Fleece (fleece) is a synthetic «wool» made of polyester, which does not absorb moisture, but conducts it. In addition, products made from this material are light, durable and perfectly retain heat, thanks to the large amount of air contained in the so-called «air chambers». The production of fleece consists in the fact that the finished synthetic fabric is laid out on a flat surface and with the help of special rollers with small sharp hooks break the continuity of the surface layer. The microfilaments thus obtained form a surface that determines the unique insulating properties of the fleece. After the main production process, operations follow that affect its appearance and strength. Depending on the desire of the consumer, it is possible to obtain fleece of varying degrees of softness. It can also be single or double sided. Single-sided is usually used for sewing underwear and shirts, double-sided for warmer clothes. At the last stage, the fleece is subjected to a hydrophilic treatment, as a result of which its protective properties are increased. Work on the creation of new types of this material continues. Today, there are several options for its production. For example, the fibers are tied, blown, etc. The goal is to create a fleece with a higher insulation to weight ratio. Here are the main properties of fleece: with a low weight, it «breathes» well, is much stronger than natural fabrics, is elastic, retains its shape for a long time, and does not require special care.
Fleece clothing insulates the body not only from the cold, but also from the heat. A fleece jacket can be treated with special impregnations and thus improve its water-repellent properties. Fleece comes in different thicknesses and textures, which allows it to be used both for lining and for sewing the top of demi-season jackets. Fleece is soft, pleasant, so it is used in those places where open areas of the body come into contact with the jacket — for collars, cuffs. The fabric is very wear-resistant and durable. Americans, who, unlike Europeans, prefer a sporty and relaxed style in everyday clothes, and not just at a ski resort, have turned fleece into a material from which they sew everything — from slippers to jackets and trousers. There are a great many different types of fleece, and it is impossible to consider them all within the framework of the article.
Therefore, we will focus on the most famous:
- Polartec of the American firm Malden Mills;
- Windstopper by the American firm WLGore & Associates;
- Technopile of the Italian company Pontetorto.
Polartec. Generic brand name for over 100 synthetic fabrics made from 100% polyester. Principle of operation: the effect of dry heat is provided by a high degree of ventilation and a low coefficient of moisture absorption. Properties: warm, light, strong, durable, water-repellent and breathable fabric.
wind stopper. A wind-impermeable membrane is applied to the fleece, which conducts the evaporation of the body from the inside to the outside. There are two variants of Windstopper:
- 2-ply. The membrane is the lining for the fleece;
- 3-ply. The membrane is located between two layers of fleece.