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Fabric Friday: Chinchilla cloth

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Workshops - specialty vintage topics' started by denisebrain, Dec 10, 2021.

  1. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Vice President Staff Member VFG Past President

    Chinchilla cloth can be a confusing name for a fabric, given that it contains no chinchilla fur or fur fiber. A friend of mine speculated that it is called chinchilla cloth because chinchillas would rather you wear it than their fur! The real reason for the name? Read on...

    Constructed like fleece with a long nap, chinchilla cloth is given a machine finish which rubs the nap into nubs. It is made of wool or wool blends, and the warp may be cotton for strength. The town of Chinchilla, Spain, is where the present fabric was first made.

    Uses: Coats, hats

    See also:


    Chinchilla cloth in ads from 1928

    1935 (the fabric seems to have been used for children's clothing quite a lot). It is known for being soft and hard-wearing. The nap isn't easily worn down.
    Screen Shot 2021-12-10 at 2.44.09 PM.png


    Screen Shot 2021-12-10 at 2.46.47 PM.png



    Searching on newspapers.com, you can find 1970s ads for chinchilla cloth coats, and then a single mention in the 1980s (1987). Then the fabric doesn't come up.

    This is my own late 1960s chinchilla cloth coat
    Screen Shot 2021-12-10 at 2.55.29 PM.png


    This 1950s coat I sold some time ago.
    tanchinchillaclothcoat1.jpg Screen Shot 2021-12-10 at 3.00.38 PM.png
    (That “100% Sheeps Wool” might be directed at the confusion possible with the fabric’s name.)

    Another friend of mine had a different idea for why it is called chinchilla cloth. Say chinchillachinchillachinchillachinchilla. He says that's what the machine that makes the nubby nap sounds like in action. :hysterical:
  2. Vintagiality

    Vintagiality VFG Treasurer Staff Member

    So am I the only person who has never heard of such a duck (or chinchilla)?
    Interesting! Thanks Maggie!
    denisebrain likes this.
  3. This is a new term for me too. But, I have seen the fabric. I have children's coats of this fabric from the 30s and up.
    denisebrain likes this.
  4. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Vice President Staff Member VFG Past President

    I'm sure you aren't the only duck Victoria! It's a nice one to know because it is so distinctive. It's also really nice to wear.
    Vintagiality likes this.
  5. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing VFG Board Member Staff Member VFG Past President

    I have never heard of this fabric either, so once again we learn!!! I more than likely have had it but did not know what it was called. Thanks, Maggie.
    denisebrain likes this.
  6. Vinclothes

    Vinclothes Alumni +

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  7. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Vice President Staff Member VFG Past President

    Yes, the little furry chinchilla has no connection, although chinchilla fur coats have certainly been made.
  8. Midge

    Midge Super Moderator Staff Member

    Something new to me too! I knew about the animals and have heard of chinchilla fur coats, but the fabric is a new one for me!
    denisebrain likes this.

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