What is Gabardine – Fabric Guide, Uses and Care

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What is gabardine? Gabardine is a tightly woven fabric that remains a favorite for producing suits, pants, jackets, and summer wear. Originally made from worsted wool, this twill weave fabric has synthetic and cotton blends with a more frequent warp than usual. Nowadays, this fabric is a favorite among fabric designers because of its versatility, style, and durability. Here, we will look at what is gabardine in-depth, including its history, benefits, and laundry instructions.

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What is GabardineWhat is Gabardine – HistoryWhat is Gabardine – EvolutionWhat is Gabardine – Modern HistoryWhat is Gabardine vs. What is Gaberdine?How to Wear Gabardine TodayWhat is Gabardine and Its Benefits?DurabilityWater-ResistantFeelCan be VeganMay be BiodegradableWhat is Gabardine Wool Fabric vs. Gabardine Cotton Fabric?What is Gabardine Laundry InstructionWhat is Gabardine-In Conclusion

What is Gabardine

What is Gabardine – History

The Gabardine fabric was first created by Thomas Burberry in 1879 and was then patented in 1888. Burberry, who was the founder of the fashion house Burberry, aimed at inventing a versatile and durable fabric blend.

Originally, the fabric was made of worsted wool or a blend of worsted wool and cotton. The worsted wool was weaved to achieve a smooth feel and appearance on one side while the other side featured a ribbed appearance.

The weaving of the worsted wool made this tightly woven fabric a twill fabric. It was used to produced twill suits and trousers for men. The fabric became a favorite among many because it can hold its shape and does not wrinkle too easily.

When it was waterproofed with lanolin before it was woven, it became popular with polar explorers like Ernest Shackleton, who led an expedition in 1914 to cross Antarctica, and Roald Amundsen, who is renowned for being the first man to get to the South pole.

George Mallory also wore a gabardine jacket when he attempted to climb Mount Everest in 1924. Actors were not left behind as David Nevin also owned a gabardine.

Inspired by the Middle Age’s gabardina, Burberry named his fabric gabardine. The gabardina was a long, loose fabric that was mostly tied around the waist and was prevalent with beggars as they sought protection from various elements.

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What is Gabardine – Evolution

In 1912, Burberry used the fabric for his patented coat design known as “tielocken.” The coat was later used by the army in World War I.

The gabardine trench coat was then invented in 1914. This coat featured the addition of D-rings, gunflap, epaulettes, and storm shield.

Over time, synthetic fibers and cotton were added into the fabric to give gabardine blends. Adding these fabrics helped to create a high sheen fabric that still functioned as a twill fabric and was used to create garments for both men and women.

This sheen fabric was used to produce overcoats for men and women, suits and trousers for men, and pantsuits, slacks, and skirts with matching jackets for the women. In the 1930s, odd trousers made of wool gabardine were very popular. These trousers were mostly tan in color and were paired with a navy blazer, breaking the monotony of grey flannels.

Gabardine fabric became more popular in the 1950s for suits and trousers. During this time, gabardine was widely used to create colorful patterned casual trousers, jackets, and suits.

It also rose to popularity when J.C. Penny and other stores like Campus, Sports Chief, California Trends, and Four Star created gabardine jackets that reached on the waist. The jackets, which were known as weekender jackets, were sometimes reversible.

What is Gabardine – Modern History

Now that you understand the history of the gabardine material, you are probably wondering what is gabardine today and how it differs from other materials. Today, the fabric is tough and features more warp threads as opposed to weft threads. Furthermore, the fabric has more warp and is about twice as much as filling yarns. (Read warp and weft)

A twill gabardine with a 63-degree angle is mostly used in men’s wear while the regular 45-degree angle twill gabardine is used in women’s wear. The face side has diagonal ridges while the back is smooth. Its biggest characteristic is the fabric weave.

The fabric can be blended with various fabrics like polyester and wool gabardine for outwear and cotton for men’s suit pockets. Cotton gabardine is mostly used to create pocket linings for business suits as it does not go in holes easily.

When it comes to color, most gabardine garments are available in solid colors, with tan being the most popular. It can also be yarn-dyed for plaid or striped fabrics or fiber dyed.

What is Gabardine vs. What is Gaberdine?

