FABRIC TERMS

A

Antique Satin

A fabric that is reversible. On one side, there is that satin face and on the other side, there is a technical back that is created by using slub yarns. The technical back is usually used as the front for draperies. It is made with a blend of fibers.

B

Barkcloth

Originating in Asia this fabric composed of densely woven fibers. It was very popular from 1930-1960 for draperies, slipcovers, and upholstery.

Basket Weave

An intricate fabric that uses a special type of weaving to create a fabric that is reminiscent of a basket weave. It is used mainly for home interior.

Batik

A Japanese fabric that uses a method of dyeing with wax-resist. The dye is applied to the entire cloth but because of the wax, it stops the dye from penetrating in certain areas. This can be repeated many times to create multicolor or blended patterns. Before it is repeated the initial wax is taken off and another wax input on. This type of process is said to have originated in Indonesia.

Batiste

A fine fabric that is created from cotton, polyester, wool, or a blend. It creates a soft, opaque, light fabric. This fabric can be used for lingerie, clothes for babies, or even heirloom sewing project.

Bengaline

A ribbed fabric that is very strong. It is often made from fabrics such as nylon, rayon, cotton, wool, or a combination.

Boiled Wool

A type of fabric that is created by using wool that is then taken through a process that essentially uses water and agitation to shrink it to about 50% its original size. A very warm fabric. This is a great fabric for hats, scarves, coats, jackets, and even stuffed animals.

Blackout

A fabric that works very well for eliminating light, insulation, and for noise reduction. t is used mostly for drapery. It comes in two different types: The 2 pass has one foam-backed layer and the 3 pass has 2 layers of foam-backed layers. This fabric is commonly used in hotel rooms to allow a light free sleep. Blackout also insulates up to 24%.

Boucle

A fabric made with yarn that is looped or can be curled. This knit fabric has a nubby surface that lends itself well to sweaters, vests, and coats. It is also very popular for women’s suits.

Broadcloth

This closely woven fabric is usually created with cotton, fine twilled wool, or a cotton blend. It is a good fabric for quilting and for dress shirts.

Brocade

A very rich fabric that is usually made of silk. It typically has a raised pattern that or a floral design. It is used mostly for upholstery, drapes, handbags, or formal clothing.

Buckram

A rigid, coarse fabric that is often stiffened with a material such as gum or paste to fill in all the gaps between fibers. Buckram is usually made from cotton. Buckram is usually used as an interface for things such as baseball caps. It can also be used for costumes, belts, the inside of embroidery, or handbags.

Burlap

Is made from a very coarse plain weave fabric such as canvas, hemp, jute, or something similar. Burlap is used for draperies and other home decorations.

C

Canvas

A tough fabric that is created by closely weaving cotton. It is and very durable. Used for tapestry and embroidery.

Chalk Cloth

A fabric that can be used as a chalkboard. It is very bendable and can be used for tablecloths, and large posters, and all sorts of craft projects. Chalk can easily be applied. It can be removed with a damp sponge.

Challis

A soft, light fabric that is made from a plain weave. Often times made from wool, rayon, or cotton. It drapes well and is very smooth. It is used for clothing such as dresses, tops, and skirts.

Chambray

A fabric usually linen-finished made from cotton, manufactured fabric, or silk. It is made from a light-weight single layer cloth that is from a plain weave. It also usually incorporates a warp that is often colored blue with white fill threads.

Chenille

The word chenille comes from the word Caterpillar. Chenille fabric is created from a velvety cord that is nubby and tufted. Chenille incorporates several different fabrics such as a cotton chenille which feels like a mix of corduroy and terry cloth with raised ribs and channels. Chenille used for home décor often feels very soft like velvet.

Chantilly Lace

A fabric named after Chantilly, a town close to Paris. It has a lace net and a pattern that is created by embroidering floral designs with either thread or ribbon. The fabric is usually very dense with pattern and is often outlined with heavier thread or cords.

Charmeuse

A light satin that has a great drape. It also has a shimmery sheen. It is used mostly for lingerie, the binding on soft baby blankets, and for slinky dresses.

