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Fabric Glossary
The ability of a fabric to take in moisture.
Synthetic fabric obtained from natural fibers as the result of special treatment. It is soft to touch and is often called “artificial silk”. Care: acetates  do not crease and can be easily washed, preferably at a temperature below 40 degrees. Use: acetates are used in home decor the same way as silks  – curtains, cushions, bedclothes.
A manufactured fiber, its major properties include a soft, wool-like hand, machine washable and dryable and excellent color retention.
A natural hair fiber obtained from the Alpaca sheep, a domesticated member of the llama family.
The hair of the Angora goat. Also known as Angora mohair. Angora may also apply to the fur of the Angora rabbit.
Antique Satin
A reversible satin-weave fabric with satin floats on the technical face and surface slubs on the technical back created by using slub-filling yarns. It is usually used with the technical back as the right side for drapery fabrics and often made of a blend of fibers.
A pattern designed with different color diamond shapes knit into a fabric.
Bamboo Fabric
Bamboo fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of the bamboo grass. Bamboo fabric has been growing in popularity because it has many unique properties and is more sustainable than most textile fibers. Bamboo fabric is light and strong, has excellent wicking properties, and is to some extent antibacterial.
A textured woven, usually printed cotton fabric that was popular in the 30s-40s and 50s as an interiors fabric. The prints were often large vines, leaves and florals.
Basket Weave
A distinctive technique of weaving that creates a fabric resembling basket work with interwoven fibers. Basketweave fabric is most common in home décor fabrics.
Fabric named after technique of drawing on cotton cloth, which appeared in Indonesia and Malaysia. It consists of applying a wax layer on those areas which should not be painted. After the wax is dry, it is removed and the tissue obtains the distinctive “cracked” effect. Care: at the time of purchase, batik is good for making blankets and quilts in ethnic style.
A lightweight, plain weave fabric, semi-sheer and usually made of cotton or cotton blends. Appropriate for heirloom sewing, Sheer curtains,baby clothes and lingerie.
Bedford Cord
A cord cotton-like fabric with raised ridges in the lengthwise direction. Since the fabric has a high strength and a high durability, it is often used for Sofa upholstery.
Commonly used for lining suits and coats, bemberg is a type of rayon fabric often used as a cost-effective substitute to silk.
A fabric with a crosswise rib made from textile fibers (as rayon, nylon, cotton, or wool) often in combination.
A type of fabric that is commonly used for drapery, this fabric has the distinctive quality of blocking light, and comes in two forms: 2-pass and 3-pass. Two-pass has two “passes” of foam on a fabric, which means the black layer of foam will be visible. 3-pass has two layers of white and one layer of black foam. Three-pass can also be used as an upholstery fabric, as the black layer is not visible. Blackout fabrics can also be insulating and noise-dampening.
A knit or woven fabric with small curls or loops that create a nubby surface. The fabric has a looped, knotted surface and is often used in sweater looks.
A plain weave tightly woven fabric that is usually made from 100% cotton or a cotton blend. Most common uses are quilting for bedcovers.
Fabric embroidered with metal threads in the form of flowers and arabesques, creating a luxurious embossing on the surface. Currently brocades can be made on the basis of linen, cotton and silk, embroidered with threads of different colors.  Brocade is an expensive and delicate fabric which is recommended to dry clean to preserve the colours and texture. It is a very durable fabric, suitable for upholstery and curtains in classic style.
A loosely constructed, heavy weight, plain weave fabric. It has a rough hand. Appropriate for curtains and decorative items.
Burn-out Velvet
Created from two different fibers, the velvet is removed with chemicals in a pattern leaving the backing fabric intact.
Camel's Hair
A natural fiber obtained from the under-hair of the camel. It is relatively close to cashmere. Appropriate for coats and jackets. Very soft hand.
A tightly-woven cotton type fabric with an all-over print, usually a small floral pattern on a contrasting background color. Common end-uses include dresses, aprons, and quilts.
A fine thin white linen like fabric.
A strong, durable, closely woven cotton fabric.
A natural fiber obtained from the soft fleecy undergrowth of the Kashmir goat. Most commonly used in sweaters, shawls, suits, coats, and dresses. A luxury fiber with a very soft hand.
