What is Buckram? Fabric Guide, Uses and Types

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What is Buckram fabric? Buckram fabric is a rough, heavy, and open plain weave fabric from cotton or hemp. The cloth’s stiff and coarse qualities are due to the starch and other sizing agents in which the fabric was soaked and then dried. Buckram fabric is mainly used to give a garment shape and structure. You can find it in the drapery section of a fabric or arts and craft store. Additionally, this cost-effective yet long-lasting cloth is also called crinoline and bookbinding cloth.

What is BuckramPinWhat is Buckram


What Is Buckram Fabric?What Is Buckram Fabric – PropertiesWhat Is Buckram Fabric in Millinery?What Is Buckram Fabric – Similarities and Differences with Other FabricsWhat is Buckram vs BurlapWhat is Buckram vs Canvas What is Buckram vs CrinolineWhat is Buckram vs FosshapeWhat Is Buckram Fabric – UsesWhat Is Buckram Fabric – How to Pick the Right Buckram Fabric?One-Ply Buckram FabricTwo-Ply Buckram FabricWhat Is Buckram Fabric – CareWhat Is Buckram Fabric – In ConclusionMORE FABRIC TYPES

What Is Buckram Fabric?

So, what is Buckram fabric? Simply put, buckram fabric is a stiff cloth, often a muslin with a loose weave. Aside from using cotton, the fabric material can also be made from linen, hemp, or horsehair. To achieve the final outcome, the material is soddened in wheat starch paste, adhesives, or other sizing agents to glaze, protect the cloth, and enhance the wear and tear of the material. Buckram fabric often comes in more neutral shades. However, they are also available in shiny and colorful swatches.

To better understand buckram fabric, let’s take a look at the origin of the word. Although the word’s etymology is still uncertain, textile experts and historians believe that the name came from Bukhara in Uzbekistan, where the material originates. On the other hand, others believe that it evolved from the word Bokeram, referring to an ordinary fabric made of cotton.

The cloth dates to the Middle Ages and has become a common material in the textile industry. Because it is hardwearing and versatile, it became a staple in the garment and fashion industry, and it still is until today. Commonly used for book covers, buckram fabric is also a strengthening material for curtain and draperies, fabric interfacing, and a molding and shaping component.

What Is Buckram Fabric – Properties

To know more about what Buckram fabric is, it would be best to learn more about its unique and distinct characteristics. These set it apart from other materials, and it has specific purposes due to these remarkable qualities.

Strength and Durability – When coated with a sizing agent, it has enhanced rigidity, durability, and strength. So what is Buckram fabric, and what makes it excellent? First, the material is a good investment because it can survive rough use and last for many years.Keeps Its Shape – Buckram fabric is also a preferred interlining and stiffening material because of its ability to hold and keep its shape. That is why it is used in hats and accessories that need a more structured form.Water-Resistant – The fabric also has water-resistant properties due to its coating, which prevents liquids from seeping through the material.Insect and Mold Repellant – No mold or insect attack can harm or damage the fabric because of the gap-filling paste in which the material was soaked.

What Is Buckram Fabric in Millinery?

So, what is Buckram fabric in millinery? Millinery buckram is a slightly different material than the standard strengthening and bookbinding buckram cloth.

It’s commonly used for making hats, purses, baseball caps, and corsets to give the accessories the desired shape. First, it’s soaked in a strengthening agent, such as starch or resin, and then it’s molded into the creator’s preferred form while it’s wet. Once it dries, it takes the creator’s desired shape. Because of this, this 100% cotton material can be used for crafting hats and other beautifully designed headwear.

What Is Buckram Fabric – Similarities and Differences with Other Fabrics

So, what is buckram fabric, and how is it similar and different from other fabrics in the market?

What is Buckram vs Burlap

Burlap is a plain rough woven fabric from sisal fibers or the skin of a jute plant. It’s loose in structure, and unlike buckram, it is not soaked in any substance. Burlaps are popular for bags and sacks. Both fabrics, however, are inexpensive and can be used in draperies and as decorative.

What is Buckram vs Canvas

Canvas is made using cotton, linen, acrylic, and synthetic fibers. It is famously known as a primary material for painting, covers, clothing, and sails. Like buckram, it is more durable than other fabrics.

What is Buckram vs Crinoline

Crinoline is a complete and stiff fabric used in petticoats. Like buckram, it is also made from cotton, linen, or horsehair and is made using a plain open weave. However, it is less heavy, and the fabric is not soaked into any liquid solution.

