Most people have heard of the fabric gabardine but don't know anything about it. It is one of our favorite materials and it has an incredible history.
Gabardine was actually created by the founder of Burberry, Thomas Burberry, in the the late 1800s. Burberry wanted to create a versatile fabric blend that would hold up well to a lot of wear and tear.
Burberry drew his inspiration and the name for his new fabric from the gaberdina of the Middle ages. Gabardina were loose and long garments that were worn over the breeches and blouses. Typically, beggars used them for extra protection from the elements. Often, the gabardina were tied around the waist.
In order to create his new material, Burberry came up with a tightly woven fabric that relied heavily on worsted wool. The weave of the worsted wool was relatively smooth on one side, and had a ribbed appearance on the other side.
From the perspective of the weaving, this made gabardine a twill fabric. Burberry used the new fabric to produce several garments that caught the eye of the public quickly.
Evolution of the fabric
Gabardine has a tendency to hold its shape and not wrinkle too easily, which was a huge plus for anyone that had to keep up the wardrobe. The sheen made gabardine ideal for creating fashions for women as well as men.
Another enduring use of gabardine today is on overcoats (think trenchcoat).
How To Care For Gabardine
Depending on the fibers contained in the gabardine, some of the garments produced today can be cleaned by using a gentle cycle on the washer, and a low heat setting on the dryer. These same garments do well with hand washing.
A warm iron set on a low setting is usually fine for quick press, but care should be taken to not use too much heat, as it will scar the fabric permanently.