What is French Terry? The Ultimate Fabric Guide

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What is French terry? It is defined as a light to mid-weight fabric that is often used in both active and casual apparel. This includes sweatpants, sweatshirts, pullovers, cardigans, hoodies, and shorts. That said, French terry clothing is the ideal clothing choice for lounging or layering over workout clothes when going to the gym. While this may not be a fabric we commonly encounter, most of us probably have clothing made with French terry – we just weren’t aware of it. So, if you’re here wondering- what is French terry and why it is a popular fabric for casual clothes and sweatshirts, read on to find out more.


What is French Terry Made Of?What is French Terry Used For?What is French Terry Knit?What is French Terry vs. Towel Terry vs. vs. Terry VelourWhat is French Terry vs. FleeceWhat is French Terry vs. Fleece Moisture-Wicking Ability?What is French Terry Aftercare and LaundryWhat is French Terry – In ConclusionMore Fabric Articles

What is French Terry Made Of?

French terry is a kind of fabric that has been on the market since the 1980s. This fabric is made with terry cloth knitted in loops and soft yarn piles on the interior side of the garment. This manner of knitting allows for the exterior surface to retain a smooth surface. As a result, an absorbent, lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric is created that is highly comfortable to wear throughout the year. 

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French terry is generally heavier than a typical t-shirt. However, it is relatively lighter than cardigans, pullovers, and sweatshirts. Moreover, this is a fabric that can be worn alone at home or as a layer over or underneath another item.

It is frequently made entirely of cotton or a combination of cotton and a small amount of rayon, polyester, lycra, or spandex. Producers have also devised a blend for french terry fabrics that include soy fibers and organic cotton as a sustainable alternative.

What is French Terry Used For?

Now that you know what is french terry, you are probably wondering where it is used. French terry clothing has soft and short piles of yarn on the interior side, making it more comfortable and cozy to wear. For this reason, it is used to make hoodies, sweatpants, and lounge clothing.

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Moreover, the surface inherently has moisture-wicking properties that absorb sweat and keep you dry. French terry can hold up moisture that weighs 27 heavier than its natural weight, making a practical fabric for almost every climate.

 In addition to that, french terry makes for great loungewear. It features adequate flexibility and stretch that allows you to perform well when exercising, stretching, doing sports, and other activities. Its super comfy feel against the skin also makes it a great option for lounging.

While it is generally thicker, it still allows for enough breathability and it can be used when layering in other pieces of clothing. This is because it is lighter than a sweatshirt and heavier than a t-shirt. This means that you can wear french terry clothing under or over other clothes all year round.

What is French Terry Knit?

French terry may also refer to a knitting method using Terry Cloth. This method produces a fabric that has loops on one side and piles on the other. Because of this, it creates a plush and soft cloth that is not only comfortable to wear but also great for home use.

This knit creates a fabric that is similar to Jersey. This explains why many people often mistake French terry for Jersey, among other fabric types. Knitted fabrics like french terry feature interconnected loops that help prevent fraying and increase the fabric`s stretchability.

Moreover, these knitted fabrics are extremely common for clothing because they add warmth to the wearer by allowing the clothing to stretch and shift with the wearer`s body. That is why french terry is also commonly used for both activewear and loungewear.

These fabrics are also easy to maintain since they do not require special handwashing requirements or cleaning methods. The other knit fabric is the fleece.

What is French Terry vs. Towel Terry vs. vs. Terry Velour

Towel terry is by far the most common form of terry cloth available. It is also known as Terry Cloth. It has very straightforward uses, including shower towels, loungewear, baby and toddler clothing, bathroom wipes, and many more. Towel terry incorporates the woven techniques described previously, and the fabric feels identical on both sides. These loops are usually longer, allowing for optimum absorbency.

On the other hand, french terry is knitted with two distinct sides. One smooth side has short piles, while the other has the more traditional knitted loops for a more comfortable feel. Consequently, french terry cloth is often used in wearable and is sometimes mixed with spandex to make activewear or workout clothes.

