What is Chambray Fabric? Properties and How it is Different from Denim

What is Chambray? It is a natural plain-weave cotton or linen fabric that has been around for ages with variants called cambric or batiste. The fabric is fine and dense with many similarities with denim though they are still different. Both Chambray and denim are weaved differently, whereby it is lighter than denim, making them more breathable.  

What is Chambray Fabric

When dyed, Chambray is given a white filling yarn, and it is light blue, but when white, you can mistakenly identify it as denim. It is softer than denim, and thinner in construction, making it ideal for spring, and summer tops, jumpsuits, and dresses. 

The fabric dated back to the mid-1500s and was once the same as cambric, a lightweight plain weave fabric from the French town of Cambrai. In English, it is pronounced as Cambrai. At the beginning of the twentieth century, most labourers were clad in blue-collar, describing denim pants and chambray shirts in the United States. 

What is Chambray, and when is it worn?

Chambray is a popular fabric that is used to make various clothes for both men and women. You will find shirts and summer dresses and also ties. Since it is made from cotton, it keeps you cool and warm in hot and humid weather respectively. It has a high thread count meaning its weaving is finer, making it breathable. 

Chambray is often in blue, yet it is also available in other colours. The coloured threads are more prominent, but a closer look shows a white thread woven in hence fading the colour. The fabric is soft and smooth with a slight lustre, and it is solid and also available in multicolours. 

Chambrays are weaved with crisscross and checkered patterns. Some patterns require a bias cut diagonally across the grain all the way to crisscross the pattern to the edge. Such a cut brings forth a diamond look, presenting a diamond look on the garment. 

Common Uses of Chambray Fabric

It can be sued for all clothing types, but it is best for shirts, especially long-sleeved button-down shirts with collars. The fabric is also ideal for light summer wear like shorts, skirts, dresses, and tops. Other fabrics like lycra and spandex can be woven into Chambray-producing fabrics that stretch in various lightweight pants. 

It is also used for bedding or quilting, sunhats for babies, and home decor like curtains, pillows, tablecloths, and upholstery. Chambray is also ideal for covering different books like notebooks, journals, and pocketbooks, among others. When you decide to buy the fabric, it is available in 42 to 60-inch-wide yards, which you can cut whichever way you wish. Please buy it from fabric stores and also online retailers. 

What is Chambray Fabric

Chambray Vs Denim

You can mistake one for the other because of their common weave of a blue warp and a white weft woven together. However, denim is sturdy and stiff, unlike Chambray, which is fine and smooth, lightweight, and airy. Chambray’s characteristics make it a perfect fabric for summer clothing, and combining the two makes for an iconic American fabric that is unique and fashionable. 

Maintenance of Chambray Fabrics

Knowing well what is Chambray helps you understand that because it is pure cotton, it softens with each wash. Wash the garment in cold water then tumble dry it on a low setting to avoid shrinkage. It wrinkles easily, and you should press it with a hot iron, or if you have no iron box, do not wring it after washing. Garments made from pure cotton are easy to clean and remove stains, and it also releases odour easily in the wash.

Types of Chambray Fabric

The chambray fabric is only one, but there are different terms used to refer to it as stated below:

  • Chambray: Any fabric that is traditionally woven in the chambray style.
  • Cambric: A fabric woven like Chambray but is lighter and smoother. 
  • Batiste: It was borrowed from “Baptiste,” a weaver’s surname who is believed to have created an identical fabric to cambric. 

Depending on how the fabric is produced, the yarn type determines how the textile Affects the environment. Since it is woven other than a textile fibre, its production has no environmental impact besides the base material. 

Since cotton is the main fibre commonly used to make the chambray fabric, it can be sustainable, unlike other synthetic fibres. If cotton is grown with ethical and organic practices, it cannot negatively affect the environment. Cotton is biodegradable, meaning it breaks down and can be recycled by nature. 


What is Chambray fabric? It is a woven fabric which is fine and soft and also 100% pure cotton. It is mostly blue with a white woven thread that makes it appear more white. Also, it is a deal for summer clothing for both men and women because of its nature. 

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Andrew is a professional writer with 7+ Years of experience. His style and uniqueness inspire and educate readers throughout the world.

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About the Author: Andrew

Andrew is a professional writer with 7+ Years of experience. His style and uniqueness inspire and educate readers throughout the world.

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