Fleece is one of the most popular fabrics globally. Fleece is soft, warm and attractive, retains its shape and doesn't change color as it ages. But all fleece is not the same. Fleece can be divided into two big buckets - natural fleece and synthetic fleece.
- Cotton fleece. The most commonly used fleece for sweatpants and sweatshirts, fleeces made from cotton or cotton blends have a smooth outer surface and a plush inner nap. Fleece can be made from conventional or organic cotton.
- Lycra spandex fleece. Lycra spandex fleece comprises a majority cotton with a small percentage of Lycra spandex to create a stretchy fabric. It’s popular both for fitted garments and for performance fleece.
- Bamboo and hemp fleece. This is a soft adsorbent fabric suitable for children's clothing, diapers, blankets, etc. It's usually made of 70% bamboo or hemp rayon and 30% cotton.
- Polyester fleece. Polyester fleece garments have become increasingly popular. Like cotton or cotton blend fleece, polyester fleece is smooth on the outside and plush on the inside. The polyester itself is derived from the petroleum products known as terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. Polyester fleece differs from cotton fleeces in that its smooth side has a shiny appearance, and it does a better job of repelling moisture.
- Microfleece. Microfleece is a double-sided fleece that is thin and soft. Because it’s lightweight and does an excellent job of wicking moisture away from the body, microfleece is a popular choice for performance garments.
- Polar fleece. Polar fleece is much thicker and warmer than microfleece. It’s popular for blankets and jackets in colder climates.
- Slub fleece. Slub fleece is knit from two different sized yarns twisted together. The result is a fabric with a textured look. Usually a blend of (more) polyester and (less) cotton.
- Sherpa fleece. Sherpa fleece is 100 percent polyester and very fluffy. It’s meant to mock the look of wool fleece, and it’s commonly used to line garments for added warmth.
Most items made from fleece are made from polyester fleece. A significant minority of that polyester fleece is made from recycled plastic bottles, making it a bit more environmentally friendly. Polyester is, on the whole, bad for the environment, and fleeces even more so because they don't really decompose. They break down into smaller and smaller pieces that end up in the ocean and inside the food we eat. Polyester manufacture involves use of many toxic chemicals that pollute the environment or leave residues that can be adsorbed our skin. For more information on fleece pollution check out this initiative that Patagonia has been running for a few years.
Even though cotton is not always ideal for all uses and has its own environmental issues, it is the preferred choice at My Moppet Shop. We feel that it's the healthiest choice for ourselves and for our planet