What Is Calico Fabric?

Abby Lanes/CC-BY 2.0

Calico fabric is a type of plain-woven textile made from unprocessed and unbleached cotton. The fabric is thick and has an undyed and unfinished appearance.

Calico originates from southwestern India and is also known as muslin. It dates back to the 11th century and was brought by merchants to Europe from the 17th century. The fabric is usually woven in the natural color of cotton and then printed or dyed. Its main use is for articles of clothing. It is available in a variety of textures, which range from fine and sheer fabric suitable for summer to stronger and coarser textures.