French Terry Fabric: Properties, Uses, and Care

French terry comes from the French verb ‘tirer,’ meaning ‘to pull’; it is a knitted fabric style similar to velour or fleece. French terry uses loops and pills similar to terry cloth; however, these loops and pills are only on one side. Designers often use this light to mid-weight fabric for casual and active clothing. 

Origin of French Terry Fabric

French Terry Fabric

The beginning of french terry fabric dates back to the 19th century. Inspiration for the material came from the famous terry cloth used to make towels. Typical terry cloth has loops on both sides, enhancing the fabric’s moisture absorption. On the other hand, french terry fabric has loops on only one side.

French terry cloth’s popularity dwindled in the coming centuries. However, 20th-century hip-hop culture dramatically increased the popularity of hoodies and sportswear as cultural attires. French terry fabric has benefited significantly from the popularity of sportswear.

What is French Terry Fabric Made of?

Original iterations of french terry fabric were made of 100% cotton. Nowadays, expensive french terry apparel is made from organic cotton, while low-end products use mass-produced cotton. Both versions of french terry fabric look alike; however, you’ll notice the quality gap if you inspect it properly.

Aside from appearance, some people also have concerns about the ethics behind the supply chain of mass-produced cotton. Underpaid workers in underdeveloped countries often produce this cotton fabric in terrible conditions.

Some manufacturers produce french terry fabric by mixing cotton with other materials. They commonly blend cotton fibers with small amounts of lycra, polyester, rayon, or spandex.

Is French Terry High Quality?

French terry is a high-quality fabric that has several advantages. First, it has a natural stretch; therefore, it won’t wrinkle easily like other fabrics that aren’t knitted. This endurance makes french terry suitable for clothes you intend to wear in rough conditions.

French terry also releases odors easily when you wash it, making it suitable for sports wears. After washing, you can be assured that your joggers won’t have any residual sweat odors. Furthermore, you don’t have to bother about the awkward smell of detergent on your joggers, as you would with some synthetics.

You can wear french terry fabric in the summer and winter seasons. The soft and stretchy cotton fabric is soft and flexible, making it a perfect winter wear material. In the summer, french terry’s knitting style makes it breathable, meaning you won’t get too hot or sweaty in it.

Uses of French Terry Fabric

French Terry Crewneck Sweatshirt
Women’s French Terry Crewneck Sweatshirt

French terry fabric is cozy and comfortable because of its soft interior; some common uses include the following:

  1. Hoodies
  2. Sweatpants
  3. Joggers
  4. Loungewear 

Most of the above uses are apparel types with materials that need to stretch a lot. The elastic properties of french terry won’t hinder your movements during exercise. Also, its breathable quality means you won’t sweat too much when you wear your french terry hoodies.

French terry is also great for apparel like sweatshirts that you want to layer over another. Its thickness makes it perfect for keeping you warm when it’s cold outside. 

Finally, the absorbent nature of french terry fabric means you can use it to create bathrobes.

How to Maintain French Terry Fabric

French terry fabric is relatively easy to maintain; some steps to maintain your french terry cloth include the following:

  1. Wash your clothes at a cool temperature and tumble them on low heat.
  2. Do not use harsh chemicals like bleach on french terry fabric, as they can disintegrate organic cotton. 
  3. Remove tough stains on french terry fabric by pre-heating it with white vinegar and washing it with a mild detergent.
  4. Machine-washing your french terry clothes won’t wrinkle or destroy them; therefore, you don’t need to dry clean them.

What is the Difference Between Terry Cloth, Terry Velour, and French Terry?

Types of Terry Fabric
L-Terry Cloth; R-French Terry

Terry cloth is the most popular type of terry cloth, also known as towel terry. This terry cloth is mainly used to make shower towels, bathroom wipes, baby clothes, and loungewear. Both sides of terry cloth fabric are knitted and have the same texture, making it a very absorbent material.

One side of terry velour fabric is smooth and flat, while the other resembles a typical terry cloth. Additionally, one side is usually covered with tiny uncut loops, while the other has a smooth and plush velvet-like surface. Manufacturers commonly use terry velour to make beach towels and bathrobes.

French terry fabric is similar to terry velour because it has two sides. For a cozier feel, one smooth side has short heaps while the other has the more conventional knitted loops. As a result, french terry cloth is frequently combined with spandex to create sportswear or workout attire.

Terry velour is comparable to french terry because manufacturers can make patterned beach towels and bathrobes. The terry velour’s soft (or pile) side only differs because it has a more velvety appearance and feel. Additionally, it is plusher than French terry and towel terry.

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