Oilskin

Part of the ‘Antique Fabrics‘ series, this fabric isn’t necessarily extinct, but it was more popular in the past than the present. A tightly-woven cotton or linen cloth, coated with boiled linseed oil to render it waterproof. It was cheaper than the other option for waterproofs at the time: oiled leather. Used for clothing and… Read More »

Mockado

Part of the ‘Antique Fabrics‘ series, this fabric isn’t necessarily extinct, but it was more popular in the past than the present. AKA Moquette. A wool fabric made to imitate silk velvet – a wool pile on a linen and wool base. It was first created in the mid-16th century, so it’s apt for costuming… Read More »

Nainsook

AKA Nainsouk. Part of the ‘Antique Fabrics‘ series, this fabric isn’t necessarily extinct, but it was more popular in the past than the present. A thin, delicate plain-weave cotton. Very soft. Popular for lingerie and infants’ clothing. Originally imported from India, the name derives from the Hindu word nainsukh (“eyes’ delight”). Today, it’s still made from… Read More »

Maline, Merveilleux and Messaline

Part of the ‘Antique Fabrics‘ series, this fabric isn’t necessarily extinct, but it was more popular in the past than the present. (I found so little on these three that I’m lumping ’em together – Ed.) Maline – gauze-like net of silk or cotton Merveilleux – a silk or silk/cotton mixture in a twill weave… Read More »

Mousseline

Part of the ‘Antique Fabrics‘ series. A 19th century term for muslin. I’ve run into it a lot in my late-19th/early-20th century catalog reproductions, usually when describing dainty blouses and dresses. Dainty was a very popular term in Gimbel’s 1915 catalog. Do not confuse it with mousseline de soie. I feel let down. I was… Read More »

Oxford

No, not the university town in the UK – although this fabric apparently went through a period of being in vogue with students in that town in the early 20th century. Oxford is lightweight cotton fabric, woven with a variant of the plain weave known as hopsack (I’ve sometimes seen it described as a basket-weave, but… Read More »

Sicilienne

Part of the ‘Antique Fabrics‘ series, this fabric isn’t necessarily extinct, but it was more popular in the past than the present. A fine poplin with silk warp and cashmere filling. I spotted this one mentioned in the reprint of Bloomingdale’s 1886 catalog – some of their ladies’ dresses were available in sicilienne. It was considered… Read More »

Covert

Part of the ‘Antique Fabrics’ series, this fabric isn’t necessarily extinct, but it was more popular in the past than the present. AKA allsport. Covert is a durable heavy-weight tweed of regular or worsted wool, suitable for overcoats. It’s very hard-wearing and water-resistant. Covert coats are mentioned in 19th century catalogs as outdoor garments suitable for… Read More »

Butternut

Part of the Antique Fabrics series. A heavy woolen cloth, dyed brown with extracts from the butternut tree. If you want to play a Confederate soldier in the US Civil War, you’re going to learn a lot about butternut, as it was a widely-used homespun fabric used to replace official-issued uniform jackets and trousers as… Read More »