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Most people’s understanding of fabric outside of those in an industry dealing with it is probably limited to blankets and other soft-touch experiences. This means that fleece and minky fabric are probably the types of fabric people imagine when they first hear the word “fabric”. So when it comes to using one or the other in a project you might be wondering which is which and why one is better than the other. This blog hopefully gives you a point by point high level comparison of fleece vs minky. Both are great, and both have unique traits that might be better in one application than another.

Fleece and Minky: Unraveling the Misconceptions

  1. “All Fleece is the Same”:
    • Varieties of Fleece: Not all fleece fabrics are identical. There are various types based on their thickness, softness, and intended purpose.
      • Polar Fleece: A thicker variant of fleece, which is known for its warmth. It’s an excellent insulator and is often used in winter garments.
      • Microfleece: Lighter and thinner than polar fleece, it’s perfect for layering or for climates that aren’t extremely cold.
      • Blizzard and Anti-pill Fleece: These are typically medium-weight fleeces, with anti-pill having a treatment to prevent the fabric from forming small balls or “pills” on the surface after wear or washing.
    • Composition: While traditional fleece is derived from polyester, there are blends (with cotton or wool) and even eco-friendly versions made from recycled plastic bottles.
  2. Minky (or Cuddle Fabric):
    • Not Fleece but Similar: Minky is often mistaken for fleece because of its plush softness. However, it has distinct characteristics.
      • Texture: Minky fabric typically has a short pile, giving it its signature soft and plush feel. It often comes in patterns with raised dots or other textures.
      • Composition: Like fleece, minky is usually made from polyester. Its tight-knit construction gives it a smooth, velvety texture.
      • Weight: Minky is often heavier than standard fleece, making it feel more luxurious and often warmer.
      • Care: Minky can be a bit more challenging to sew because of its slippery surface and stretch. It also has a tendency to melt if ironed directly, so care must be taken during garment construction.
  3. Common Misconception – “Fleece is Naturally Derived”:
    • Many people assume fleece is a natural material because the term “fleece” traditionally refers to the coat of sheep or other animals. However, in the context of fabric, fleece usually refers to a man-made material derived from polyester. It was developed as an alternative to wool that could provide warmth without the weight and care complexities of natural wool.
  4. Functionality:
  5. “Minky and Fleece are Interchangeable in Projects”:
    • Given their different properties, while you can sometimes substitute one for the other in projects, it’s essential to understand the differences. Minky’s plushness might not always be suitable for projects that require a lighter, more breathable fabric, and its slippery nature can make it more challenging to sew than fleece.
      • Stuffed Animals / Plushies: Minky is the preferred fabric for toys, stuffed animals, and plushies because of its extreme softness and “fun to touch” characteristics. If you’re in a baby store or toy store and looking at anything soft to play with, it is most likely Minky fabric.
      • Costuming: Minky is often used in costuming as well because of it’s stretch characteristics. We mix some spandex into our Mochi Stretch Minky line to give a 4-way stretch.
      • Apparel: Fleece is most often found in apparel because it can offer some extra warmth and durability.
      • Blanketing: Fleece blankets are the norm! This is why we carry such a wide variety of fun print fleece fabric.

Summary: Fleece and Minky are similar but different

While fleece and minky might appear similar at first glance, understanding their differences can significantly impact the outcome and satisfaction of a sewing or purchasing decision. The best way to think about this is this way; If you really want to cuddle and stroke the project then Minky is the way to go. If you’re going to wear it or bundle up with it, it’s likely that Fleece is your better option.

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844-BIG-Z-FAB (244-9322)

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