minky plush fabric versus fleece fabric
Minky plush fabric (right) versus fleece fabric (left)

Are you considering sewing with minky plush fabric or fleece fabric and are uncertain which is best for your sewing project? Are you wondering what the difference between fleece and minky plush fabric is? Don’t worry, you’re not alone — this is one of the most common questions we get asked here at Shannon Fabrics.

Even though we specialize in high-quality minky plush fabric, our goal is for you to walk away feeling excited about your next sewing project, so we don’t shy away from providing information on all types of fabrics, not just the ones we sell.

But before we get into comparisons, let’s first define what “minky” fabrics and “fleece” fabrics are.

Minky fabric, also known as plush fabric or microfiber fabric, is made from 100% polyester fibers that are knitted into fabrics of varying weights and pile heights. Most minky fabric is one-sided, meaning the plusher, fur-like texture is only on the top side.

Fleece fabric is also made from 100% polyester fibers, and like minky fabrics, they’re knit, but they have a much different skin feel. Fleece is generally two-sided, with the “fleece” texture on both sides.

Both fabrics have their pros and cons (and are similar in many regards), so here we’ve compared the two based on the following criteria to help you decide which you should personally go with.

  • Cost
  • Versatility
  • Durability
  • Care Instructions
  • Construction
  • Textures
  • Colors/Patterns
  • Issues

READ MORE: The 6 Best Minky Plush Fabric Wholesalers (Reviews/Ratings)

Minky Plush Fabric vs. Fleece Fabric

Cost

Minky plush fabric and fleece fabric prices vary greatly between brands, since each brand offers different fabric options at different levels of quality (and countries of origin).

The most basic minky plush fabric is usually a simple solid, and this entry-level minky fabric can be priced from $10/yard at retail to $20/yard at retail.

Fleece fabrics, on the other hand, have a bit more variance to their price range, ranging from $5/yard at retail for the lower-quality options, up to $25/yard at retail.

READ MORE: How Much Does Minky Plush Fabric Cost? A Guide to Minky Fabric Prices

Construction

As mentioned above, both minky and fleece are made with 100% polyester fibers that are knitted, not woven.

Knit fabrics stretch anywhere from 30 to 50 percent more than woven fabrics, which makes them more supple and perfect for applications that are worn or touched on a regular basis.

While available in two-sided options, most minky fabric has the plush feel on one side. Minky comes in several different widths, weights and pile heights depending on the collection.

Our bestselling Cuddle® 3 solids have a versatile pile height of 3mm, and we manufacture our ethical high-quality minky fabrics in Korea in certified (and regularly-inspected) factories that are free from child labor and negative reputations.

Fleece fabrics are always two-sided, and like minky, fleece is available in different widths, weights and pile heights. The most commonly available fleece option has a Medium/Heavyweight weight with a 59-inch width. We can’t speak to other brands’ manufacturing processes, but be sure to research their country of origin and reputation before buying.

Versatility

Since both fabrics are knit, they’re great for all-day comfort and a variety of sewing projects.

Fleece was designed as more durable and lighter replacement for wool, so it has the scratchier, not-as-soft feel some people prefer. This fabric is preferred by outdoor apparel companies for its warmth (stays warm when wet, too) and durability, and fleece is commonly used for jackets, athletic garments, blankets, etc.

Minky plush fabrics are just as durable, but their heavier weight and higher pile have quickly been adopted by quilters and sewists for their cozy, ultra-soft feel with no break-in period. Minky fabrics are suitable for anything from apparel and baby products, to quilting, home decor, pet accessories, stuffed animals and more.

READ MORE: 9 Best Sewing Projects and Uses for Minky Plush Fabric

Durability

We’ve briefly touched on the durability of minky and fleece fabrics, but both are two of the most durable fabrics on the market, which makes them great for high-mileage pieces/garments.

Quilt binding is one of the areas on a quilt that gets the heaviest wear, and since both are 100% polyester, minky and fleece wear really well in this application. Not only that, it adds a softer finish to the edge of your quilt.

Minky and fleece both also work well as long-lasting wearable apparel, from jackets and coats, to hats, vests and scarves. Minky fabric especially has a great skin feel for all-day wearability, and the wide variety of colors can pull together a fun outfit.

Care Instructions

Since minky and fleece fabrics are 100% polyester, they won’t shrink or fade when run through the wash. Both require the same care instructions — wash on gentle with cool water in the washing machine (make sure laundry detergent doesn’t contain bleach), then remove and throw in the dryer on low heat.

Dry on low heat for about 10 minutes, then pull the fabric out to hang dry. Be careful not to overdry either type of fabric, as fleece will start to pill and you might lose the texture embossed on the minky fabric.

Textures

Minky plush fabric really outshines fleece fabric when it comes to texture. Even the plain solid options are softer to the touch than fleece, but minky fabric is also available in several different embossed options, including rose, marble, embossed, etc.

These embossed textures are heat-set into the minky fabric during manufacturing, and not only do they add a more stimulating skin feel, but they make any sewing project more visually interesting with their depth and design, too.

Colors/Patterns

This ultimately comes down to personal preference — both minky fabric and fleece fabric are neck and neck regarding colors and patterns. Both are available in virtually every solid color imaginable, and are also available in different prints and designs.

If you’re looking for something especially eye-catching, both fabrics look great digitally printed, which is the process of imprinting a custom high-resolution image on a fabric panel. We offer digitally printed Cuddle® minky plush fabric in both our Shannon Studio and Hoffman of California collections.

Issues

As with all fabrics, both minky and fleece have their quirks and issues, but oftentimes simply knowing the right technique can make all the difference when sewing with either type of fabric.

As mentioned, minky and fleece both stretch because they’re knit fabrics, and this can present somewhat of a learning curve when sewing with either.

Since our specialty at Shannon Fabrics is minky fabric, we’ve addressed this stretching issue in our post, Top 5 Minky Plush Fabric Problems, Concerns & Solutions (spoiler alert: pins!). We also answer other common minky questions, such as ‘can minky be used in a quilt?’, ‘is minky baby-friendly?’ and “does minky fabric shed?’

Besides stretching and the other questions listed above, pilling is probably the most common fleece-specific issue (minky doesn’t pill), and this occurs mostly from abrasion, buying low-quality fleece or not following the care directions.

Next Steps

As you can see, both minky and fleece fabrics are similar (and different) in many ways, but only you know what criteria is a priority for you and your business. Both fabrics are durable, versatile and come in a wide range of colors and prints.

At Shannon Fabrics, minky fabric is our passion. Not only do we have more than a million yards of fabric in stock, we also have all the educational resources, tutorials and free patterns you need to make the most of sewing with this soft, irresistible fabric.

If you have any questions about minky fabric, or would just like us to send you more information, feel free to call our team of friendly no-pressure customer service associates at 323.234.5252.

Or, to experience the joy of sewing with minky and plush fabric for yourself, use our store locator to find a store near you.

minky fabric versus fleece


Michael Nystrom
Written by Michael Nystrom
Editor, writer, content marketer. 2x Ironman finisher. Humboldt State and USC alum.