Cotton fleece and French terry are two versatile and comfortable fabric options known for their unique characteristics. Cotton fleece, made from 100% cotton, offers a fuzzy and plush texture due to the brushing process, providing warmth and coziness.
French terry, on the other hand, features a looped texture on one side and a smooth finish on the other, offering breathability and moisture-wicking properties.
These fabrics differ in terms of appearance, insulation, breathability, usage, weight, moisture absorption, and more. Understanding the distinctions between cotton fleece and French terry allows for informed choices when selecting the ideal fabric for specific garments or projects.
Key Differences Between Cotton Fleece Vs French Terry
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is a fabric made from 100% cotton fibers. It is typically knitted with a looped pile construction on one or both sides of the fabric. The looped surface gives it a soft and fuzzy texture.
- French Terry: French Terry is also made primarily from cotton fibers, but it can contain a blend of other fibers such as polyester or elastane for added stretch and durability. It is a knit fabric with loops on one side and a smooth surface on the other, similar to jersey fabric.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece has a plush and soft texture due to the looped pile construction. It is known for its warmth and insulation properties, making it suitable for colder weather garments like sweatshirts, hoodies, and blankets.
- French Terry: French Terry has a smoother and less fuzzy texture compared to cotton fleece. The loops on one side of the fabric give it a slightly textured appearance, while the smooth side feels soft against the skin. It is often used for activewear, casual clothing, and athleisure garments due to its moisture-wicking properties and breathability.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is often brushed on one or both sides of the fabric. Brushing involves gently scraping the fabric surface to raise fibers and create a soft and fuzzy texture. This process enhances the warmth and comfort of cotton fleece.
- French Terry: French Terry is typically not brushed. It features loops on one side of the fabric, while the other side is smoother. The looped side provides a textured appearance, but it doesn’t have the same level of brushing as cotton fleece.
- Cotton Fleece: Due to the brushing process, cotton fleece has a plush and fuzzy appearance. The raised fibers give it a fluffy and cozy look, similar to the inside of a sweatshirt or a cozy blanket.
- French Terry: French Terry has a more casual and athletic appearance. The looped side of the fabric adds a subtle texture, while the smoother side has a neater and cleaner look. It is commonly used in sportswear, loungewear, and casual clothing.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is known for its excellent insulation properties. The brushed surface creates air pockets that trap warmth, making it suitable for cooler weather. It provides good insulation and helps retain body heat, keeping the wearer warm and comfortable.
- French Terry: French Terry provides some level of insulation but not as much as cotton fleece. It is a lighter and more breathable fabric due to the looped construction, making it suitable for transitional seasons or active wear. It offers comfort and breathability during physical activities.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is generally less breathable compared to French Terry. The brushed surface and dense construction of cotton fleece can limit airflow and trap heat, making it more suitable for colder weather when warmth and insulation are desired.
- French Terry: French Terry is known for its breathability. The looped construction of French Terry fabric allows for better air circulation and moisture-wicking properties, making it suitable for activewear and warmer climates.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece has good moisture management capabilities. While it can absorb moisture to some extent, it may retain moisture and take longer to dry compared to French terry.
- French Terry: French terry is excellent at moisture management. It has high moisture-wicking properties, meaning it efficiently pulls moisture away from the body, allowing it to evaporate more quickly and keeping the wearer dry and comfortable.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is commonly used in the production of warm and cozy clothing items such as sweatshirts, hoodies, and blankets. It provides insulation and comfort, making it ideal for colder weather or loungewear.
- French Terry: French terry is a versatile fabric that finds applications in various types of garments. It is suitable for activewear, athleisure wear, lightweight hoodies, dresses, and even accessories like headbands or scarves. Its lightweight nature and moisture-wicking properties make it a popular choice for active individuals.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece tends to be heavier in weight compared to French Terry. The brushing process and thicker construction of cotton fleece contribute to its weight, providing a cozy and substantial feel.
- French Terry: French Terry is generally lighter in weight compared to cotton fleece. It has a more relaxed and lightweight feel, making it comfortable for everyday wear and layering.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece has moderate moisture absorption properties. It can absorb moisture to some extent, but it may not be as effective at pulling moisture away from the body as French terry.
- French Terry: French terry has high moisture absorption capabilities. It can efficiently absorb and wick away moisture, keeping the wearer dry and comfortable during physical activities.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is known for its high durability. The tightly knitted construction and natural strength of cotton fibers make it resistant to wear and tear, allowing it to withstand frequent use and washing.
- French Terry: French terry is also durable, but its durability can vary depending on the specific fabric blend. Blends that incorporate synthetic fibers or additional reinforcement can enhance the overall durability of French terry.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece has moderate stretchability. While it has some natural give, it does not offer as much stretch as fabrics blended with elastane or spandex.
- French Terry: French terry can have a higher level of stretchability compared to cotton fleece. This allows for more flexibility and ease of movement, making it suitable for activewear and garments that require stretch.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece has a more limited range of versatility. It is primarily used for warm and cozy clothing items, loungewear, and blankets.
- French Terry: French terry is highly versatile and finds applications in various types of garments. It can be used for activewear, athleisure wear, lightweight hoodies, dresses, and even accessories like headbands or scarves. Its versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of styles and activities.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece has a more structured and less fluid drape. The dense and brushed surface of cotton fleece gives it a slightly stiff and voluminous appearance, which can affect its drape when used in garments.
