Sometimes it’s hard to understand the difference between one fabric and another, as many have similar textures, features, and appearances. However, knowing the minute variations between your material options can help you make informed choices when dressing for occasions and plans.
One such material you might not know about is french terry. Although the name may not sound familiar, you’ve most likely encountered and even worn it before, as it’s a popular choice for loungewear and workout clothing. So let's dive into french terry’s many benefits that could convince you to wear this fabric when choosing your outfit today.
French terry is a single knit material, so it’s stretchy and soft. However, the fact that it has a single knit weave also means it’s made of a combination of loops and piles, with the loops having a flat appearance (they face outwards) and the piles having a more textured look and feel (they face inwards towards the skin). As a result, French terry is sometimes confused with similar materials such as jersey, fleece, and terry velour. Still, it has a few distinct characteristics that, when combined all together, make it an excellent fabric to wear.
Benefit #1: It Has Ultimate Stretch
French terry is distinctly stretchy, one of the main reasons it’s frequently confused for a jersey. Knits often offer stretch because the loop and purl design allow for movement in the fibers without damaging the shape, which is true for french terry. However, when you need utmost stretchiness—such as when you’re moving your body in flexible ways like at a yoga class or dance practice—you really can’t go wrong with french terry. Fold it, twist it, crumple it, or pull it, and the material will simply move with you.
Benefit #2: It’s an Environmentally Friendly Fabric
To be clear, regular cotton isn’t the most environmentally friendly material, largely due to the pesticides used on the plant and its reputation for requiring an excessive amount of water. However, a sustainable cotton alternative addresses these issues: organic cotton. It’s made without pesticides, and ethical cotton manufacturers can learn (and have been learning) to grow cotton with a fraction of the amount of water.
We say cotton is an environmentally friendly fabric because organic cotton is a natural fiber that’s more sustainable than the alternate synthetic materials used in garments. The harvesting procedure isn’t too complex. Because the cotton has a high heat and drought tolerance, it uses less water in harvest and production than some of its competitors. It can be made more sustainable through manufacturers following simple ethical practices.
Organic cotton is vegan, biodegradable, and renewable. Turning the material into fabric can be done through either hand or machine knitting. Just be sure your french terry is made from organic cotton, and then you’ll know you’re wearing an environmentally conscious type of material.
Benefit #3: It’s a Midweight Fabric
Midweight fabrics like french terry ensure you can stay cool and warm in different temperatures. French terry is lighter than traditional loungewear meant to help you bundle up, like fleece, so it’s great for in-between weather.
If you want a light cardigan for a mild day, french terry would be great for keeping you minimally warm without overheating you. If it’s a warm day with a light breeze, french terry would also be perfect in a lightweight pullover or soft, breathable pants to keep the heat in and protect you from the chill.
Benefit #4: It’s Suitable for Light Workouts
French terry is absorbent enough for mild to moderate workouts. Cotton can absorb up to twenty-seven times its weight and becomes strong when wet, so you don’t need to worry about sweat when you work out in french terry. Of course, you’ll probably want to select a fabric both thinner and lighter than terry for an ultra-intense HIIT workout, but for light to moderate exercise, you can rest easy so that your french terry clothing will soak up moisture.
Benefit #5: It’s Low Maintenance
French terry is about as low maintenance as a fabric can be. You can wash it as usual, rather than treating it as a delicate fabric with dry cleaning. You also don’t have to worry about fraying if a seam becomes unstitched.
Additionally, it’s hard to tear because it’s so stretchy. So whether you’re making high knees, lunges split, or advanced yoga contortions, french terry is designed to keep you safely clothed through it all.
There are lots of reasons to love french terry fabric! Now that you know the many advantages select a piece of clothing made of this knitting for a soft, lightweight, cozy outfit.