What is cotton muslin?

The fabric we use predominantly here at Sigh is organically produced cotton muslin, a fabric which is familiar to most people and which has a long and interesting history.

Muslin, from the French “mousseline”, gets its name from the city of Mosul, Iraq, where Europeans first encountered it. As far back as 1298, Marco Polo described the cloth in his book “The Travels”, reporting that it was made in Mosul. It is a cotton fabric of plain weave, made in a wide range of weights from delicate sheers to coarse sheeting. It became highly popular in France and eventually spread across much of the Western world. Muslins were imported into Europe from Bengal (now Bangladesh) and were later manufactured in Scotland and England.

Early muslin was hand-woven as a delicate, hand-spun yarn, and although the fabric we use at Sigh today is woven on industrial looms, it retains its fine, elegant softness. Because we have the fabric woven to our exact specification, we are able to attain the perfect texture and weight for the natural silhouettes we produce.

Cotton textile manufacturing was the largest industry in the Indian sub-continent from as early as the 6th century through until the 19th century – an industry which included the production of calicos and muslins, available unbleached and in a variety of colours. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Bengal was the foremost muslin exporter in the world, with Dhaka (where muslin may well have originated) at the centre of the trade. Cotton was consumed across the world from the Americas to Japan and imported in vast amounts to Europe for many centuries.

Obviously these products were originally produced without genetic modification or the use of polluting pesticides and it is essential to us that we ensure the muslin we use is 100% organic cotton.