Chambray is popular because it is lightweight, soft, and versatile. It is perfect to wear on a hot summer day because the fabric is incredibly breathable and won’t make you sweat.
But what is chambray fabric? It can be tricky to know what chambray fabric is, and many of us find ourselves overwhelmed easily, unsure where to turn or who to trust when it comes to defining this fabric.
If that sounds like you, then wonder no more! Simply read on to learn all of the important details about this versatile fabric!
Chambray Fabric – What Is It?
Chambray is a two-ply fabric that is typically made using silk, cotton, or linen. Its smoothness and lightweight are attributed to the tight yet simple weave.
Chambray is usually found in various shades of blue, but it also comes in a variety of other hues. Chambray is fine and dense, resembling denim in appearance but not in feel.
Chambray is a plain-weave fabric made nearly entirely of cotton(though sometimes linen is also used). It goes well with dresses, shirts, blouses, and skirts.
Additionally, this fabric may be used to produce a variety of household furnishings, including pillowcases, curtains, upholstery, and tablecloths.
For decades, chambray has been used to refer to a range of fabrics, not just one. This fabric was invented in Canbrani, France, which is where it got its name “chambray”.
How Is Chambray Made?
Chambray is made using a plain weave, but what does that mean?
Plain weave is a straightforward weaving method that involves overlapping and tucking the weft threads beneath the wrapped thread.
The weft and warp strands alternately cross to make the fabric. However, while this is the standard way to make chambray, the production process is determined by the sort of chambray fabric used.
What Is Chambray Made Of?
Chambray is often constructed of 100 percent cotton, however other materials such as linen are also used to create this style of clothing.
Chambray fabric has a bright and smooth surface that is well-suited for sewing applications in the majority of its types.
Types Of Chambray
While there is only one real type of chambray (which is the cotton/linen style seen above), chambray has become a sort of catch-all term to describe fabrics that are made similarly.
Here is a brief example of how chambray differs from these other fabrics.
If a fabric is woven in the typical chambray style, then it is called chambray fabric.
While both these fabrics have different names, they are identical in every way.
They use an almost identical weave to chambray, with the only difference benign that the fabric used is lighter and smoother than chambray
Key Features Of Chambray
The simple weave of the chambray is what gives the fabric its silky smooth texture. Even though it is soft and has a pleasant feel to it, it is also available in both lightweight and heavier varieties.
If you want your chambray fabric to last a long time, then you should go with the heavier version over the lighter one.
The heavier components are more durable and long-lasting than the lighter components.
This is one of the reasons why it is so popular for wearing through hikes in the forest, as if you get caught on a branch, the fabric is less likely to snag or tear.
A light chambray shirt, on the other hand, may be the most suitable choice for a more casual business appearance.
A chambray fabric is distinguished by the following key characteristics:
- Thread counts range from 150 to 500, with some variations.
- Extremely breathable material
- Extremely high levels of moisture-wicking capacity
- Does not stretch.
- Pilling is less likely to occur
Is Chambray A Soft Fabric To Work With?
Yes, chambray is a soft and airy fabric that is both comfy and breathable.
The majority of the time, chambray is manufactured from short-staple cotton, while some may be made from long-staple cotton as well.
More fibers mean a softer and more durable cloth, and the longer the fibers, the more durable the cloth as well.
Typically, chambray is a softer fabric to the touch and has a thinner weave than other types of cloth.
Is Chambray A Flexible Type Of Fabric?
Chambray is a fabric that does not have a lot of elasticity.
It has about 10% stretch, which makes it a perfect choice for sewing shirts, skirts, blouses, and other trendy clothes of varying lengths and widths, among other things.
Is Chambray A Summer-Friendly Fabric?
Yes. Because of its lightweight, chambray is a fabric that is ideal for summer wear.
When it’s hot and humid outside, cotton chambray fabric keeps you cool and comfortable while looking stylish.
In addition, higher thread counts in the textile result in a finer woven fabric as the thread counts increase. So, it is exceptionally breathable and comfy, making it ideal for hot days.
Pros And Cons Of Chambray
Before you leave us today, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of this wonderful fabric.
- Perfect for hot days – if you live in a hot climate or you are going on holiday, then chambray is an excellent fabric to wear. It is lightweight, breathable, and prevents sweat, so you can wear it all day long without feeling uncomfortable
- Moisture-wicking – again, this is perfect for hotter days. If you sweat a lot, chambray can help prevent this
- Versatile material – Chambray can be used to make a huge variety of clothing options from shirts to skirts
- Looks like denim – if you are a huge fan of denim but can’t stand to wear it during summer, then this is the fabric for you. It looks just like denim but is far lighter and more comfortable
- Does not hold shape well – to keep your clothing item in the right shape (like a shirt for example), then it will need to be ironed regularly
- Can easily shrink – though you can easily get stains out of chambray, there is a high chance that the fabric will shrink in the wash
- Easily wrinkles – this is another reason why you will be constantly ironing these clothing items. They wrinkly quickly because chambray is a very lightweight and thin fabric, which shows the creases more
Denim Vs Chambray – What’s The Difference?
Due to a multitude of features of this fabric, chambray is commonly mistaken for denim in the fashion world.
