Contrary to the name, fleece is a good fabric to wear and it is not cold as a blizzard. In fact, the fleece fabric can be quite warming, as it is used to make varieties of plaid shirts for winter use. Also, fleece can be very soft to the touch when made the right way.
Fleece can be made from a variety of sources. There is cotton, polyester, micro, sherpa, french Terra and other varieties. Those options can be subdivided further into the categories of blizzard, anti-pill and so on.
To learn all about fleece, its origins, its different styles and so on, all you have to do is continue to read our article. Exploring the world of fleece opens up whole new fabric worlds and should give you some great sewing ideas.
Before we get started a little history of the fabric is in order. Natural or organic fleece has been around since sheep first came into existence. It is what the sheep’s wool is often called before it is sheared and turned into usable fabrics you can sew with.
Unnatural or non-organic fleece is generally made from polyester fibers that come from plastics. The first step in making man-made fleece is to take the plastic and put it through a process turning it into thread.
The thread is then woven together and brushed till it gets a nice fluffy characteristic. Once that is done the fleece is turned into fabric, sold as thread and so on. This is just one man-made process as fleece can be made from different sources including spandex, lycra, yarn and so on.
Its main quality is that it can be a very warm fabric to wear and it really helps keep the cold out when winter comes.
Fleece is both organic and non-organic fabric that is usually used for cold-weather clothing and blankets. It can be used to replace plaid on plaid shirts because it can be a tough material as well.
It is an easy fabric to sew as it is soft and pliable. It is not like leather which can be very stiff and hard. Also, fleece is an eco-friendly fabric helping to use plastic materials before they make it into the oceans.
Or the fabric can be made from recyclable plastics which help clean up the plastic problem the world has been facing for the past few decades. What that means is that fleece is a very versatile fabric that has a variety of sources from which it can be made.
Organic fleece is also a renewable fabric as the sheep regrow their wool and can be sheared often over their life span.
There are about 8 common fleece fabrics. Each one has its own purpose and use. Here is a list of those varieties:
Blizzard style fleece is supposed to be a better grade quality than anti-pill fleece. It is supposed to be smoother than anti-pilll fleece making it a nice fabric to wear next to your skin.
Both are brushed to add the fluffy quality but anti-pill is designed to do exactly what its name says- it does not pill as much as Blizzard fleece if it pills at all. The anti-pill version can come in sizes up to 85 inches wide and is used primarily for blankets.
The Blizzard fleece’s claim to fame is that it is the more inexpensive version of polar fleece. You can save some money by using that fabric to line your clothes than if you used polar fleece.
But if washing and drying results are very important to you then you would want to use anti-pill fleece as it does not bunch up as Blizzard fleece can. Both fabrics are very washable and durable so you are not losing anything here.
At the end, which fleece fabric you use will be up to your project and preferences.
Polar fleece has more versatility as it has a wide range of uses. It works in hats, sweaters, gym clothes, blankets, and many more clothing items. This style of fleece is often made from recyclable material and is made to be very soft and easy to clean.
Polar fleece got its start in 1979 and was designed to mimic real fleece from sheep. It can be very lightweight, soft and very warm. Blizzard fleece is the cheaper version of Polar thus it should and does have some of the same qualities as its more expensive counterpart.
It is good for no-sew projects, bathrobes, sweaters and like Polar fleece it should come in pill and no pill options. Both types of fleece are soft and help resist water so you can’t lose if you take one over the other. Your decision on which one to use may boil down to how much you want to spend at the time.
Plush fleece is probably one of the thicker fleece fabric options out there. It can be known as coral fleece and it is well known for its 3mm thick plush design on both sides of the fabric.
One of its drawbacks is that it is not a good fabric for no-sew projects. It is also not a cheap option coming in some stores around $12 per yard. Polar fleece is about 1/3 the cost and you can get it for around $4.00 per yard in some stores.
Both do a great job lining coats, robes and so on. The difference between the two may be in their feel with the plush a lot softer and more cuddly than the polar. Polar fleece may beat plush when it comes to keeping the cold away from your body. Both are easy to keep clean.
Also, they should not be that hard to sew through, if you want to sew by hand. They are flexible materials so sewing with a sewing machine should not be that difficult either.
If we are talking about organic fleece versus micro-fleece then we are trying to compare natural wool with synthetic wool and the natural version will come out on top.
While some fleece is eco-friendly, using natural products is usually healthier, warmer and so on. One of the areas of life that micro-fleece beats organic fleece is in baby care. The former is used in diapers because of micro-fleeces ability to repel moisture.
Also, micro fleece’s softness makes it a popular fabric to use in women’s intimate products, at least the washable variety. Micro-fleece normally doe snot scratch the skin.
Another strength microfleece has is its thin design. It is usually brushed on both sides making it very soft no matter how you place it. Plus, it is lightweight so you do not feel weighed down when you wear articles of clothing made by this fleece option.
Then micro fleece is good for insulation when the weather has only turned cool and not cold.
While every variety of fleece has its own unique and individual characteristics, there are some general questions you can ask to help you choose the right fleece fabric for your sewing project.
Not everyone is an expert at sewing fleece. That is why it is always good to get a few tips to help you master the fabric and produce great fleece clothing or blankets:
You can’t go wrong if you turn to fleece fabric to help you stay warm all winter. This is a top fabric that is designed t handle cooler to cold weather with ease. The key is to get the right fleece fabric for your specific project.
Fleece is not hard to work with and if you follow the tips you should do okay. Just make sure you buy the right fleece for the purpose of your project.