The Precious Cotton Fabric No One Knows How to Make

Dhaka muslin was made in Bengal, now Bangladesh, for thousands of years. This fabric was so fine, light, and transparent that it was considered a national treasure. Around 200 years ago, it revolutionized fashion in Europe, as stylish women such as Joséphine Bonaparte and Jane Austen ditched their heavy, wide dresses in favor of the Empire-style muslin chemise, which could be scandalously thin. Dhaka muslin was made by skilled artisans in a 16-step process taken on seperately by villages around the city of Dhaka. The cotton fibers used were so fine that thread counts of 800 to 1200 per square inch could be achieved and the muslin would still appear diaphanously thin. But it’s been 100 years now since Dhaka muslin was produced this way. The British Empire killed the industry, artisans turned to other fabrics, and the unique cotton plant that produced the fiber went extinct. An effort is being made to reproduce Dhaka muslin, but they’re not quite there yet. Read about Dhaka muslin and what happened to it at BBC Future. -via Nag on the Lake

Source: neatorama

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