What Is Challis Fabric?

By Nancy Susanna Breen ; Updated September 15, 2017
Often challis is printed with a floral pattern.

If you're looking for a light but dressy fabric for your next sewing project, challis may work for you. It comes in several fiber choices, drapes well and sews easily. Challis comes in a range of flowered and geometric designs.

Content and Finish

Textile manufacturers typically use cotton or wool to make challis. However, synthetic fibers such as rayon are another popular option. Challis is a plain weave fabric, which means the weft and woof threads alternate in an even crisscross interlacing. This results in minimum surface texture, although mechanical brushing may be used to create a softer, silkier finish. Usually challis is printed with such patterns as floral designs and paisleys to enliven the fabric's flat surface.

Uses of Challis

Considered a more formal, stylish fabric, challis is suitable for dresses, skirts and blouses. Other challis garments include pajamas, sportswear and kimonos. Because challis is so lightweight, it must be lined when used for shorts or slacks. It may be washable, depending on the fiber content.

About the Author

Nancy Susanna Breen has been a writer since 1976. Her articles have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "Writer's Market" and online. Breen is the former editor of "Poet's Market," an annual publishing directory, and edited craft and sewing books for the Krause and North Light Books imprints. Breen earned her Associate of Arts in communications from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1990.