Challis Fabric: History, Properties, Uses, Care, Where to Buy

Introduction to Challis Fabric

The word Challis has been derived from “Shalee”, an Anglo-Indian word that means soft. Challis Fabric is also commonly known as Chally or Charlie. This lightweight fabric is a combination of silk and wool. Moreover, nowadays, you will also find this fabric made of single fiber like wool, silk, or even cotton. This fabric is also made from human-made fibers like rayon. This fabric is found in various designs and colors. 

FabricDescriptionMaterialCare InstructionsColors/PatternsVersatilityPrice
HomespunLightweight broadcloth fabric, versatile and durable100% CottonMachine wash, tumble dry on low heat20 different colorsCan be used for lining, quilting, crafts, apparel
Michael Miller Lovely LlamasFun, trendy llama prints100% CottonMachine wash cold, tumble dry on low heatLlama and cactus printsCan be used for accessories, décor, quilting, apparel
Micro Fiber DWR PoplinWaterproof, lightweight poplin fabric for heavy wear and use100% PolyesterMachine wash cold, tumble dry with low heatCan be used for a variety of apparel projects
55″ Polyester China Silk LiningLightweight, extremely soft, for extra luxury or class100% PolyesterMachine wash and dry on low heatSix different colorsCan be used for other apparel projectsBudget friendly
Kona CottonLightweight broadcloth fabric, versatile and durable100% CottonMachine wash cold, tumble dry on low heatCan be used for apparel items and quiltingBudget friendly

Purse Lining Buying Guide

  • Patterned Fabrics: Consider patterned fabric for the inner lining of a purse. Choices can range from firmer muslin or gingham, a heavier cotton, or something lightweight and fun.
  • Price and Versatility: Lining fabrics like cottons and polyester fabrics are usually budget friendly. They can also be used for other apparel, accessory, décor, or quilting projects, reducing waste. They are generally quite durable even when lightweight.
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History of Challis Fabric

The history of Challis started in England when the first fabric was produced in Norwich, England, in 1832. The first fabric was made by blending worsted wool and silk, which resulted in an extremely soft fabric named Challis. In the initial stages, this fabric was very thin. The properties highly resembled those of Norwich Crepe. However, unlike Norwich Crepe, it had matte-textured and had great pliability. In 1833, the first batch of this fabric was exported to Australia for further manufacture. 

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However, that was the initial description of the fabric. Later, various versions of the fabric came. The French Challis has an extremely glossy texture with unique patterns in it. Afterward, over time, the Challis went through different modifications. 

Properties of Challis Fabric

Some properties of Challis are discussed below.

Extremely Smooth 

The Challis fabric is known for its exceptional smoothness. The silky smooth texture of this fabric makes it extremely comfortable to wear. This property is what everybody likes the most about Challis. 

Super Light

The unique combination of fibers used for manufacturing this fabric makes it extremely lightweight. It feels like almost nothing while on. Unlike other wool fabrics that often feel heavy, this one has a light texture, making it the best fabric for various purposes. 

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Breathable 

The Challis is a cellulosic fabric. This quality makes it extremely breathable. Both the breathability and softness of this fabric make it the perfect cloth for wearing during summer. 

Excellent Designs and Prints

The toughness and ability to absorb colors of this fabric enable manufacturers to offer it in various colors, designs, and prints, which can be used for different purposes. The lining and floral prints are liked by most users. However, you can also find some other prints and designs.   

Common Uses for Challis Fabric

Some common uses of Challis Fabric are:

Apparel 

The most common usage of this fabric is in apparel. The beautiful designs, prints, and wide range of colors in this fabric make it perfect for making dresses. It can be used in making skirts, pants, dresses, tops with loose-fitting bottoms, etc. Due to its unique texture, softness, breathability, and lightweight, the apparel made with it performs best during summer. You do not feel burdened or hot while wearing it, even if the day is hot. 

Home Decoration 

Along with apparel, you can also use the Challis in making a few home decoration items like curtains, bed sheets, table cloths, and more. The unique designs, especially the floral printed ones, look perfect when used for home décor. It will add extra charm and beauty to your home.  

