Whether you're planning to sew your own fleece clothing or purchase a polar fleece jacket or accessory, knowing the differences between fleece fabrics can help you choose the fleece that is right for you. There are many different kinds of fleece on the market; you can easily find a fleece that fits your needs and price range.
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Fleece material comes in all different price ranges, and if you're looking for fleece at a bargain price you will probably pick up a fashion fleece at your local fabric store. Fashion fleece is a low quality fleece that is generally thinner, stiffer, and less durable than high quality fleece. Low quality fashion fleece will pill after several washes and can even stretch over time. Although fashion fleece can often be found in a variety of different colors and patterns with an attractive price of less than $12 per yard, spending just a little more money for your fleece will set you up with a more durable product. Examples of Fashion fleece clothing include very inexpensive patterned fleece blankets and scarves. Because Fashion fleece is inexpensive, it isn't as insulating as no-pill fleece, polar fleece, and wind blocking fleece.
If you're looking for a durable fleece material for sewing that can last through your outdoor adventures, purchase a fleece that has a non-pill finish. This higher quality type of fleece can generally be purchased for $12 to $20 per yard. The no-pill finish is only on one side of the fleece, so make sure to distinguish between the no-pill side of the fleece and the untreated side before sewing. If you can't differentiate the two sides, wash the piece of fabric two or three times before sewing. The treated side of the fabric will have no pills. Examples of no-pill fleece clothing include inexpensive zip-up jackets, hooded sweatshirts, and hats.
The most common type of fleece on the market, polar fleece, is made from polyester and other synthetic fabrics. Polar fleece is renowned for it's ability to insulate even after getting wet. Polar fleece is a quick-drying material that is typically used for insulating outdoor clothing. Some examples of polar fleece clothing include jackets, coat liners, pants and casual hats.
Wind Blocking Fleece
Wind blocking fleece is a unique type of fleece that is tightly woven to make it nearly impenetrable to wind and even water resistant. Wind blocking fleece is typically used for backpacking, mountaineering, and hiking clothing because of it's exceptional insulating ability. Examples of this outerwear include zip-up fleece jackets and fleece pants. Due to the wind blocking fleece's tight weave, someone wearing the fleece won't have to wear as many insulating layers as someone wearing polar fleece or Fashion fleece. Although this fleece fabric type is more expensive than the fashion, no-pill, and polar fleece, it is a great go-to material for the avid outdoor adventurer.