Given the fact that this is fleece fun and I have over 60 free patterns on this site (most which are fleece) I’ve received several emails asking me to clarify the difference between the types of fleece… or asking me if there is a difference between them. Yes there is a difference between the various “fleeces” and here’s your guide. Be sure to check out my other tutorials and posts ( links in the post below) for more detailed information on each of these fabrics.
Polar/Blizzard/ Anti Pill/ Medium Weight Fleece
The majority of the sewing patterns on Fleece Fun are designed to work with polar fleece*. Polar fleece is also good for no-sew projects (like a flower – get the free tute here) or tie blankets. Polar Fleece can be divided in to two categories, anti-pill and non anti-pill. Anti-pill tends to be a more high quality fabric, and doesn’t “ball up” or “pill” after several washes. Non anti-pill is cheaper, but will get little pills after wearing and washing. I personally recommend spending a little bit more money for the anti-pill as it will look nicer longer. Polar fleece can come in different weights, a medium weight tends to be the most common one that you will find in your local fabric store. You can find out more facts about fleece here.
Sewing on fleece can be easy because it doesn’t slip under the needle or fray. However the more stretch the fleece has, you will want to sew with a ballpoint needle. Stretch can vary greatly between brands and grades. Typically the cheaper the fleece, the lest stretch it has (and you can get away with sewing with a standard needle). If you experience trouble with sewing your fleece, try changing needles and lengthening your stitch and/ or using a zig zag stitch instead of a running stitch.
*Please note that the term “polar fleece” is a copyrighted term that is often misused for medium weight fleece.
Softer than polar fleece, micro fleece is wonderful to touch and is mostly geared for baby and children projects. There is a very clear right and wrong side to most micro-fleece. One side has the heavenly feel with its tiny (almost furry) fibers. It is thinner than the medium weight fleece. And while it doesn’t fray the ends don’t fray they can be stretched out of shape, so it recommended not to leave exposed edges raw.
Minky or Cuddle
While debatable if this is truly a fleece fabric it is often clumped in with the fleece group. Named Minky (also known as cuddle) for its simulated feel of mink, this fabric is truly heavenly. However it does require special care. Sewing on Minky can be difficult as it will slide under the needle. This means lots of pins, a jersey ball point needle or a walking foot to sew on this fabric. The edges can ruffle and lose shape so finishing is recommended (with exception of some projects – check out the candy stripe scrunch scarf here). You should also never wash Minky in warm water or dry it on a high heat as it will lose its signature softness. You can buy double sided Minky (uber expensive) but most often it is a single sided fabric. Minky is most often used in baby projects, but I love the feel of this fabric so much that I designed a couple of patterns using it for and adult! You can check out the free Infinity bow wrap video and tutorial here. I have a post with 7 tips to working with this fabric that you can check out here. And you can check out my fun selection of Cuddle kits and fabric here.
Coral fleece is more closely related to Minky or cuddle fleece. It had a more fur like texture. Because of it’s construction and texture it’s not recommended for no sew projects as it will shed and stretch more that polar fleece. the edges need to be finished so it won’t get stretched out in the washer. If you wash it cold, do not use fabric softener and dry it low, it will help to maintain it’s soft fury texture. Hope that answers your questions! (You can learn more about Coral Fleece here).
Are you ready to start sewing with fleece? Here are some great free patterns and tutorials to get you started (a lot of them have a video to go with it too!).