What is Fleece

The term “fleece” was originally associated with wool. It originally referred to a sheep’s woolen coat, especially right after it had been sheared. Modern fleece however rarely has anything to do with wool or sheep. Instead modern fleece is typically completely man-made. It is usually made out of polyester; however, it can even be made out of recycled materials like plastic bottles. This often makes it very popular in environmentally conscious circles. Fleece was originally created by Malden Mills based in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in the 1970s. It was developed as a wool alternative for the outdoor apparel industry. In 1980 further research and development took place and Malden began producing polyester fleece under its trade-mark PolarTec and Polar Fleece. These brands comprise most of the polyester fleece that are sold today. By using advanced technology, polyester fibers are created from terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol (both made from petroleum) or from recycled plastic soda bottles. These fibers are twisted into yarn, which is woven or knit into fabric. The surface of the fabric is then brushed with wire brushes before it is trimmed (or sheared) to the desired length and finished. This cloth is often preferred over wool because it is usually softer. It is also usually also lighter in weight. Some people may find themselves becoming itchy when they wear wool, but do not usually have such a reaction to wearing garments made from this man-made type of textile. Fleece fabric is available in several finishes or textures. Berber fleece is a flecked multicolored fabric with a soft nubby surface. Sherpa and Shearling look like lamb’s wool because the surface nap has been curled. Plush fleece is smooth because all the fibers have been trimmed evenly. Blankets and throws are also commonly made from fleece fabric. This is because the material is not only lightweight but warm as well. This can make it a good choice when people are traveling or attending outdoor activities, such as football games. In addition to being used for blankets and active wear, it is also desirable for cold weather clothing. This can include jackets, gloves, hats, and scarves. This cloth normally has a short pile to it, which tends to increase body temperature when placed near the skin. It can be easy to make items with fleece fabric. This can usually be done with a home sewing machine. It is generally easy to cut with a pair of household sewing shears. This fabric is available in a variety of prints and colors, so making an item to suit almost any taste or style can be accomplished fairly simply. Advantages of Fleece:

  • Lightweight and less bulky than wool
  • Dries quickly
  • Stays warm even when wet
  • Comfortable and a suitable alternative for wool allergy sufferers

Disadvantages of Fleece:

  • Unsuitable to be worn around an open fire because of its synthetic fibres
  • It does not neutralize body odour as well as wool.

 

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