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Fabric Friday: Poodle cloth

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Workshops - specialty vintage topics' started by denisebrain, Dec 17, 2021.

  1. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Vice President Staff Member VFG Past President

    Poodle cloth is very loopy, curly surfaced fabric made to resemble the coat of a poodle. It may be woven or knitted, and the best is made of wool and mohair but it may be of other fibers.

    Uses: Coats, suits, sweaters
    See also:

    Last week we talked about chinchilla cloth, a fabric which has absolutely nothing to do with cute little furry chinchillas. By contrast, poodle cloth has everything to do with poodles—the way their coats look, thick with tight curls.


    From a skirt suit sold by 1860-1960


    Screen Shot 2021-12-17 at 2.50.08 PM.png
    Lilli Ann ad from 1952 featuring a poodle cloth suit

    Screen Shot 2021-12-17 at 2.45.26 PM.png
    A Vogue Ginny doll from c.1952 wearing a pink poodle cloth coat and hat

    Poodle cloth's heyday was the early 1950s, centered around 1952.

    This is newspapers.com's timeline of mentions of poodle cloth.

    Screen Shot 2021-12-17 at 2.40.37 PM.png Screen Shot 2021-12-17 at 2.41.03 PM.png

    Poodle cloth can easily be mistaken for faux astrakhan (persian lamb) and even sometimes bouclé. I'm running behind today, but I'll take those back up soon.

    Screen Shot 2021-12-17 at 2.35.52 PM.png
    1952 again!

    Any thoughts? Cute pictures of poodles?
  2. Midge

    Midge Super Moderator Staff Member

  3. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Vice President Staff Member VFG Past President

    Super easy to confuse the two Karin! I hope to get to faux astrakhan very soon.

    I can only speculate that the name capitalized on poodle popularity at the time, and maybe a modestly different fabric was made to be "the newest thing". Faux astrakhan ranges in style and some of it isn't really different from this in its texture.
    The Vintage Merchant likes this.
  4. dollsntrolls

    dollsntrolls VFG Member

    This is one of my favorite coats - 30s - 40s wool Princess coat with faux lamb/faux Astrakhan/possibly poodle cloth(?!?!) trim at the double collar and wrists. The curls aren't as tightly woven as what I've always seen as faux Astrakhan, so maybe poodle is the right term?

    Attached Files:

  5. Vintagiality

    Vintagiality VFG Treasurer Staff Member

    I knew of poodle cloth but honestly thought it just another name for faux Astrakhan. I have a coat in my shop right now that is one of those too and I think I have all of these and even “boucle” somewhere in the description.
  6. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Vice President Staff Member VFG Past President

    This coat Victoria? I lightened the shadows just to look at it better and I would call that faux astrakhan, as you did. The rippled pattern is so like the real thing.
    This is the real thing, from our Fur & Exotic Skins Resource:

    Sadie, the use of the fabric as trim on a coat of that era, and the fact that it is black, really says faux astrakhan to me. That is an example of a fabric that, if it showed up on an early 50s coat or suit, and even more if it were not black—might be called poodle cloth.

    I think that the construction of a lot of faux astrakhan is just like poodle cloth.

    Here are some observations that might help with deciding what to call the fabric:

    1. Faux astrakhan is used lik the real thing, including trims and collars, muffs, and sometimes an entire coat.
    2. Faux astrakhan is usually black.
    3. Poodle cloth's prevalence is heavily weighted to the early 1950s.
    4. Poodle cloth never has a rippled appearance like real Persian lamb/astrakhan, however faux astrakhan sometimes doesn't have that distinct pattern.
    5. Both of these fabrics range in quality and appearance enough that it is truly hard to tell some apart.
    Vintagiality and dollsntrolls like this.
  7. Vintagiality

    Vintagiality VFG Treasurer Staff Member

    Actually it’s this one
    F384A5CF-4844-4866-A82E-A6EE2D6B4139.jpeg 6C6CA0B6-A3BF-44D4-A7D8-E6EF92A3D66F.jpeg
    denisebrain likes this.
  8. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Vice President Staff Member VFG Past President

    Ah! That's a perfect example of how challenging this gets. I think the era could mean either fabric, and so could the look of the pile. The color is a little more likely for the Persian lamb.

    I would call that faux astrakhan. (Also, if you don't mind a tiny bit of advice, I'd not call it 1960s lambswool boucle because some could read that as being real lamb.)
    Vintagiality likes this.
  9. Vintagiality

    Vintagiality VFG Treasurer Staff Member

    I would take all the advice I could get! :) Especially in the fabric department. Any other pointers/ suggestions to improve the description given the challenge to identify what it is?
  10. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Vice President Staff Member VFG Past President

    Using your style of writing I'd say something like this:

    Vintage 1960s black wool faux astrakhan jacket with fur collar| Best & Co Fifth Ave NY|

    Vintage 1960s jacket by Best & Co Fifth Ave NY made of wool with a curly nap in imitation of Persian lamb/astrakhan. The boxy, cropped jacket has a real fur collar which I think may be dyed rabbit. Small front pockets.

    Vintagiality likes this.

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