Thursday, February 13, 2014

Definition a Day- Broadcloth vs Poplin

I decided to definite broadcloth and poplin together because they are so similar and I, myself wanted to know the differences.   They are both plain weaves.  Broadcloth can be found as a cotton or cotton blend, poplin usually is 100% cotton.  More often broadcloth is found in solid colors where poplin can be found in solid colors or prints.


poplin photo from

 The main difference is that poplin has a coarse yarn in the weft, also known as the filling yarn.   This coarse yarn causes a rib.  Broadcloth has larger yarns in the weft (the filling yarn) and sometimes the filling yarn is a twisted yarn.  These subtle differences have a significant effect on the feel of the fabric.

Both are good for shirts, pajamas, and other apparel.  Seen often in men's shirts.

Historically - broadcloth hails from England and poplin from France

PROS - both are easy to sew with and come in a wide variety of colors.  Broadcloth has moderate shrinkage and poplin has minimal to no shrinkage.

CONS - none really

I have experience with both of these fabrics having worked in mens wear for so many years.  These are both great shirting fabrics and as I have worked more on housewares I will use broadcloth for napkins.

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