- French Terry: French Terry has a more relaxed and flexible drape. The fabric’s looped construction and lighter weight allow it to drape more fluidly, creating a casual and effortless look.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is thicker compared to French terry. Its plush interior and heavier construction provide extra warmth and a cozy feel.
- French Terry: French terry is thinner and lighter in comparison. It offers a more lightweight option that is suitable for layering or when a lighter fabric is desired.
Use in Accessories
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is commonly used in accessories such as hats, scarves, gloves, and blankets. Its warm and insulating properties make it suitable for colder climates or when extra coziness is desired.
- French Terry: French Terry is also used in accessories, particularly in headbands, wristbands, and lightweight scarves. Its breathability and moisture-wicking properties make it suitable for active use and warmer climates.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is widely used in the production of sweatshirts, hoodies, and loungewear. It provides warmth and comfort, making it a popular choice for casual and cozy clothing items.
- French Terry: French terry finds popularity in various applications. It is used for activewear, athleisure wear, lightweight hoodies, dresses, and even towels. Its versatility makes it a favored fabric for a wide range of garments.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece offers good temperature regulation, especially in colder climates. Its insulating properties help to keep the body warm in cooler temperatures.
- French Terry: French terry provides excellent temperature regulation due to its breathability and moisture-wicking properties. It allows for air circulation, making it suitable for both warm and cooler climates.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is known for its very soft feel. The brushing process enhances its softness, making it comfortable to wear against the skin.
- French Terry: French terry is soft but may not have the same level of plushness as cotton fleece. It still offers a comfortable and gentle feel, making it enjoyable to wear.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is relatively easy to maintain. It is machine washable and can be tumble dried. However, it may be prone to pilling over time, and proper care, such as washing with similar fabrics and using a gentle cycle, can help maintain its appearance.
- French Terry: French Terry is also easy to maintain. It is typically machine washable and can be tumble dried. However, like cotton fleece, it may develop some pilling with frequent wear and washing, so proper care is necessary.
- Cotton Fleece: The cost of cotton fleece can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the cotton used and the manufacturing process. Generally, 100% cotton fleece tends to be more affordable compared to higher-end or specialty versions.
- French Terry: The cost of French terry can also vary depending on factors such as the fabric blend, additional features, and brand. French terry made with high-quality cotton or blended with other fibers may be priced higher than basic options.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is prone to pilling, especially with regular wear and washing. Pilling refers to the formation of small, fuzzy balls of fiber on the fabric surface. It is a common characteristic of brushed fabrics.
- French Terry: French terry generally has better resistance to pilling compared to cotton fleece. The unbrushed surface and looped texture contribute to a smoother appearance over time.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is known for its good color retention. Cotton fibers have excellent dye absorption properties, resulting in vibrant and long-lasting colors. With proper care, such as washing with similar colors and using gentle detergents, cotton fleece can maintain its color over time.
- French Terry: French Terry also tends to have good color retention. However, the addition of other fibers, such as polyester or elastane, in some French Terry blends can affect colorfastness. It is important to follow the care instructions specific to the fabric blend to maintain the color vibrancy of French Terry.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is typically produced through a knitting process, where the cotton fibers are knitted together to form a fabric. It is then subjected to a brushing process to achieve the desired plush texture.
- French Terry: French terry is produced through a similar knitting process, but it does not undergo the brushing process. The loops on one side of the fabric are formed during the knitting process.
- Cotton Fleece: Cotton fleece is often used in colder climates or during the winter season. Its brushed surface and dense construction provide warmth and insulation, making it suitable for cozy and comfortable garments in chilly weather.
- French Terry: French Terry is more versatile in terms of suitable climates. Its moisture-wicking and breathable properties make it suitable for various weather conditions. It is often used in activewear, casual wear, and transitional seasons where temperature fluctuations occur.
Cotton Fleece Vs French Terry: Comparison Table
|Cotton or cotton blend
|Looped, slightly textured
|Warm clothing, blankets
|Activewear, casual wear
|Use in Accessories
|Athleisure wear, dresses
|Knitting and brushing
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, both cotton fleece and French terry can be blended with other fabrics to enhance certain properties such as durability, stretch, or moisture-wicking capabilities.
Yes, both fabrics can be used for DIY projects. Cotton fleece is great for making cozy blankets or winter accessories, while French terry can be used for creating activewear or lightweight garments.
Cotton fleece and French terry may have some shrinkage after washing, especially if not properly cared for or if exposed to high heat. It is important to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Yes, both fabrics can be printed or embroidered on. Cotton fleece offers a textured surface for unique print or embroidery effects, while French terry’s smooth side provides a suitable canvas for customization.
Cotton fleece and French terry made from organic or sustainably sourced cotton can be more environmentally friendly options compared to synthetic alternatives. However, it’s important to consider factors such as the production process and dyeing methods used to determine their overall eco-friendliness.
No, French terry and fleece are not the same fabrics, although they share some similarities.
Cotton fleece and French terry offer unique qualities that cater to different needs and preferences. Cotton fleece excels in providing warmth, softness, and a fuzzy appearance, making it ideal for colder climates and cozy garments.
French terry, with its versatility, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties, offers a lighter and more adaptable option suitable for a wide range of climates and active wear.
Understanding the differences in fabric composition, texture, insulation, and other factors allows individuals to make informed decisions when selecting between cotton fleece and French terry for their desired applications.
Both fabrics offer comfort, functionality, and a variety of creative possibilities.