Fabric: Muslin

The muslin that was woven in the 17th and 18th century in India and exported to England by the East India company was a delicate finely woven cotton that was soft and light .  The fabric  were handwoven from very fine cotton yarns, spun by hand. Several meters of the cloth could be folded into the palm of one’s hand. A muslin sari which is about 5 meters of cloth and 3 feet wide would be folded and fitted a small matchbox. The mesh like property of the fabric was perfect for hot and dry climates where the fabric would keep the wearer cool and warm at the same time. There was a flourish of muslin weavers in India in the 13th and 14th century. The many Indian states like Bengal, including present day Bangladesh , Orissa and Bihar produced superior quality muslin. I remember old Indian stories that mentioned the beautiful and magical fabric . In one story, the sharpness of a steel sword was being tested. A muslin cloth was thrown in the air and as soon as it landed on the sharp steel blade, it was cut in half. The muslin weavers were extremely skilled and passed on their expertise to their sons and grand sons through generations. In the latter part of 18th century with the advent of synthetic fabric that were light and smooth, the popularity of muslins plummeted and is now practically a lost art. With the last of  the muslin weavers died the dexterous art of making fine muslin.

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