What Is Poplin Fabric? Types of Cotton Fabrics
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What Is Poplin Fabric? Types of Cotton Fabrics

Recently updated on April 5th, 2023

There can be confusion when it comes to fabric names. Some fabrics, such as cotton, describe what they are made from. There are others that refer to the process of production, such as viscose. What about poplin? What exactly is poplin? No composition or production process is described by the name poplin. Fibers are arranged in a particular way and have a specific texture.

What is Poplin Fabric?

The poplin fabric is a woven fabric similar to linen. Poplin is made from natural fibers or synthetic fibers, as opposed to linen, which must be made from flax. In some cases, it may even contain more than one type of fiber.

The poplin weave produces a fabric that is both fine and strong and has a distinct texture.

What is Poplin Weave?

Poplin weaves are plain and tight. There is usually a difference in thickness or coarseness between the warp (vertical) fibers and the weft (vertical). Corded fabrics made from this combination are excellent for upholstery, home furnishings, and clothing.

The History of Poplin

Avignon was home to the Pope in the 15th century, which is where poplin fabric originated. Named after the word papaleine, which means papal in Latin.

The warp fibers of poplin were traditionally silk, wool, or cotton, while the weft fibers were worsted yarn. As time passed, the definition expanded to include plain-weave fabrics that contain only one fiber. Although single-fiber poplin does not always have the corded texture, it retains its name regardless.

While it may seem confusing, think of poplin as a fabric with a tight plain weave that has different thicknesses for weft and warp yarns.

Depending on where you live, poplin fabric might also be called broadcloth, tabinet, or Eolienne (a lighter version of broadcloth).

The Most Common Uses Of Poplin Fabric

the most common uses of poplin fabric

What is poplin fabric used for? Poplin fabric combines strength and softness with fineness and durability. With its versatility and versatility, it’s no surprise that it’s so popular. Poplin is available in a variety of places today. We are surrounded by it every day.


Dresses traditionally made from poplin have been popular. Poplin’s delicate, soft texture makes it a more affordable alternative to silk because it has a luxurious feel. The material is also durable enough to be worn every day, especially in winter.

Poplin dresses can be recalled, for example, by fans of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Though they bemoaned that the fabric wasn’t as elegant or luxurious as the silk dresses of the party’s wealthier guests, the characters thought it was acceptable for a party.

The fabric is also used for shirts and trousers today.

Winter Clothing

As a result of its original composition of silk and wool, combined with its characteristic weave, poplin is an ideal fabric for winter clothing. Because of its tight weave and combination of fibers, it insulates well.


American and British military uniforms were made by the poplin during World War II. The most obvious selling point of this product was its strength. But poplin is also a tremendous all-weather fabric. It’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter.


In addition to its durability, poplin is also an excellent fabric for upholstery, housewares, and furniture. Many poplin products are available, including seat covers, cushions, sheeting, and curtains.


Cotton poplin has a natural crispness and holds its shape well. In addition to being durable, it is also easy to work with. Quilting and patchwork are both excellent crafts that can be done with this fabric.

How Does Poplin Material Feel?

In spite of its durability, poplin is a delicate material. Except for wool and silk poplin, it doesn’t require delicate handling, despite its natural sheen and softness. Several varieties, including cotton poplin and polyester poplin, resist wrinkles and wear.

What is Poplin Cotton?

Clothing manufacturers and crafters use poplin cotton widely. It is medium-weight and easy to work with, similar to quilting cotton. While cotton poplin has a tighter weave than ordinary quilting cotton, it is more wrinkle-resistant.

Can you describe the feel of cotton poplin? Compared to quilting cotton, it feels stiffer, and some varieties are heavier. The fabric may also have the corded texture characteristic of poplin.

What is Polyester Poplin?

Fabric made from polyester fibers is known as polyester poplin or poly poplin fabric. In addition to being soft and wrinkle-resistant, this polyester fabric is also highly durable. There is no ribbing on polyester poplin, unlike other types of poplin.

Table linens, backdrops, and drapes are commonly made from poly poplin fabric.

Poplin vs. Twill

What is the difference between twill and poplin? The two can easily be confused at first glance. The texture of twill is corded, like the texture of poplin. A variety of fibers, including natural and synthetic, can be used to make twill. Known for their durability and ease of use, both fabrics are used in clothing.

It is the weave that makes a difference.

Poplin weave and twill weave are fundamental weave types (satin weave is the third). Poplin has vertical weft fibers, while twill has diagonal weft fibers.

Additionally, while poplin weave passes one weft thread over one warp thread, then under (and so on), twill passes more than one warp thread over and under with a step in between.

