Fabulous Gabardine Fabric: The Ultimate Fashion Staple

by | May 6, 2024

Every fabric has some good features and some bad features. But gabardine fabric seems too unreal as it comes with great traits. For instance, the jeans are durable but not breathable, other cotton fabrics may be breathable, but they do not seem very smooth. But gabardine is durable, breathable, water-resistant, wrinkle-proof, smooth, and versatile. What else can you ask from a fabric?

We are Team Muslin Dhaka. A team of fashion designers, fabric experts, and marketers joined to create the most helpful content about fabric & fashion. With our 37 years of cumulative experience, we are confident to satisfy your deepest curiosity about fabrics.

In this article, we explain all the essential facts about gabardine fabric. It also includes real-life tests and experience to get a clear idea. 

After weeks of research and experiments, here is everything about Gabardine Fabric:

What is Gabardine Fabric?

Gabardine fabric is a tightly woven, thick, and durable fabric made of cotton blends or wool blends. Initially, wool was used to make gabardine fabric. Different materials like cotton, silk, and synthetic fiber contributed to its development. 

Gabardine fabric is made with a twill weave. Twill is known as the strongest weave of all. Tightly packed twill weave contributes to its strength and durability. The fabric has different textures on both sides. The front side is smooth and has a plain feel, and the other side is rough.

With its amazing features and convenience, it is one of the most popular clothes of the twenty-first century. We will dig really deep into the history and features of the gabardine fabric. Keep reading the fascinating story of Gabardine.

Highlights of Gabardine Fabric :

Industrial NameGabardine fabric.
OriginEngland.
Other NamesNo
ConstructionTightly constructed twill weave made with wool and/or cotton blend.
WeightAbout 300-350 GSM
ColorUsually comes with solid color.
AirflowMedium breathable.
Moisture AbsorbanceLow. Water resistant.
WeavingTwill weave.
StretchVery little.
Heat InsulationStandard insulation but not overly hot.
Shrinkage RatioUsually it does not shrink.
UsageOvercoats, slacks, uniforms, trousers, windbreakers, outerwear, suits, apparel, and other garments.

The History of Gabardine Fabric

The name Gabardine was used to refer to a specific type of clothing in the 15th century. The cloth was kind of like a cassock but its front part was often open. The cloth is not related to the gabardine we see today. 

History of garbardine Fabric

The actual history of gabardine begins in 1879. A British guy named Thomas Burberry wanted to create a durable and versatile cloth. He came up with an amazing find and named it Gabardine. He started his fashion house called Burberry Fashion. Started selling gabardine fabric in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England.

The gabardine was really durable, plus it has some water-repellant features too. At that time, there was no better fabric to make soldiers rainproof overcoats. Burberry Fashion supplied gabardine overcoats for soldiers in World War I . The coats were long and had a rubber layer to enhance water resistance.

In the Second World War, the Soviets and the United States started to use shorter gabardine jackets to stay agile on the battlefield. After the war, gabardine started to gain massive popularity among the civilians. 

And that trend never stopped. Nowadays, gabardine fabric is used for various purposes all over the world. That was a quick dive into the history of gabardine fabric.

How is Gabardine fabric made?

This fabric can be made with different blends of fabric, such as worsted wool, cotton, silk, and synthetics. Usually, two-ply is used to make most gabardine fabric. Ply is when two or more yarn is used together as one warp and weft of a fabric. 

Gabardine fabric has compact twill weaving. The warp yarns are closer than the usual fabric, which contributes to their compactness. That is why the fabric resists water significantly well. The weaving process is done with automatic machines.  

How Garbardine fabric is made?

Types of Gabardine Fabric

As mentioned, different materials can be used to make gabardine fabric. The material of gabardine fabric leads to different characteristics and features. We can divide gabardine into three types based on the raw material. They are –

1. Wool 

Wool is the traditional and most common material for gabardine fabric. It is very smooth and elegant. It’s mostly used for making tailored clothes and coating fabrics. Pants, coats, and jackets are commonly made with wool gabardine fabric.

2. Cotton

Organic Cotton gabardine is more compactly woven, which leads to greater durability and water resistance. Cotton gabardine fabrics are used for making shirts, pants, skirts, coats, jackets, and other durable workwear.

3. Polyester

Polyester gabardine is made of synthetic polyester fiber. It might be a blend of cotton or wool fabric. Polyester adds more stretch to this awesome fabric.  

