Chambray, although quite similar to denim, is a double-ply cotton fabric with a tight weave. It consists of white filler thread woven using a colored background thread. However, unlike denim, it has a plain weave, thus it is smoother and lighter in weight. Moreover, it is rugged but light, making it apt for work wear as well as summer-weight shirts and/or skirts.
The Look and Feel
More often than not, Chambray comes in blue yet can be found in various colors. The colored threads might appear pretty much prominently, but once you look closely, you'll notice that the white thread is woven in; thus giving its color a slightly faded look. Chambray is usually solid, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t multicolored, patterned weaves. The fabric is really soft and smooth, and has a slight luster.
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Chambray's weave offers a subtle crisscross and/or checkered pattern. Some of the sewing patterns would require that the fabric be cut on the bias – that is diagonally across the grain – to the crisscross pattern on the edge. This is for the goal of obtaining a diamond-type look while giving the garment more stretch.
How this Type of Fabric is Used
Chambray has since been used for all sorts of clothing. However, it’s best for shirt fabric or button-down shirts that come with long sleeves and collars – oxfords for example. On the other hand, some used it for light summer wears – namely, shorts, skirts, tops, sneakers and even dresses. The best examples are lycra and spandex, both of which can be woven into chambray so as to produce stretch fabrics for lightweight pants in numerous designs.
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Other uses for this fabric could include bedding or quilting; sunhats for new-born babies and home decorations, such as curtains, pillows, tablecloths, place mats and upholstery. And due to its ruggedness, chambray is also appropriate for fabric covers for notebooks, journals, pocketbooks, scrapbooks, handbags, napkins and aprons.
Pointers When Buying Chambray
Chambray is available in 42 to 60 inch-wide yardage and can be cut according to your desired length. It can also be purchased at most fabric stores available and craft stores that have fabric sections. In addition, there are online retailers that offer chambray in precut form, including 5-inch charm squares, 2 1/2-inch strips and other common precuts.