Chalk Cloth
A pliable fabric that can be used like a chalk board. Commonly used for tablecloths, posters, and projects, prime the fabric with chalk before using. To remove the chalk, wipe with a damp sponge.
A lightweight, soft plain weave fabric with a slightly brushed surface. The fabric is often printed, usually in a floral pattern. Challis is most often seen in fabrics made of cotton, wool, or rayon.
A plain woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns.
The French word for caterpillar, this soft fabric is created by placing short pieces of yarns between core yarns and twisting the yarn together to make a fabric. This fabric is commonly used for home décor fabrics.
Chantilly lace
This lace has a net background, and the pattern is created by embroidering with thread and ribbon to create floral designs. The pattern has areas of design that are very dense, and the pattern is often outlined with heavier cords or threads.
Charm Quilt
A quilt made of many, many small patches (traditionally 2" or so) where each piece is a different fabric. The pattern is usually a one-patch design and often involves swaps and trades with friends to gather many fabrics.
Cheese Cloth
A lightweight, sheer, plain-woven fabric with a very soft texture. It may be natural colored, bleached, or dyed. It usually has a very low count. If dyed, it may be called bunting and could be used for flags or banners.
Lightweight, extremely sheer and airy fabric, containing highly twisted fibers.
Very lightweight fabric used for making curtains, blinds and canopies. Thanks to the transparency and vaporous texture chiffon is ideal for draperies.  Despite its delicate appearance, chiffon is possible to clean in the washing machine.  Although originally chiffon was made ​​from silk fibers, today you can find alternatives made from cotton, linen and nylon, which are more durable.
Chintz is a glazed calico textile with designs usually featuring colourful flowers or oriental arabesques. Use: for creating informal, fresh and feminine look chintz is a perfect choice. Use it for draperies – curtains, canopy beds and upholstery – headboards, chairs, cushions. Care: refer to the fabrics label for care instructions. Dry cleaning is usually recommended to keep the glazed surface.
Painted linens that originated in Chitta (India) in the 17th century.
A fabric, usually made of cotton or a cotton blend, utilizing a cut-pile weave construction. The ''wale'' indicates the number of cords in one inch.
a white vegetable fiber grown in warmer climates in many parts of the world, has been used to produce many types of fabric for hundreds of years. Cotton fabric feels good against the skin regardless of the temperature or the humidity and is therefore in great demand by the consumer.
Used to describe all kinds of fabrics--wool, cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics and blends- that have a crinkle, crimped or grained surface.
Crepe Charmeuse
A smooth, soft luster fabric of grenadine silk warp and filling, with latter given crepe twist. It has the body and drape of satin.
Crepe-back Satin
A satin fabric in which highly twisted yarns are used in the filling direction. The floating yarns are made with low twist and may be of either high or low luster. If the crepe effect is the right side of the fabric, the fabric is called satin-back crepe.
A true crewel fabric is embroidered with crewel yarn (a loosely twisted, two-ply wool) on a plain weave fabric. Traditional crewel fabrics are hand-woven and embroidered in India. The design motif for crewel work is typically outlines of flowers, vines, and leaves, in one or many colors. Modern weaving technology and inventive designers create traditional "crewel" looks with weave effects alone, without the use of embroidery.
Loose, open knit made by looping thread with a hooked needle. Used for light, summer sweaters. Decorative articles for the home.
The fabric made of silk, cotton or linen, which got its name from the capital city of Syria. The fabric has an opaque background with weaved shiny patterns usually featuring flowers or arabesques.  Damask works well in interiors done in classic style, and it is widely used for upholstery and curtains.
A twill weave cotton fabric made with different colored yarns in the warp and the weft. Due to the twill construction, one color predominates on the fabric surface..
A lightweight and sheer cotton fabric that features a raised texture. Usually seen in light colors, but occasionally printed as well. Dimity fabric is commonly used in window treatments and curtains.
Dotted Swiss
A lightweight, sheer cotton or cotton blend fabric with a small dot flock-like pattern either printed on the surface of the fabric, or woven into the fabric.
