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Canvas ETC carries an abundant, high-quality selection of muslin fabric for your every need. Made from 100% natural cotton, our muslin is soft and easily dyed for any application. It is durable and inexpensive so it works well for a number of projects.
Our muslin line is non-flame retardant; however, we can get you flameproof muslin in wholesale quantities. Offered in varied weights and widths, we try to keep your needs in mind when acquiring the finest quality muslin. As we are often asked by our many customers “what is muslin fabric used for?” we have endeavored to provide ample information and specific uses regarding this coveted fabric material. So, learn more here about what muslin works best for and why so many choose muslin over other natural or synthetic fabrics.
Muslin NFR in Natural color
Muslin fabric was first encountered as early as the 9th century by European traders in Iraq! This fabric was such a sought-out fabric, that even Marco Polo had a profile for it in his book, The Travels. Muslin gets its name from the town in Iraq where it was first discovered (Mosul).
Iraq was initially believed to be the birthplace of muslin, but it’s true beginnings were in Bangladesh. Muslin moved around Europe and Asia at a rapid pace and by the 18th century, it was found in abundance. French designers became obsessed with its various benefits and soon the most elite wore garments made of cotton muslin.
While most of Europe adored muslin, the British imposed strict rules over its manufacture. As they had colonial rule in Bangladesh, they imposed harsh tariffs which eventually destroyed the ability to make Bengali products like muslin. They brought in their own goods but wouldn’t allow the export of Bengali products, severing their ability to have an independent economy.
Luckily today, that’s not the case. Muslin fabric continues to rely on countries like Bangladesh for the manufacture of muslin. It’s also still used for garment making.
Muslin fabric works well for seamstresses and clothing designers in that it’s used for rough designing purposes. When a designer works on clothing, usually muslin cloth stands in the end fabric’s place. Meaning, a designer will create several rough designs of their pieces with muslin before using the fabric that’s intended for the final piece.
Muslin starts with cotton. Cotton grows best in dry, warm climates. As cotton remains harvested and not created in a lab, this makes cotton fabric like muslin all natural.
Once the cotton plant matures, it goes through several rounds of processing. After it’s picked and separated from the plant, the cotton goes through a carding process. Carding separates the cotton fibers, cleans and detangles them to become long, web-like strands known as silvers.
From carding, combing occurs. This is thought of as a secondary, more detailed stage in cleaning and prepping the cotton. Combing focuses on the shorter fibers that aren’t elongated during the carding process.
After carding and combing, the silver strands go through additional stretching to become longer, tighter yarns that wind onto bobbins. These bobbins, called roving bobbins are what’s used in the creation of different cotton-based fabrics. Fabric manufacturers place roving bobbins onto machines that spin the yarns into fabrics like muslin.
When unbleached muslin was first handmade in Bangladesh, they attributed its high quality to the cotton. The cotton would grow along Meghna river in Dhaka. This unique strain of cotton associated itself as the finest, softest cotton for muslin fabric making in the world.
As detailed, muslin cloth is a form of cotton fabric. Most wouldn’t think it would allow for differences with the most common cotton fabrics, but that isn’t necessarily the case.
Muslin is still very popular today in areas of the Middle East and Europe as it was in the 18th and 19th century. While cotton is universally known to all, muslin works better in warmer climates for its light, gauzy feel.
While cotton is usually known as a breathable fabric, it’s not considered as breathable as most muslin. Muslin’s breath-ability in the summer is ideal.
Muslin fabric does come in medium weight and thicker varieties, but it’s typically pretty lightweight. Also, it’s usually 100 cotton, meaning there aren’t synthetic fibers woven with cotton when making muslin. It’s 100% all-natural cotton.
It varies in texture like other cotton fabrics. While it’s offered in coarse variations, it’s most popular is its soft, delicate texture. This texture works best for garments and blankets for infants.
Other cotton fabrics vary in weight extensively. Depending on the style of cotton fabric, you could seek out fabrics that are heavy duty like cotton duck canvas or lighter and blended like 50/50 polyester and cotton.
Overall, the little differences between common cotton fabrics and muslin fabrics add to muslin’s general appeal and choice over other cotton made counterparts.
The biggest debate with any person seeking fabric by the yard for their sewing machine or handmade projects is commonly between using natural fabrics or synthetic ones. Each have their own benefits, however some more than others depending on what you’re planning to make.
As you know, natural fabrics like cotton or linen derive from plant matter. Fabrics like wool get their fibers from animals like sheep. These fabrics consider themselves natural because they’re not man-made.
Synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon became formulated in labs around the world. For example, the DuPont Company spent around 9 years testing different polymers that would eventually lead to the creation of nylon. Nylon then became used for everything related to garment making.
While the greatest difference between natural vs. synthetic fabrics are their origins, when you narrow down certain fabrics over others, the differences are more apparent. For example, cotton’s tensile strength may not be as good as ripstop nylon, but it’s more breathable when used for clothing which may make it more comfortable for the consumer.
Regardless of the fabrics, there are upsides to using both styles of fabrics. At the end of the day, the biggest proponent is what will work best for you!
If your project or application calls for fire resistance, knowing what fabrics will work best is key. While almost all-natural fabrics classify as “NFR” or non fire retardant, there are exceptions to how they can become flame retardant.
To learn the differences, one must first look at the standard. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA registered trademarks) is the governing agency on all things related to fire safety and standards of use. They developed the NFPA 701 guide, which is the standard for textile flame retardancy.
The NFPA 701 defines the testing of textiles to test their flammability. Each result becomes outlined by a special code and classification.
Flame retardancy means that the fabric goes through a treatment to become flame retardant. This usually will wear out or fade with time, so the fabric should become replaced once that occurs. You’re able to request our muslin fabric to have a flame retardant seal at wholesale quantities.
The term inherently flame retardant lends itself to fabrics that have built in flame resistant properties. Fabric styles like polyester are inherently flame retardant as they’re manipulated synthetically prior to becoming a fabric.
Some fabrics like metallic based fabrics aren’t treatable or inherently flame retardant. These fabrics won’t work in public spaces where flame resistance is usually required.
As we’ve learned, there’s loads of benefits to using muslin for different projects and applications. Some traditional uses for muslin are:
Muslin’s versatility and unique beauty make it wonderful to use for all sorts of things.
With all the wonderful properties that make up muslin, some interesting uses it’s perfect for are:
If you’re looking to buy in bulk, Canvas ETC will work with you to receive the best wholesale pricing available. Talk to our experts today on if wholesaling and possible free shipping will work towards your next order.
Be sure to check out our premium selection of muslin fabric. If you have any questions, contact us for assistance.