My customer is complaining about a rough texture on a once soft, fluffy jacket. Did I do something wrong when I cleaned it? What can I do to make this fabric smoother? A:
This sounds like the fleece fabric that is popular in much of the outerwear—it’s a great water repellent, but not without some limitations due to the fabric construction. The fabric is usually made of polyester, a synthetic fiber. The long fibers in the nap surface have a tendency to mat and pill, leaving a rough texture. As with many napped fabrics, matting and pilling may appear quickly on elbows, collar folds or other areas that receive repeated rubbing and abrasion during wear. Pilling and matting will usually occur throughout a fleece fabric after several wearings and cleanings.
While this damage may not be prevented altogether, it is helpful to minimize mechanical action in the recommended care process, which is usually washing. If the texture is matted, brushing lightly may help to smooth the fibers, and pilled fibers may be removed with a pill remover.
Additional information on fleece fabrics can be found in bulletin FF-465.