What is Buckram vs Fosshape

Fosshape is another unique non-woven and heat-activated fabric. It is often used in theatres and ballet studios to create lightweight headpieces and props. Fosshape is a great buckram substitute since it can also be shaped permanently into hats and other objects used when performing.

What Is Buckram Fabric – Uses

Although it has limited uses due to its stiffness and unique characteristics, Buckram serves its purpose well since no other fabric is like it.

With that said, to better appreciate what Buckram fabric is, let’s check out some of its common uses. So, what is Buckram fabric used for?

Clothes Interfacing – Buckram is mostly material for clothes interfacing. The cloth is inserted between two layers of fabric, as seen in the neckline, cuff, and shirt collar. It makes an area of a garment more rigid and adds body to the material.Draperies and Curtains – One important use of Buckram is in draperies and curtain fabrics. It adds strength and support when creating curtains to stabilize the fabric to slide across the curtain rods without crease or drag. It is also used as a strong material for pleating to add a more decorative context to curtains. Plus, it also functions as an insulator by effectively blocking the airflow from windows.Bookbinding – As mentioned, Buckram is an attractive and practical material for bookbinding. It is a popular binding material because it is a durable fabric with different shades and hues.Burlesque Clothing – The beauty and charm of burlesque clothing are achieved with the use of buckram fabric. Through the unique and distinctive features of the material, burlesque fashion becomes more dramatic and sensual.

What Is Buckram Fabric – How to Pick the Right Buckram Fabric?

There are several types of buckram fabric available in the market for you to choose from. However, the type of fabric is divided into two categories: one-ply or two-ply weaves.

One-Ply Buckram Fabric

A one-ply buckram is a single woven cotton fabric that comes in light, medium, and heavy. Single-ply is often used in hat frames and covers, but they can also support material in felt and straw hats.

Aside from headwear, the single-ply fabric is excellent for bookbinding, garment shaping, and other clothing elements.

One-ply light has a more delicate weave and has a thread count of 48/50 per inch. Since it is delicate and refined, it is excellent for trim works and ribbons.One-ply medium has a thread count of 26/30 per inch and is for flat pattern hats.One-ply heavy is heavily sized and coarser with a thread count of 17/20 per inch. It is excellent to use for blocking or flat pattern hats that need a more robust frame.

Two-Ply Buckram Fabric

A two-ply Buckram, on the other hand, is a more heavily sized buckram fabric. For this, plain weave cotton is fastened to a more refined weave cotton fabric. It is an excellent material for hat frames and costumes that require a stiff foundation.

This cloth is typically for hat frames. However, they are heavier than the single-ply. Also known as crown buckram, it usually is 40 inches wide and is sold by the yard. Two-ply buckram is also used in draperies, curtain lining, and interfacing and provides a solid form to bags and purses.

You can also steam iron two layers of one-ply buckram to make it stiffer and sturdier. A domette (thin batting) can cause a softer lining and finish to your buckram for a cleaner and polished look.

What Is Buckram Fabric – Care

Suppose you are wondering what buckram fabric is and how to care for it. In that case, it is wise to avoid washing the Buckram fabric because it gets flabby and loses its shape once placed in water and soap.

However, suppose a cloth or item becomes dirty. In that case, you can gently handwash it with warm water as cold water easily damages the fabric.

You can also clean it by lightly rubbing a damp cloth to the dirty area. Another convenient cleaning option is dry-cleaning. It would be best to keep in mind that washing and rinsing the fabric will remove the sizing agent, resulting in limp and shoddy clothing.

Suppose there is a crease or a dent in your buckram item. In that case, you can remove this by holding a standard household steam iron over the mark and gently pressing the crease using a slightly wet towel along with the iron steam to remove any crease or dent.

For stained hats and fabrics, depending on the level of damage, you can sand it with 80 to 120-grade sandpaper. If the stain is persistent, you can apply steam and use your hands to pick it out.

Some buckram fabrics come in different shades and colors, so be careful when wetting or washing your material because colors fade or bleed and stain your other clothing. Moreover, it is also a good idea not to use colored Buckram fabric in the rain.

What Is Buckram Fabric – In Conclusion

So, what is Buckram fabric? Buckram fabric is a unique and versatile piece of clothing material due to its excellent structural qualities. It is used in many different materials and various ways – from shaping and molding to adding stiffness and form to your creations. Although it’s a handy piece of material for creating durable artistic and aesthetic designs, it still has its fair share of limitations and disadvantages. However, those limits do not change the fact that Buckram is a practical, handy, cost-effective, and exciting piece of fabric material to work with.


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