Cambric fabric is one of the most excellent and most opaque kinds of cloth material which is a lightweight simple weave cloth; formerly from Cambrai, woven in greige, then bleached and piece-dye; after then often flat or calendered process.
At the beginning it was made of linen or flax and then cotton in the 19th century [it is also called batiste]. Cambric is used for linens, shirting, handkerchiefs and a as fabric for lace and needlework.
The word comes from the Flemish name of Cambrai which became part of France in the year 1677. The word is indicated since 1530. The supposed invention of the fabric around 1300 by a weaver called Baptiste or Chambray.
Cambric was a finer quality and more expensive. Chambray (also mean chambray) appears in North American English in the early 19th century. Though this phrase normally refers to a cotton plain weave with a colored warp and a white weft, close to gingham, “silk chambray” seems to have coexisted.
White linen cambric noted for its weight and luster was preferred for priestly wear, fine shirts, underwear, shirt frills, cravats, collars and cuffs, handkerchiefs, and infant wear. Technological utilize for a moment initiated a disparity between cambric and batiste, concluding being of a lighter weight and a finer thread count.
Chambray although the same type of fabric had a colored warp and a white weft; though it could be produced from any color as one’s wish in the warp and also in the filling.
In the period of 18th century, after the exclusion of imports in England of French cambrics with the improvement of the introduction of Indian cotton fabrics which is similar to cotton fabrics such as nainsook(eyes delight) became popular.
These fabrics originally called Scotch cambrics to differentiate them from the normal French cambrics, came to be referred to as cotton cambrics or batistes. Some authors increased the confusion with the assumption the word batiste could come from the Indian fabric bastas.
In the 19th century, the terms cambric and batiste gradually lost their association with linen, implying only different kind of fine plain-weave fabrics with a lustrous finish. In 1907, fine cotton had 100 ends per inch in the finished fabric, while a cheap-grade less than 60.
In the period of 19th century, with the improvement of the importance for color shirts, cambric was also woven in colors such as the pink fabric used by Charvet for a corsage, reducing the difference between cambric and chambray. Moreover, the development and explanation of mechanical weaving led to the substitution for chambray of colored warp and white weft by the opposite, white warp and colored weft which allowed for longer warps.