Abstract A method has been developed for the fabrication of small diameter, multifilament tow, fiber-reinforced ceramic matrix composites. Its application has been successfully demonstrated for the Hi-Nicalon/celsian system. Strong and tough celsian matrix composites, reinforced with BN/SiC-coated Hi-Nicalon fibers, have been fabricated by infiltrating the fiber tows with the matrix slurry, winding the tows on a drum, cutting and stacking of the prepreg tapes in the desired orientation, and hot pressing. The monoclinic celsian phase in the matrix was produced in situ, during hot pressing, from the 0.75BaO–0.25SrO–Al 2O 3–2SiO 2 mixed precursor synthesized by solid state reaction from metal oxides. Hot pressing resulted in almost fully dense fiber-reinforced composites. The unidirectional composites having ∼42 vol.% of fibers exhibited graceful failure with extensive fiber pullout in three-point bend tests at room temperature. Values of yield stress and strain were 435±35 MPa and 0.27±0.01%, respectively, and ultimate strengths of 900±60 MPa were observed. Young's modulus of the composites was measured to be 165±5 GPa.