What is duffel fabric?
Duffel fabric is a relatively heavy cloth that is traditionally woven in a so-called X twill weave from pure wool. This duffel or duffle from ECOLOGICAL TEXTILES is piece dyed and produced in uni colours. A comparable fabric, but produced in melange colours and therefore with fibre-dyed wool, is ET_GW04.
After weaving, the fabric is lightly fulled, which makes it more compact and heavier, and also increases the natural water and dirt resistance of the wool fabric.
This form of fabric production has existed since the late Middle Ages in present-day Belgium and beyond. In the Dutch language these wool fabrics were called 'laken'. Duffel fabric is a name that refers directly to the Belgian town of Duffel, where the weaving industry flourished in the 15th century, as it did in many other towns in the 'Southern Netherlands'. It was customary in those days for a fabric to be given the name of the town where it was produced; to make its origin and authenticity clear to purchasers, the fabrics were generally given a lead label bearing the town's coat of arms.
It is not entirely clear how the classic duffel cloth differed from other woollen 'lakens' produced in this period and in this region. What is clear is that the article was already being traded over large distances at that time.
Today, duffel fabric is best known today for the jackets made from it, the so-called duffel coats. Its natural resistance to water and dirt makes it an excellent material for this purpose, as well as for making bags, for instance.
In the Flemish language, there is also the verb 'induffelen' which is derived from this fabric and means something like 'to dress warmly'.