Characteristics of gabardine fabric

 

Characteristics of Gabardine Fabric

The characteristics of Gabardine vary slightly depending on the textile material, construction, and other factors. However, we can easily discuss the core characteristics of gabardine fabric. 

We also collected some ideal gabardine fabrics for our experiment. Will attach the photos and describe the results of the tests. Also, share our real-life experiences.

Appearance

The fabric looks very plain from a bit far away. But if you come closer, you can see the texture of the fabric. The front side has a smooth feel and diagonal lines all over the fabric. These diagonal lines indicate a twill weave. Gabardine fabric usually comes in mono color. 

The sample we had in our hand was a cotton wool gabardine. It was thick, and the diagonal lines were clearly visible. Under a magnifying glass, we could observe the double-ply yarns. Like other gabardine fabric, our sample had a rougher backside.

Softness

Gabardine fabric is soft and lighter than fabrics of similar thickness. The back side of the fabric is a bit unsmooth, but it does not cause any problems as it has a soft character. The fabric is also skin-friendly. 

Our gabardin sample had a medium softness. After sliding the fabric over my arm, I felt the fabric was somewhat smooth. Of course, it’s not like silk, but more than enough to make classy tailor clothes.

Yarn

This fabric usually contains wool, cotton, and polyester yarn. We carefully took out one yarn from the edge and observed it from close. The wool yarn was thick and slightly fluffy. It does not have any twist. Although the fabric is tightly woven, a softer cotton yarn makes it soft and smooth.

Breathability

This fabric has medium breathabilityThat’s impressive for a fabric of this thickness. This character makes it suitable for hot summers and most other seasons. It’s kind of hard to do an accurate breathability experiment. But we have one method to get an idea.

I held the fabric in the front of a table fan. After keeping my face near the other side of the fabric, I felt the presence of airflow. Interestingly, the fabric can resist water to some degree, but it allows air to pass. 

Heat absorption

Gabardine fabric is not warm. Due to the tight weave, it loses its insulating character. You can easily make summer suits, shirts, and pants with it. The heat absorption of gabardine fabric is kind of moderate. It does not absorb and pass too much heat.

To understand it properly, we lit a lighter close to the fabric and tried to feel it from the other side. The fabric absorbs some heat, but not too much to cause problems in the sun.

Stretch

Wool gabardine has a subtle stretch, but cotton ones usually do not stretch. After we pulled our gabardin sample, and observed a little stretch, about 2-3%. That is fine as most comfort wear has a 1-5% stretch. There are stretch gabardine fabrics too. Polyester and wool blend gabardine stretch quite a lot more than the normal ones.

Water Resistance

The fabric resists water quite well compared to other fabrics. Combined with other water-resistant materials, gabardine used as a raincoat for hundred years. It has water resistance to some degree but it is not completely water proof. 

Gabardin can easily slide off drops & water for a short time. But it gets wet when exposed to heavy rain for a longer time. We observed the exact thing in our experiment. After sprinkling some water in the fabric, the water formed a pearl shape and stayed like that for a long time. But the fabric started to absorb the water slowly. 

Transparency of gabardine

Transparency

These fabrics are non-transparent and do not let any light pass. We experimented with this in two ways. First, we held the fabric in the direction of the light bulb and no lights were passing. But you can say there is a light behind by noticing the small white spots. Look at the photo below to understand this clearly. 

We also kept it in front of our office computer, but the fabric entirely covered the lights of the screen. This character can slightly vary depending on the color and thickness of the gabardine fabric. We had a black gabardin, so it absorbed the most light.

Shrinkage

Gabardine does not usually shrink as it is tightly woven fabric. Wool also does not shrink like cotton. However, cotton gabardine can shrink a bit over time. I used cotton gabardine pants all of my life. But never experienced much shrinkage.

Durability of gabardine fabric

Durability

This fabric is very durable. It’s perfect for wearing frequently. You also use it as a work cloth. Due to twill weaving, it can go through a lot of pulls and scratches without having any trace. 

We stroked our samples with a knife lightly several times. The fabric didn’t even get a scratch. A quality gabardine fabric can last for years without any problem.

Color retention

Gabardine is usually dyed with single and neutral colors. The fabric bonds really well with dye, and it looks great for a long time. However, I think darker gabardine fabric catches dust, which makes it look a bit off. Brushing the cloth can fix this easily.

Gabardine Fabric and Sustainability

Gabardine is environmentally sustainable in two ways. Firstly, most of the gabardines are made of synthetic & cotton blend. This is a very low-impact material and it can also be recycled. 

