Berber fleece is a textile material that is very lightweight, warm, and soft. It is often compared to fur because of the incredibly soft texture when it is well cared for, along with its insulating properties. Many household items are made from Berber fleece, including wraps and throws, jackets, and warm socks to wear around the house. Many people use garments made of it for layering, since the textile is lightweight but very insulating.
To make Berber fleece, yarn is knitted into fabric, which is brushed with wire brushes to pull the material together and to fluff it up. The resulting material has a looped, soft pile, with large air pockets that improve the insulating properties of the fabric. The pile is sheared to create an even length, and the fleece is ready for use. Synthetic materials such as polyester are most frequently used to create the fabric, which tends to be strong, stretchy, and colorfast.
Like all textiles, Berber fleece will ultimately form small “pills,” or clumps of fibers on the surface of the garment. Pills form due to friction, and although the fibers used to make this fabric are engineered to resist pilling, even the best engineering cannot defeat this tendency completely. The pills can periodically be sheared away if they do not drop off naturally. People can also refresh the pile of a garment by gently brushing it with a bristled brush.
In addition to being warm, clothing made of this fabric is also designed to wick moisture away from the surface of the wearer. It will also not absorb moisture as readily as some natural fibers, since synthetics are water resistant. Although this type of fleece cannot be used as a rain coat, it can be worn under one to pull moisture away from the body and prevent garments underneath it from becoming saturated.
Care directions for Berber fleece vary. As a general rule, it can be machine washed in cold or lukewarm water with a gentle soap. It can usually be tumble dried on a low setting, or hung to dry. The material should not be left hanging, because it will stretch the knit and pull the garment out of shape. It is also best to fold it and store it flat. Not all fleece fabrics are Berber fleece, and care directions for different fleeces vary. People should make sure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer, as they may be different depending on materials used to make the fleece and manufacturing technique.