What is "Duck" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 03-Feb-2023 (1 year, 3 months, 25 days ago)
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The Remarkable World of Duck Fabric

The Versatile World of Duck in Textile: Exploring Types, History, and Handling

Duck fabric, known for its durability and strength, has a long-standing history in the textile industry. Derived from the Dutch word "doek," meaning cloth or canvas, duck fabric refers to a heavyweight, plain-woven textile commonly made from cotton or linen fibers. This article takes an in-depth look at the meaning, history, types, handling tips, and profiles of top international users and manufacturers of duck fabric.

Understanding Duck Fabric

Duck fabric is characterized by its tight weave and sturdy construction, making it resistant to wear and tear. Originally developed for sails and tents, it quickly found its way into various applications due to its robust nature. Today, duck fabric is widely used in the production of workwear, outerwear, bags, upholstery, and other heavy-duty textile products.

History and Origin

The history of duck fabric dates back centuries. It has been an integral part of human civilization, adapting to different cultural and technological advancements. The earliest records of duck fabric can be traced to ancient Egypt, where it was used for sails on Nile River boats. The material gained popularity during the Industrial Revolution, particularly in the 19th century, as advancements in weaving technology made it more accessible and versatile.

Types of Duck Fabric

There are several types of duck fabric, each with its own unique characteristics and applications:

  1. Cotton Duck: Cotton duck is the most common type of duck fabric, known for its strength and versatility. It is available in different weights, denoted by a numbering system, with higher numbers indicating a heavier fabric.
  2. Linen Duck: Linen duck, made from flax fibers, offers exceptional durability and a distinctive texture. It is often used in high-end applications, including home decor and upscale apparel.
  3. Polyester Duck: Polyester duck combines the strength of synthetic fibers with the ruggedness of duck fabric. It provides excellent resistance to wrinkles, abrasion, and fading, making it suitable for outdoor and industrial applications.
  4. Blended Duck: Blended duck fabrics are created by combining different fibers, such as cotton/polyester or cotton/linen blends, to achieve specific performance characteristics and cost-effectiveness.

Tips for Handling Duck Fabric

Proper handling and care of duck fabric are essential to maintain its quality and longevity. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Pre-washing: It is advisable to pre-wash duck fabric before using it in sewing projects, as it may shrink.
  • Needle and Thread Selection: Due to its dense weave, a heavy-duty needle and durable thread are recommended for sewing duck fabric.
  • Ironing: When ironing duck fabric, use a high heat setting and steam to smooth out wrinkles effectively.
  • Storage: To protect duck fabric from moisture and dust, store it in a cool, dry place, preferably in a sealed container or bag.

Top International Users and Manufacturers

Duck fabric is utilized by various international users and manufactured by renowned companies. Here are a few prominent names:

  1. Carhartt: Carhartt, a globally recognized workwear brand, extensively uses duck fabric in its rugged apparel line.
  2. Pendleton Woolen Mills: Pendleton Woolen Mills, known for its heritage textiles, incorporates duck fabric in its upholstery and home decor products.
  3. Filson: Filson, specializing in outdoor gear and accessories, features duck fabric in its iconic bags and luggage.
  4. Duluth Trading Company: Duluth Trading Company offers a range of workwear and accessories crafted from durable duck fabric.


Duck fabric has withstood the test of time, evolving from its origins in sailmaking to become a staple in the textile industry. Its robust nature, coupled with its versatility and aesthetic appeal, has ensured its continued prominence in various applications. By understanding the history, types, and handling tips associated with duck fabric, one can truly appreciate its unique qualities and make informed decisions in selecting and working with this remarkable textile.

A broad term for a wide range of plain weave fabrics, duck is usually made of cotton, although sometimes linen is used. The terms canvas and duck are often interchangeable, but "canvas" often is used to refer to the heavier constructions. The term "duck" had its origins before the mid 19th Century when all canvas for sails were imported. The light flax sail fabrics imported mostly from England and Scotland bore the trademark stencil of a raven while the weights bore the trademark picturing a duck. The word "duck" became associated with a heavy fabric and was applied to cotton canvas when it was first manufactured in the U. S.

Some other terms

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