Collection: Calico Fabric

Calico Fabric is made of unbleached and un-dyed cotton and is used for dressmaking, upholstery, quilting, aprons and all crafting projects. Calico fabrics are often referred to as loom state as they are plain-woven and taken straight from the loom. 

Calico Fabric is a durable cotton fabric which can be used in a wide range of applications including upholstery to contain the stuffing in furniture padding. As it is a natural fabric, it absorbs dyes well. Both lightweight and strong, calico fabrics are perfect as a mock up cotton fabric for dressmaking to see how the final garment will fit and look.  


So why not give calico fabric a try and see what you can create with this versatile and timeless material?


What is Calico Fabric?

Calico is an un-dyed, unbleached plain woven fabric and is widely used in quilting, crafting, dressmaking and home furnishing making it one of the most versatile fabrics available. Its durability and resistance to wear and tear make it ideal for upholstery and home decor projects.

Uses of Calico Fabric 

As calico fabric is untreated, which is often referred to as "loomstate", it 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 fabric may also be combined with other natural fabrics such as cotton particularly in patchwork and quilting.

Is Calico a Coarse Fabric?

Calico fabrics are a cheap and versatile yet 100% natural fabric which can be used in dressmaking, quilting, crafting and home furnishing. It is a coarser fabric than muslin and double gauze, but less coarse than either canvas or denim.

The History of Calico

This cheap natural cotton fabric originates from South West India from a town the British called Calicut hence the name Calico. Calico fabrics were 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. 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 fabric with a low thread count compared to other cotton fabrics.

Is calico fabric good for dressmaking?

Calico fabrics are a dressmaker's friend as they enable 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 and with its natural and breathable qualities, it is an excellent choice for clothing.

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 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 fabrics are 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, it 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. Like linen it will become softer over time.

Whether you're a designer in business or a hobby sewer, calico fabric is a must-have material for many projects.

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One stop fabric shop

Welcome to the Fabrics Galore London online store, packed full of beautiful fabrics to inspire your next dressmaking, patchwork quilting, craft or home furnishing sewing project. We stock a huge range of different materials alongside designer fabrics from Liberty, Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely, Laura Ashley, William Morris and Alexander Henry. We source the highest quality fabrics, so whether it be a cotton, linen, viscose, chambray, jersey or wool, we have you covered.Check out our dressmaking fabric for something with drape, fabulous Liberty cotton lawn prints, quilting fabrics for patchwork inspiration or the home furnishing section to pimp your pad. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get sewing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you sell by the metre?

We sell by the half metre on our website (the price is therefore displayed by the half metre) to allow our customers more flexibility. If you wish to buy a metre, you need to buy two units, but don’t worry, it will always be cut in one continuous length. 

Can I pay for next day delivery?

We can send your fabric by courier which should arrive the next day, for the additional cost of £12. The simplest way to do this is by sending us an email or by calling the shop on 0207 738 9589. We would need to know before 1pm, and we are unable to organise a Saturday delivery. 

Can I buy your fabrics if I live outside the UK?

Yes, we ship to Europe. For all the details, see our Shipping Page.  

Do you send out samples?

We do, our samples are 10 cm by the width of the fabric (usually 112cm or 137cm) and cost 10% of the fabric’s metre price plus £1.50 for postage. Simply go to our Request a Swatch page.

Is there an actual shop I can visit?

Yes, we have a shop in South London. All the fabrics, which are available online (and more) are in the shop alongside a small haberdashery and pattern range. 

The address is 52-54 Lavender Hill, Battersea, London, SW11 5RH.

Is it possible to get a wholesale price?

We are a fabric retailer rather than a wholesaler so the short answer is no, but if you are looking for a large quantity of fabric, it is best to email us on to see if we can help you out.

What does OEKO-TEX 100 mean?

OEKO-TEX 100 means the fabric has been tested for 100 harmful substances. The testing and certification process extends far beyond existing legal requirements, testing not only for substances already banned, but also for chemicals known to be unsafe, but not yet controlled by legislation. Fabrics which meet OEKO-TEX 100 are great for children’s clothing or underwear. 

How quickly will I get my order?

All our orders are sent out by Royal Mail First Class so should be with you within a few days of fulfilment and often within 1-2 days. We send fabric out on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. During busy periods such as sales, deliveries may take slightly longer, and we are always grateful for your patience.

Where do your fabrics come from?

We stock British fabrics as well as fabrics from suppliers all over the world - including Germany, Italy, Taiwan and India. 

Will you be at any shows this year?

In recent years we have cut back on the number of shows we attend but we do still go to several. For the full list have a look on our Events Page.   

Can I order a specific fabric from a supplier which you stock but isn’t on your website?

We select our fabrics from various ranges to create the interesting collections we offer and it’s rare that we buy the whole range. If you have a specific fabric you are looking for, it’s best to email us to find out if we can help you. Our email address is

When will out of stock fabrics be available again?

When we sell out of a popular fabric such as our cream bouclé, we will try very hard to get it back in quickly. As soon as it arrives, it will go straight back on our website, and we will notify our customers via social media or our weekly newsletter. If you wanted to sign up so you never miss a thing, subscribe on our simple sign up form

Do you offer gift cards?

Yes, we do have a few different types: you can buy a voucher for Free Postage for a Whole Year gift card. Or you can buy vouchers for £10, £25, £50 or £100 which will be emailed over to you immediately, in case it’s a last-minute gift. See our gift voucher page.

What does GSM mean?

GSM stands for grams per square metre; the higher the number, the thicker and heavier the fabric will be. For example, a denim or a sweatshirt fabric will have a much higher GSM than a satin. 

What our customers say

Fast Delivery
Great Quality
Outstanding Customer Service
Fast Delivery
Great Quality
Outstanding Customer Service


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