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What Is Moleskin?

Winter coats commonly feature moleskin lining.
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  • Written By: Stacy C.
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2014
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Moleskin is a woven twill fabric that is extremely soft on one side with a short raised surface. The name simply refers to the similarity between the softness of mole fur and the softness of this cotton fabric, which has a velvety nap that feels similar to suede. It is not made from the actual fur or hide of a mole.

This fabric is very densely woven, making it quite durable and easy to clean. Lighter blends of moleskin sometimes are used for work clothes, especially those made by British manufacturers. Lighter moleskin also has been used for military wear, such as for the West German Army uniforms from the 1960s to the 1990s. Heavier moleskin commonly is found lining winter coats for extra protection from the wind and cold. Several shoe designers use this fabric for the upper part of their shoes for added durability.

Moleskin can be dry cleaned or washed on a gentle cycle and should be turned inside out before washing. Washing will help maintain the tightness of the weave of the fabric, which does not wrinkle or lose its shape from stretching. This fabric typically costs about $5 US Dollars (USD) to $9 USD per yard.

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The relief and prevention of blisters is another use for moleskin. One side of a bandage for this purpose is the soft moleskin, and the other side is adhesive. A hole is cut in the bandage where the blister is, and then the adhesive side is placed over the blister, sticking to the skin surrounding it. This makes the blister and the fabric the same level and reduces the friction and pressure caused by whatever external object — usually a shoe — is rubbing against the skin to cause the blister.

A different type of moleskin is used in the movie industry. A piece of flesh-toned fabric called a moleskin is attached to adhesive, which is then adhered to genitalia to cover it for filming. This can give the appearance of nudity while giving the actor or actress some semblance of privacy.

There also are notebooks that take their name from moleskin fabric, which was used to cover traveling notebooks or journals because of its durability. The use of these notebooks became so widespread, especially among noted authors, that the small traveling notebooks themselves became known as moleskins. Famous people known to use moleskins include Oscar Wilde, Vincent Van Gogh and Ernest Hemingway.

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Discuss this Article

bluespirit
Post 9

@tolleranza - I have used moleskin pads for blisters. They worked amazingly for me. But be sure to put them on right, just as the article describes. You want to have the adhesive in the right area so you don't worsen the blister.

I use them to recover from my shoes, like my high heels, which may not be all that comfortable but are completely worth it to wear because they are that cute. I am not a sucker for many things, but cute shoes are one of them.

I will sometimes put the moleskin on my feet before I get a blister, where I feel the shoe starting to rub, to prevent blisters.

tolleranza
Post 8

I played soccer for many years and never had a problem with blisters. However, now I have become a semi-avid runner and what has come with it are blisters!

Has anyone tried moleskin for blisters?

Tomislav
Post 7

@Sinbad - I had planned on getting a moleskine planner (ha, no pun intended) also because of its durability. I can be pretty hard on my planners, as I take them everywhere.

I do not have personal experience with the moleskin notebooks, but I did check out many reviews. I found that these reviews also claimed durability and functionality for the planners. Hope that this information helps in your decision to purchase a moleskin diary.

I am a fan of journaling, and agree that it is important to find one that lasts, so you can read over your entries years later and reminisce!

Sinbad
Post 6

I had seen moleskin notebooks at the bookstore in our town, and I had wondered what was so appealing about moleskin. Now that I know it is a durable notebook, I can understand the attraction. My notebooks in college were always starting to lose their paper and covers by the end of the semester, so it would have been nice to have known about this durable moleskin.

I think I will have to get a moleskin diary. It makes sense to try and get a durable notebook for something that I would like to last a long time. Plus, in the bookstore I go to they are always looking pretty sleek with fun colors.

Has anyone tried moleskin and checked out its durability?

Denha
Post 5

For a long time I thought moleskin was some sort of leather. Not actual moles' skin, in fact I never made that connection, just some sort of animal. I think to me it explained the price that some moleskin notebooks command. While I am glad it actually is not, that just confuses me even more as to why it is so expensive.

sapphire12
Post 4

@letshearit- those are the reasons I have been given for why people like moleskin- durability and size, mostly. I actually had no idea Ernest Hemingway liked using those notebooks, though I'm not surprised. I have thought about buying moleskin journals because they seem so classic and professional, but I am one of those who is a bit appalled by the price.

letshearit
Post 3

I used to work at a bookstore and was really surprised at how many people asked specifically for moleskin notebooks because Ernest Hemingway was famous for using them. I am not sure if people though that using the same kind of notebook might give them an edge with their writing but I always thought it funny that people would pay $14.99 for a tiny notebook when it really was just more paper.

I actually got a moleskin notebook at a deep discount while working at the store and really like working with it, though not for any kind of magic it had on my writing. I found that the moleskin covering on the notebook kept my pages extra clean and I loved how sturdy it was.

Monika
Post 2

@Azuza - I'm an avid do-yourselfer as well. I think you could definitely make your own moleskin notebook.

I think it's pretty funny that the same moleskin that's used to cover journals is also used to provide actors some modesty during nude scenes. I guess moleskin is the ultimate multi-tasking fabric!

Azuza
Post 1

I'm familiar with moleskin notebooks but I didn't know their name came from the fabric! Very interesting.

Moleskin notebooks are handy, but I think they are kind of expensive as far as notebooks go. My boyfriend swears by them but I think I am just too cheap. However I bet I could find some moleskin fabric and make my own moleskin notebook for a fraction of the cost. I may look into this further!

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