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A bustle made from dimity, 1881.
A bustle made from dimity, 1881.

Dimity was a collective term for figured cloths of harness loom decorated with designs and patterns. It was a strong cotton cloth with various stripes and illustrations. It was only bleached or washed after loom less often dyed after looming, unlike fustian, usually dyed.[1]

It was a lightweight, sheer cotton fabric, used historically, having at least two warp threads thrown into relief to form fine cords. It was a cloth commonly employed for bed upholstery and curtains, and usually white, though sometimes a pattern was printed on it in colors. It was stout in texture, and woven in raised patterns.[2] Originally dimity was made of silk or wool, but since the 18th century it has been woven almost exclusively of cotton.


Diaper was another kind of Dimity made of linen and sometimes cotton as well. It was a twill weave structure with diamond patterns.[1]

A palampore is a dimity made in India and used for bed coverings.[3]


Dimity is also a girls' name, which, while still uncommon, is most popular in Australia.

Article of clothing

A dimity was a bit of draping worn by performers of the Poses Plastiques, which was an early form of strip tease. Performers wore flesh colored silk body stockings and a dimity to give the illusion of modesty.

Theatrical references


  1. ^ a b Montgomery, Florence M. (1984). Textiles in America 1650-1870 : a dictionary based on original documents, prints and paintings, commercial records, American merchants' papers, shopkeepers' advertisements, and pattern books with original swatches of cloth. Internet Archive. New York ; London : Norton. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-393-01703-8.
  2. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Dimity". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 8 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 273.
  3. ^ "palampore".