Fleece is a soft, warm, and fuzzy synthetic fabric made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or, in some cases, other synthetic fibres. Fleece is often misidentified as being made from sheep due to its name being similar to that of the fur coat of a sheep; however, it is actually entirely man-made.
Fleece is made by heating petroleum or petroleum derivatives until they form a thick syrup-like texture that hardens and is spun into threads. These fine polyester fibres are then woven into a light fabric and brushed out to form what is known as fleece.
However, not all fleece is entirely made of synthetic materials. Natural or recycled fibres are occasionally woven into fleece to produce various blends of fleece fabrics – all with distinct textures and properties. Some of these fibres include cotton, hemp, recycled PET plastic, and other animal or plant-based fibres.
Fleece is a versatile fabric with distinct properties and is also simple to work with, making it a popular garment choice.
Properties of Fleece
Fleece has been around for decades and is still one of the most popular fabrics available today, in part due to its amazing properties. Here are 10 of its best properties listed out!
1. Wear-resistant (durable)
2. Soft and comfortable to wear
4. Highly breathable fabric
5. Does not fray or unravel
6. Known to be odour-resistant
9. Dries quickly
10. Able to retain its insulating properties even when wet
FUN FACT: Fleece, like tencel, hemp, and organic cotton, is commonly regarded as a “vegan alternative” to wool fabric.
Types of Fleece
Fleece comes in a variety of types, each with its own set of characteristics and use cases, so knowing them ahead of time can help you choose the right one for you! Here are the 4 most common types of fleece.
Microfleece is the lightest, thinnest, and most popular type of fleece. It wicks away moisture and has a soft, plush texture that is gentle on the skin. When compared to other types of fleece, microfleece ranks last in heat insulation but first in breathability, which makes it the best type of fleece for high-output activities in mild weather.
Commonly used for: Light outdoor clothing and performance apparel
2. Cotton and Cotton Blend Fleece
Cotton and cotton blend fleece, like microfleece, are also popular types of fleece. Cotton fleece, as the name suggests, is made of cotton, whereas cotton blend fleece is made of a blend of cotton and other fibres. They are typically smooth on the outside and plush on the inside, making them an extremely comfortable piece of fabric. They are also more porous and tend to lose heat faster than other types of fleece fabric.
Commonly used for: Gym clothes, like t-shirts, sweatpants, and shorts
3. Polar Fleece
Polar fleece is regarded as one of the more economical types of fleece. It has two distinguishing characteristics: one, it does not allow moisture to evaporate easily, and two, it is available in a variety of colours. Polar fleece, while thicker than microfleece, is not as soft as the other types of fleece. It is, however, extremely effective at keeping one warm in cold weather.
Commonly used for: Blankets and winter clothes, such as jackets, coats, and mittens
4. Coral Fleece
Coral fleece and polar fleece are often confused with one another, despite the fact that they differ quite significantly. The main distinction between the two is that coral fleece is thicker and furrier than polar fleece. Coral fleece has a very soft texture, which, while preferred by many, contributes to it being more expensive than other types of fleece.
Commonly used for: Baby clothes and blankets
FUN FACT: Bamboo fleece (another type of fleece) is known as the more natural and eco-friendly fleece option than standard fleece as it has a higher bamboo to cotton ratio than standard fleece, which has a higher polyester fibre content.
The Different Weights of Fleece
The weight of the fleece is an important factor to consider when it comes to choosing the right fleece. This is because when fleece was first manufactured, the fabric was divided up by weight (grams per square meter), which has somehow persisted to the present day. So, based on that, here are the three main weight classifications of fleece:
|Weight (gsm)||<200||200 – 300||300>|
|Attribute(s)||Thinnest andmost flexible||Medium-level thickness and more versatile||Thickest and least flexible|
|Insulation to Heat||Low||Fair||High|
FUN FACT: Lightweight fleece is more popularly known as microfleece.
Caring for Your Fleece
It is just as important to know how to care for your fleece as it is to know how to choose the right fleece. However, when it comes to caring for your fleece, there isn’t much to do or worry about, as fleece fabrics are extremely durable in nature.
Regardless, there are a few things you can do to extend the life of your favourite fleece garments and keep them in good condition. The main thing to remember when it comes to caring for your fleece is to avoid using excessive heat or chemicals, like fabric softeners, when you launder. It is, therefore, best to wash fleece garments on a cold, gentle cycle and leave them out to be air-dried.
As for fixing up pills, snags, or holes, simple DIY repair jobs, such as patching and simple stitching, would do the trick.
If your fleece becomes worn out, which it will at some point, do not throw it out; instead, try reconditioning it!
TIP: Avoid washing your fleece clothing, like custom hoodies, with clothes that have zippers or studs, as these can pull threads from your fleece clothing and cause snags. If you must do a mixed load, place your fleece garments in a mesh laundry bag before placing them in the washing machine for a wash cycle.
Customising Your Own Fleece Apparel
At Custom Prints & Apparel, we offer a wide range of high-quality apparel printing services, including the customisation of fleece apparel. So, if you’re looking to customise your own fleece garments, such as hoodies, look no further! Click here to explore our selection of custom hoodies and hoodie printing services.
By the way, fleece hoodies aren’t the only thing we have; we also have a great selection of colourful fleece pullovers that you can customise! What is a pullover? Click here to find out.