The Making Of A Good Fleece

The Making Of A Good Fleece

Anyone of a certain age can remember a time before fleece garments were around. Then it was about jumpers and knitwear. Those ghastly patterned ‘woollies’ that seem to have made a bit of a resurgence as Christmas jumpers over the latter couple of years. They were fine, but my goodness, weren’t they difficult to wash and took ages to dry. Unless they had a decent wool content, they were not actually that warm, and never kept their shape, either shrinking or stretching badly.

Was it any wonder that along came something to replace ‘woollies’? Fleece fabric was invented by a company called Polartec in the early 1980’s, who developed a new process for knitting polyester yarns that raised piled fibres, creating a brushed surface with thermal air pockets. This resulted in a lightweight, fast drying, insulating material that was more versatile than anything else at the time. Warmth without weight quickly became the new standard to performance fabrics.

Not only is fleece warm and lightweight, but it is also highly breathable (and if you read any of my newsletters, you will know how much I go on about breathability!), machine washable and holds it’s shape (unlike those ghastly ‘woollies’!). It is also naturally hydrophobic, which means it repels water (barely retaining water when wet) and dries very quickly.

Fleeces have now become a bit of a lifestyle garment and consequently there is now an abundance of fleece garments available to the consumer. There would be very few people nowadays who don’t have something fleece in their wardrobe. Prices range dramatically and I am constantly being asked why anyone would pay £75 for a fleece jacket when you can buy one in high street shops for £30+. I guess the answer lies in what you want out of the garment. If it’s just to be worn as a casual replacement for a sweatshirt, then the £30+ ones are probably fine. If however, you want something that is going to offer proper insulation and last longer, then you really have to pay more.

First of all there are different weights of fleece fabric. The lighter microfleece fabrics are generally lower in price and are obviously less insulating than the thicker fleeces. Also, higher quality fleeces are tighter knitted, again resulting in something more thermal, and a double sided fleece (brushed on both the outer and the inner) will obviously trap more warmer air and be better insulation, albeit more expensive.

In addition, the better quality fleeces will be far more pill resistant (that’s when they start bobbling up) and will consequently last a lot longer, thus proving to be more cost effective in the long run. In my humble experience, a good quality fleece jacket at £75 will last more than twice as long as one half the price, and offer better performance along the way.
Here at Country Innovation, we only use the best fabrics to produce our garments, so we use a Polartec 200 recycled fleece to make our Fleece Jacket. In our opinion, this is the best fleece fabric available for an insulating fleece layer, being the mid weight of 200gms/m2. We appreciate that at £75 it is a bit of an outlay, but it will be a faithful friend for many years to come, thus justifying the expenditure.

To make it a tad less painful, if you place an order over the next week and use the exclusive online code FLEECE, you will get 15% OFF our Fleece Jacket, saving over £10! Simply put the code into the online checkout or quote FLEECE if ordering by telephone: 01934 877333.

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