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Cambric or chambray is a lightweight cotton cloth used as fabric for lace and needlework. Cambric, also known as batiste in a large part of the world, was first used in Cambraimarker, Francemarker, as early as 1595. It is possibly named after Baptiste of Cambrai. It is a closely woven, firm fabric with a slight glossy surface produced by calendering. Modern cambric is made from Egyptianmarker or Americanmarker cotton and sometimes flax, but also polymer fibres can be added. Cambric is also used as a coating for professional playing cards, to protect them for longer and make them easier to handle.

Cambric is mentioned in the song Scarborough Fair, with the lyrics "tell her to make me a cambric shirt, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme."

The early David Bowie song Come and Buy my Toys (1967) also mentions a cambric shirt. "You shall own a cambric shirt, You shall work your father's land, But now you shall play in the market square, Till you'll be a man".


  1. batiste - definition of batiste by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia

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