What is French Terry? Your Friendly Guide To The Ultimate Comfort Fabric

Melengo Team

French terry is the ultimate comfort fabric. But what is it made of, and what are its uses?

Sign up to our updates
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Be it activewear or loungewear, one of the most important things people look for in clothes is comfort. This is probably why so many fall clothes are made using French Terry. Apart from being cozy, the French terry fabric also makes for some stylish clothes. 

But what even is French terry? Let’s explore what the fabric is made of and why it’s a popular choice for manufacturing clothes. 

What is French Terry? | Types and Uses

French terry is a knit fabric, sporting a looped texture on one side and a soft, smooth surface on the other. It’s cozy, stretchy, and super comfortable, which is why it’s one of the best fabrics to lounge around in or wear to the gym. 

French Terry is considered a mid- to heavy-weight fabric and has a thickness ranging from 200 gsm (grams per square meter) to 450 gsm. Typically, the fabric is made with 100% cotton or a blend of cotton and polyester. There’s also a tri-blend version where a mixture of polyester, rayon, and spandex fibers are used along with cotton to give it an extra stretch.

The French terry fabric is most commonly used to make loungewear and workout clothes such as hoodies, sweatshirts, t-shirts, sweatpants, tank tops, and shorts. However, you’ll find that this fabric is slightly heavier than your typical casual clothes. As a result, it can be worn even during fall when the air starts getting chilly, or as a middle layer during winter. 

Properties of French Terry

This single knit fabric has several properties that make it a coveted fabric choice. 


French terry is a single knit fabric, which means that it’s made by interconnecting loops of yarn and has different textures on both sides. This makes for a soft interior with short piles of yarn that feels very comfortable against the skin, while the exterior lies flat and is smooth to the touch. It’s the perfect fabric for everyday wear.


The interconnected loops on the inside of the French terry fabric allow air to circulate between them, making it highly breathable. This helps regulate your body temperature and keeps you cool by preventing an excessive buildup of heat. This also makes French terry a very skin-friendly fabric. 


We all know that cotton is a very absorbent fabric that can hold moisture up to 27 times its weight, right? And since French terry is primarily made of cotton, it follows that the French terry fabric is also absorbent. This makes it a great material to sweat in. The fabric pulls in all the sweat and keeps you cool and dry, making it a great fabric for summer and for low-intensity workouts. 


Knit fabrics like French terry are typically stretchable due to their interlocking loop pattern. These loops allow the fibers to move and stretch without any damage to its structure. This makes fabrics like French terry very adaptable to body movements. So, whether you want to jog, squat, or do a downward dog pose, French terry makes for an ideal (and stretchy) companion. 

Additionally, French terry can be made even more elastic by mixing in other fibers like spandex. 


French terry is a mid-weight fabric, which means it’s thicker and heavier than your usual sweatshirt, but thinner than typical winter wear. As a result, this fabric is perfect for all weathers – it keeps you cool and dry during summer and warm during the colder months when the air is slightly chilly. 

However, French terry by itself isn’t an ideal option for very cold winters. Instead, you can use it for layering underneath your fleece or wool jacket. 

Easy to maintain

French terry is naturally wrinkle-resistant and durable due to its stretchiness (knit fabric, remember?) It also doesn’t tear, pill, or fray at the seams (thank you, knit fabrics). As a result, it’s very easy to care for and maintain. Not only is French terry machine washable, it also releases odors pretty quickly due to being made out of natural fibers, so you can enjoy your favorite sweatshirts for years to come. 

How Does French Terry Differ From Other Terry Fabrics?

French terry isn’t the only type of terry fabric. Here’s how it differs from the others. 

French Terry vs. Terry Cloth

Terry cloth, also known as terry cotton or towel terry, is a type of terry fabric that’s commonly used to make bath towels, bathrobes, and bath mats. While French terry has different textures on both sides, terry cloth has identical long loops on the inside and outside. In other words, terry cloth is fluffy on both sides and lacks the smooth, flat surface that French terry sports. It’s also heavier, thicker, and more absorbent than French terry. 

French Terry vs. Terry Velour

Both French terry and terry velour are knit fabrics that are smooth on one side with loops on the other. Their primary difference lies in the fact that the smooth side of terry velour has a shiny appearance and feels a lot like velvet. Velour also isn’t as absorbent as French terry or terry cotton. However, like terry cloth, it’s also used to make bathwear. 

French Terry vs. Fleece

Both fleece and French terry are knit fabrics with soft loops on the inside. However, when it comes to French terry, one of the sides remains uncut, giving the fabric a smooth surface. But, with fleece, the piles of yarn on the outside are cut and brushed, giving it a soft, fuzzy texture. 

Fleece is also much warmer, denser, and better at moisture-wicking than French terry. However, unlike French terry, fleece doesn’t absorb a lot of moisture.

Whether you want to make hoodies and sweatshirts or jackets and socks out of fleece, Melengo makes it easy for you to get started. [Start your project now.]

Explore other articles