Chambray/Cambric Fabric: History, Properties, Uses, Care, Where to Buy

Introduction to Chambray/Cambric Fabric

Chambray or Cambric is fabric manufactured using two yarns, white filing yarn, and dyed warp yarn. This cotton plain-weave fabric is commonly found in blue color. The looks highly resemble those of denim. 

However, Chambray has a comparatively lighter weight, while it also has a different weave. Moreover, this fabric’s texture is also very different from denim as, unlike denim, it is soft and thin. 

The Chambray Fabric has plenty of uses and some amazing properties, all discussed below. 

chambray fabric
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History of Chambray/Cambric Fabric

The Chambray was first introduced during the 1500s. In the early days, this fabric was known as Cambric. The fabric was the same as the Chambray. This plain weave fabric with extremely lightweight was first manufactured in Cambrai, which was a French Town. That’s why this fabric is often associated with France because of its origin. 

Later, the Englishman named it Chambray, as in the English spelling which they used to replace Cambrai. Moreover, during the early 20th century, laborers in the United States often wore uniforms made of Chambray shirts and denim pants. This apparel is why laborers are now normally referred to as “the Blue Collar”. 

Properties of Chambray/Cambric Fabric

As mentioned above, people often confuse Chambray with Denim. However, these two fabrics are highly different, especially in terms of their properties. The Chambray does not possess the properties of denim. Some of its properties are discussed below. 


Chambray is very lightweight, like most linen and cotton fabrics. The blend of different yarns, which are used in its manufacturing, makes it extremely lightweight. The lighter weight of this fabric makes it usable for various reasons. 

Softer Texture 

Denim often has a hard texture, but Chambray is known for its softness. The soft texture makes it extremely comfortable to wear. Due to its softness, people often choose to wear it during summer when wearing comparatively hard-on-skin fabric during hot weather creates an uncomfortable feeling.

Thin Construction 

The Chambray has a very thin construction. Unlike other fabrics made of wool, chambray is extremely thin. This property increases its desirability and makes it even better for summer apparel. 

Common Uses for Chambray/Cambric Fabric

Its properties determine the uses of fabrics because different items require different properties. For example, leather’s properties do not make it suitable for making curtains, scarves, etc., while cotton and linen fabrics are perfect. 

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Some major uses of Chambray are as follows.


This fabric’s unique features make it the best choice for various clothing purposes, especially during summer and spring when you want to wear comparatively thinner, lighter, and softer dresses. It is considered the perfect substitute for denim during these seasons. The jumpsuits, pants, tops, and other dresses made of this fabric are often famous. 

Household Textile 

Along with apparel, Chambray is also used for manufacturing a few household textiles. A few examples include upholstery for chairs and sofas, bedsheets, etc. 

Caring for Chambray/Cambric Fabric

Chambray is often manufactured using 100% cotton. The inclusion of cotton makes it softer after every wash. However, you have to be a bit careful while washing it because the fabric will shrink if you use hot water. That’s why you have to wash it with care and make sure you use cold water. Additionally, it is better to dry it on a low setting to maintain its quality. While pressing it, use comparatively lesser heat.



What is Chambray Fabric?

 Chambray, Wikipedia.

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