What Is Muslin Fabric Used for?

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Muslin was used to simulate a tornado in the "Wizard of Oz."
Muslin was used to simulate a tornado in the "Wizard of Oz." (Image: Twister image by Isa from Fotolia.com)

Muslin fabric is a soft, plain-woven, inexpensive cloth that is usually made of cotton. It has a low count of less than 160 threads per square inch, according to the website Fabrics Manufacturers, which also notes that muslin originated in the city of Mosul, Iraq.

Cloth of the Pharaohs

Muslin sometimes is made from other fibers. "The weave of linen muslin was so fine that the Egyptian Pharaohs used it for wrapping mummies," Fabrics Manufacturers says.

Dressmaking Tool

Clothing sometimes is made from muslin. However, it is used more often by dress and costume makers to perfect patterns before applying them to expensive fabrics. The costume website Alley Cat Scratch says that is why garment mock-ups are referred to as "muslins."

Swaddling Gowns and Babies

Muslin is commonly used for constructing utilitarian items such as wedding dress garment bags. Due to its softness, muslin also is popular for swaddling infants, according to the Mommies Magazine website.

Quilt Backing

The quilt-making website Connecting Threads details a method for using muslin as a base for crazy-quilt blocks. It notes that this "makes the block more sturdy" and eliminates the problem of sewing onto paper backing that must be torn away.

Fun Fact: Muslin Tornado

A 35-foot-long muslin windsock was used to simulate a tornado in the 1938 movie, "The Wizard of Oz," according to the Storm Track website.

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