Antique Satin: A widely used term for drapery and upholstery fabrics with a satin
weave. It is available in many textures, fibers and weight.
Bark Cloth: A plain, firmly woven cotton with an irregular texture, available
in both solids and prints. It is designed to resemble true bark cloth, a fabric
made from the inner bark of certain trees from the South Pacific.
Batiste: A fine, delicate, soft, sheer fabric woven of high-count combed cotton
or polyester. It can be found in many soft colors, screen-printed or embroidered.
Bedford Cord: A long wearing, durable, worsted fabric with vertical ribs, made
of cotton, rayon or blends.
Boucle: A plain or twill weave fabric with looped yarns that create a textured,
Broadcloth: A fine, tightly woven fabric in a plain or twill weaves with a
slight horizontal rib.
Brocade: A fabric characterized by raised designs on a flat surface, woven
in cotton, silk, wool or synthetic-fiber combinations on a jacquard loom. It
can be medium to heavyweight, in tones of one color, in florals or in traditional
Brocatelle: A heavy brocade with a more elaborate raised pattern on the right
Burlap: A better grade of plain-weave jute, bleached or dyed, generally with
a coarse, interesting texture produced by a loose basket weave.
Calico: Any variety of plain-weave cotton fabric printed with small motifs.
Canvas: A firm, plain, medium to heavyweight woven cotton, available in a variety
of colors, stripes and prints.
Casement cloth: A general term for fabrics in a variety of weaves and textures,
usually semisheer, translucent or opaque, commonly used for casual draperies.
Challis: A lightweight, soft, firmly woven fabric, usually wool, cotton or
a synthetic, especially rayon. It can be a solid color, or traditionally printed
as a vivid floral on a dark ground or with a paisley pattern.
Chambray: A light to medium weight, plainly woven cotton or linen with a colored
warp and white filling yarns. This gives the fabric a frosted look.
Chenille: A tufted pile fabric with a woven ground, very
plush, similar to velvet, but with a more durable nap. Heavier chenille is
suitable for upholstery.
Chintz: A lustrous, plain, closely
woven cotton fabric available in a variety of colors and prints. A glazed finish
(usually permanent) provides the surface
shine and the crisp hand. Chintz is smooth, embossed or quilted.
Corduroy: A cotton or synthetic fabric with lengthwise wales of cut pile, which
create pronounced vertical lines, or wales. It is durable, casual and available
in a wide variety of colors and prints.
Cotton Satin: A warp-face weave, highly mercerized to give luster. It is superior
to sateen and is available in solids and prints.
Crash: A coarsely woven cloth of cotton, linen or blends, usually made from
uneven or irregular yarns, often hand-blocked or printed, and used for curtains.
A cloth of various fibers characterized by a flat and reversible woven Jacquard
design combining plain and satin weaves, generally in one color. In
its lightweight version, it is particularly popular for table linens.
Denim: A heavy, durable cotton twill weave with a colored warp and white filling.
Also available in plaids and stripes.
Dimity: A delicate, sheer fabric, generally woven of combed or carded cotton
in a fine stripe or checkered pattern.
Dotted Swiss: A sheer, crisp cotton with dots that are machine-embroidered
or woven into the ground, or chemically applied to the surface.
Drill: A strong, durable, closely woven cotton twill similar to denim.
Duck: A durable, closely woven, plain or ribbed cotton fabric. It is similar
to canvas but lighter in weight.
Faille: A somewhat shiny, closely woven fabric of silk, cotton or synthetics,
characterized by flat, crosswise ribs. It can have a stiff or a soft finish.
Filet Lace: Originally a net, knotted by hand. Today, machinery has made it
possible to imitate the plain net background with geometric designs darned
into it. The lace is generally soft and filmy, but can also be coarsely woven.
Gabardine: A twill weave, worsted fabric made from wool, cotton, rayon or nylon
yarns, alone or blended, with obvious diagonal ribs.
Gauze: A thin, sheer fabric with a loose, extremely open weave. Think gauze
bandages and you’ve got the picture.
Gingham: A yarn-dyed, plain weave cotton or synthetic fabric. Checked gingham
is the most common version, but it can also be plaid, striped or plain.
Homespun: A loosely woven, irregular, coarsely textured fabric, originally
made from yarn spun by early American homemakers. Today, it is machine-woven
of mixed yarns and has a sturdy, informal character that resembles handweaving.
India Print: A hand-blocked cotton print with native designs, usually Indian
Jaspe: A plain weave fabric with series of warp, or lengthwise, irregular stripes,
created by varying shades of yarn in the same color family.
Lace: An openwork geometric or floral design with or without a net background.
Lawn: A fine, sheer fabric, originally made from linen. Today, it is commonly
made from cotton or cotton and synthetic blends. It is similar to, but somewhat
stiffer then, batiste.
Marquisette: A sheer, meshed, open-weave fabric, commonly used for curtains
and drapes, which can be woven so it is fine and soft or coarse and crisp.
