fleece fabric by the yard. facts about polyester fleece and its characteristics Facts About Fleece

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Let's see if The Fabric Diva can shed some light on the subject, All about fleece fabric. Fleece is used for no-sew tie blankets, scarves, clothing and crafts.

American company Malden Mills was the originator of "polar fleece." with a product known as Polartec. Pretty soon, everyone was referring to fleece fabric as "polar fleece." Next thing you know mills outside the US began adding polyester fleece fabric to their product line. Most people use the term "polar fleece" and "fleece fabric" interchangeably. Today you'll see a wide array of fleece fabric in many prints and patterns. The majority of polyester fleece (including all fleece fabric categories on our website) come from overseas.

Imported fleece fabric popularity soared with the creation of a project called a no-sew tie fleece blanket. Some folks call it a no sew fringe fleece blanket - either way The Fabric Diva's discount fleece fabric by the yard presents lots of options to make a quick and easy craft project.

 

 CLICK HERE for our no-sew tie fleece blanket video

 

Fleece is made from polyester, and is part of the stretch knit family of fabrics. Twisted yarns are knitted into fabric. Then a series of wire brushes rough up the surface and create the nap. Finally, the fabric is sheared. Keep reading down this page for more characteristics of this versatile man-made fabric.

Different fleece finishes:
Brushed finish: Most print fleece fabrics have a surface similar to felt. It seems reasonably flat and smooth. This is referred to as a brushed finish and is the most common finish on fleece. The design is visible on both sides; however there is a definite right side and wrong side. Some common names for brushed fleece are regular fleece, glacier fleece, and blizzard fleece; depending on the retailer.

 


Antipill finish: The design on the right side ("face") of the fleece is visibly crisper and clearer than the wrong side. The face is most always antipill as characterized by the plush sheared, short, nubby texture. Typically heavier in gram weight and more costly than brushed finish fleece. Some common names for antipill fleece are Anti pill fleece, premium fleece, and velour fleece; depending on the retailer.

Bottom line: If you're creating an heirloom, invest in the more expensive premium antipill fleece. Otherwise, most agree regular brushed fleece is just fine. Here at Fabric Diva we offer a wide array of choices so you can choose the fleece that is appropriate for your project. (The Fabric Diva is partial to the premium antipill fleece since it has a nice crisp design.) Does brushed fleece pill more than antipill fleece? Scroll further down this page to read about the old wive's tale about brushed fleece pilling.

Fleece width and fabric content: All fleece has a usable width of at least 56"wide; by the time you cut off the selvages. Actual width may be 58"-62". 100% Polyester.

Fleece weights:

At Fabric Diva, we refer to fabric weight in grams. The higher the gram number, the heavier the fabric is and the more it weighs per yard. One gram weighs .0353 ounces. There are approx. 450 grams per pound. The most common fleece produced by all manufacturers is medium weight. Typically referred to as "blanket weight."

Solid and print fleece on our website weigh between 310-380 grams (medium weight) unless specifically noted.

 

FLEECE TYPEAKA*GRAMS PER YARDOUNCES
lightweight/microfleece100200-2407 TO 8.5
medium/regular weight200320-38011 TO 13.5
heavy weight300400 & OVER14 TO 17


*AKA column refers to Polar Fleece weight classification from Malden Mills

Features of fleece:
Provides warmth without weight
Soft to the touch
Will not shrink, ravel or run
Water-resistant
Moisture wicking properties
Easy to work with

Fleece is made from polyester, and is part of the stretch knit family of fabrics. Twisted yarns are knitted into fabric. Then a series of wire brushes rough up the surface and create the nap. Finally, the fabric is sheared.

Which is the right side?
This is very easy to tell on fleece with a plush velour finish, brushed on wrong side and sheared on the right side, and fleece with printed words. But what about the rest of the fleece fabrics? Fleece is a knitted fabric, and has webbing on the non-cut edge called a "selvage". If you unroll the selvage, you will be looking at the right side, or face of the fabric. Now, pull along both selvages. The fabric will curl to the right side. Fleece is stretchier in one direction more than the other. If you stretch from the cut side to the other cut side, there will be more stretch. This is also known as the crossgrain, and the fleece will curl to the wrong side.

Different fleece finishes:
Brushed finish: Most print fleece fabrics have a surface similar to felt. It seems reasonably flat and smooth. This is referred to as a brushed finish and is the most common finish on fleece. The design is visible on both sides; however there is a definite right side and wrong side. (see above explanation) Some common names for brushed fleece are regular fleece, glacier fleece, and blizzard fleece; depending on the retailer.

 


Antipill finish: The design on the right side ("face") of the fleece is visibly crisper and clearer than the wrong side. The face is most always antipill as characterized by the plush sheared, short, nubby texture. Typically heavier in gram weight and more costly than brushed finish fleece. Some common names for antipill fleece are Anti pill fleece, premium fleece, and velour fleece; depending on the retailer.

Microfleece: Is slightly lighter in weight than regular fleece.

Microchamois: Though a type of fleece, microchamois is known for its chamois-like feel. It is extremely lightweight. Its buttery and soft texture make it a favorite for under garments, baby blankets and diaper liners.

Berber: Short curled fibers with a nubby appearance. One sided with a flat knit backing. Commonly used for pillows and throws.

Sherpa: A bumpy, curly texture which simulates lamb's wool. One sided with a flat knit backing. Commonly used for pet beds and jacket linings.

Did you know polarfleece* is a trademark name, not a product? Just like most people refer to window cleaner as Windex, it is a trademarked name. Yet people seem to use Windex to generically refer to any type of window cleaner. The term polar fleece has become the generic equivalent for fleece.

Anti-pill & is it important?
Bet you didn't know all fabrics pill. It's just more visible on fabrics with a nap. So why all the debate? When the fabric rubs against itself, it creates little balls of fiber on the fabric. This is called "pilling."
The fleeces of yesteryear were notorious for unattractive little balls clinging everywhere. Remember having a fuzz buster?
Recent achievements in technology have produced a more pill-resistant fleece than just 5 years ago. Fleece is a synthetic fiber and is more likely to pill than a natural fabric such as cotton. Brushed fleece will probably pill more than an antipill fleece.
Bottom line: If you're creating an heirloom, invest in the more expensive premium velour antipill fleece. Otherwise, most agree regular brushed fleece is just fine. Here at Fabric Diva we offer a wide array of choices so you can choose the fleece that is appropriate for your project. (The Fabric Diva is partial to the premium antipill fleece since it has a nice crisp design.)

Sewing with fleece:
Just like sweatshirt fabric or stretch kits, longer stitches work best. 7-9 stitches per inch (3mm - 3.5mm) is suggested. Still puckering? Lessen your presser foot setting. Or try a walking foot or roller foot. These also may eliminate layer shifting. Always use the "with nap" yardage requirements on the pattern envelope for your fleece projects. Needle recommendations for 2 layers of fleece:
Lightweight (microfleece) 70/10 or 75/11
Regular weight 80/12 or 90/14
Fleece is a knitted fabric, so use a universal, ballpoint or stretch needle.

Laundry tips for fleece:
NO...NO...NO...
Fabric softener or dryer sheets when laundering (diminishes the water-repellant properties)
Bleach
Ironing
Wash in warm water with other fleece items; not harsh surface items such as towels, or jeans.


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