Durability is another reason for its sustainability. Gabardine can last long years as regular wear, so you will need less clothes. The longer you can use a fabric, the better it is for the environment.

There are also certified organic gabardine fabrics which are best for mother nature. These are great for sensitive skin. These fabrics are biodegradable which mix easily with soil. 

Prime exporter of gabardine Fabric

Uses of Gabardine Fabric

Gabardine is quite versatile and suited for many purposes. Here are some of the uses of this fabric:

  1. Outwares: Due to its water resistance and durability, this fabric works great as outwares, coats, suits, and raincoats. 
  2. Tailor clothes: Gabardine provides a luxury feel, making it a great choice for tailor shirts, tops, skirts, and pants. The best thing about this tailor cloth is wrinkle free.
  3. Uniforms and sportswear: Gabardine fabrics are long-lasting, durable, and comfortable. This features making it a great option for military uniforms & sportswear.
  4. Upholstery fabric: This fabric is suitable for durable upholstery, great for commercial places.
  5. Accessories: Gabardine is also used to make home decor, bags, hats, ribbons, and other accessories.

The advantages and disadvantages of Gabardine fabric

Now let’s recap the advantages and disadvantages of Gabardine fabric below.

Advantages

  • Durable, long-lasting.
  • Water resistant.
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Has a soft, luxurious feel.
  • Breathable and not warm.
  • Suitable for different weathers and seasons.
  • Low-maintenance.
  • Better for the environment.
  • Recyclable.

Disadvantages

  • Some wool products are not cruelty-free
  • Quality Gabardine is expensive
  • May not suitable for colder weather

Gabardine Vs Denim 

Gabardine vs Denim

Gabardine and denim both are thick and made from twill weave. But they are a lot different from each other, although sometimes they look very similar.

Denim is heavier, but Gabardine is lightweight. Gabardine is overall softer, more water resistant, and breathable than denim fabric. Both are very durable and long-lasting, but in general, jeans will be ahead of Gabardin in durability. Denim clothes have a bold vibe attached to them, while gabardine is somewhat neutral.

Overall, it depends on your taste and what you like. Both gabardine and denim are very handy fabrics. 

How to care for Gabardine fabric?

Different gabardine apparel may require different care guides. Firstly, follow the manufacturer guide if available. 

But in general, here are some tips for caring this awesome fabric : 

  • You can wash gabardine with a gentle setting in the washing machine or simply dry wash.
  • Use a gentle washing powder.
  • You can use a dryer, but keep the heat low.
  • A similar principle for ironing this fabric, press it with low heat. Higher temperatures can damage the textile.

Gabardine Fabric by the Yard

If you want to buy some gabardine fabric by the yard, buying online is an easy and hassle-free option. Onsite shopping is also great for getting your craft fabric. The price may vary depending on brand and quality. But on average, you should get pretty standard gabardine fabric by the yard for 10$. You can get a better deal for a higher quantity.

Where to buy Gabardine?

Amazon, Joann, and Mood Fabric are some of the best places for buying the best quality fabric. Finding Gabardin in Amazon can be very overwhelming as there are a lot of options to choose from. Let me help you out with a few suggestions. Atelier Brunette and Ben Textiles have excellent quality gabardine fabric.

For DIY projects, don’t forget to check out ETSY products!

Best brands for gabardine fabric

Wondering what are the best gabardine brands? Here are the brands you may want to check out.

  1. Burberry for Luxury clothing.
  2. Wolf & Badger for sustainable clothing
  3. My Textile Fabrics good for fabric
  4. Landofoh good for cotton gabardine
  5. Ben Textiles great for 100 percent cotton

FAQ

Is gabardine a cotton fabric?

Gabardine can be made of cotton and cotton blend. It is a special kind of twill fabric. 

How do you tell if a fabric is gabardine?

Gabardine fabric has diagonal lines all over it. Jeans have similar lines and thickness, but gabardine is lighter and smoother. 

Conclusion

Gabardine is one of the handiest fabrics in the history of textiles. By reading this you already become a mini expert on this fabric. That’s amazing. Right?Choose your gabardine clothes wisely. 

The fabric has a huge potential for sustainability. So, we should promote this type of cotton fabric!

Shariful Alam

Shariful Alam

Shariful Alam Pavel, A fashion lover, passionate marketer. Love to share wisdom based on real life experience to enrich knowledge.
Founder of Muslin Dhaka, a brand, speaks the truth about royal muslin and fashion. Explore the digital fashion universe with organic cotton muslin and much more!

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