Double Cloth
A fabric construction, in which two fabrics are woven on the loom at the same time, one on top of the other. In the weaving process, the two layers of woven fabric are held together using binder threads. The woven patterns in each layer of fabric can be similar or completely different.
Double Knit
A weft knit fabric in which two layers of loops are formed that cannot be separated. A double knit machine, which has two complete sets of needles, is required for this construction.
Double Rub
Double rubs measure a fabric’s abrasion resistance, determined by the Wyzenbeek test. Each “rub” is one back and forth pass over a stretched piece of fabric by a mechanical arm. The test is run until the fabric shows noticeable wear. Consider the double rub count when purchasing upholstery fabric for a high-traffic area in your home.
Strong, medium- to heavyweight, warp-faced, twill-weave fabric. It is usually a 2/1 left-handed twill and piece dyed.
A tightly woven, heavy, plain-weave, bottom-weight fabric with a hard, durable finish. The fabric is usually made of cotton.
A crisp fabric with irregular slubs..
Fabric with patterned cut-outs, around which stitching or embroidery may be applied in order to prevent the fabric from raveling.
The ability of a fiber or fabric to return to its original length, shape, or size immediately after the removal of stress.
A calendering process in which fabrics are engraved with the use of heated rollers under pressure to produce a raised design on the fabric surface.
An embellishment of a fabric or garment in which colored threads are sewn on to the fabric to create a design. Embroidery may be done either by hand or machine.
A glossy, soft, finely-ribbed, silk-like woven fabric made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers.
Faux Fur
Artificial fur made from synthetic material.
A non-woven fabric made from wool, hair, or fur, and sometimes in combination with certain manufactured fibers, where the fibers are locked together in a process utilizing heat, moisture, and pressure to form a compact material.
Usually a 100% cotton fabric that has been brushed on one or both sides for softness.
The plant from which cellulosic linen fiber is obtained. Linen is used in apparel, accessories, draperies, upholstery, tablecloths, and towels.
Synthetic knit fabric that stretches across the grain.
A raised, often velveteen design added onto the surface of a fabric. Flocking adds interest and texture to fabric, and is most often featured on home décor fabrics.
French Terry Knit
A thin piece of material put under another material to add color or brilliance.
A sheer, open-weave fabric usually cotton or silk. It is suitable for curtains.
A medium weight, plain weave fabric with a plaid or check pattern. It is used in curtains.
Very soft, gauzelike veiling originally of silk.
A tightly woven, firm, warp-faced fabric with heavy, round filling ribs created by a high-warp count and coarse filling yarns. Grosgrain can be woven as a narrow-ribbon or a fullwidth fabric.
A soft, lightweight silk fabric, is heavier than China silk.
A yarn that is spun using pre-dyed fibers. These fibers are blended together to give a particular look. (For example, black and white may be blended together to create a grey heathered yarn.) The term, heather, may also be used to describe the fabric made from heathered yarns.
A variation on the twill weave construction in which the twill is reversed, or broken, at regular intervals, producing a zig-zag effect.
Refers to a coarse, plain weave fabric with a hand-woven look.
A variation on the twill weave construction in which a broken check effect is produced by a variation in the pattern of interlacing yarns, utilizing at least two different colored yarns.
A fabric, usually handwoven which has been tie-dyed in the yarns prior to weaving. The pattern can range from simple little dots to intricate double ikats.
Woven fabrics manufactured by using the Jacquard attachment on the loom. This attachment provides versatility in designs and permits individual control of each of the warp yarns. Thus, fabrics of almost any type or complexity can be made. Brocade and damask are types of jacquard woven fabrics.
A bast fiber, chiefly from India, used primarily for gunny sacks, bags, cordage, and binding threads in carpets and rugs.
A short, lightweight, cotton-like, vegetable fiber found in the seed pods of the Bombocaceae tree. Because of its brittle quality, it is generally not spun. However, its buoyancy and moisture resistance makes it ideal for use in cushions and mattresses.
A tan or dusty colored warp face twill, softer and finer than drill. Name derived from East India word meaning "earth color." Fabric made of cotton, linen, wool, worsted, or manmade fibers and blends.
