Exactly what is poplin fabric used for? This textile has to be one of the most versatile fabrics, pairing a soft consistency with a durable, resistant fibre.

So what is poplin fabric made of? We also call Poplin fabric 'tabbinet'. We create this plain-weave textile out of cotton or a mix of cotton and polyester. It has very fine horizontal “ribs,” or threads. 

These yarns have a tight weave that allows the fabric to be strong and silky at the same time. No wonder we find these textiles literally everywhere!

If you are wondering what to use this material for, read on. We basically use it in all forms, shapes and sizes, from classic tops and dresses to sportswear. We also use it for lining for home decor, bedding and raincoats.

Poplin fabric is characterized by its distinctive ribbed texture and tightly closed weave. A very strong fabric due to its construction from longer fibres, it’s a lightweight and airy fabric with a soft drape. At the same time, because of the poplin’s weave, it is incredibly durable. So you can use it to create tops, trousers or lightweight coats. This natural cotton textile is your first choice to work with, as it’s a soft sewing textile that performs impeccably in whatever design you’re going for.

Poplin was originally made from silk

Introduced back in the 15th Century in Avignon, France, poplin derives from the word “papelaine,” which refers to the papal town of Avignon and an obsolete fabric with a similar weave. Since then, this fabric has grown in popularity. Manufacturers replaced silk and wool with pure cotton. Now it’s a staple of day wear and elegant outfits - you can’t go wrong with sewing with this fabric.

In those days, we made this cotton fabric out of silk and wool and we used the fabric for winter attire. Today you can spot cotton poplin anywhere, no matter which blend you use. We manufacture high-quality poplin from 100% natural cotton, or a mix of synthetic and natural fibres such as rayon, satin, silk and wool. (Wool is often used to make the fabric warmer for colder weather. In fact, wool is a popular mix for winter garments.)

Before you shop: cotton poplin characteristics

This fabric has 7 distinct characteristics:

  1. Durable: Although sturdy, this fabric has a soft feel. This is why the fabric is a popular choice for summer clothes. It’s also water-resistant, which is a big advantage.
  2. Smooth: Poplin’s distinctive smooth texture makes it easy to wash time and again. The fabric holds its shape and doesn’t crease or stain. It’s often used for homeware items such as tableware, quilts and light upholstery.
  3. Tight weave fabric: This plain weave fabric is characterized by crosswise ribs. This means we weave it in a simple over-under pattern (contrary to the complex texture of weaves that are used for fabrics such as satin and twill). This gives the textile its signature versatility and flowy texture. 
  4. Lightweight: Thanks to this tight weave, poplin is lightweight, which is why it’s a favourite choice for summer garments, especially shirts for men and women. Because it’s thin, it can be a little transparent, so it often needs a lining or undergarment.
  5. Affordable: Manufacturing this fabric is relatively inexpensive, compared to other natural fabrics. Obviously, the more luxurious fabrics like silk poplin will cost more – because it feels just like silk.
  6. Ideal for warm climates: It’s crisp and lightweight and has a natural drape, and all those reasons show us why this fabric is perfect for summer wear. Garments made from poplin is cool, breathable and dries quickly. 
  7. Great for printing: This textile is made for printing on! In fact, it’s known for printing and dyeing extremely well. Its versatility makes it a great choice for a number of clothes and interior design products.

    What do we use poplin for?

    We have always used poplin for all occasions or purposes because it’s so versatile. It combines durability and a sleek look, so it comes as no surprise it became the number-one choice for women’s dresses.

    In the 19th century, people started using this fabric for upholstery as well, and in the Second World War, it was a common fabric choice for soldiers’ uniforms. Today, this extremely comfortable, durable fabric is a stylish choice for several different products.

    Poplin is the perfect fabric for sewing dresses for children and adults alike!

    Poplin fabric has a nice drape, and since it’s 100% natural, it’s cool to wear. These properties have helped make poplin an excellent choice for all manner of clothing, from tops and skirts to trousers and jackets as well as several homeware items. It’s an inexpensive fabric but highly performative. It’s subtly shiny, which adds an elegant appearance without looking too dramatic or overly formal.

    How does poplin look when printed on? 

    This fabric is a dream for printing. Its texture is so smooth it won’t cause any problems during the printing process, making it effortless and satisfying. It can also hold its shape quite well, is wrinkle-resistant, and your final product will be neat.

    Because of the fabric’s structure, colour prints vibrantly on this fabric. 

    Whether you are a high fashion pro looking for your next signature look, you’re searching for your dream textile for sewing a made-to-measure dress or want to renovate your interiors; poplin is an all-rounder. It’s an unproblematic, soft and elegant choice to explore your creativity together with impeccable high performance.

    Pick the right fabric 

    Shop maake’s selection of poplin for sewing…

    Poplin fabric - cotton

    This 100% cotton poplin textile is perfect for shirts, dresses and light outerwear items. We also use it for bedding and crafts. Perfect for wearing year-round, it’s sturdy, lightweight and smooth with a plain weave. Sewing with this fabric is fabulous and it irons well, too. Printing on the face and back are identical.

    Stretch Poplin

    Similar to cotton poplin (above), we make this popular lightweight textile from 97% cotton and 3% elastane, which gives it a slight stretch. This makes it perfect for blouses as well as dresses and outerwear.

    Organic Poplin

    Produced from 100% GOTS cotton fabrics, this classic lightweight fabric is the organic version of our cotton poplin dressmaking fabric. It’s the perfect choice for shirting and other crisp items of clothing. We also use it for dresses and outerwear.

    Printing on maake's cotton fabric for clothing and other products

    maake prints on all our printed cotton poplin in the most sustainable way possible, using special Digital Pigment inks. We use no water when printing on these cotton fabrics and the printing process involves using about 95% less energy than traditional screen printing.

    Shop these excellent printing tools

    See poplin fabrics before you shop and start printing: our fabric sample book enables you to see a variety of fabrics that we stock including poplin to see what they will look like when they are created to make it easier for you. Order your Sample Book here.

    Browse 15,300 exclusive designs

    Create your own design for poplin prints


    February 15, 2022 — Artemis Doupa