What is Fleece?

Ultra Fine Micro-Fleece Pullover

Ultra Fine Micro-Fleece Pullover

Fleece is a knit fabric with combed nap. The nap is composed of the small fibers that stand up from the fabric’s surface. Examples of fabrics with a nap are velvet and velour. If you run your hand along a piece of velvet in one direction, the nap will stand up. If you run your hand in the other direction, the nap will lie down. The fabric looks different, depending upon which way the nap is running in relation to your view of the fabric.

Fleece has a “combed nap” or a “brushed nap,” which is what gives it its soft, airy, comfy qualities. Here is how fleece is made:

  1. Fibers are spun into yarn. The fibers used could be synthetic or
  2. natural fibers. Wool fibers were used for the original fleece fabrics.
  3. The yarn is knitted into fabric.
  4. The fabric is brushed to make the nap stand up. The spaces within the nap form an insulating layer of air. (On wool-producing animals, such as sheep, the spaces between the hairs composing the coat or “fleece” keep the animals cool in the summer and warm in the winter.)

If you hold a fleece up to the light, you can see the knitted fabric under the nap.

Synthetic vs. Natural Fleece Fibers

Wool fleece can be quite heavy and also absorbs moisture. Synthetic materials do not absorb moisture, which means they retain their lightness during exercise, while helping wick moisture away from the skin. For this reason, fleece is used to create the most high-tech, performance-enhancing athletic apparel. Queensboro carries a wide variety of this type of apparel, including custom fleece jackets and vests. Especially popular are the microfiber fleeces, which are made from the thinnest of fibers, are lightweight and not bulky, and maintain the warmth and flexibility of much thicker fleeces.

Origin of the word “Fleeced”

When you talk about fleece, the notion of “getting fleeced” may come to mind. The term “fleeced” means “stripped of all money, like a sheep shorn of its coat, or fleece.” Use of the term dates back to the 16th century. One thing is for sure, if you buy fleeces from Queensboro, you certainly won’t get fleeced!