Part 2 : Fabrics – How to choose the right Jilbab ( or Niqab, Khimar and Abaya)

Part 2 : Fabrics – How to choose the right Jilbab ( or Niqab, Khimar and Abaya)

We started a serie of articles about How to choose the right Jilbab ( or Niqab, Khimar and Abaya).

In Part 1, we talked about the Measurements, in Part 2 we will talk about the Fabrics.

Jilbab, Abaya, Khimar or Niqab are usually made of: Polyester, Silk, Cotton or Synthetic fiber fabrics. They can have different thickeness and quality. There are also many different colors available.

The name of the fabric and color chart are usually indicated in the description of the product, and you will know its characterics straight away, but if not, try to look for the characteristics of the fabric.
Again, if none of them are indicated we recommend you to contact the seller.

Some of the characteristics of a fabric:

– Lightweight/Mediumweight
– Matte/Shiny/Silky
– Opaque/Transparent
– Wrinkle free
– Color

We will detail them a bit more.

1. Characteristics of fabrics
  • Lightweight fabrics are the most popular as they can be used all year, in hot weather, but also when it’s cold when paired with other layers.
    Jilbab, Abaya or Khimar are designed to be large and have a lot of fabric, you don’t want the clothing to feel too heavy.


  • Matte fabric is a great choice because it is less eye-catching, however, it will always have a subtle shine because of its composition, and can also be a sign of great quality. 
You can wear silky/shiny fabrics outside too, but you should stick to Black or dark colors as other colors can look too bright and eye-catching.
    As for inside, especially for special occasions and gathering between sisters, a shiny material will look very elegant and beautiful.


  • There is a misconception about the opacity of the fabrics; when you hold a fabric in front of a source of light, it could look as see-through, concluding that the fabric is not opaque. The majority of the fabrics used for modest clothing will not be 100% opaque as you don’t want a fabric to be too thick and to feel too heavy.
    But, in reality, no, it won’t be see-through. Don’t worry, when worn, the fabric becomes totally opaque. There is a difference between holding a fabric in front of a light and wearing a clothing; any fabric hold in front of a light will look see-through, but that doesn’t mean it is actually see-through when worn. You can do the test and see it by yourself.


  • When it comes to wrinkle-free, it will depend on the composition of the fabric, but also on the washing program used. A high quality fabric can crease if you select the wrong washing program. Always try to select a soft washing program.
    Some tips:
    – Wash 30-40° and hang the cloth straight away
    – Check if your machine has an «easy iron» setting
    – Use a steamer
    – Don’t wash it with too many other clothes.
    – Iron in sections, for example 4 different parts: front left, front right, back left, back right.

Fabrics are usually soft, flowing and give an elegant look.
The down side with any fabric used to make modest clothing is that it will stick to your body in windy conditions. This is because modest clothing are wide and lightweight. We recommend you to wear large thick layers underneath your clothing when it’s windy.

  •  Fabrics can be found in many different colors and shades, which makes wearing modest clothing super easy and enjoyable.
    You can play with the colours and make many different outfits!

Even for sisters who are only used to wear black, there are dark colors available in different shades.
All colours are permissible like mentioned in our article The Ruling on wearing Colorful Jilbab.
However, one of the Conditions of the Jilbab is that is must not be eye-catching, so try to avoid bright, attractive or eye-catching colors.

Colors will be indicated in a color chart or in the different product pictures. A color chart is only an indication of the main colors, but it will never represent the exact same color and shades as the reality. Please note that when taking pictures, it is sometimes difficult to get the true colors as the camera modifies the colors. Also, colors will look different depending on the light, they will look darker in a room/lighter in sunlight.

2. Some known modest clothing fabrics:
  • Nidha is 100% polyester. It can be slightly see-through or opaque depending on the quality, that’s why it is very important to look for a high quality. It is silky/shiny.

