Serge. A twilled worsted fabric, which, according to some writers, being at one time made from silk; and so, through the L. sericum, silk, derived its name. Other authorities show the word as coming from Ger. sarge or Dutch sargia, old records showing the word to have been at one time spelled sarge. The latter derivation is probably correct, as no serges of silk can be found mentioned until recent times, when serge de sot was in the last century sold as a dress material and more recently as a lining.

Worsted serges were known and used as early as the twelfth century, the twill being of flat appearance and woven curiously fine. This fabric, known as wool serge, has for 600 years been almost exclusively used for men's clothing. The modern fabric varies but little from those made centuries ago. In weight and texture it belongs to the flannel family, being woven in a fine or coarse twill with a worsted warp and a woolen weft, which accounts for the springy, elastic nature of true serge.

Fabrics under the general title of serge are woven of either silk or wool, or a mixture of both. Wool serges are finished both rough and smooth-faced, and also with napped and smooth backs. Serge cloth is smooth on one side and rough on the other. Witney serges are heavy and wooly throughout. Botany serges are of a soft, loose diagonal weave, with a somewhat heavy wale or rib. Storm serge is a broad-twilled, old-fashioned weave, somewhat similar to the modern "clay" diagonal. French flannel serge or serge de Berri is composed of long wool, and has somewhat the appearance of India cashmere dress goods. Pompadour flannel serge is so designated on account of the small flower designs with which they are decorated. [See Pompadour] The coarse and heavy kinds, employed for upholstery are of double width, whether of wool or silk. Silk serge is principally employed at present by tailors for the lining of coats, and for umbrella covers.