Gabardine is a tough, tightly woven fabric used to make suits, overcoats, trousers, uniforms, windbreakers and other garments.

The word gaberdine or gabardine has been used to refer to a particular item of clothing, a sort of long cassock but often open at the front, since at least the 15th century, in the 16th becoming used for outer garments of the poor.

Burberry advertisement angling suite of gabardine fabric 1908
Burberry advertisement for waterproof gabardine suit, 1908


The modern use of the term for a fabric rather than a garment dates to Thomas Burberry, who invented the fabric & revived the name in 1879, and patented it in 1888. It has been used with a general meaning of "closely woven cloth" since at least 1904.[1] Although its origin is unknown, the word may be related to the word kaba, a type of coat reaching to the knees with wide sleeves worn by Muslim men in Puraniya, a region of India.[2] There is another kind of coat, called a qabā, that is mentioned in Sufī scripture, which is an ordinary coat, as opposed to a religious coat.[3]


The fibre used to make the fabric is traditionally worsted wool, but may also be cotton, texturised polyester, or a blend. Gabardine is woven as a warp-faced steep or regular twill, with a prominent diagonal rib on the face and smooth surface on the back. Gabardine always has many more warp than weft yarns.[4][5][6]

Cotton gabardine is often used by bespoke tailors to make pocket linings for business suits, where the pockets' contents would quickly wear holes in the usually flimsy pocket lining material.

Clothing made from gabardine is generally labelled as being suitable for dry cleaning only, as is typical for wool textiles. Gabardine may also refer to the twill-weave used for gabardine fabric, or to a raincoat made of this fabric.


Gabardine was invented in 1879 by Thomas Burberry, founder of the Burberry fashion house in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England and patented in 1888. The original fabric was worsted wool or worsted wool in combination with cotton, and was waterproofed using lanolin[7] before weaving. It was tightly woven and water-repellent but more comfortable than rubberised fabrics.[5] The fabric takes its name from the word "gaberdine", originally a long, loose cloak or gown worn in the Middle Ages, but later signifying a rain cloak or protective smock-frock.[6][8]

Burberry clothing of gabardine was worn by polar explorers, including Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, in 1911 and Ernest Shackleton, who led a 1914 expedition to cross Antarctica. A jacket made of this material was worn by George Mallory on his ill-fated attempt on Mount Everest in 1924.[9]

Gabardine was also used widely in the 1950s to produce colourful patterned casual jackets, trousers and suits. Companies like J. C. Penney, Sport Chief, Campus, Four Star and California Trends were all producing short-waisted jackets, sometimes reversible, commonly known as weekender jackets.

See also


  1. ^ "Gabardine". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
  2. ^ The History, Antiquities, Topography, and Statistics of Eastern India: By Robert Montgomery Martin.
  3. ^ Kashf al-Mahjub.
  4. ^ Kadolph (2007), pp. 240, 472
  5. ^ a b Cumming (2010), p. 248.
  6. ^ a b Picken (1957), p. 145
  7. ^ [1][Royal Society of Chemistry]
  8. ^ Cumming (2010), p. 88.
  9. ^ "Replica clothes pass Everest test". BBC News.

In Popular culture

America - Simon & Garfunkel. "The man in the Gabardine suit is a spy"


  • Cumming, Valerie, C. W. Cunnington and P. E. Cunnington. The Dictionary of Fashion History, Berg, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84788-533-3.
  • Kadolph, Sara J., ed. Textiles, 10th edition, Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2007, ISBN 0-13-118769-4.
  • Picken, Mary Brooks. The Fashion Dictionary, Funk & Wagnalls, 1957. (1973 edition ISBN 0-308-10052-2.)

Airdura is a synthetic fabric used for motorcycle clothing with summer or warmer riding conditions. The cloth is light and claimed to be "breathable". It is likely to be a play on the name of DuPont's (Invista's) cordura.