Terry velour is also very much like french terry since it has one side that is smooth and flat and an opposite side that looks like typical terry cloth. Moreover, terry velour is generally characterized by one side that is covered with small loops that have been left uncut. However, the other side has a smooth and soft surface that resembles velour or velvet.

Terry velour is similar to french terry in that it is also used to create bathrobes or spa robes and printed beach towels. The only difference is that the soft side of terry velour, or the pile side, has a more luxurious velvety look and feel. Also, it is plusher than both towel terry and French terry. 

What is French Terry vs. Fleece

Although these two are knitted fabrics, it is easy to want to know what is french terry and fleece differences. Knitted fabrics, such as french terry and fleece, differ from woven fabrics. The difference is notable in the way the threads are interlocked to create the material. This affects the amount of stretch and the softness of the fabric.

Different knit fabrics have unique characteristics and degrees of stretchability, the french terry and fleece are no different. Both of these fabrics are considered single knit fabrics. This means that they are constructed from a single yarn looped together.

In addition to this, we also have double knit fabrics that combine single knit fabrics into a two-layered sheet with an interwoven pattern. Another way to do this is through a warp knit, which creates a fabric in a zigzag pattern with knitted several loops of yarn together. That said, these fabrics have a greater range of motion than double knits or single knits.

While both fleece and french terry fabrics can keep you warmer than t-shirts or workout clothing, the two fabrics have some distinct characteristics. The french terry fabric is a light to mid-weight fabric while fleece is generally heavier and a tad bit bulkier.

What is French Terry vs. Fleece Moisture-Wicking Ability?

Due to the differences in their manufacturing process, fleece is less breathable than french terry. Fleece also lacks the moisture-wicking and high absorptive properties of french terry, which may mean that it won`t keep you dry or warm.

Unlike fleece fabric, french terry is produced in such a way that it allows the wearer to stay dry and comfortable. This makes it a champion fabric for versatility and breathability. However, each material has a range of weights. Thus, you can undoubtedly find a french terry clothing piece that is heavier in weight and a more lightweight fleece.

In summary, french terry is a more versatile fabric than fleece. This is despite the two fabrics sharing numerous features and generally used in a similar fashion. Besides, the fabric to wear will rely on both the aftercare practices of the individual and the surrounding climate and environment.

Each of these fabrics has its respective capacities for temperature regulation and the choice will depend on the wearer`s preference. Nevertheless, french terry and fleece`s clothing pieces both need little maintenance in terms of washing and aftercare.

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What is French Terry Aftercare and Laundry

To ensure the longevity of your fabric, you may want to know what is french terry maintenance and care tips. One of the best qualities of french terry fabrics is that it is generally low-maintenance.

Unlike most fabrics, it has great resistance to wrinkling and creasing. Knitted fabrics typically have a natural flexibility and stretch to them, so they won`t wrinkle even when used multiple times.

As a result, french terry clothing pieces do not need to be dry cleaned. It can be machine washable to save you a lot of time. Just ensure wash in cold water then tumble dry on low to get optimal results. This also helps to retain its quality and colors for a longer time.

 Another great thing about french terry is that its fabric composition does not retain stains and odors in the wash. So, you can expect faster washing times and fewer odors compared to synthetic fabrics. This is especially true for french terry that is 100% cotton. This can also be attributed to the organic cotton threads blended into the knitting. 

What is French Terry – In Conclusion

We hope that this article answers all your questions on what is French terry. French terry is a common cotton fabric that you will in your usual clothing like hoodies, sweatpants, shorts, and pullovers.

We can conclude that French terry is among the most versatile fabric that can match any weather, environment, or activity. It is super comfortable, flexible, and midweight without being too light or heavy. That said, it deserves a spot in our wardrobe and our home. We hope this article helps!

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