Part of the ‘Antique Fabrics‘ series, this fabric isn’t necessarily extinct, but it was more popular in the past than the present.
Thread count is usually 200 per inch or more. Percale uses long-staple cotton, resulting in a smoother finish to the fabric, as well as a stronger yarn. In contrast, muslin is made with a short-staple cotton, which is why it has a rougher surface, in comparison.
Percale is still very much in use today – frequently for bed-linens, but also infant’s clothes and pajamas. Contemporary percale may be made with other yarns, such as polyester or with a cotton/poly blend, but cotton remains popular.
If you’re seeking a good-enough fabric for costuming, consider a better-quality muslin, lawn (which might be a bit too sheer) or do what I’d do – go visit some thrift stores and look for good quality used sheets in the linens section. Such finds are always pre-shrunk, too!
Be sure to pre-wash any percale before cutting, to get all of the shrinking out of the way. Use a universal needle and all purpose thread.