A type of yarn texturizing in which a crimped yarn is made by knitting the yarn into a fabric, and then heat-setting the fabric. The yarn is then unraveled from the fabric and used in this permanently crinkled form.
La Coste
A double-knit fabric made with a combination of knit and tuck stitches to create a mesh-like appearance. It is often a cotton or cotton/polyester blend.
Openwork fabric produced from cotton, silk or synthetic yarn. It has complex ornament which has open holes done by humans or machines. Care: hand wash it in cold water with mild detergent. Never use dryer – all lace should be air-dried. Use: in home decor lace is usually used for curtains, drapery and decorative cushions.
A woven fabric using flat silver or gold metal threads to create either the design or the background in the fabric.
This fabric is created by bonding a thin polymer film to cotton fabric. Laminated fabric is perfect for creating linings and table coverings.
Animal skin dressed for use in sofa upholstery applications.
A Simulated leather.
A natural plant fiber, linen fibers are stronger and more lustrous than cotton. Depending on the weight, The natural fabric produced from flax fibers with beautiful rich texture.  The strength and durability of linen make it ideal for sewing curtains and upholstery. Also it is often used for tablecloths and bedding.
A light, fine cloth made using carded or combed, linen or cotton yarns. The fabric has a crease-resistant, crisp finish. Linen lawn is synonymous with handkerchief linen. Cotton lawn is a similar type of fabric, which can be white, solid colored, or printed.
A fabric created from a yarn formed from synthetic film and includes a metallic layer that adds metallic features to fabrics.
A thrown silk usually dyed in the gum or a fabric made of this silk.
A medium to heavyweight luxury fabric made in a double cloth construction to create a blistered or quilted surface. Common end-uses are upholstery and curtains.
A type of wool that originates from pure-bred Merino sheep. The best Merino wool comes from Italy.
A type of fabric characterized by its net-like open appearance, and the spaces between the yarns. Mesh is available in a variety of constructions including wovens, knits, laces, or crocheted fabrics.
An extremely fine synthetic fiber that can be woven into textiles with the texture and drape of natural-fiber cloth but with enhanced washability, breathability, and water repellancy.
A type of rayon created with reconstituted cellulose. Modal fabrics are commonly used in creating towels and bedsheets.
Cotton or silk fabric with rippled surface, solar rays reflected from it at different angles create an interesting effect resembling sea waves. Care: Depending on the composition it can be washed or dry-cleaned.  This fabric is often used to make curtains, decorative cushions, but it is not recommended for upholstery because after frequent touches it loses its luster.
Monk's Cloth
A heavy weight cotton fabric utilizing the basket weave variation of the plain weave. Used for draperies and slip covers, monk's cloth is an example of 4 x 4 basket weave. It has poor dimensional stability and tends to snag.
A kind of finely woven cotton fabric, introduced to Europe from the Middle East in the XVII century. The name of the fabric comes from Mosul – a town in northern Iraq where this fabric was initially made. In England this textile is also sometimes called Calico. Most of Muslins are made from 100% cotton, but there are some blends with synthetic fibers as well.  It can be washed in washing machine and tumble dried. It is better to iron it when it is still damp.  Muslin is one of the most frequently used fabrics in interior design, mostly for bed linens, slip covers, sheets, shades and curtains.
Refers to any open-construction fabric whether it is created by weaving, knitting, knotting, or another method.
Noil is a short fiber that is left over when combing longer fibers during textile production. Silk noil fabric is created from taking the leftover noils from spinning silk to create an overall raw silk fabric that features a gentle drape, slightly nubby, uneven texture, and dull surface. Noil fabric is perfect for home décor accents.
Produced in 1938, the first completely synthetic fiber developed. Known for its high strength and excellent resilience, nylon has superior abrasion resistance and high flexibility.
A Cotton linen, silk, or manmade material treated with linseed oil varnish for waterproofing. Used for rainwear.
A synthetic fiber made from polyolefin. This fabric is usually strong and colorfast, with a resistance to staining, mildew, abrasion, and sunlight.Organdy A stiffened, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, usually cotton or polyester.
