What is the Difference Between Calico and Muslin

Calico and muslin, both cotton fabrics, both a wide range of uses but what is the difference between them, and which should you choose for your project.

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What is Calico Fabric?

Calico is a cotton loom state coarse fabric that is un-dyed and with a low thread count. The natural fabric is made in a similar way to making cotton cloth. It is made from half processed, unbleached cotton fibres.

Here at Whaleys Bradford we supply calico in its natural raw state, as a base fabric ready to be treated or dyed.

Calico fabric is a popular choice for many when creating prototypes (samples) as well as items that need to be hard-wearing and have longevity.

It is a well-recognised fabric all over the world. It is durable, strong and low-priced which is why it is the fabric of choice for testing new garment designs, making pillowcases and quilts, bags, duvets and curtains as well as for various craft making projects. Calico is ideal as theatre, school or village hall backdrop canvas for painting on.

Used heavily in schools in textiles and art classes it is ideal for dyeing, printing and experimenting on when testing a wide variety of projects.

The fabric is very versatile and inexpensive. It is available in many different weights, such as heavy to light and is available in a number of sizes, from a smaller cut to 10 metre rolls, making it ideal as a quality cotton of choice.

It is reported to be one of the oldest materials in India, and dates back to the 12th century.  ‘Calico’ comes from the word ‘Calicut’ which was a European name for the city of Kozhikode, in Kerala (Southwestern India).

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What is Mulsin Fabric?

Muslin is also a cotton fabric. However, Muslin is much finer than calico. It too is a cotton loom state fabric that can come in a wide range of weights.

Most associate muslin with its more delicate sheers, this is due to its looser weave and lower thread count, but it can also come in a heavy coarse state, much like calico.

Another incredibly versatile fabric, muslin fabric is commonly used in dress making due to its durability and light weight nature. It is cost effective too, so brilliant to test and work on before cutting a more expensive fabric when experimenting with patterns for example.

Other uses for muslin fabric include shellac polishing, within baking, in theatre set designs, stage flats, stage backgrounds and props, for baby garments and most unusually within surgical procedures.

It too has a long history. It is believed to date all the way back to the 2nd century, found by archaeological discoveries. Then in the 17th century muslin cloth began to be imported into Europe from the Bengal region.

The Differences between Calico and Muslin:

The two fabrics have great similarities. Both are made from cotton, but each have their own qualities.

Whereas Calico is best if you are looking for a strong fabric that needs to be durable and have longevity and can stand to be being died, printed and worked on.

Muslin is the best choice for those who are working with more delicate projects, such as garments and dressmaking.

At Whaleys, we supply a wide range of high-quality calico and muslin fabrics and blends. Our fabric is available to buy wholesale by the metre making it ideal for whatever your project is.

If you are looking for a specific type of fabric for your project, then please get in touch with our office team who will help you with your purchase.