What is gabardine and how does it differ from gaberdine? Most people confuse these two terms and think that they refer to the same thing. However, this is far from the truth since these two terms refer to different things.

Gabardine refers to a type of twill that is made from worsted wool, wool, or cotton blends.On the other hand, gaberdine refers to a type of clothing that was popular in the 16th century and was mostly worn by poor people.

Nonetheless, the modern fabric that we are focusing on in this article borrowed its name from this garment.

How to Wear Gabardine Today

Most people wonder what gabardine is used for in the present day. Today, top designers use this beautiful fabric to make suits and casualwear. Similarly, gabardine is used to make everyday summer wear like gabardine chinos or pants. In addition, brands like Mulberry have also taken advantage of this fabric’s versatility to create floral dresses and plaid skirts.

Thanks to its tough nature, it has become a popular fabric for overcoats, utilitarian suits, military uniforms, sportswear, hats, raincoats, skiwear, fabric shoes, and all-weather coats. The heavier-weight fabric is ideal for tailored suits and slacks, while the lighter-weight gabardine is ideal for dresses and sportswear.

However, this mid-weight fabric is not readily available through most custom clothiers and off-the-rack retailers. Suits made of gabardine are great to wear throughout the year in most places. Unfortunately, they are not easy to find.

What is Gabardine and Its Benefits?

The gabardine fabric has numerous benefits both for us and the environment. Here are reasons why gabardine should be in your wardrobe.


Gabardine is a tightly woven fabric that is hard-wearing and rain-resistant. It is durable, firm, and hard-wearing and can stand the test of time. This makes it a worthwhile investment and a sustainable choice that will last. Because of its durability, gabardine is commonly used to make overcoats.


Another great benefit of the gabardine garment is its water resistance. This fabric features a tight weave that allows it to repel water. For this reason, it is used to produce water-resistant outwear such as rain jackets. However, this does not mean that a gabardine suit will completely protect you from a downpour. Instead, it will help you to keep dry much longer than other fabrics.


Gabardine fabrics tend to have a silky, luxurious feel. This is despite the fabric being tightly woven.

Can be Vegan

Gabardine that is made from organic cotton is vegan since it is not derived from animals. However, it is important to note that gabardine made from non-organic cotton is not vegan if pesticides are used.

May be Biodegradable

Gabardine can be made from worsted wool, texturized polyester, cotton, or a blend. Wool that is untreated with chemicals is 100% biodegradable in 1 to 5 years depending on the techniques used to convert it into the fiber.

What is Gabardine Wool Fabric vs. Gabardine Cotton Fabric?

What is gabardine wool and cotton is a common question for those who seek to try this fabric. Although these two are gabardine blends, they have their differences. Wool gabardine is a fabric choice made primarily of wool or cashmere, while cotton gabardine is gabardine that contains a mix of cotton. Nonetheless, these two fabrics are prone to shrinkage and thus require dry cleaning.

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What is Gabardine Laundry Instruction

Do you have a gabardine garment and are wondering what the best gabardine cleaning tips are? Cleaning gabardine fabric will depend on the fiber content as some can have a smooth, hard, or dull surface. Therefore, care must be taken when washing this fabric since regular use can cause discoloration.

Most gabardine garments manufactured today can be washed in a gentle cycle in the washer because their tight weaves are water and wrinkle-resistant. They can also be hand-washed or placed on a low heat setting in the dryer. Set a warm iron on the lowest setting to do a quick press. Ensure that you don’t use a lot of heat, as this will only destroy the fabric permanently.

However, this may be very different for gabardine blends. For instance, gabardine blends like cotton gabardine and wool gabardine are more prone to shrinkage if not treated properly. Generally, it is advisable to dry clean gabardine blends with a high percentage of worsted wool to prevent shrinkage.

Dry cleaning helps the gabardine blends to hold their shape. However, if you prefer to wash these fabrics, make sure that you only hand wash them. Also, it is advisable to dry the fabric in the sun rather than using a dryer.

What is Gabardine-In Conclusion

Now that you know what is gabardine and its benefits, you now add it to your list of fabrics. It is a lightweight, water-resistant, and tightly woven fabric that is recognized for its toughness. In addition, the fabric has an incredible history and has greatly transitioned to become an ideal fabric for creating fashion garments for men and women.

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