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Demystifying the Different Types of Fleece Fabrics – All That Glitters Is Not Gold

Fleece garments effortlessly hold us under their spell. They are warm, soft, and snugly – they tick all the right boxes. But before buying that cushy fleece blanket for your child, it’s important to consider what it is made from. 

Fleece fabrics are not created equal. Some are as precious as gold while others are at the bottom of the barrel. This article will let you in on the different types of fleece fabrics available in the market.

Origin of the Fleece Fabric

The term ‘fleece’ refers to the woolen coat obtained after a sheep or goat is sheared. Fleece fabrics were invented as an attempt to mimic the plush warm coat donned by animals. 

Fleece fabrics are knit and then at least one side is brushed to loosen the fibers thereby creating a soft and cozy raised surface (a nap). 

Some fleece fabrics are smooth on the outside and fluffy on the inside while others are fluffy on both sides. The type of fleece fabric produced depends on the fabric used and the manufacturer.  

Debunking a Common Misconception About the Fleece Fabric

Before diving into the different types of fleece fabrics, we would like to pull the plug on a common misconception about fleece fabrics. 

Lots of people assume that fleece garments are solely made from polyester. Nothing could be further from the truth! It is the process involved in manufacturing the fabric that makes it fleece. Many types of fabrics can be turned into fleece.

Types of Fleece Fabrics

Fleece fabrics are made from an array of fibers and differ in plushness and thickness. They can either be natural or synthetic. 

1. Natural Fleece Fabrics

These fabrics can be derived from either animals or plants.

Animal Fleece

Animal fleece is made from wool. Wool is the textile fabric derived from the natural fibers in an animal’s fur. 

Plant Fleece

This is fabric made from fibers harvested from plants like cotton, bamboo, and hemp. 

2. Synthetic Fleece Fabrics

Synthetic Fleece is mainly made from polyester, a man-made fabric derived from petroleum products. 

Different Types of Fleece Fabrics

Here is a list of the most Common Fleece fabrics.

Polyester Fleece

This is the most common fleece fabric. It is a soft, plush, and warm fabric made from polyester. It is a double-sided pile fabric, with both the back and front of its surfaces bearing layers of cut fibers. 

Here are some of the traits that endear polyester fleece to manufacturers:

  • Very warm and ideal for outdoors and frigid weather
  • Soft
  • Moisture resistant
  • Dries fast
  • Durable

Cotton Fleece

Cotton fleece fabrics have a fuzzy inner nap and a smooth outer layer. Cotton fleece is commonly used to manufacture sweatpants, sweatshirts, and baby blankets. It’s no secret that we adore cotton at CastleWare Baby. We are always rooting for it because we know its goodness firsthand.

Here are some wonderful traits of cotton fleece fabrics:

  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Comfortable to wear

Micro Fleece

This is a very thin and light fleece fabric (hence the name ‘micro’) made from polyester. It readily repels moisture and is used to manufacture items like cloth nappies, cloth menstrual pads, and breast pads. 

French Terry Fleece

This is a mid-weight fabric with loops on one side and soft piles of yarn on the other. It is cozy, moisture-wicking (moves moisture from the skin), and very comfy to wear. It’s mostly made from 100% cotton or a blend of cotton with polyester, rayon, or lycra. It is often used to make sweatshirts and different types of loungewear. 

Lycra- Spandex Fleece

This is a stretchy fleece fabric mostly made from cotton and a tiny percentage of lycra spandex. It is mainly used in making performance wear due to its elasticity. 

Polar Fleece

This is a double-sided pile fleece fabric made from polyester. It is thicker and warmer than microfleece and is used to make winter jackets, jumpers, and blankets. 

Sherpa Fleece

View from above of girl holding cup wearing a natural colored sherpa fleece jacket

Sherpa fleece is a thick and snugly fabric made from polyester. It scoops the trophy for perfectly mimicking sheep’s wool. It is very warm and is often used to line garments for extra warmth. 

Final Thoughts

We cannot overemphasize the need to scrutinize every garment that you purchase, especially your baby’s garments. We trust that you are now well-armed to separate the wheat from the chaff where fleece garments are concerned. 

Having said that, we know that every baby deserves a fleece blanket. Our Organic Cotton Fleece Toddler Blanket is a safe bet for your child. It is gentle and toxic free, it wont wreak havoc on your baby’s tender skin. That's a promise.