More Fleece Info
Since fleece is made from polyester that is naturally hydrophobic, the fibers retain little water. And with scientific advances in the technology of micro-fibers (fine denier yarns), fleece products now repel water by construction. Furthermore, a semi-permanent substance called Durable Water Repellent or DWR has been developed that is applied to the surface of some mid-weight and heavy weight fleece fabrics to further repel moisture.
Another 'claim to fame' of fleece is its low pilling characteristic. Pilling refers to the formation of little balls of fiber on the surface of a fabric that result from contact, abrasion, and wear. As fabric rubs against fabric, fiber is pulled away from the yarn and rises to the surface of the fabric. This process occurs in all fabrics and cannot be avoided. Pills are not as noticeable on natural fabrics because the fibers are not as strong as synthetic fibers. Thus, when pills rise to the surface on natural fabrics, they break and fall off.
Manmade fibers on the other hand, such as polyester and acrylic, are very strong such that when the fiber pills on the surface of these fabrics, it won't release the pill. In fact, the fleece of yesterday was notorious for pilling. Today, however, with the innovation of micro-fibers and advanced finishing techniques, fleece is a top quality product with a low-pill finish.
Shearing and finishing techniques give fleece fabric its final tailored appearance. Shearing controls the length of the pile or nap, and depending upon the techniques used, may create a patterned, or smooth surface, or a sculptured effect.
Here are some types of fleece and how they are made:
Berber Fleece has a softly curled, nubby surface that is distinguished by a flecked appearance, resulting from a combination of fibers. It generally has a soft sweater-knit backing.
Shearling and Sherpa have a lamb's wool appearance that is achieved by curling the pile or surface nap.
Plush Fleece has a velvet-like appearance resulting from dense fibers that are evenly sheared.