Beep Beep (band)

Beep Beep is a rock band from Omaha, Nebraska, on Saddle Creek Records. The band was formed in July 2001 by Eric Bemberger and Chris Hughes, formerly of Saddle Creek group Gabardine. Former member Joel Petersen plays bass in The Faint and also has his own electronica project, Broken Spindles. Their first album, Business Casual, was released August, 2004. A second album Enchanted Islands was released in March, 2009.


For the study and collection of beetles, see coleopterology.

Beetling is the pounding of linen or cotton fabric to give a flat, lustrous effect.

Bill Bergson Lives Dangerously (1957 film)

Bill Bergson Lives Dangerously (original Swedish name: Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist lever farligt) is a 1957 Swedish film about Kalle Blomkvist, directed by Olle Hellbom. It is based on the novel with the same name, written by Astrid Lindgren. It was recorded in Trosa, Södermanland.

There are differences between the book and this film:

The murderer wears checkered trousers instead of green gabardine trousers.

The mansion house has been changed to a "ghost castle".

In the end, the murderer tries to escape with his car, but here he instead escapes with a boat but can't because Kalle, who also is on the boat, takes the revolver from him and shoots holes in the boat.


Burberry Group PLC is a British luxury fashion house headquartered in London, England. Its main fashion house focuses on and distributes trench coats (for which it is most famous), ready-to-wear outerwear, fashion accessories, fragrances, sunglasses, and cosmetics.

Established in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, originally focusing on the development of outdoor attire, the fashion house has moved into the high fashion market, developing a first of its kind fabric called Gabardine, which is completely breathable and waterproof, and exclusively made for the brand. Their pattern-based scarves, trench coats, and other fashion accessories are unique. The first shop opened in the Haymarket, London, in 1891. Burberry was an independent family-controlled company until 1955, when it was reincorporated. In 2005, it completed its demerger from GUS plc, the company's former majority shareholder.The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. In 2015, Burberry ranked 73rd in Interbrand's Best Global Brands report, alongside Louis Vuitton and Prada. Burberry has stores in 51 countries.

Gabardine (band)

Gabardine was a band on Saddle Creek Records that formed in 1996. Composed of members of Beep Beep, Broken Spindles, Head of Femur, and The Faint, their members were Chris Hughes, Eric Bemberger, Ben Armstrong, and Joel Petersen. They released one self-titled album and added two tracks to the Saddle Creek sampler. They broke up in the summer of 1998.

Gabardine (disambiguation)

Gabardine is a tough, tightly woven fabric used to make suits, overcoats, trousers and other garments.

Gabardine may also refer to:

Gabardine (band), an American indie rock group

Gabardine, the band's eponymous debut album

Gaberdine, a cloak or gown worn in the Middle Ages


A gaberdine or gabardine is a long, loose gown or cloak with wide sleeves, worn by men in the later Middle Ages and into the 16th century.In The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare uses the phrase "Jewish gaberdine" to describe the garment worn by Shylock, and the term gaberdine has been subsequently used to refer to the overgown or mantle worn by Jews in the medieval era.

Grenfell Cloth

Grenfell Cloth is a densely-woven cotton gabardine material used to make luxury and outdoor clothing since its creation in 1923. It was named after Sir Wilfred Grenfell, a British medical missionary working extensively in Newfoundland. He required a cloth to be woven to protect himself from the snow, wind, wet and cold weather he encountered in his work.

The cloth is made from 600 thread-per-inch cotton originally by T. Haythornthwaite & Sons Ltd at Lodge Mill, Burnley, in the United Kingdom. It is similar to Byrd Cloth.After a spell under Japanese ownership in the 1980s and 1990s, Grenfell Cloth garments are once again manufactured in Britain. Grenfell is now based in London.

Kelsch d'Alsace

Kelsch d'Alsace is textile of linen and cotton manufactured in Alsace, France.

Liqui liqui

The liqui liqui (IPA: [liki liki] in Spanish) is the national costume for men in Venezuela. It is also worn in Colombia.

