How fluffy is a fleece?

In the old days everyone had a school jumper. It was made of wool, it was warm and we all knew it. Now the fleecy (windcheater or hoodie as they are called too) is replacing the school jumper in droves but how warm is it really?

Stack of fleecy jumpers  Click here to request a double brushed  fleece fabric sample from Devon Clothing

When it comes to man made fibres like fleece there are several key differences to understand.

I remember standing in a surf shop some years ago trying on two different types, one a large thick hoodie and another a thinner tight knit fleece. I asked the shop owner which one would be warmer, as I get cold. To my surprise, he said the thinner one. I didn’t get it. How can the thinner one be warmer? I didn’t quite believe him so ended up buying them both! I then spent the next couple of months (and then years) testing this out. He was right, but how can this be?

When it comes to fleece the warmth depend on two issues:

  1. Is the fleece brushed or double brushed?
  2. What is the grams per square metre of the fibre?

For more information on brushed and double brushed fabric click here.

Grams per Square Metre

Fleece is categorised according to what we call its ‘weight’. The first ever manufacturer of fleece products split fleece garments into groups defined by how many grams of fleece constituted a square metre. This measurement system is still in use today, and you’ll find fleece described in the unit gsm, or grams per square metre.

Have a look at the table below for a breakdown of the categories:

Fleece Weight


Typical Use


Ultra light

Summer walking in
cool weather

100 – 200gsm

Light weight

General wear, walking in temperate weather

200 – 300gsm

Mid weight

Outer layer in
northern Australia winter or mid-layer in layering system in southern winter


Heavy weight

Outdoor activities in southern Australia 
winter conditions

Your fleece for a southern winter should almost definitely be above 300gsm. Devon Clothing recommend 320gsm for all school uniforms in southern parts of Australia and around 270gsm for Northern Australia. This level of fleece will keep most kids warm in all the types of weather which winter can through at them. Now for keeping them dry, well that is a different matter.

See our next blog on waterproof clothing and how that is measured.

Click here to request a double brushed  fleece fabric sample from Devon Clothing


Devon Clothing supply business uniforms from simple corporate shirts through to complete custom workwear.