Serge is a type of http://www.answers.com/topic/twill http://www.answers.com/topic/textile that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides, made with a two-up, two-down http://www.answers.com/topic/weaving. The http://www.answers.com/topic/worsted variety is used in making http://www.answers.com/topic/military-uniform-1, http://www.answers.com/topic/suit-clothing, great and http://www.answers.com/topic/trench-coat. Its counterpart, http://www.answers.com/topic/silk serge, is used for linings. French serge is a softer, finer variety. The word is also used for a high quality http://www.answers.com/topic/wool http://www.answers.com/topic/woven.
Etymology and History
The name is derived from http://www.answers.com/topic/french-language serge, itself from http://www.answers.com/topic/latin serica, from http://www.answers.com/topic/greek-language σηρικος (serikos), meaning “silken”. The early association of silk serge, Greece, and France is shown by the discovery in http://www.answers.com/topic/charlemagne’s tomb of a piece of silk serge dyed with http://www.answers.com/topic/byzantine-empire motifs, evidently a gift from the Byzantine Imperial Court in the http://www.answers.com/topic/8th-century or http://www.answers.com/topic/9th-century AD.
From early Saxon times, most English wool (“staples”) was exported. In the early http://www.answers.com/topic/16th-century it went mainly to a Royal http://www.answers.com/topic/monopoly-1 at http://www.answers.com/topic/calais (then an English possession) and was woven into cloth in France or the http://www.answers.com/topic/low-countries. However, with the capture of Calais by the French on http://www.answers.com/topic/january-7 http://www.answers.com/topic/1558, England began expanding its own weaving industry. This was greatly enhanced by the European Wars of Religion (http://www.answers.com/topic/dutch-revolt-1, http://www.answers.com/topic/french-wars-of-religion); in http://www.answers.com/topic/1567 http://www.answers.com/topic/calvinism refugees from the Low Countries included many skilled serge weavers, while http://www.answers.com/topic/huguenot refugees in the early http://www.answers.com/topic/18th-century included many silk and linen weavers. http://www.answers.com/topic/denim is a http://www.answers.com/topic/cotton fabric with a similar weave; its name is believed to be derived from “serge de Nîmes” after http://www.answers.com/topic/n-mes-2 in France.