Fleece is a man-made fabric created from polyester fibers that has many advantages, making it a very popular option for clothing, blankets and other uses. While there were initially a few disadvantages, modifications over the last several years have eliminated most of them, making it more desirable than wool for some applications.
Fleece fabric is used to make blankets and throws and is often sewn into workout clothes, outdoor clothing, sweatshirts/hoodies, jackets, hats, scarves, and other functional and fashionable attire.
Fleece is a woolen-type fabric made from synthetic fibers, usually 100 percent polyester, although it can also be combined with natural fibers such as wool and cotton or other man-made materials including spandex or rayon. Some fleece fabrics are treated with chemicals to make them waterproof, or Teflon, as well.
Utilizing advanced technology, polyester fibers are created from terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol (both made from petroleum) or from recycled plastic soda bottles. The 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.
There are a number of significant advantages to using fleece fabric. It is easy to sew and launders well. It is machine washable and dries quickly because of its construction and is therefore also water repellent. For this reason, it also wicks moisture away from the body, making it appealing for outdoor and athletic wear. The fabric itself is lightweight, soft, very comfortable and extremely warm. It is available in many colors, patterns and prints. Fleece is an excellent alternative fabric for anyone allergic to wool. And it may be considered earth friendly since some fleece fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles.
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.