AskDefine | Define percale

Dictionary Definition

percale n : a fine closely woven cotton fabric

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A fine, closely woven fabric, made from cotton, polyester or a mix of these, and used for sheets and clothing.

Extensive Definition

Percale is a closely woven plain-weave fabric often used for bed linens.
The term describes the weave of the fabric, not its content, so percale can be a 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester, 100% cotton, or a blend of other fabrics in any ratio. A percale weave has a thread count of about 200 or higher, and is noticeably tighter than the standard type of weave used for bed-sheets. It has medium weight, is firm and smooth with no gloss, and warps and washes very well. It is made from both carded and combed yarns. Percale fabrics are made in both solid colors and printed patterns. The finish of the fabric is independent of its weave, so it can be either printed or unprinted.
Percale was originally imported from India in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries , then manufactured in France. The word may originate from the Persian pargālah, 'rag', , although the Oxford English Dictionary (Dec. 2005) has traced it only as far as 18th-century French.


percale in Portuguese: Percal
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