Broadcloth is a medium-weight, unbalanced plain weave fabric with fine ribs. It is woven tightly, resulting in its characteristic luster and smooth appearance. It is often used to make shirts, skirts, and blouses. It’s also used by crafters as one of the most popular fabrics for quilting.

Common Applications

Shirts, Dresses, Skirts, Children’s clothes, Pajamas, Bedding

 

Broadcloth

Description

A lightweight, unfinished fabric that is mostly a solid color

Broadcloth is a very popular type of dress shirt fabric. Broadcloth and Poplin are essentially the same type of fabric. Broadcloth is a very lightweight, smooth, flat looking fabric, with no pattern in the weave of the threads. It is similar in quality to pinpoint fabric, but has less texture. This usually means it is slightly more transparent and not as shiny as the pinpoint fabric. Broadcloth fabric comes in a variety of thread counts, ranging from 50 singles to over 140 doubles.

Broadcloth

Background

Story

Historically, broadcloth was made of wool. This material was woven wider than its required width and then worked over in hot soapy water by trip hammers until it shrinks to its required width. This milling process aimed to make the material dense by drawing the yarns closer together. The loom could not achieve this tightly-woven consistency. Also, during this felting process, the different fibers of the wool were bound together, creating a thick, blind face cloth. The resulting fabric was highly resistant to the weather, had a stiff drape and its edges could be cut with no need for hemming.

Manufacturing

Broadcloth can be made of different materials but perhaps, the most used materials are wool and cotton. Silk, polyester, and rayon are also used in making broadcloth fabrics. But synthetic fibers are not usually used in making this fabric. This is because they do not give the same results as wool and cotton fibers. Natural fibers produce the best broadcloth fabric. However, broadcloth make from other blends are popularly used for dresses and shirts than for any other purpose.

Broadcloth
Broadcloth

Expertises

Characteristic

  • Durable and strong
  • Cool, lightweight
  • Versatile
  • Soft to touch
  • Lustrous face
  • Subtle sheen
  • Comfortable
  • Delight to print on
  • Doesn’t wrinkle easy
  • Doesn’t stain easy
  • Water resistant

WHAT IS BROADCLOTH VS COTTON?

Cotton broadcloth bears the same characteristics as cotton, but not so the broadcloth made from other fiber contents. The simple difference between cotton and broadcloth is that the former is a fabric made by weaving cotton fibers, while the latter is made from woven cotton and might contain other blends like silk, rayon, polyester, and wool. Broadcloth is usually considered a medium-weight fabric.

What is Broadcloth Used For?

You can find this material used in dresses, shirts, pajamas, lingerie, and similar clothing items but the main uses for this fabric is not for fashion. Usually, furniture and cars get a broad application of this material.

The reason for its use as upholstery and car seat fabric is because it is a dense material and can be very thick. It endures heavy traffic areas with ease and if found in good quality, it should last for decades.

If you need heavy duty casual wear clothing, then this is the material that you should turn to first. Denim has its place but it is not as colorful or has the designs that broadcloth has.

Cotton Broadcloth vs Poplin

While some people do use both terms interchangeably there are numerous differences between the two styles of fabric. Broadcloth can be given a rib to mimic poplin, yet poplin’s ribs provide strength as well as its corded look.

Then poplin is often made with a silk warp and a worsted yarn for the weft part of the weave. Broadcloth has a dense weave which helps make it a durable fabric to wear or use and both materials are used in furniture applications as well.

There is some discussion about which fabric is smoother of the two with some people saying that poplin is smoother than broadcloth. The latter is softer and a bit thicker than poplin is.

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