Fleece was first developed as an alternative to wool. The fabric has a relatively short history, being invented in 1981 by a company called Malden Mills. The goal of Malden Mills was to create a fabric that was as warm as wool but without the scratchiness, shrinking or absorbency that can make otherwise great wool products less desirable.
The innovations Malden Mills was able to make came with only one catch: fleece is a little bit more sensitive to heat and can melt or burn if exposed to heat for too long. Because of this, you shouldn’t ever iron fleece unless you can set your iron to a very low heat.
Other than its sensitivity, there are no real drawbacks. Fleece is comfortable, lightweight and inexpensive. Because fleece is not very absorbent, it dries very quickly. What makes fleece even better is that it’s fairly easy to work with if you have any experience with a sewing machine. Fleece sweatshirts, shirts and pants are great because they are so light weight so they don’t restrict movement but will keep you just as warm as multiple layers of other fabrics will.
For the same reasons that make fleece clothing my favorite, I also love fleece blankets. When I want to relax in my folding chair with a good book on winter days I always grab my fleece blanket as well. It’s is the ideal fabric to drag around the house with you because, in addition to its light weight, it is also very easy to clean.
Most fleece items are safe to simply toss in the washing machine. If it is a piece of clothing, then you may want to turn it inside out and wash it on a gentle cycle with warm water. It is also best to use a mild detergent because some of the stronger detergents can weaken fleece’s natural water resistance. On a related note you should never use fabric softeners when washing fleece. Just remember that fleece material is already soft enough and the stronger-than-needed chemicals in fabric softeners would just ruin it.
I remember watching my mother wash heavy blankets every spring. The blankets were so thick and heavy that she had to dry them by laying them on our trampoline in the back yard. I remember thinking that it was too much work to just wash a blanket. I don’t have to do that with my fleece blankets. Fleece, despite its sensitivity to heat, is perfectly safe to put in the dryer. Just remember to dry it on its lowest setting so that the fabric doesn’t get damaged.
With that said, perhaps the best part about fleece is that it is so cheap. On some internet sites that sell fleece I can get fleece for about $4 per yard. The variety of fleece also makes it superior to other fabrics. For example, if I want a sports-themed blanket for my son, I can buy a yard or two of fabric with footballs or basketballs or any other sport that he wants on it. The same can be said of almost any theme or design. Once the fabric is purchased, it takes almost no time at all to craft it into your new favorite blanket.
About the Author: Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in crafting, health and beauty. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book.