Sunday, 30 September 2007

A Piece on Fleece

Rarely a week goes by that I don't get some sort of question about fleece fabric. Is fleece safe for my baby? Is fleece breathable? are some of the more common ones. So I thought it was time to give some more detailed information about fleece.

A bit of history on fleece: Polartec fleece was first invented in the early 80's by Malden Mills as an alternative to wool for extreme outdoor adventurers. Fleece has forever changed the way the world dresses for cold weather.

But it's not just for athletes. Fleece has found a great home in baby's and children's apparel. In fact, in 1999 Time Magazine named Polartec fleece "One of the hundred great things of the 20th century."

So what is fleece then? Fleece is basically a 100% polyester fabric with an “altered” fibre structure. This unique way of creating the fibres and the fabric result in the ability of the fabric to transfer moisture through itself (wicking) from the baby’s skin to the outside of the garment.

While cotton is a great fabric for some things, it is also a porous fabric and absorbs moisture holding it against a baby’s skin. This means when cotton fabrics get wet, they will stay wet --and clammy. They become uncomfortable and uncomfortable children become cranky. Further, cotton’s properties hinder the evaporation process which is important for keeping baby’s temperature at an appropriate level. In the winter it will make baby cold, in the summer too hot. Fleece breathes well and comes in a variety of weights appropriate to different seasons and climes—Vancouver rain or Whistler snow! Parents in the know are aware of these advances and use fleece to keep their baby warm and snug.

Fleece’s characteristics –
  • Highly breathable – keeps baby dry. No rashes etc Highly breathable to provide comfort in all activities; does not restrict the movement of moisture vapour this idea links to the next benefit)
  • Provides warmth without weight – great for long days. In the baby bag etc
  • Pill resistant – stays soft and comfortable against baby’s skin even after many washings
  • Low maintenance and durable, cleans ‘messes food etc” less laundry time = more play time
  • Virtually stain-proof
  • A quick-drying fabric
  • Machine washable/dryable
  • Very SOFT and immediately warm to the touch.

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