On a scale of 1 to 10 ( can differ depending on the quality)
– Lightweight: 9/10
– Easy to iron: 9/10
– Softness: 10/10
– Flowability: 10/10

It is used to make high quality abayas that are easy to wash and comfortable to wear. However, it tends to stick to the body, so make sure to, wear something thicker underneath.
As this fabric is shiny, we wouldn’t recommend you to wear bright, eye-catching colors. 
In Middle East, where this fabric is very well known, they usually only wear black.

  • Crepe is a fine quality fabric with a twisted weave that gives it a slight textured appearance. A quality crepe material does not crease unlike many other fabrics.
    It is opaque, thick, and matte.

On a scale of 1 to 10 ( can differ depending on the quality)
– Lightweight: 7/10
– Easy to iron: 9/10
– Softness: 9/10
– Flowability: 10/10

The well known fabric called Caviary is a Korean Crepe Fabric.
It is a mediumweight fabric more suitable for cool/cold weather.

  • Wool peach (sometimes called Light Microfiber or Light Crepe) is a fabric made from a mixture of silk, cotton, and synthetic fiber.
    It is opaque and matte.

On a scale of 1 to 10 ( can differ depending on the quality)
– Lightweight: 7/10
– Easy to iron: 9/10
– Softness: 7/10
– Flowability: 10/10

It is generally comfortable to wear and great for summer, available in many colors, also many designs can be made from it.

  • Chiffon is a term that is used to refer to a wide variety of different types of fabrics that all share similar qualities. Polyester is by far the most popular today.
    This type of fabric is sheer, which means that it is light and semi-transparent with a simple weave.

Chiffon is lightweight, breathable and soft , this is why it is the ideal choice to make Niqab.

On a scale of 1 to 10 ( can differ depending on the quality)
– Lightweight: 10/10
– Easy to iron: 10/10 (be careful to not overheat your iron or it will burn, start with low heat)
– Softness: 10/10
– Flowability: 10/10

The advantage of Chiffon fabric is that you can make Niqab with different layers, extra long lengths as it will not feel heavy.

You can also make a Niqab with the same fabric as a Jilbab, for example if you want you Jilbab to perfectly match your Niqab. However as the Jilbab fabric is heavier than Chiffon, you will only want to make a half niqab or one layer niqab.

There are many other fabrics but still derived from the main fabric composition.

Do not hesitate to leave your comments!

Comments (7)

  1. I would like to see more abayas, jilbabs, and niqabs made with natural fabrics instead of polyester. Silk, linen, and cotton would be a good choice for summertime and wool would be great for winter. Polyester clothing is so itchy on my skin and doesn’t breathe. It feels like I’m wearing a plastic bag during the summer.

    Hafsa Umm Musa
    April 4, 2021 Reply
    • I agree with this is can be very hot, sweaty and itchy at times SubhanAllah

      Nafisa Rattray
      April 4, 2021 Reply
  2. I agree with Umm Hafsa! I wouldn’t even mind paying the extra cost (natural fabrics can be more expensive than man made ones) because of the difference it would make during warmer weather.

    April 4, 2021 Reply
  3. Jazakallah khyran for this blog.

    I have always wondered what the difference was between fabrics, quality, look etc. When picking items at times I have been very confused thinking about item would look a certain way and it has turned up completely different, SubhanAllah,. This has definitely cleared it up for me Alhamdulilah.

    May Allah reward you for your generous intention Ameen

    Nafisa Rattray
    April 4, 2021 Reply
  4. Jazakallah khyran this is an amazing blog.

    It has really cleared things up for me, at times I had order items expecting it to look a certain way and it has come completely different. Alhamdulilah I now have clarity and know what I am looking for.

    May Allah reward you for your efforts Ameen

    Nafisa Rattray
    April 4, 2021 Reply
  5. Please write a blog about clothing under khimar: such as skirts, socks, long sleeve shirts and such. Modest clothing to keep the Awrah from showing underneath. Is it allowed wear pants.

    August 18, 2021 Reply
    • Avoid pants ukhtee they show the figure much I don’t know about really low harem pants as they might imitate men but I’m not sure on that

      Bint Harun
      October 26, 2021 Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.