Denim textiles are manufactured by weaving colored yarn in the vertical direction and white yarn in the horizontal direction to create a striped pattern.
This is almost identical to the process of making chambray.
When it comes to the usual blue color, this fabric is commonly mistaken for denim, and vice versa.
Chambray, on the other hand, is lighter in weight than denim, and its weave is not the same as that of denim.
The twill structure of denim, as opposed to the plain weave structure of other textiles, gives it its distinctive look.
Essentially, this means that the threads in the chambray fabric are sewn together one after the other by the manufacturers.
Although the vertical threads in denim can travel beneath one another, they must first pass over two horizontal threads before they can be used to sew the fabric together.
Chambray and denim are two drastically different textiles, with distinctions ranging from the weave construction to the sheen of the finished product.
Because denim has a lower thread count than chambray, it is less soft and breathable than chambray. Denim is also more expensive.
Even though both chambray and denim are composed mostly of cotton, the threads in chambray fabric are knitted considerably more firmly together than those in denim.
However, chambray excels denim in terms of comfort. Both denim and chambray are good alternatives for durability, but chambray is the more comfortable of the two fabrics.
A final big difference between denim and chambray is that denim is much thicker and heavier than the two.
Wearing denim during hotter months would be very uncomfortable and would only make you sweat more, which is why people tend to go for chambray during these seasons.
Caring And Cleaning Your Chambray
You will have to wash your clothes at some point, though you may be a bit nervous due to chambrays’ tendency to shrink in the wash.
Also, as Chambray is usually made of 100% cotton, the clothing item will get softer every time you wash it.
To prevent shrinking or damaging the clothes, you should only wash the chambray with cold water, though it can still go in the washing machine.
If you have to tumble dry it, then put the machine on its lowest setting. If possible though, you should let it air dry.
But what if you get stains on the outfit? Luckily, it is very easy to get stains out of the chambray, and if your shirt smells a bit it is also easy to get this out too.
Before taking any drastic steps to get a stain out, out the clothes through the cold wash as described above. This will probably be enough to get rid of any stains on the items.
If that does not work though, you could try this method:
- In a sink, mix 5 parts water to one part of the detergent
- Apply this mixture directly onto the stain
- Let it sit for a minute or two on the stain
- With a dry towel, blot the stain
- Rinse off any soap that remains
If necessary, repeat this a few times.
If the stain is set in the fabric, you may have to bleach the item. This should only be done if necessary because there is a high chance that you could damage your clothes this way.
Here is how to do it:
- In a spray bottle, make a solution that is 10% bleach and 90% water
- Spray this onto the fabric
- Wait a few minutes but not too long. About 5 minutes at most should do it
- Rinse off the clothes and then using a clean towel pat it dry
Linen Vs Chambray
Fabrics derived from flax fibers, such as linen, are distinguishable from chambray, which is a plain weave fabric with a white selvage.
In comparison to silk or cotton, flax fibers are firmer, which makes them a more suitable material for weaving. As linen uses these fibers, the material is not as elastic as chambray.
It is believed that the fabrics chambray and linen originated in Europe, with linen being the oldest textile known to humans.
Both chambray and linen are ideal fabrics to wear on summer days; however, linen is more typically used for outdoor apparel, which is why it is more likely to see it in this category.
Linen is also more absorbent and durable than chambray, which is why it is used for tablecloths, mattresses, and other household things more frequently than chambray.
Linen is also more expensive than chambray. In addition, chambray is the most luxurious fabric for formal wear due to its softness and drape.
Twill Vs Chambray
Cotton or polyester are the most common materials used to make twill fabric, with a combination of the two materials being used on occasion.
Chambray is remarkably similar to this fabric in appearance because of the staining and the easy weaving of twill.
Even though the distinction between twill and chambray is modest, a big difference comes in the color of the two materials.
Twill is much darker on one side of the fabric, while chambray is the same color on both sides.
Despite its gritty texture, twill has a high thread count, similar to chambray. Twill is unrivaled in terms of durability as well.
If you’re seeking a wrinkle-resistant alternative to chambray, the cloth twill is the fabric you’ve been searching for.
Chambray is an excellent fabric that can be worn for almost any occasion, though it is best suited to hotter conditions and the summer months.
It is lightweight and breathable, meaning that in soaring temperatures you will not get overwhelmed with the heat or get all sweaty.
If you are a huge fan of denim then you will love this lighter alternative as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get your last-minute chambray-related questions answered here!
What Is Better Chambray Or Cotton?
Seeing as chambray is made with cotton, there is essentially no difference in the fabrics.
The only differences come when the fabrics go through the weaving and production process, as the weave might be slightly different for each item.
But in terms of qualities, cotton and chambray are the same.
Can Chambray Be Worn In Winter?
If you want to wear your chambray in winter, nothing is stopping you, though wearing this fabric on its own will not be enough to keep you warm.
Chambray is used to make jackets and sweaters, but because it is so lightweight and thin, you will have to layer your clothes to keep warm.
Can Chambray Wrinkle?
Yes, chambray can very easily wrinkle because it is so thin. When this happens you will have to iron it, which you will find yourself doing a lot with this fabric.
When ironing your chambray clothing, you should make sure that your iron is on the cotton setting to prevent damaging the clothes.