muslin, general name for plain woven fine white cottons for domestic use. It is believed that muslins were first made at Mosul (now a city of Iraq). They were widely made in India, from where they were first imported to England in the late 17th cent. Early muslins were often woven or embroidered with gold. Swiss muslin is a modern crisp, semitransparent fabric, either dyed or white, and sometimes figured. Certain sheetings are known as muslins. Bookbinders' muslin, made in Scotland, is fine and crisp.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.