It is my 50th fabric of the week entry, and I can’t believe I’m just getting around to this one! Gabardine is a revered fabric—I’ve had many an older woman confess to me it is her favorite. I just wish younger people had a chance to know it better.


Gabardine is characterized by either steep or sometimes regular twill, tightly woven, with fine, distinct diagonal ribs on the surface and a smooth back. Wools are right-hand twill, cotton may be left-hand. The warp generally has twice as many threads per inch as the weft. Made of worsted, cotton, manufactured fibers, blends, and (rarely) silk. 
Because gabardine is tightly woven (particularly in a steep twill weave) the fabric is hard-wearing and rain resistant. Its name derives from the Medieval Spanish word gabardina which means protection from the elements. 

The name was originally used for a cloak worn in the Middle Ages.
Uses: Suits, coats, rainwear, slacks, skirts, uniforms, dresses, sportswear, shirts, hats
See also:
Covert cloth

Worsted wool gabardine

Rayon gabardine
©Vintage Fashion Guild - Text by Margaret Wilds/denisebrain,  photos by Hoyt Carter