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What Is a Fleece Blanket?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 21, 2024
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A fleece blanket is an insulating blanket made of a synthetic fabric blend. The term "fleece" often causes confusion, because it is sometimes used to describe part of the wool of sheep. In this context, however, it refers to a specific polyester fabric with no wool content whatsoever. Polar fleece is the most well known type, though a number of varieties are available.

The fabric of this type of blanket is made by taking polyester yarn and twisting it tightly. The resulting material is then brushed with rough wire to tighten it and raise the surface a bit, then sheared to even the entire thing out. Virtually all types of fleece blanket are made with a high grade of fabric known as non-pill, which doesn't ball up after being washed a few times. In general, the surface texture of this material is nicer than other types of fleece.

Good blankets can come in a wide range of textures, each processed slightly differently. The top side may be almost smooth or may have a nice velvet feel to it, while the bottom side is usually even smoother, with a texture greatly resembling felt. Many people make their own blankets because of the ease of using fleece as a "no-sew" material. Beginners often like this fabric because it never unravels the way most others do, making it difficult to ruin.

There are three main weight categories of fleece that can be used in a blanket, depending on how warm the maker wants the final product to be. Microfleeces are the lightest and are not really suitable for anything but a light blanket meant to be used underneath a heavier one. Hundred-weight fleeces are the next weight category, and are about as heavy as an average pair of sweatpants. Medium-weight fleeces are often used for jackets and vests, and are ideal for a blanket used in cold conditions.

Fleece is a great material for blankets because of its excellent weight-to-insulation ratio. It is soft and comfortable, retains heat well, and is light enough to be carried on backpacking trips or stored away easily in a closet. In camping situations, the polyester helps to pull moisture away and keeps the campers drier than other blanket materials. While perhaps not as ideal as some high-tech alternatives, fleece offers many benefits for a low price.

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Discussion Comments
By julies — On Jun 27, 2011

We had a fleece blanket making party with a group of women at our church a few months ago. You can purchase a fleece blanket kit at many fabric and craft stores, but I prefer to choose my own pattern and color of fleece material.

You really don't need many supplies - just your material, some good scissors (this is very important) and maybe ruler. If you have sharp scissors that will easily cut through the fleece material, this will make the job so much easier.

Once you have your fabric laid out and your pieces cut, it is just a matter of tying them and you have made a beautiful, warm blanket!

By myharley — On Jun 25, 2011

Fleece blankets are very easy to make and make great gifts for yourself or anyone on your gift list. One year I had several baby showers to attend, and decided to make fleece baby blankets for my baby shower gifts.

The material is so soft and comes in many fun patterns to choose from. The smaller baby blankets don't take that much time to make, yet you are giving a special gift that you made yourself and they will be sure to enjoy.

By honeybees — On Jun 23, 2011

My friend received fleece blankets for each of her kids for Christmas one year. These warm blankets were made from decorated fleece material and tied all around the edges, so no sewing was required.

I love the look and feel of fleece, but don't like to sew, and thought these would be fun to make. I chose a backwoods theme for my blanket to keep in my log cabin. One side of the blanket had this decorated piece and one side was a solid piece.

After making one for myself and being very satisfied with the results, I began making personalized fleece blankets for my family. It was a lot of fun choosing the material and making a special blanket for each of my nieces and nephews.

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