Gabardine is woven as a warp-faced steep or regular twill, with a prominent diagonal rib on the face and smooth surface on the back. Gabardine has always been much more warp than weft yarns. Gabardine has long been a fabric choice that comes to mind when the order of the day is durability and style. The strength of the Gabardine fabric makes it very suitable for luxury trousers, suits, skirts and costumes. Gabardine fabric is like type invented by Burberry in 1880 and was originally used in the beginning for raincoats. Thomas Burberry created gabardine during the latter part of the 19th century. As the founder of the Burberry house of fashion in Basingstoke, the idea was to create a versatile fabric blend that would hold up well to a lot of wear and tear. Burberry drew his inspiration and the name for his new fabric from the gabardine of the Middle ages. Gabardine were loose and long garments that were worn over the breeches and blouses. Typically, beggars used them for extra protection from the elements. Often, the gabardine were tied around the waist. Later they also use for other applications in the apparel industry. Over time, gabardine blends became popular, adding cotton and synthetic fibers into the mix of the fabric. The addition of fibers other than wool helped to create a high sheen fabric that still worked well as twill. The sheen made gabardine ideal for creating fashions for women as well as men.
Along with suits and trousers for the men, gabardine became a popular choice for women’s skirts and matching jackets, slacks, and pantsuits. Overcoats for both genders are another enduring use of gabardine today.