Buckram is a stiff cotton or linen fabric, often used to provide structure and shape to garments, hats, and other textile items. It is treated with a sizing agent, such as starch or a synthetic resin, which, when dried, makes the fabric rigid and durable. Historically, buckram was used in bookbinding as a stiffener, but its use has extended into the fashion industry due to its excellent shape-retention properties.
In garment construction, buckram is commonly used in areas requiring extra support or a defined shape, such as collars, cuffs, waistbands, and the brims of hats. It serves as a hidden structural component, giving form to the final product without being visible. Buckram can be sewn directly into the fabric or used as an interlining between the fabric layers.
For millinery (hat-making), buckram is particularly favored as it can be molded when wet into various shapes and, once dried, will retain the desired form, providing a sturdy base for further decoration and fabric covering. The versatile nature of buckram, along with its ability to be cut, shaped, and sewn, makes it an indispensable material in creating garments and accessories that require precision, durability, and a refined appearance.