Friday, November 22, 2013

Fabric of the week: Gabardine

It is my 50th fabric of the week entry, and I can’t believe I’m just getting around to this one! Gabardine is a revered fabric—I’ve had many an older woman confess to me it is her favorite. I just wish younger people had a chance to know it better.


Gabardine is characterized by either steep or sometimes regular twill, tightly woven, with fine, distinct diagonal ribs on the surface and a smooth back. Wools are right-hand twill, cotton may be left-hand. The warp generally has twice as many threads per inch as the weft. Made of worsted, cotton, manufactured fibers, blends, and (rarely) silk. 
Because gabardine is tightly woven (particularly in a steep twill weave) the fabric is hard-wearing and rain resistant. Its name derives from the Medieval Spanish word gabardina which means protection from the elements. 

The name was originally used for a cloak worn in the Middle Ages.
Uses: Suits, coats, rainwear, slacks, skirts, uniforms, dresses, sportswear, shirts, hats
See also:
Covert cloth

Worsted wool gabardine

Rayon gabardine
©Vintage Fashion Guild - Text by Margaret Wilds/denisebrain,  photos by Hoyt Carter


Louise said...

Gabardine is a favourite of mine as well- a gabardine suit, to me, is like a suit of armour- tough and made to last!
I think it is a shame that people nowadays seem to know so little about materials anymore. I can remember my gran based her clothing purchases on the material first and then the appearance, as she knew which clothes would last by what they were made from.

denisebrain said...

I feel very fortunate to have found today a classic wrap coat of blue gabardine dating from the 1970s. I don't believe I've seen newer wool gabardine, and it's such a shame.

We would be better served by choosing from the quality of the fabric as your grandmother Louise, and it certainly would be nice if we were given some choice!