Poplin dress embroidered with grape vines from Aguascalientes at the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City.

Poplin, also called tabinet (or tabbinet),[1] is a fine (but thick) wool, cotton or silk fabric that has a vertical warp and a horizontal weft. Nowadays, the name refers to a strong material in a plain weave of any fiber or blend, with crosswise ribs that typically give a corded surface.[2]

Poplin traditionally consisted of a silk warp with a weft of worsted yarn. In this case, as the weft is in the form of a stout cord, the fabric has a ridged structure, like rep, which gives depth and softness to the lustre of the silky surface.[3] The ribs run across the fabric from selvedge to selvedge. In Britain, woolen yarn from the spinners in Suffolk would be sent to Dublin to be woven with silk into tabinet.[4]

Poplin is now made with wool, cotton, silk, rayon, polyester or a mixture of these. Since it has a plain under/over weave, the fabric displays a plain woven surface with no ribbing if the weft and warp threads are of the same material and size. Shirts made from this material are easy to iron and do not wrinkle easily.

Poplins are used for dress purposes, and for rich upholstery work which are formed by using coarse filling-yarns in a plain/hard weave.

The term "poplin" allegedly originates from papelino, a fabric made at Avignon, France,[5] in the 15th century, and named for the papal (pope's) residence there,[6] and from the French papeline (a fabric, normally made with silk, of the same period).[2] An alternative derivation associates "poplin" with products of the cloth industry of Poperinge in Flanders in present-day Belgium.[7][8]

The most common usage of poplin until about the 20th century was to make silk, cotton or heavy-weight wool dresses, suitable for winter wear.

In the early 1920s, British-made cotton poplin was introduced to the United States, but the American market thought that the name had connotations of heaviness and arbitrarily renamed it "broadcloth", a name that persists for a cotton or polyester-cotton blend fabric used for shirting.[9] In Europe, "broadcloth" typically describes a densely-woven woolen fabric with a smooth finish.[10][need quotation to verify]

See also


  1. ^ Singh, SINGH. Hotel Housekeeping. Tata Mc Graw Hill education. p. 252. ISBN 9781259050534.
  2. ^ a b "poplin". The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Fashion and Fashion Designers (via Credo Reference). Thames & Hudson. 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  3. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Poplin". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 90.
  4. ^ Raynbird, William; Raynbird, Hugh (1849). On the Agriculture of Suffolk. Longman and Company. p. 286.
  5. ^ Boucoiran, Louis (1875). Dictionnaire analogique & étymologique des idiomes. p. 1003.
  6. ^ Library of Congress Subject Headings. 2007. p. 5850.
  7. ^ "poplin". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.) - "Alteration by folk etymology (after pope n.1) of French †papeline (1667), apparently a transferred use of a form (with -l- for -r- ) of the name of Poperinge, a town in Flanders [...] noted for its textile production [...]. French popeline (1735) is apparently reborrowed < English."
  8. ^ Cave, Nigel (29 March 1990). "Poperinge (WWI)/Vlamertinge". Battleground Europe: A Guide to Battlefields in France & Flanders. Battleground Europe. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Wharncliffe. p. 86. ISBN 9781871647020. Retrieved 20 December 2022. [...] Poperinge gave us the word 'poplin'.
  9. ^ Tortora, Phyllis G.; Johnson, Ingrid (17 September 2013). The Fairchild Books Dictionary of Textiles. A&C Black. ISBN 9781609015350. When it was introduced in the U.S. during the early 1920s, the British name poplin was not used because it was felt that this connoted a heavier fabric. Instead the name broadcloth was given with relatively little reason for the choice of term.
  10. ^ Tortora, Phyllis G.; Johnson, Ingrid (17 September 2013). The Fairchild Books Dictionary of Textiles. A&C Black. ISBN 9781609015350.