Different Types of Fleece: Blizzard vs Anti-pill vs Polar

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.

What is Fleece


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.

What kind of Fabric is Fleece

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.

Different Types of Fleece

There are about 8 common fleece fabrics. Each one has its own purpose and use. Here is a list of those varieties:

  • 1. Cotton and cotton blend fleece - this style is used for gym wear like sweatpants and it is known by its smooth exterior and its plush interior nap.
  • 2. Polyester fleece - this variety carries the same smooth and plush look and feel as cotton fleece but it is a little better than that fabric option. Polyester fleece repels water better and has a shiny look to it.
  • 3. Lycra spandex fleece - is a blend of lycra spandex and cotton. Its purpose is to help performers stretch better by having their costumes stretch better. It is also used in women’s and children’s clothing
  • 4. Micro Fleece - is thin, soft and keeps that look and feel on both sides of the fabric. It is a lightweight material that helps keep moisture away from your body.
  • 5. Polar fleece - is just like its name sounds. It is material that is made for cold weather clothing like jackets, blankets and more.
  • 6. French terry fleece - this style is not as nice as polyester fleece as it is not brushed on either side. The fabric lies flatter and has no fluff to it.
  • 7. Slub fleece - comes from two different types of yarn that are woven together. Once that is done the slub fleece has a textured look to it.
  • 8. Sherpa fleece - is meant for cold weather. Its place is usually inside clothing to help keep you nice and warm. The fabric is made from polyester only and resembles the look of real wool fleece.

Blizzard Fleece vs Anti-Pill Fleece


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.

Blizzard Fleece vs Polar Fleece

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.

Polar Fleece vs Plush Fleece


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.

Fleece vs Micro Fleece

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.

How to Choose Fleece

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.

  • 1. Do I really need it - some fleece, both organic and non-organic, can be quite expensive. You need to justify the cost and if it is too much maybe you should pass.
  • 2. What will I use the fleece for - the purpose of the fleece will determine if you buy it or not. Some fleece works well for no-sew projects while others don’t. Know what you want it to avoid buying the wrong fabric.
  • 3. The quality of the fleece - you need to be careful as every once in a while a manufacturer or store will try to slip some non-quality fleece fabric disguised as quality fabric. Check the quality to make sure the fabric will hold up for your purpose.
  • 4. the color of the fleece - does the fabric come in a design and color you like and will not embarrass your children when their friend see it.
  • 5. is the fabric durable - you will want to make sure the fleece will last you or your family a long time. Get the strongest version that fits your purpose.

Tips for Sewing Fleece

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:

  • 1. The stitch needs to be long - a short stitch may cause the fabric to stretch. You want to use about 8 to 10 stitches per inch.
  • 2. Cut the nap right - you want it to run in the same direction no matter how many pieces you cut and sew together. Keep the direction of the nap one way.
  • 3. Avoid heavy decorative touches - the weight of those buttons, etc., will cause the fleece to sag, etc. Also, fleece is not good for rivets, snaps or studs.
  • 4. Decorative stitching is the ticket - since the above does not work decorative thread will replace it with ease and without causing you problems.
  • 5. Keep the fabric streamlined - grading seam allowance is a good technique to get rid of bulk. Don’t confuse being warm with having to have bulk.
  • 6. Always use sharp knives, scissors, and so on - to get a clean crisp cut, make sure your cutting tools are always sharp.
  • 7. Don’t iron - high heat will ruin your project if you are not careful. Your iron gets hotter than your washer or dryer so don’t iron your fleece items.
  • 8. Match your thread to your fabric - since a majority of fleece fabric is made from plastic, you should use polyester thread and not cotton thread.

Some Final Words

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.

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