Calico Fabric is made of unbleached and un-dyed cotton and is used for aprons, dressmaking, upholstery, quilting and all crafting projects. Calico fabric is often referred to as loomstate as it is plain-woven and taken straight from the loom.
A sturdy cotton fabric which can be used in upholstery to contain the stuffing in furniture padding. As Calico Cotton is a natural, cotton fabric, it absorbs dyes well. It's perfect as a mock up fabric for dressmaking to see how the final garment will fit and look.
What is Calico Fabric?
Calico is an un-dyed, unbleached plain woven fabric and is widely used in quilting, dressmaking and home furnishing making it one of the most versatile fabrics available.
As it is untreated, which is often referred to as "loomstate", calico fabric has a natural rustic appearance which makes it the perfect textile for all sewing projects where the fabric is dyed, such as in crafting. Calico may also be combined with other natural fabrics such as cotton particularly in patchwork and quilting.
Calico is a cheap and versatile yet 100% natural fabric which can be used in dressmaking, quilting, crafting and home furnishing. Calico is a coarser fabric than muslin and double gauze, but less coarse than either canvas or denim.
The History of Calico
This cheap cotton fabric originates from South West India from a town the British called Calicut hence the name Calico. It was produced and often dyed in bright colours from before the 16th century when it became popular in Europe. Read our blog to discover the politics behind its popularity!
What is the Difference between Calico and Cotton?
Calico is made from 100% cotton but does not undergo the same bleaching and finishing process as cotton. It is taken directly from the loom without any further treatment, which is why it is often referred to as "loomstate". It is a cheaper cotton with a low thread count compared to other cotton fabrics.
Is calico fabric good for dressmaking?
Calico is a dressmaker's friend as it enables them to make samples or make up a pattern to see how the garment will look before using a more expensive fabric on the finished piece. It is easy to work with.
How is calico fabric used in patchwork and quilting?
100% cotton calico is often used in quilting and is one of the most budget-friendly cotton fabrics you can buy. However, as this natural textile can still have husks within the fabric it is important to use a high quality calico fabric if it is going to be used in your finished product rather than just a sample piece. For this reason we stock a basic calico and a "posh" calico fabric.
Is Calico fabric suitable for furnishing and upholstery?
Yes, calico fabric is often used in curtain-making, cushion covers, pillow cases, duvet covers and even upholstery - it is incredibly useful to always have a stash of calico fabric on hand. Although the fabric weave is quite coarse calico is surprisingly soft making it suitable for so many sewing projects.
Is Calico Fabric used in Crafting?
Again, it is a perfect fabric for craft projects especially as it takes dyes so easily. Calico fabric is especially popular for aprons and tote bags as it is a coarse and hard-wearing textile.
Should you pre-wash calico fabric?
As calico is a natural fabric it will shrink when washed, up to 10% on the first wash . It is a good idea to pre-wash if you are using calico in your finished item. We would advise a 30 degree cool wash and preferably no tumble dry. Calico like linen will become softer over time.