Challis (fabric)

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Challis is a lightweight woven fabric, originally a silk-and-wool blend, which can also be made from a single fibre, such as cotton, silk or wool,[1] or from man-made fabrics such as rayon.[2] It was first manufactured in Norwich, England, in about 1832, when it was designed as a thin, soft material similar to Norwich crape, but matt-textured rather than glossy, and more pliable.[1][3] Challis could be made with woven designs, or printed.[3] 'French challis' has a glossy finish.[1] The designs were often floral, paisley, or geometric,[4] and based on French silk patterns.[1]

The term is derived from an Anglo-Indian word, shallee, which means 'soft'.[4] At least one source suggests the term is American Indian.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Dooley, William Henry (1924). Textiles for Commercial, Industrial, and Domestic Arts Schools. Istodia Publishing LLC. pp. 66–67. ISBN 9781449589363. 
  2. ^ Stauffer, Jeanne (2004). Sewing Smart with Fabric. DRG Wholesale. p. 106. ISBN 9781592170180. 
  3. ^ a b James, John (1857). History of the worsted manufacture in England: from the earliest times; with introductory notices of the manufacture among the ancient nations, and during the middle ages. Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts. 
  4. ^ a b Maitra, K. K. (2007). Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Clothing and Textiles. Mittal Publications. p. 72. ISBN 9788183242059. 
  5. ^ Pizutto, Joseph James; Arthur Price; Allen C. Cohen (1987). Fabric science. Fairchild Publications. p. 352. Retrieved 16 July 2013.