Poplin is a versatile fabric with uses that range from everyday clothing items through to luxurious garments and finishing touches to outfits.

It is a form of fabric with origins dating back to the 15th century but one which has changed over the years to now have a more specific meaning.

In this page we will answer key questions relating to ‘what is poplin’ and look at when this great fabroc is a suitable material to use.

Origins of Poplin

The name poplin has nothing to do with the popularity of mass appeal, it actually derives from papelino, a fabric made in the French city of Avignon. It was named as such for the papal residence there and it shares similarities with the French fabric papelaine which comes from the same period.

Cotton Poplin Fabric
Digitally Printed Cotton Poplin Fabric 100% cotton 145cm wide 130gsm

The fabric was initially used in conjunction with others to make them more hard wearing, for instance to make garments more suitable for winter wear.

It was an extremely common fabric and one that was seen as versatile but not luxurious, especially when wearing pure silk would have been seen as a sign of wealth and status.

Modern Poplin

Nowadays, poplin is most commonly associated with cotton and most poplin is 100% cotton, though wool, silk and polyester options are possible.

To be poplin the fabric must have a horizontal waft and vertical weft, these creating a fine and plain sturdy fabric. The fabric can have a distinctive ribbed texture from the tight weave, this creates a lustrous finish.

Historically, poplin had a silk warp and a weft of worsted yarn, this created a ridged structure. If, though, the weft and warp threads are the same there will be a plain woven surface with no ribbing.

The fabric created is lightweight but strong; historically it has been used in military uniforms in hot settings such is the strength it possesses while also not making the person wearing it uncomfortably hot.

It is a fabric that is likely to be suitable for almost any purpose such are the all-round strengths of poplin. It may not be the most luxurious, or the softest of all, or the strongest of all, but it is soft, strong, luxurious and durable. 

There is no major flaw, no caveat with poplin whereby you might say – yes, it’s strong but it’s no good for…’

How is Poplin Used?

We have mentioned the versatility and this means that poplin can have a wide range of uses.

It can be used for everyday clothing items such as shirts, skirts and dresses, trousers and suits. It has a sheen but not one that is too obvious and so it provides a subtle look of quality but yet can still be incorporated into office attire, for example.

Poplin can also be a material that is easy to iron and does not easily gain creases – this adding to its value for items such as shirts.

As well as uses for clothing, poplin is used in fashion items, headscarves and items such as pocket squares.

Printing on to Poplin

Poplin is a fabric that is superbly matched to digital printing techniques. The fabric is soft but sturdy and the unique surface enables accurate reproduction of any image or colour.

The resultant printed items have sharp focus and superb colour matching, bringing out all the vibrancy of an image, logo or other artwork.

Working with Poplin

Poplin’s mix of strength but also softness make it a pleasurable fabric to work with. 

It is straightforward to sew – though the lustre can make it a tad slippery. People will sometimes stiffen it a little prior to working with this material.

It is a fabric that holds its shape well, hence its popularity across a wide range of uses and garments.

Hobbyists also enjoy poplin, for instance it is a great material for embroidery.

Poplin Sample

Perhaps the easiest way to get a sense for poplin is to get your hands on to a sample. 

We will post up to 10 free swatches and these will be posted within 48 hours of your request. You may, for instance want to compare with other similar fabrics such as poplar.

Why Consider Custom Rain

We are hugely proud of our reputation for quality and reliability. On site, we have numerous testimonials from previous customers – these with details of the business we supplied and the nature of the order.

On Google, we have a full five-star review average.

You can chat with us prior to any order to discuss your requirements and we can advise as to the best options to suit your needs – you may be unsure which fabric would be most suitable, allow us to help.

Please call us today on 0161 320 3637 or use our Contact Form.