Two weft fibers pass over two warp fibers and under two weft fibers in a 2/2 twill, for instance.

Twill can be classified in four ways:

  • Depending on the “step” (2/2, 3/1, etc.).
  • Depending on the direction of the twill line (left-hand or right-hand).
  • A facing thread may be either a warp or a weft thread.
  • A simple twill is either an expanded twill or a simple twill.

Twill fabric is woven with a corded texture, similar to a poplin fabric. Twill, on the other hand, has cords that lay diagonally rather than vertically.

Poplin vs. Broadcloth

The difference between broadcloth and poplin is complicated.

The words have come to mean nearly the same thing in some contexts, for example, in clothing manufacturing in the United States. However, there are some distinctions to be made.

Wool was traditionally the only material used to make broadcloth. Because of this, it was more rugged than poplin but with a coarser texture.

There are many different fibers used to make broadcloth today. As with poplin, its characteristic feature remains its dense weave, which gives it a bit more thickness.

A unique visual effect can also be achieved with a broadcloth. The fabric may look solid from afar when two alternate colors are woven together, but closer inspection reveals a subtle pattern.

Shirts made from broadcloth are popular among high-end men’s retailers.

Poplin vs. Oxford

What is the difference between Oxford and poplin? The Oxford weave is similar to the poplin. For both men and women, Oxford is a standard shirting fabric. Its strength and ease of use make it similar to poplin. In the same way that twill differs from poplin, Oxford differs from poplin in its weave.

There are several types of basket weaves, but the Oxford weave is one of the most popular. A criss-cross pattern between the warp and weft fibers resembles a basket. One weft fiber crosses over and under one warp fiber at a 90-degree angle in poplin.

A 90-degree angle is formed by multiple weft fibers crossing a warp fiber. The thick and warm fabric of Oxford is a result of this.

Color-coordinated fibers can create an interesting visual effect, similar to twill. The appearance of a two-toned fabric is created, for instance, by combining colored weft fibers with white warp fibers. Whether worn casually or professionally, Oxford fabric is a popular choice.

What is the Advantage and Disadvantage of Poplin?

When a fabric is available in so many different forms, it’s hard to pinpoint specific advantages and disadvantages. The composition of the fibers used to weave poplin can significantly affect its quality.

For example, a poplin cotton shirting or craft fabric is a great choice. It is better suited to housewares than clothing to use poly poplin fabric. Depending on the season, some poplin types are better suited for winter wear, while others are better suited for warm weather.

There are, however, some features that are common to all types of poplin.

The Advantages of Poplin

  • Durable and hard-wearing
  • Solid and delicate at the same time
  • A more affordable alternative to pure wool or silk
  • It is easy to work with
  • It is highly forgiving
  • It can be machine washed
  • It is lightweight
  • A comfortable fit
  • Resistant to water
  • Maintains its shape well
  • Embroidery and applique are excellent uses for this material.

What are the disadvantages of poplin? It all comes down to the fiber content.

  • It’s not the best fabric for winter wear because polyester poplin doesn’t insulate well. Warm weather, however, makes it a good choice.
  • There can be a lack of breathability and weight when poplin is made from wool or cotton fibers. In contrast, these types are well suited to protect against wind and rain.
  • There are some types of poplin that are slippery and others that are easier to sew.
  • Thin poplin types show less wrinkle resistance than medium- and heavy-weight poplin types.

The sewing of stretch poplins will present its own challenges.

Is Poplin Fabric Easy To Sew?

What is the best way to sew poplin fabric? The tight weave of the fabric makes it easy to do. This versatile fabric is utterly forgiving, one of the most accessible fabrics to work with.

Although poplin is a relatively easy fabric to sew with, some tips and tricks can make it even easier.

The Most Common Issues With Sewing Poplin Fabric

There are a number of issues people have with sewing poplin that have to do with the type of fiber used.

  • There are some types of a poplin fabric that are slippery, such as poly poplin.
  • It is sometimes difficult to pass the needle through the tight weave.
  • Thread tension can also be affected by tight weaves.

Tips and Tricks for Sewing With Poplin

  1. When sewing poplin that is slippery, spray starch on it before you sew
  2. The right needle weight for your fabric should be sharp, new, and sharp
  3. Make sure you have sharp scissors and rotary cutters
  4. Ensure that your stitches are even and uniform by checking your thread tension
  5. Using stretch stitches and needles that are rated for stretch fabrics, sew stretch poplin as you would any other stretch fabric.

How to Care for Poplin Fabric?

There are numerous benefits to poplin fabrics, including their durability, machine washability, wrinkle resistance, and ease of care. There may, however, be differences in these qualities depending on the fiber content. Fiber content should always be considered when caring for your pet.

