If you've ever read the product details of your sportswear, you may have prolly come across the phrase "fleece-lined" and may have wondered what is fleece-lined and why is it used in sportswear.
What is fleece and its history?
Fleece is a warm fabric with excellent insulation, perfect for cold weather. It comes in various materials. Despite its name, fleece is mostly made of polyester but can also use cotton, hemp, or rayon fibers. This breathable and durable fabric is a cost-effective alternative to wool.
The parent company "Malden Mills" created synthetic fleece, known as "Polarfleece," in 1981, anticipating the decline of woolen workmen's sweaters. Its owner, Aaron Feuerstein, registered the fabric with a patent under "Polartec Climate Control Fabrics," later hailed by Time Magazine as one of the "20th Century's Greatest Inventions," revolutionizing outdoor clothing.
Fleece fabric is typically composed of polyester, occasionally blended with other fibers for texture and color. It's a favored choice for indoor and outdoor materials, known for its comfort and lightweight warmth. In addition to traditional production, fleece can now be made from recycled plastic, involving the transformation of liquefied plastic into thread through a spinneret.
How is polyester fleece made?
To produce polyester fleece, polyester fibers are created through a chemical process using petroleum and its derivatives. These fibers are then spun into threads, resulting in a warm and breathable fabric that facilitates easy airflow due to its unique structure. It is brushed to increase volume. Some fleece incorporates natural fibers like wool, hemp, or rayon, and it can also be made from recycled plastics, making it eco-friendly and affordable.
What is fleece used for?
Fleece is known for its versatility and is commonly used for warm clothing. It's an excellent choice for various garments, including jackets, hats, scarves, and sportswear, thanks to its insulating properties and breathability. Fleece offers a lighter alternative to wool without compromising on warmth.
What are the advantages of the fleece fabric?
Since the advent of fleece, it has become a popular choice among clothing companies, especially for sportswear given these several advantages:
It's cozy and gives the warmth you need.
If you love exercising or taking an adventure in the outdoors, you've got to wear heat-trapping layers that let moisture out so that you feel warm and comfortable throughout your activity.
Fleece fabric, like wool, is celebrated for its warmth and insulation, with a pile surface on both sides that traps heat, making it particularly popular in cold regions.
Fleece fabrics are highly moisture-resistant, making them a preferred choice for outdoor and damp conditions. They also dry quickly when wet, adding to their appeal.
It's lightweight and durable.
For those valuing comfort, fleece fabric is ideal. It provides warmth, durability, and a lightweight feel, ensuring you can move freely without feeling weighed down. Additionally, it resists pilling and fraying, ensuring long-lasting use if you follow the care instructions. Moreover, fleece doesn't wrinkle.
What are the different kinds of fleece?
Like the colors of the rainbow, fleece comes in several types.
Polar fleece is the preferred choice for many due to its affordability, softness, and thickness compared to microfleece. It offers excellent insulation, heat retention, and moisture resistance, making it perfect for winter garments like blankets and vests.
Microfiber fleece, also known as Micro fleece, is a lightweight and soft fabric, commonly used in lining waterproof garments, children's wear, sportswear, and nightwear. The plush texture and synthetic fibers make it an excellent choice for crafting cozy and low-maintenance garments, with the classification of microfleece indicating a weight of less than 200 grams per square meter.
This double-sided fleece, with a soft, non-pilling surface that has a fluffy texture, is mainly used for outdoor applications due to its excellent insulation properties.
Cotton and Rayon Fleece
Fleeces with cotton or rayon blends are soft, smooth, and highly breathable.
This natural fleece with a cotton blend is fluffy, featuring a deep pile on one side and a smooth texture on the other.
Sherpa Fleece Fabric
This thicker fleece has a textured, raised pile with longer fibers than other types. It's commonly used for warm winter jackets, coats, and blankets and can be made from cotton, wool, polyester, acrylic, or blends of these materials.
Merino Wool Fleece
Made from merino sheep's wool, this natural fabric is soft, fluffy, and warm.
Bamboo fleece, crafted from bamboo pulp, is an eco-friendly fabric known for its softness, breathability, absorbency, suitability for sensitive skin, and odor resistance.
Double-sided fleece is an exceptionally warm and soft fabric with napped, plush surfaces on both sides, unlike other fleeces that usually have a nap on just one side.
French Terry Fleece
French terry fleece is a lightweight knit fabric with a looped underside and smooth exterior, making it perfect for sportswear.
What are the qualities of a good fleece?
While various fleece types are available, it's crucial to select the highest quality, and here are some tips to assist you.
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Thickness or Denier
Consider the thickness and weight of your fleece. Heavier options offer superior warmth but often come at a higher cost.
Pilling and Recovery
Quality fleece has minimal pilling. Rub it during purchase to check for tiny surface balls. Check that the fabric quickly recovers its shape after stretching for the best quality.
What's the best way to take care of fleece-lined sportswear?
You can usually machine wash fleece, but check the care label first.
Use cold water temperature.
Your fleece-lined sportswear need not be dry-cleaned. It's best to use cold water with the machine set in delicate mode when washing fleece-lined clothing.
Wash separately from other fabrics.
Avoid washing fleece with dark-colored clothes because it can be challenging to remove lint.
Hang to air dry.
Air dry fleece fabrics instead of using a dryer since fleece is heat-sensitive. Moreover, by hanging out in the air to dry, you help maintain the fluffiness the fleece fabric is known for.
Avoid fabric softeners and bleach.
Avoid using fabric softener on fleece, as it can harm the soft, fluffy texture.
Fleece-Lined Sportswear for the Winter Chills
Work out boldly with the winter temps in any of Baleaf's fleece-lined leggings and thermal tops. Our awesome collections give you the upper hand to combat the freezing season in style while staying cozy, warm, and fashionable.