Basic fabric properties include weight, breathability, softness and degree of waterproofing. The properties of fabrics vary depending on the specific material. Some have a wider range of properties than others, and are used for a variety of purposes such as making consumer products like clothing and blankets.
Fabrics are typically grouped into one of three categories: modern, smart and combination. Modern fabrics are the largest group of fabrics, and along with smart fabrics, they are generally produced using small microfibers. Microfibers are considered a type of modern fabrics, as are materials such as fleece, Gore-Tex, micro-encapsulated fabrics, heat sensitive materials and light-sensitive materials. These types of modern fabrics are made with different types of technology and have different physical properties.
Microfibers, for instance, are found in woven polyester. This modern fabric includes several properties that make it durable and comfortable enough for end use in wearable consumer goods like street wear and outerwear. Microfibers typically exist as woven polyester strands, and as a group are lightweight, soft, breathable and waterproof.
Fleece is another type of fabric that exists as brushed polyester and knitted garments. Fleece is also lightweight, soft and breathable, like microfibers, but it also has insulating properties that make it warm. Fleece is added to clothing, as are microfibers, and it is also found in blankets and bedding.