Description : A tough, tightly woven twill weave fabric traditionally made from wool. Other fibres are also used to make variations of gabardine, including cotton, silk, synthetic fibres such as rayon and fibre blends. Polyester gabardine, sometimes called "gabardreme", presses poorly and puckers - for the most part, it should be avoided. Gabardine has a smooth surface on one side and a diagonal rib on the other - this is a characteristic of fabrics made with twill weave.
Gabardine (Courtesy of, color treatment and washing characteristics : Wool gabardine should either be dry cleaned, or, if the fabric allows for this, washed and dried on a very low cycle or handwashed. Cotton gabardine can generally be treated at a higher temperature. Furthermore, gabardine should be prewashed before it is used to make garments. Air dry flat. A warm iron should be used for pressing - if the iron is too hot it will leave marks on the fabric. Furthermore, a protection cloth should be used between the iron and the fabric to avoid "shining up" the fabric. Gabardine made from synthetic fibres is even more sensitive to heat.
Draping properties : The thickness and toughness of the fabric makes for weak drape.
Cutting properties : The fabric should be steam pressed flat before cutting, as any folds will distort the fabric during cutting. Use a wool press cloth when pressing. It can be layed out in a double layer, however. It can be marked with chalk, scissor clips, pins and tailor's tacks.
Sewing challenges : Gabardine is easy to sew but hard to press. Many gabardine fabrics present difficulties for introducing ease. For flatter seams, use a 1" (2.5 cm) seam allowance instead of the usual narrower seam. Avoid the use of bound seams (French seam or flat-felled, for example) as these add too much bulk. Lighten the top tension slightly, if necessary. Serge or zigzag seams with lightweight thread. Seams in general should be topstitched. Hems should be finished by hand for best results. Shrink or shape sleeve caps before setting into their seams. Reduce ease if necessary to ease in the fullness smoothly. For interfacing, use sew-ins or hair canvas - weft fusibles will eventually lift away. One way to underline gabardine is with bias-cut lightweight hair canvas. The use of rayon thread and a finer needle (90/14) makes for especially good buttonholes, according to one source. Hems should be handsewn, or use multiple rows of topstitching about 1/4" (6 mm) apart.
Example creations : Cream coat, 3-piece suit,
Uses worldwide : Gabardine is the fabric used in the raincoat style often called a "burberry", but also in other light coats, sportswear, suiting, pants, loose shirts and straight skirts.
Origins and history : Created by fashion designer Thomas Burberry in the late 19th century, the name comes from a long, loose overgarment called a "gaberdine".
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