By | May 17, 2016
Cotton chambray. The ruler is in centimeters

Cotton chambray. The ruler is in centimeters. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Chambray is a plain-woven cotton with a colored warp and a white weft, very similar to gingham, although chambray is not often woven into checks. When it is, then it’s called a chambray gingham. Historically, it was woven from linen, today it’s made from cotton and cotton blends and it remains in popular usage.

It’s closely related to cambric, and both fabrics pop up in 19th century sources – as do all the fabrics with the 19th-century friendly tag.

It’s used for children’s clothes, blouses, lightweight dresses, some utility wear.

Because the modern fabric is a cotton, you want to be sure you’ve gotten all the shrink out of it, so run it through a warm (not hot) wash and sling it in the dryer on high at least once before you cut it. If you’re afraid the edges are going to fray too much while in the wash, serger or zig-zag stitch the cut ends of your yardage, first. It can tolerate a medium-heat iron, with steam.

I’ve seen some printed fabric calling itself chambray, but haven’t been able to get my hands on a swatch to determine if it matches the colored warp, white weft definition of a chambray, or if it’s just a soft cotton that the fabric retailer thought would sound nice if called chambray…

Prices range from $5/yd for lightweight cotton chambray up to $20/yd for linen chambray.

Sew with a universal needle and all purpose thread.


Cotton chambray. Source:


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