Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fabric Friday - What's In A Name

What’s in a name? It appears the answer is many things. Fabric names have been passed along from one product to another that is similar so that it is often unclear what the name describes. For example, look at barkcloth. The original barkcloth is a product developed in the South Seas that involves removing actual bark from trees, soaking it and then beating it into a thin strong fabric that can be used for wall hangings or apparel. However, in these regions this product is now called tapa or kapa (Hawaii) or masi (Fiji).

This barkcloth was quite popular at one time, but in the 1920s, a product called cretonne began to be imported from France. This was a white fabric of hemp and linen that was printed and similar to an unglazed chintz in texture.
American manufacturers renamed cretonne as barkcloth because of its nubbly bark-like texture. Then again, when servicemen began sending back “barkcloth” clothing and other items from Hawaii, the textured fabric inspired the development of a whole array of materials called bark cloth, bark crepe, decorator bark, etc. in a whole host of fibers from cotton to fiberglass. 
Today's barkcloths are most often a printed textured cotton product with designs that are either tropical, or retro atomic.

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