Caring for Challis Fabric

Unlike a few sensitive fabrics like lace, the Challis is comparatively easy to take care of. Both hand washing and machine washing will work well for this. But make sure you do not use extremely hot water. Try using “warm to normal.” You can use high-quality detergents while washing it. But it is better not to hang it in the direct sun as it might damage its quality.  

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Challis is generally a lightweight fabric. It can be woven from many different fibers or a blend of two fibers together. Challis fabric is often made from rayon, but can also be made from natural fibers or a combination of materials. It has been debated whether challis fabric actually has a defining weave like some other fabrics do, but the fabric is generally quite soft and often has a brushed surface. Because challis is flowy and drapes well, it can be used to make many different apparel items.

Best Challis Fabrics

Here are our challis fabric reviews.

1. Rayon Challis Prints

Challis is a wonderful fabric that is often budget friendly and comes in a wide selection of colors and unique prints. This line of fabric is very finely woven, so it is very lightweight. The fabric is very soft and has a flowy drape. Challis is a popular fabric for apparel items and this line can be used to make dresses, skirts, blouses, lingerie, tops, tunics, and more.

  • Available in 54” widths
  • Machine wash on gentle, lay flat to dry
  • This line is available in over one hundred and sixty different prints and colors
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2. Telio Selena Rayon Challis

This line of challis fabric is very lightweight and is made from 100% viscose (rayon). The fabric is very smooth and super soft. It is flowy and drapes beautifully. Challis fabric is very versatile and can be used for many different projects. It is a great fabric to use for dresses, skirts, shirts, blouses, tunics, and also for accessories like scarves.

  • Available in 55” widths
  • Machine wash on cold, air dry
  • This line of fabric is available in over ten unique prints
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3. Art Gallery Oh Meow

This line of fabric comes in so many different fun, funky, and gorgeous prints. Some feature cats, while others are contrasting geometric shapes or florals. There are over fifteen different prints to choose from. Like most challis fabrics, this fabric is extremely soft and has a flowy drape.

  • This fabric can be used to make many different apparel items including dresses, skirts, shirts, blouses, tunics, scarves, and more
  • This very lightweight fabric is made from 100% rayon
  • Comes in 56” widths and does have some stretch
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4. Cloud9 Spring Reverie

This line of fabric features florals, fruits, and geometric patterns. This prints are both timeless and modern, and are wonderfully unique. Like most challis fabrics, this line of fabric is a great choice for apparel items. Blouses, dresses, skirts, scarves, and more can all be made from this fabric.

  • Dry clean is preferred, but fabric can also be hand washed on cold and tumble dried on low heat- no chlorine bleach and only cool iron
  • This lightweight fabric is made from 100% rayon
  • Comes in 54” widths
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5. Anthology Batiks Rayon Challis

This line of challis fabric features over twenty different batik patterns and prints. The batik dying process ensures that each fabric comes out unique and stunning. The colors are extremely vibrant. Like most challis fabric, this fabric is lightweight and has a fluid, flowy drape.

  • This fabric is great for making dresses, skirts, blouses, scarves, and other apparel items
  • Fabric is lightweight and is made from 100% rayon
  • Machine wash, tumble dry on low heat
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Challis Fabric Buying Guide

Since most challis fabric is made from rayon, it is perfect for making apparel for summer. Challis fabric is smooth, soft, breathable, and usually very lightweight. It is an extremely versatile fabric which can be used for making many different apparel items. Challis fabrics come in a massive variety of prints and colors, is quite widely available, and is usually fairly budget friendly.

Rayon Fabric

Rayon fabric is manufactured, but if is often made from natural fibers, so it’s not often considered to be a synthetic fabric. Many challis fabrics are made with rayon. Rayon has many great benefits. It is usually extremely soft to the touch. Some rayon fabrics are also breathable Rayon is generally a great fabric for light weight summer dresses or skirts, and is great for blouses or tops that are cooler to wear in hot weather.

Budgeting

Challis fabric is perfect for making a wide variety of apparel items or even for accessories like scarves. Many lines of challis are very budget friendly. Other lines are slightly more expensive, but can usually still be purchased for under twenty dollars a yard. Many different lines are available for under ten dollars a yard, and some for just over five dollars a yard, to help stretch your dollar.

Recommended Reading:

Sources 

Challis, Vintage Fabric Guild.

Fabric Mart.  

Challis Fabric, Wikipedia. 

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