you are just a little short. You do need a little extra fleece, but since fleece comes on a wider bolt than cotton, I usually have more fleece than cotton for any given hammock set.

It is really quite simple to modify some of the tutorials in our Tutorials for Common Rat Hammocks and Accessories to create this effect. First, you must decide how wide you want the border to be. I have experimented a bit and I like 1.5 inches per edge, and will use that measurement for the following tutorial.

Pocket Hammock

As an example, I will illustrate how to modify the pocket hammock so that the opening of the pocket has a 1.5" fleece border on both sides.

The pocket flat calls for one piece of cotton and one piece of fleece to be cut in a 15" x 33" rectangle. Because we want a fleece border of 1.5" on each end, our cotton piece can be cut 3" shorter (1.5" x 2 edges = 3" shorter). This means we cut the cotton piece 15" x 30". Since we lost 3" of our cotton, we need to get that length back from the fleece. So we increase the fleece length in the tutorial by 3", to make a 15" x 36" rectangle. Note that the fleece piece will be 6" longer than the cotton piece.

Once the fabric is cut to size, the tutorial calls for pinning the cotton to the fleece, right sides together, along the two short ends only. Because we are now working with fabric pieces of different lengths, I recommend doing this one end at a time. So, line up the cotton and the fleece, right sides together, along one of the 15" sides. Pin the edge and sew, trimming the seam allowance and the excess thread.

Now, reposition the fabric pieces so that the other 15" edge is lined up. Pin that edge, and sew. Trim the seam allowance and the excess thread.

Once both ends have been sewn together, turn the fabric right side out. Adjust the edges until each end has the same size fleece border (1.5" in this case). Pin the fold to hold the fold in place and top stitch along the edge of the fleece on both sides. I also top stitch along the cotton edge near the seam attaching it to the fleece.

At this point, you follow the rest of the tutorial to complete the hammock. You should get something that looks like this:

Pocket Hammock with Fleece Borders

Tunnel Pocket

You can also modify the tunnel pocket so that the "blanket" on top of the hammock has fleece borders. To do this, instead of cutting the blanket piece to 15" x 10", you should cut it 15" x 7" (assuming a 1.5" border). You should cut the fleece piece to 15" x 13" (again, 6" longer than the cotton piece). Sew the 15"-long edges of the blanket, cotton to fleece, in the same manner as described above for the pocket hammock. To highlight the fleece border, I like to use a different color fleece than the fleece used on the bottom piece.

Tunnel Pocket Hammock with Fleece Borders

Double Decker

Likewise, the double decker can be modified as follows (for a 1.5" border at each opening): Instead of cutting the cotton piece to 13" x 20", cut it 10" x 20". The fleece should be cut 16" x 20". The 20" edges should be sewn together in the same manner as for the pocket hammock.

Double Decker with Fleece Borders


Finally, the tube can also be created with a fleece border. If using the dimensions provided in the tutorial, instead of cutting the cotton piece to 16" x 19", cut it 16" x 16" (for a 1.5" border). (This makes an 18" tube. If you are making a tube of a different length, cut the cotton length 3" shorter than you normally would cut it.) Cut the fleece piece to 16" x 22" (or 6" longer than you cut the cotton piece). Sew the fleece and cotton together along the 16" sides (where the tube opening will be) in the same manner as described above.

Tube with Fleece Borders

I really like the way that this technique will bring out the fleece color in some hammock styles where you wouldn't normally see much of the fleece, such as the pocket hammock. I find this effect to be more visually pleasing and it gives the hammock a warm snuggly appeal.

I am working on adding the instructions for this technique to the Tutorials for Common Rat Hammocks and Accessories, along with adding instructions for a corner hut (like a cube, but made for hanging in cage corners) and instructions for the U-Haul furniture pad liners as described in a previous blog post. I will post when the updated document is available.

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