Traditionally white, beige, cream or ecru, although it is available in other colors. Recently, liqui liquis have been worn by famous personalities in Venezuela for their weddings, in a renaissance of the traditional style of dressing – for example, by Singer and composer of Venezuelan folk music Simón Díaz was known to almost always wear one.

The liqui liqui is traditionally made of linen or cotton cloth, although gabardine and wool can be used. The outfit is made up of a pair of full-length trousers and a jacket. The jacket has long sleeves and a rounded Nehru-style collar, which is fastened and decorated by a “junta” (chain link similar to a cufflink), which joins the two ends of the collar. The jacket is fastened by five or six buttons, and may or may not have pockets (if so, no more than four). Overall, the outfit is very simple with clean, elegant lines. Traditionally, the Liqui liqui is worn with “alpargata” – an open-toed sandal – and a “llanero” hat.

Because of the style of the collar, it is said that the liqui liqui was brought to Venezuela from the Philippines, although this is uncertain. The more accepted version is that the liqui liqui is derived from the uniform of colonial-era soldiers, whose jacket or ‘liquette’ had a similar shape – hence the name and the collar.

List of fabrics

Fabrics in this list include fabrics that are woven, braided or knitted from textile fibres.

Ottoman (textile)

Ottoman is a fabric with a pronounced ribbed or corded effect, often made of silk or a mixture of cotton and other silk like yarns. It is mostly used for formal dress and in particular, legal dress (such as QC gowns) and academic dress (mostly for hoods).

Ottoman made of pure silk is very expensive so artificial silk is used instead to create a cheaper alternative.

Grosgrain is similar to Ottoman but it is thinner and lighter than Ottoman and is used mostly for ribbons.


An overcoat is a type of long coat intended to be worn as the outermost garment, which usually extends below the knee. Overcoats are most commonly used in winter when warmth is more important.

They are sometimes confused with or referred to as topcoats, which are shorter and end at or above the knees. Topcoats and overcoats together are known as outercoats. Unlike overcoats, topcoats are usually made from lighter weight cloth such as gabardine or covert, while overcoats are made from heavier cloth or fur.

Shot silk

Shot silk (also called changeant, changeable silk and changeable taffeta) is a fabric which is made up of silk woven from warp and weft yarns of two or more colours producing an iridescent appearance. A "shot" is a single throw of the bobbin that carries the weft thread through the warp, and shot silk colours can be described as "[warp colour] shot with [weft colour]." The weaving technique can also be applied to other fibres such as cotton, linen, and synthetics.

Thomas Burberry

Thomas Burberry (27 August 1835 – 4 April 1926) was an English gentlemen's outfitter, and the founder of international chain Burberry, one of Britain's largest branded clothing businesses. He is also known as the inventor of gabardine.

Trench coat

A trench coat or trenchcoat is a coat variety made of waterproof heavy-duty cotton gabardine drill, leather, or poplin. It generally has a removable insulated lining, raglan sleeves, and the classic versions come in various lengths ranging from just above the ankles (the longest) to above the knee (the shortest). It was originally an item of clothing for Army officers (developed before the war but adapted for use in the trenches of the First World War, hence its name) and shows this influence in its styling.

Traditionally this garment is double-breasted with 10 front buttons, and has wide lapels, a storm flap, and pockets that button-close. The coat is belted at the waist with a self-belt, as well as has straps around the wrists that also buckle (to keep water from running down the forearm when using binoculars in the rain). The coat often has shoulder straps that button-close; those were a functional feature in a military context. The traditional color of a trench coat was khaki, although newer versions come in many colors.


Twill is a type of textile weave with a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs (in contrast with a satin and plain weave). This is done by passing the weft thread over one or more warp threads then under two or more warp threads and so on, with a "step," or offset, between rows to create the characteristic diagonal pattern. Because of this structure, twill generally drapes well.


Whipcord is the name for either a fabric or a form of braided cord.

Tools and techniques
Types of looms
Employment practices
Figured woven
Pile woven
Textile fibers
Fabric mills


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