Wool Poplin

There is still wool poplin in garments today, even though it is less common than it used to be. High-end garments are especially prone to this.

Shrinkage is a common problem with wool. It is recommended to dry clean wool poplin garments. Wool poplin should always be dry-cleaned when in doubt. Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.

Cotton Poplin

Poplin cotton, on the other hand, is delightfully easy to care for. Both garments and crafts use this type of poplin.

There are no stains on it, and it can be machine washed. As well as releasing odors quickly in the wash, it is antibacterial. The manufacturer of some cotton poplins recommends washing them at 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). However, always follow the instructions for the garment or fabric you are using.

Wrinkles can sometimes occur even with cotton poplin, which is wrinkle-resistant. Using a warm iron, you can release them from cotton poplin by tumbling or ironing them.

Polyester Poplin

Similarly, poly poplin fabric can be easily cared for, but its instructions differ slightly. Polyester poplin can be washed in cold water and dried in a warm, but not hot, dryer. A warm but not hot iron is best for ironing polyester poplin.

Poplin Fabric by the Yard

Like most fabrics, the poplin fabric can be purchased by the yard. Half yards are even available in some places. There are several width options available. Depending on the width you choose, you may need more or less yardage.

Poplin is commonly available in widths ranging from 54 inches to 110 inches. It can sometimes be 45 inches wide, depending on the project. Upholstery and home décor benefit from wider materials. In addition, the shorter widths are suitable for crafts like patchwork quilting and apparel.

You will pay a different price per yard depending on the width and quality of the poplin you buy. You can expect to pay $4.00 per yard for a good quality polycotton poplin measuring 60 inches wide. You will pay closer to $8.00 per yard for your 110-inch wide 100% polyester poplin curtains.

How Do I Identify 100% Cotton Poplin?

The 100% cotton poplin fabric uses a poplin weave and is entirely composed of cotton. Plain weaves made of warps and wefts of different thicknesses are called poplins.

The poplin fabric does not have ribbing because it uses the same thickness across both grains. Cotton yarns of different weights can also be used to make poplin. Fabrics resulting from this process still retain the ribbed texture typical to poplin.

The positive benefits of cotton are combined with the strength and durability of a poplin fabric made from 100% cotton. In addition to absorbing moisture, cotton won’t hold onto odors. It is a soft, cool fabric that is durable and able to withstand frequent use.

Natural fibers are used in the fabric since it is cotton-based. Due to its hypoallergenic, thin, and breathable properties, any garment made from it will be hypoallergenic. Since the fabric won’t irritate sensitive skin or inflame allergies, it’s perfect for children or those with sensitive skin.

Because cotton poplin is made from a natural substance, it is ecologically friendly and biodegradable, making it an ideal choice for those who wish to decrease their carbon footprint.

There is no static electricity with 100% cotton poplins. Cotton poplins are static-free because they don’t contain any synthetic fibers. You won’t get a sharp static shock when you wear it, nor will anyone around you.

Shirts, dresses, and summer pants can be made from cotton poplin. Because it keeps you cool, dry, and comfortable, it is a favorite among travelers and those who live in warmer climates.

What Is The Price Of 100% Cotton Poplin Fabric?

Poplin is an inexpensive fabric, depending on its fiber content. There is a wide range of prices for cotton poplin per yard, ranging from $2.50 to $7.50. You should check with the supplier for the actual price. It may be cheaper to purchase from an online outlet than from a local retailer. An outlet from a mom-and-pop store may also be more expensive than one from a prestigious brand name.

Poplin is also used for different purposes, which affects its cost. Compared to upholstery fabrics containing the same fiber content, apparel fabrics made from 100% cotton will be lighter in weight. Fabric prices will be affected by the difference in weight.

Secondly, the material must be of good quality. It is not true that all 100% cotton is the same. The cotton used in some of them is of lower quality. Some are made with a cotton thread of the highest quality.

This type of fabric doesn’t have to be 100% cotton poplin. The silk warp threads can still be found in cotton poplin. The cost of silk is reflected in the price of poplin since it is a pricey material.

It is good news that silk can be substituted for a cheaper alternative. The feel and look of silk can be replicated by mixing cotton with polyester but at a considerably lower cost.

Last Thoughts

The versatility of poplin is unmatched. There are different weights and compositions of fibers available. Everything from housewares to garments is made from poplin. There is wonderful ease in working with most varieties of these plants.

‘Poplin’ describes plain-weave fabrics with different warp and weft fiber thicknesses. Cotton is a standard fiber used in poplin fabric, but other fiber types may also be used. Different fiber compositions characterize each type of poplin.

Check out our other article after you finish this one on free sewing patterns for pants and trousers.

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