Printed rayon challis fabric
Crinkle rayon challis fabric

Challis, sometimes referred to as challie[1] or chally,[2] is a lightweight woven fabric, originally a silk-and-wool blend, which can also be made from a single fibre, such as cotton, silk or wool,[3] or from man-made fabrics such as rayon.[4] It was first manufactured in Norwich, England, in about 1832, when it was designed as a thin, soft material similar to Norwich crepe, but matte-textured rather than glossy, and more pliable.[3][5] It was being exported to Australia in 1833.[6] Challis could be made with woven designs, or printed.[5] 'French challis' has a glossy finish.[3] The designs were often floral, paisley, or geometric,[7] and based on French silk patterns.[3]

The term is derived from an Anglo-Indian word, shallee, which means 'soft'.[7] At least one source suggests the term is American Indian.[8]


  1. ^ Stella Blum (1974). Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazar, 1867-1898]. Courier Corporation. ISBN 9780486229904.
  2. ^ S.N. Dexter North (1893). "Bulletin of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers". Vol. 23. p. 144. ISBN 9780486229904. ((cite magazine)): Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d Dooley, William Henry (1924). Textiles for Commercial, Industrial, and Domestic Arts Schools. Istodia Publishing LLC. pp. 66–67. ISBN 9781449589363.
  4. ^ Stauffer, Jeanne (2004). Sewing Smart with Fabric. DRG Wholesale. p. 106. ISBN 9781592170180.
  5. ^ a b James, John (1857). History of the worsted manufacture in England: from the earliest times; with introductory notices of the manufacture among the ancient nations, and during the middle ages. Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts. p. 436.
  6. ^ "THE arrival of the Mary". Sydney Herald. January 14, 1833. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Maitra, K. K. (2007). Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Clothing and Textiles. Mittal Publications. p. 72. ISBN 9788183242059.
  8. ^ Pizutto, Joseph James; Arthur Price; Allen C. Cohen (1987). Fabric science. Fairchild Publications. p. 352. ISBN 9780870055829. Retrieved 16 July 2013.