Matelasse: A heavy upholstery-weight fabric that is woven
with two sets of warp and weft yarns on a jacquard loom. The result is a
quilted, or puckered,
texture. It is sometimes called “double cloth”.
Moire: A plain, ribbed weave of silk, cotton or rayon with a watermark pattern
produced with engraving rollers, heat and pressure.
Monk’s Cloth: A heavy, coarse, loosely woven basket weave cotton, or
cotton blended with jute, hemp or flax. Commonly used for drapes and upholstery,
it can be a natural color or have dyed or woven stripes.
Muslin: A soft, plainly woven cotton similar to, but coarser than, percale.
It is available in light and heavyweight weaves, bleached or unbleached, and
as a base for printed and dyed fabrics.
Net: Machine-made mesh fabric. The yarns are knotted, twisted or woven together
at regular intervals.
Ninon: A plain, smooth, sheer drapery or curtain fabric usually made of acetate
Organdy: A finely woven, transparent fabric made from combed cotton or nylon
with a crisp finish. Available in pale colors, it can be plain, printed or
Osnaburg: A plainly woven cotton fabric with small flecks of cotton stalks
remaining within the weave. Its appearance is similar to a coarse muslin.
Percale: A medium-weight, plainly woven cotton or cotton and polyester blend
with a finer texture than muslin.
Pima Cotton: A cotton fabric with exceptional strength and firmness. Its long,
staple fibers were developed in southwestern United States by the selection
and breeding of Egyptian and Peruvian cottons.
Pique: A fabric with raised, lengthwise cords that create a three-dimensional,
geometric effect, usually in cotton or a cotton blend.
Plisse: Usually made from cotton, rayon, or nylon, this fabric
is chemically treated to produce an overall puckered surface with a blistered
Point d’esprit: A lace woven with small oval dots or squares on a mesh
Pongee: A modern imitation of a fabric that was originally woven by hand from
wild silk, using irregular yarns. Today, it is made from man-made fibers, generally
in the color ecru.
Poplin: A coarse broadcloth with a pronounced horizontal rib.
Sailcloth: A fabric similar to canvas and duck, it is a heavy, plainly woven
cotton available in colors, stripes or prints.
Sateen: A satin-weave fabric in mercerized cotton. It has a lustrous surface
and a dull back.
Satin: A fabric made in an irregular twill weave with a long float that produces
a highly lustrous surface. It is available in a variety of weights and fibers,
generally with a cotton back.
Seersucker: A plainly woven fabric that can be recognized easily by its alternating
plain and puckered stripes.
Shantung: A plain weave with irregular ”nubs and slubs” made of
silk, cotton or other fibers. It is similar to pongee in texture and appearance.
Sheeting: A plain weave fabric, usually in cotton or cotton and polyester blends.
The quality of the fabric is indicated by it thread count (the number of threads
per inch, or per 2.5 centimeters). Percale, a finely woven sheeting, has a
180 thread count, while the coarser muslin sheeting has a thread count of between
128 and 140.
Strie: Another name for jaspe.
Suede Cloth: A fabric woven from cotton, rayon, wool or nylon and finished
to give it a napped surface that resembles suede.
Taffeta: A crisp, tightly woven fabric with a fine, crosswise rib. Originally
made from silk, today’s taffeta is also made from cotton, acetate, rayon
or polyester. You may also recognize it by its rustling sound.
Tapestry: Originally a hand-woven, reversible textile characterized by pictorial
scenes. Today’s machine-made reproductions, fashioned on Jacquard looms,
are heavyweight fabrics best suited for upholstery, cushions and throw pillows.
Ticking: A closely woven satin or twill weave commonly in linen or cotton.
Striped ticking- narrow colored stripes on a white or cream background- is
the most popular motif.
Toile de Jouy: Scenes of rural French country life and people from the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries, printed in one color (usually navy, cranberry or
black) on a white background.
Tweed: Originally made in Scotland from hand-spun woolen yarns and woven on
handlooms. Today, it is a plain weave, irregularly textured fabric of many
colored yarns, dyed before weaving. It also can be fashioned from a twill or
herringbone weave or have a distinct checked pattern, such as houndstooth.
In home decorating, this heavyweight fabric is best suited for upholstery and
Velvet: A broad term that applies to warp-pile fabric with
a soft, sturdy face created from dense loops that may or may not be cut. It
is a luxurious fabric,
originally made from silk, but now made from a wide variety of fibers. Velvet
can be woven singly or as two fabrics, woven face to face the then cut apart.
Velveteen: A plain-weave cotton or cotton-blend fabric that resembles velvet.
It has a closely sheared weft pile and is always woven singly.
Viscose: Term used to descried rayons made using the viscose
process, this process helps rayons become more accessible to different chemicals
in the finishing
Voile: A plain weave, semisheer fabric made from tightly twisted yarns. It
is available in a variety of textures and colors, sometimes with novelty effects.
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