A crisp, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count, made of silk, rayon, nylon, or polyester.
Organza is a very thin and sheer fabric produced from silk or synthetic yarn.  Organza is easy to wash and dry, although it is better not to do it very frequently.  The ability to pass the sunlight makes it ideal for manufacturing curtains and blinds.
A crisp, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count, made of silk, rayon, nylon, or polyester.
Outdoor fabric is used to recover cushions, pillows, create awnings, and more for spaces exposed to nature’s elements like the sun and rain. Created with polyester or acrylic fibers, outdoor fabric is durable, soil and stain resistant, and can be cleaned by wiping with a damp rag.
A fine, soft, lightweight woven cotton or blended with manufactured fibers in a 2 x 1 basket weave variation of the plain weave construction. The fabric is used primarily in shirtings.
A fabric similar in texture and appearance to corduroy with very fine raised stripes. Pincord fabric is most common in home décor projects.
Peau de Soie
A heavy twill weave drapeable satin fabric, made of silk or a manufactured fiber, and used for bridal gowns and eveningwear. Pima Cotton A type of cotton plant developed in the Southwestern USA from a cross between Egyptian and Uplands cotton which is longer in fiber length and more lustrous than most American cottons. It is used to weave some of the popular quilting fabrics which have a silk-like hand.
A compactly woven fabric with warp pile higher than that of velvet. Made of cotton, wool, silk, or manmade fiber, often woven as double face fabric and then sheared apart. Higher pile gives bristly texture. Usually piece-dyed but may be printed. Used for coats, upholstery.
A manufactured fiber introduced in the early 1950s, and is second only to cotton in worldwide use. Polyester has high strength (although somewhat lower than nylon), excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fiber to dry quickly.
Double Sided Quilted Cotton
A fabric construction in which a layer of down or fiberfill is placed between two layers of fabric, and then held in place by stitching or sealing in a regular, consistent, all- over pattern on the goods.
A bast fiber, similar to flax, taken from the stalk of a plant grown in China. Rayon Is often considered as artificial fabric which is a mistake. In fact it is made from cellulose waste products. Care: the main enemy of this light and breathable material is water, so rayon should be dry cleaned only.  Rayon is used as artificial silk, although it can also imitate wool and cotton.
Rip-Stop Nylon
A lightweight, wind resistant, and water resistant fabric. Appropriate for outdoor wear and equipment as well as outdoor flags.
Any heavy, plain-weave canvas fabric, usually made of cotton, linen, polyester, jute, nylon, etc. that is used for sails.
A fabric made from yarns with low luster, such as cotton or other staple length fibers. The fabric has a soft, smooth hand and a gentle, subtle luster. Sateen fabrics are often used for Curtains and upholstery.
With a lustrous, shiny surface, drapability depends on fiber content. Silk and rayon satins have the best stitch results.
Ornamented with a small plate of shining metal or plastic.
A medium-weight, plain weave fabric, characterized by a ribbed effect, resulting from slubbed yarns used in the warp or filling direction.
Any very light-weight fabric (e.g., chiffon, georgette, voile, sheer crepe). Usually has an open weave. Sheers mostly feel cool. Silk A natural filament fiber produced by the silkworm in the construction of its cocoon. Most silk is collected from cultivated worms; Tussah silk, or wild silk, is a thicker, shorter fiber produced by worms in their natural habitat. All silk comes from Asia, primarily China.
A strong bast fiber that originates from the leaves of the Agave plant, which is found in the West Indies, Central America, and Africa. End-uses include cordage and twine.
It drapes well, never wrinkles and washes beautifully. It’s the perfect travel fabric with four-way stretch for ultimate comfort. Suitable for almost any wardrobe item.
A manufactured elastomeric fiber that can be repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking, and will still recover to its original length.
Faux Suede
Artificial Leather with a napped surface.
A fabric pattern that originated in Central Asia and often features large, intricate medallions that were originally created through needlework. Fabrics that feature suzani prints usually include round floral designs.
With a crisp hand, taffeta is typically used for formal wear like gowns and fuller skirts. Underlining prevents some of the wrinkling it has a tendency to have.
