What is Cambric – Fabric Guide & Uses

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Do you have any idea what is cambric? Cambric is a delicate and lightweight fabric with a plain weave. Since its introduction, cambric has been used to make garments and other items suitable for lightweight materials. This article will explain in detail what is cambric, how cambric is made, its history, and other properties.

 What is CambricPin What is Cambric


What is Cambric? – OverviewWhat is Cambric? – History and OriginWhat is Cambric? – How it is MadeWhat is Cambric? – UsesWhat is Cambric vs ChambrayWhat is Cambric? – LaunderingWhat is Cambric? – In ConclusionMORE FABRIC TYPES

What is Cambric? – Overview

Cambric is one of the densest fabrics, typically woven in greige color. Previously, cambric fabric was created by weaving flax or linen together. It was produced by manufacturers in the early ages during the 1900s. Apart from making garments, cambric is also very suitable for embroideries and lacework. When used in other handiworks, cambric is also called “batiste.”

What is Cambric? – History and Origin

The earliest known production of cambric fabric was in a place in southern France called Cambrai. A native weaver named Jean Baptiste Chambray was said to have invented cambric fabric in 1300. The original form of the cambric fabric was gorgeous linen.

What is cambric? The word “cambric” came from the Flemish word “kameryk.” “Cambric” has been used since around 1530, while “batiste,” its French equivalent, has been used since 1590. Cambric and batiste were initially referred to as white linen cloth. A cambric fabric also made from silk has been found in history.

But throughout history, it was cotton that has become the most prevalent fabric type in cambric. During the late 1500s, many forms of printed cambric can be seen in cities that were very conscious about fashion, such as London. It was during this period that the fabric has gained much of its popularity.

Apart from garments, you can see many cambric fabrics in wall hangings, petticoats, curtains, and other textile products. During this time, cambric was also used for lace works and embroideries.

In time, the production of cambric fabric changed, and certain types of American or Egyptian cotton were used. Cambric yarns would range from 60 to 80 thread counts. Traditional methods were then used to treat the linen fabric or fine cotton to develop a glossy appearance. Afterward, it can be bleached or piece dyed.

The cambric fabric declined in popularity as many other fabric types emerged, and people started to prefer other fabrics. The textiles that compete with the popularity of cambric fabric are manufactured by relatively modern procedures. Today, chambray is still a popular variation of the cambric fabric and is used in various applications. To this day, you can still find good-quality cambric fabrics at select stores.

What is Cambric? – How it is Made

To understand what cambric is, it is essential to know how it is made. Cambric fabric is not woven the same way most of the other fabrics are woven. Producing cambric usually requires weaving twisted cotton fibers or short linen. The fibers used in weaving cambric fabric are either raw or threads that are not bleached and dyed.

For those who have no idea about tight weaving, it is a known feature of the production of cambric fabric that causes it to have that smooth appearance as the final result. After weaving the fabric, it then undergoes a process known as calendaring.

The process of calendaring is done by passing the fabric through heated rollers. The heated rollers then tighten the fibers and align them uniformly in a single direction. This process is another reason why cambric fabric has very tight fibers and has a glossy and stiff look.

However, the desired glossy and stiff look is usually only achieved after a series of washings before the fabric finally displays that desired look. A good indicator of a decent quality cambric fabric is when it can retain its stiff and glossy properties for several years, even when it is aging. On the other hand, cambric fabrics of low quality may need to be treated again and even multiple times after some time to regain their original glossy and stiff properties.

What is Cambric? – Uses

What is cambric used for? Because of its density, cambric fabric is perfect for lacework and embroideries. When cambric fabric is used for these purposes, it is otherwise known as batiste. There are many other applications of cambric fabric, and what it is used for usually depends on the quality of the material. Its common uses include various ready-made clothes like gowns, shirts for men, tops for women, dresses, and other garments.

But what is cambric used for if the fabric is of high quality? The type of cambric fabric used for garments is usually one of a higher quality. Despite its density and relative durability, cambric fabric is often used for garments not intended for daily use or permanent use. They are usually used as materials for costumes or rare occasions such as dresses for weddings and other clothes that won’t be used in the long term.

What is cambric used for if it is low-quality? On the other hand, cambric fabric of low quality is usually used to make products such as napkins, linings, innerwear, and handkerchiefs, among many others. Cambric fabric can also be seen in some artworks and needleworks used as a backing material. Other uses of the cambric fabric include dust covers, bandages, and more. Cambric fabric used for these purposes is usually low-quality.

What is Cambric vs Chambray

Cambric and chambray are two very similar fabrics that are often mistaken as the same. Despite their similarities, cambric and chambray are different fabrics. Chambray is a variation of the cambric fabric. Cambric has been used and produced for hundreds of years, while chambray is somewhat recent in comparison as it is a variation of cambric.

As time went on, the terms cambric and chambray were used synonymously even though the terms denote different fabric types. According to some records, the term “chambray” was first used sometime during the middle of the 19th century.

Over time, the term cambric has been replaced by chambray, and most people no longer use the term cambric, and any fabric made using the original style developed in Cambria is referred to as chambray.

However, in today’s modern world, the term chambray is used to determine cotton fabrics produced with a specific type of weft and weave pattern. Many consumers of the chambray fabric choose to use it as an excellent alternative to denim, and this fabric is also commonly seen in many household textiles.

To summarize the difference between chambray and cambric, chambray is used to describe any type of fabric produced with the traditional method of making chambray.

Cambric, on the other hand, is a fabric that has lighter and smoother characteristics than chambray.

The term “batiste” is derived from the surname “Baptiste,” which is the surname of the one who invented the chambray fabric. The Batiste fabric is identical to cambric, and it is also the term used when the cambric fabric is used in artworks or needleworks.

Nowadays, since cambric is no longer produced in various color options, it is difficult to determine the differences between cambric fabric and chambray. It’s just that the weaving of chambray is different, and it involves a colored weft and a white warp.

What is Cambric? – Laundering

Cambric is made from natural fibers. Fortunately, it is straightforward to launder cambric fabric because it can retain its shape. Even if you set the laundry machine to 60 degrees, the cloth can still withstand it.

If you want to eliminate the creases in cambric fabric, it is best to avoid an extremely hot iron. The best way to deal with wrinkles in cambric fabric is an iron set to medium temperature.

What is Cambric? – In Conclusion

Cambric is a delicate and lightweight fabric that is somewhat glossy and stiff. This fabric originated from the Cambria, a place in southern France.There are many different applications to cambric fabric ranging from dresses, men’s shirts, costumes, lacework, embroideries, and many more. Higher quality cambric fabric is usually used in making garments. On the other hand, lower-quality cambric fabric is used in artworks, embroideries, and needlework.

Although cambric and chambray are somewhat similar, they are different types of fabric. Chambray is made from a specific traditional method of producing chambray fabric, while cambric is created by weaving twisted cotton fibers or linen and then tightened by heat rollers. That is all there is to know about cambric fabric. I hope this article has given you insight as to what is cambric.


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