Overhead Jelbab fabrics…and other related tidbits

asalaamu alaikum

I noticed as par my previous post that 1) some sisters think these algerian style overhead jelbabs are same as isdaals and 2) they are confused by all the different fabrics they come in.

Okay, so, I’m not expert and I’m actually out of town right now visiting relatives so I cant take pictures of mine, but I will try explain what I know about the different fabrics these overhead jelbabs come in. OK.

1) The Algerian style overhead jelbab is NOT the same as an Isdaal! Okay. Btw I am using the full name “Algerian-style jelbab” because to us, English speakers, especially Americans/Canadians/Brits/Aussies we think of jelbab as this…basically a long, modest overcoat, aka manteau, aka pardesu.

(Sajeda brand jelbab)

But, North-Africans call these…Jelbabs as well…this honestly makes sense as in the Quraanic sense…jelbab is an all-encompassing overgarment…so I guess it boils down to semantics.

(Jelbab sarouel Lady Najah from Al-Moultazimoun)

But…and Isdaal is quite different.

An Isdaal is similarish to a sleeved Gulf overhead but cut more narrow (atleast the sleeved kinds) and the back area is actually pinned to your hejab, it doesnt fit over the head like a traditional Gulf overhead does or even how a modern Iranian chador does. While the Algerian-style jelbabs is actually fully-encompassing, its cut quite differently and is worn from the head, most come with an attached headband-although some do not and are worn with a matching or coordinating headband, then the front of the material billows out over the chin and chest. Frankly…its a bit hard to explain unless you’ve seen one inrl or worn one. Generally I find them quite comfortable…but this is where fabric comes in.

2) Fabrics…

So I am using the El Bassira brand of jelbabs and the selection that Bismillah Boutique has as my explains because Ive ordered from them several times and have several different El Bassira brands of jelbabs-there are other jelbabs brands though…but Ive found El Bassira is just the easiest to get-for me, buying online and not being IN France. iywkim.

So, yeah…fabrics…

Right now there is out “internet”, “light crepe”, “light microfiber” and “new/light caviary”…once winter comes around it will be regular “microfiber”, “heavyweight microfiber or crepe (crepe epaisse)” and “heavy peachskin”.

But, as far as the summer weight stuff goes…Ive tried the internet, and have tried the old-style caviary, the heavy peachskin and the regular microfiber.

Personal opinion of the winter-weight materials…

I have to say, generally I really don’t quite recommend the peachskin-either the lightweight kind of the heavyweight…although the heavyweight is indeed pretty decent for winter as its quite heavy and thick-hence-warm and good for layering…but it doesnt flow as nicely and gets staticy VERY fast which means you best keep a bottle of hairspray in your purse to spritz the underside to keep static at bay!!! And Ive head negative things about the regular peachskin fabric for all-year round jelbabs, again lack of flow and staticy also they are kind of shiny, that could be a turn-off. One other obvious negative about the winter-weight materials is you cant wear them all-year around, even the regular microfiber is much too heavy for summer wear!  They would be OK if you plan to own a few so you can switch out depending on season. One other thing I should mention about the heavy fabrics is they make a crunchy sound in your ear as you move. If your sensitive to sounds…it may grate on your nerves…potentially irksome.

BUT, if you indeed want to get a heavier weight jelbab for wearing in the cooler seasons the best-I believe is the regular microfiber. Its quite durable, matte and can be worn in spring and early fall. Just not in the super hot days of summer. Its also heavy but not-as-heavy as some of the other fabrics. If you plan to wear a jelbab with a sweater under an a poncho on top…the 350gram crêpe épaisse  would be most suitable. Also those ones tend to be cut in a batwing style for that very reason!

Like this one…

(Jelbab Al-Bassira from Bismillah Boutique)

Personal opinion of the summer-weight materials…

So the general summer fabrics are as mentioned above, lightweight crepe, lightweight microfiber, internet and caviary.

I havent tried the lightweight crepe or microfiber but haver tried the caviary and the internet.  I believe that Caviary is the most popular material for these jelbabs as on some of the French sisters discussion boards they talk a lot about the Caviary material.

Let me try to explain what the caviary is like, actually there are two types, the “old style” and “new style”…LOL, I believe all newer jelababs made in Caviary from El Bassira are now of the new style. Ive heard its a bit thinner and lighterweight than the older style. I have an older style one. Its truely a all-year around material, I wore it in the middle of winter with and can still wear it in our hot, humid summers. The older style is a bit weight, but its extremely airy, completely opaque-even in direct light- nand completely matte. The weave is quite fine and the hand feel actually feels smooth and silky soft like butter. Its a very luxurious feeling fabric. It also has great drape. Only real downer I found it that in winter it would get a bit staticy when I wore it inside, on acarpeted floors-but this is a common problem with *most* fabric…a simple spritz of hair spray on the underside of the jelbab (against my jeans) worked wonders. A Caviary  jelbab is one of the more expensive jelbabs, but frankly…I think its worth the price as its truly all-weather and feels incredibly nice to the touch.