A heavy, often hand-woven, ribbed fabric, featuring an elaborate design depicting a historical or current pictorial display. The weft-faced fabric design is made by using colored filling yarns, only in areas where needed, that are worked back and forth over spun warp yarns, which are visible on the back. End-uses include wall hangings and Sofa upholstery.
A waterproofed canvas sometimes made of nylon or other manmade fiber.
A variety of fabrics are known as "ticking." The main weave is a closely-woven, thick yarn twill. Spaced, colored, and natural or white yarns repeated in the warp, and all natural or white in the filling, forming a stripe. Several color combinations used, as blue and white, brown and white, red and white. Heavy warp-face sateens as well as heavy sheetings are printed and sold as ticking. Jacquard damask ticking woven in damask effects also sold for this purpose as well as other fabrics, such as drills.
A type of decorating pattern consisting of a white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, generally of a pastoral theme such as (for example) a couple having a picnic by a lake. The pattern portion consists of a single colour, most often black, dark red, or blue. Greens and magenta toile patterns are less common but not unheard of. Toile de Jouy or simply Toile is a type of pattern with a plain background usually white or cream. Toiles work great for upholstery, cushion covers, bed linen and tablecloths. They look good in traditional, country style houses or contemporary interiors with a vintage twist.
A medium to heavy weight, fluffy, woolen, twill weave fabric containing colored slubbed yarns. Common end-uses include coats and suits.
A fabric that shows a distinct diagonal wale on the face (e.g., denim, gabardine, tricotine).
An imitation suede fabric composed of polyester microfibers combined with polyurethane foam in a non-woven structure. Hand and appearance resemble sheep suede.
A soft and fuzzy polyester fabric created to imitate the look of mink, Minky fabric is available in a variety of colors and prints, and is used for creating luxurious blankets and soft baby accessories.
With a longer pile, velvet is the most luxurious fabric. Stretch velvet has some lycra, It can be machine washed and will not create a shine in the seat or elbows. Appropriate for Sofa upholstery, curtains, cushions .
A cotton or cotton blend fabric with a short, dense pile. It lacks the sheen and drape of velvet. It is perfect for drapes and home décor items.
Venice lace
This lace often has a high profile, and is made using a needlepoint technique rather than embroidery. A heavier weight lace, the patterns vary from geometric to floral. Each pattern is attached to the others by bars made of thread.
The most common type of rayon. It is produced in much greater quantity than cuprammonium rayon, the other commercial type.
A light, sheer, plain-weave fabric usually made from pure cotton or cotton blends with polyester and viscose. Mainly used for soft furnishings – curtains and canopies.  It is easy to clean: it can be washed in a washing machine in cold water and on delicate regime. It can be hung to dry and later ironed with a warm iron.
Waffle Cloth
Similar to piqué in texture. Waffle cloth has a honeycomb weave made on dobby loom. Usually of cotton.
Wool is naturally stain and wrinkle resistant. It can absorb up to 40% of it’s weight in moisture without feeling damp. Wool comes in many forms including crepe, challis, gabardine, merino, melton, jersey and worsted wool suitings.
Woven Fabric
Fabrics composed of two sets of yarns. One set of yarns, the warp, runs along the length of the fabric. The other set of yarns, the fill or weft, is perpendicular to the warp. Woven fabrics are held together by weaving the warp and the fill yarns over and under each other.
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A continuous strand of textile fibers created when a cluster of individual fibers are twisted together. These long yarns are used to create fabrics, either by knitting or weaving.
A continuous strand of textile fibers created when a cluster of individual fibers are twisted together. These long yarns are used to create fabrics, either by knitting or weaving.
An even thread that is usually gold or silver, commonly found in brocades that adds a metallic sheen to fabric.
A thin kind of cashmere made in Belgium. The term also refers to a waterproof wool fabric.
A thick, soft fabric with a long nap. It is usually made of wool, such as mohair or alpaca, but can also be made from the hair of other animals, such as camels. Zibeline can also refer to either the sable (Martes zibellina) or its pelt, which zibeline was originally made from. Zibeline can also refer to a heavy silk fabric with a twill weave.
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