The term tabby fabric refers to a class of cloth and fabric options characterized by what is known as a plain weave or tabby weave. Using this technique, the cloth comes out as having a simple criss-cross pattern with the weft thread going under the warp thread up and down in an alternating matter. The simplicity of the plain weave makes the tabby fabric a ubiquity in many clothing and fabric circles and gives it a wide array of potential uses and functions in virtually every segment of society where fabrics are used.
The tabby fabric first appeared in historical documents as far back as the 12th century in Andalusia, Spain. The fabric was said to have been an imitation of silks manufactured in the Arabian Peninsula, particularly those made in Iraq and Persia. This taffeta fabric was commonly made of cotton or silk and was used in a variety of purposes including that in fashion, decoration, or for functional purposes.
Over the years, the tabby fabric continued to become a main fixture in many societies around the world. The relative simplicity of the plain weave meant that it can be made by almost any weaver with even the most basic looms. Today, this has even expanded to include some of the most famous cloth types such as organza, chiffon, or taffeta.
When selecting tabby fabrics for various purposes, it is important to be conscious of the quality of the weave particularly for high-end purposes. There are many poorly-made tabby fabrics which are marketed for high-end purposes, only to seriously fail when used in extra-demanding purposes. For example, denim made using a plain weave pattern should have the fibers tightly packed with the weft and warp threads having equal sizes in order to balance the resulting fabric. Poorly woven tabby will result to denim that favors the stress in one direction resulting in fabric that easily rips when enough force is applied in the direction where it is weakest. In contrast, high quality tabby fabric such as those in denim can withstand stresses in all directions because there is no obvious weak spot in the fabric.
Still, despite the sturdy construction, tabby fabric should not be sold at very high costs. Polyester tabby weaves, for example, sells for low as $4 per yard depending on the thread type used. For more expensive varieties, the cloth type has to be the primary determinant of the price, not the weave. In tabby fabrics, the weave has to remain simple as in classic tabby weaving with the compactness as the only difference that determines fabric density and strength.
Tabby fabric is great for almost all types of uses. It is affordable, readily available, and immensely popular in all its shape, sizes, and forms. If you are looking for a fabric type that is both durable and easy to work with, try tabby fabric. It might just be the one to meet your needs.