Next, about the internet. Okay the internet they use is quite different from the internet I am used too from the Gulf countries..like the quality internet which is used by Gulf Abayah companies is very light, airy, opaque, tightly woven yet has a spongy feel. Its only the cheapo internet which has a looser weave and lacks the spongy feel. Okay the internet El Bassira uses is actually kind of different from both! LOL…I’m unsure why they call it internet but, let me try to explain. Its opaque and matte but is not as opaque as real, Khaleeji internet nor caviary…like if you walk and the sunlight is behind you, like at the hem, you can see your legs kind of, not clearly…but if you prefer perfect opaqueness you need to wear a skirt or a slip under or buy Caviary…for example. The weave is a bit more open and the feel is very light, smoothish but with a slight roughness too it…does this make sense?  Like both smooth yet rough all at once. LOL…sorry its hard to explain…BUT, the biggest perk to internet and frankly why I like it the best is that its very lightweight (not too light weight ofcourse), yet covers curves and…and…and…is a lot less prone to static and it seems to hang better. I think because it has a roughness to the weave it glides over under fabrics better. Does this make sense?

The cost is comparable to Caviary-for the most part. Personally I prefer the Internet as I like the lighter feel and more rougher feel as I feel like it can be worn over anything without much worry about static.

The other fabrics I really havent tried…but like my philosophy is this…like =if I’m paying all this $$$ for these items which I cant even get here in the US and all the $$ for shipping then dang…I will buy the better quality ones…y’know…More bang of the buck. Sorta like if I want a pair of long lasting pants I will buy from Shukr and pay the $$$ verses Walmart because the better quality stuff will last longer. Thats just my take…ofcourse I’m quite sure the lightweight crepe or microfiber is just as good…but…again, figuring in all pricing…better quality makes more sense.

Which leads me to satin. yes there ARE satin jelbabs! LOL…I’m not a huge fan of satin anything cept for maybe some satin Turkish square scarves for special occasions…but they sell them too…I dont know about comfort or feel…but if anyone has tried them…please share! I assume they would be good for a womans event where you had to stay covered. Y’know.

I hope this post helps to explain the different fabrics and stuff related to these  Jelbabs.

Updated: my store Allzons.com carries a selection of both 1-piece and 2-piece overhead jelbabs imported from France! Check them out if these are of interest to you!

10 thoughts on “Overhead Jelbab fabrics…and other related tidbits

  1. Assalaamu alaikum sis,

    JazakahAllah khair for taking the time to explain. I am soooo tempted to buy one especially after seeing your post with the sweater layered over it. Yesterday I was at Target and saw a sweater that would be perfect too, lol. When you ordered last time how long was shipping time?

    • Like for EMS about a week and I also told them another time to ship via regular France post and it was 2 weeks a LOT cheaper. But thats cuz its off-time…once winter hits the mail goes crazy…as u all know due to Xmas and New years.

  2. Definitely need to order soon inshallah. Perhaps that’ll be my eid gift to myself this year. I really want one and it’s different from my current style. Perhaps a change will do me some good. I might even other in a color other than black, lol. Which website did you prefer ordering from? I think for nursing friendliness (is that a word? lol) I’ll go with the 2 piece inshallah.

  3. Assalaamu alaikum.

    I have 2 navy blue satin khimar/jilbab suits similar to the grey one in the pic above.. and I would say although it’s a very nice feel and comfortable, it is easily spoilt ie> if you put cream on your hands and touch…then the mark remains, and even a tiny spot of oil etc and it feel like the whole suit is ruined as it doesn’t come out properly. so, something to wear occasionally where you won’t be around food or children lol.

    In the UK there is a huge fashion wearing hijaab with it long at the back of head or like a huge bump. I myself find that the sisters who wear this type are prone to wearing tight jeans/leggings with tight shirt and hijaab and enjoy make up and alot of accessories like maybe large beaded necklace and bracelets, even earings etc.

    To me this is not hijaab, it is like a non muslim with scarf on her head. I feel this type of hijaab resembles something like shape of alien head sooooo huge sometimes I have to keep myself from laughing and feel this type of dress is just for display as mostly I see bright colours and many adornments.

    Even my 16yr old daughter who wears jibab (but sometimes wear loose trousers for park or sports finds it too much and funny) I don’t understand it at all. It is an attraction for men of all backgrounds.

    I think the Ahadith that mentions women in the future who will be dressed although naked from this Ummah and will have something like camel humps on their head must refer to this. Allahu alam.
    May Allah swt forgive me if I’ve anything wrong.

    • Subana Allah I totally agree with you I myself laugh when I see them I fIind them ridiculous as it looks like the camel hump definitly.

  4. I think I have a jilbaab in that ‘other’ internet fabric you describe, but its made by a UK company; when held up to the light it has a slightly ‘muslin’ like or grid like weave and is a bit rougher than the gulf internet crepe, still a quality fabric but quite different. I don’t feel it drapes as well as the ‘proper’ internet crepe though

    • yup I believe what your talking about is indeed what I was talking about…yes no way is it anywhere as nice are authentic, high grade internet-high grade internet is wooow and has a weird spongy texture…but its fab to wear. May I add I di dislike-loath with a passion the cheapo grades of internet…it just feel all wrong and is extremely hot.

  5. i also leave in the uk but can’t find any jilbab here nice not only black or brown and 2 piece one.
    Does any one knows any good jilbab byshop here in london
    .jazak ALLAH for your reply.
    .
    Also i’ve already ordered jilbab from moultazimoun JILBABS are really nice but they only come in light microfibre not any other fabric.
    by the way just discovering this blog very nice and very useful advice given on jilbab urty jazak ALLAH

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