Wabash Fabric History


Wabash fabric has actually been around longer than denim. It was the first introduced by a German family that migrated to West Virginia, J.L.Stifel and Sons back in around 1840s-50s.


Famed by their indigo-dyed calico garments, .J.L. Stifel and Sons were also one, if not the main introducer of indigo-dyed garments to America.


The fabric although it had a formal look, was mainly used by the rail-workers across America. The namesake and design came from the native Wabash Indian tribes, a famous tribe that battled the American confederate back in 1791 (known as St Clair's defeat). 


The stripes on the fabric are actually dots, these dots are made by drops of starch in continued lines down the fabric. Once dried, the fabric is then indigo dyed. Where the starch drops are the indigo doesn't take to the fabric, leaving the "Wabash" stripes.


There are many modern versions of the fabric, many utilizing the Wabash technique to create interesting patterns. See below for a few examples;