Cheese Cloth

A fabric made of cotton that is very loosely woven. It is very soft and can easily be dyed or bleached. It is called cheesecloth because it was originally used for making cheese.

Chiffon

A very light fabric that is sheer. It is usually made from silk or nylon and has twisted fibers. It is used for clothing such as dresses or tops.

Chintz

A fabric that has a glazed finish. It is a plain-weave fabric that has to be taken care of carefully. The glaze will wash off it the fabric is not dry-cleaned. Used mostly for draperies and liners.

Corduroy

A fabric that is very thing and commonly has velvet type ribs measured by the number of cords in an inch. It is usually made from cotton or a cotton blend. It is most commonly used for pants, skirts, and jackets.

Crepe

A fabric that can be made from all sorts of fibers. It can be a heavy or a lighter fabric. It is characterized by its textured surface. It uses are wide and seen commonly on dresses, skirts, and tops for a lightweight crepe. Heavier crepes can be used to make suits.

Crepe de Chine

A very fine fabric that is created by silk or a polyester. It is a very light fabric that is smooth and has a subtle sheen. It is a very versatile fabric that is perfect of apparel of all kinds.

Crepe-Back Satin

A two-sided satin that has a much shinier front and a more matte back. It is a light to medium weight fabric that is commonly used for garments for special occasions.

D

Damask

A fabric that is jacquard style and is often shiny. The fabric on Damask is all one color, unlike other jacquards. The patterns on Damask are flat and can even be reversed. It is used commonly for tablecloths, draperies, and curtain beds.

Denier

A unit of measurement that determines the thickness of the weave in the fabric. The lower the number the more sheer, soft and silky. The higher the number the more sturdy and thick.

Denim

A very sturdy fabric that is cotton-warp faced. Different color yarns are used in the warp and weft. Due to its process, only one color is mostly seen on the surface. It is commonly used for pants, skirts, and jackets. Denim is known to shrink and bleed color. Prewash at least twice before using to avoid this.

Dobby

A raised fabric that is created by using a weave that makes small patterns into the fabric that are slightly raised. Simpler design than jacquard.

Dotted Swiss

A sheer, cotton, lightweight fabric that typically is embellished with raised small dots. The pattern is either woven or printed onto the surface. It is commonly used for baby clothes, shirts, and dresses. It can also be used for a lighter drapery option.

Double Knit

A fabric of knit that has two layers. The two layers are joined in a process that does not allow them to be separated. Double knit is usually made with a specific double-knit machine.

Duck

A fabric that is very similar to canvas. It is a plain, woven fabric that is usually made from a cotton. It is typically used for tents, sneakers, and home décor.

Dupioni

A plain weave fabric that is usually some type of silk. It is created by using a fine thread to create slubs that are irregular. It is used mostly for clothing such as blouses and dresses.

E

Eyelet

A fabric that has a pattern of cut-outs that are typically stitched or embroidered to prevent the fabric from tearing or raveling.

F

Faille

A soft fabric that is very light and ribbed. It has a silk-like texture and is usually made from manufactured fiber, cotton, or silk.

Faux Fur

A fur-like fabric that is typically made from synthetic materials.

Felt

A fabric that has not been woven. It is usually created by taking wool, hair, or some kind of fiber and pressing and rolling it then applying some type of heat, moisture, or pressure to create a very compact fabric. It is used for hair bows, hats, and craft projects most commonly.

Flannel

A soft fabric that is usually made from cotton or a cotton blend. It is brushed on both sides to create a gentle finish. A popular fabric for shirts and pajamas.

Fleece

A very soft, warm fabric that stretches on the grain. It is used for warm clothing such as vests, sweatshirts, and jackets.

Flocked

A fabric that is created by adding many particles called flock onto the surface. It adds design and texture to the fabric. It is used mostly for women’s clothing and home decoration.

French Terry Knit

A very soft fabric that is smooth on the front side and looped on the back. It is used commonly for baby clothing, tops, and loungewear.

G

Gabardine

A wrinkle-resistant fabric that is made from a twill weave. A wool gabardine is used for men’s suits that can be worn all year round.

Gauze

An opaque fabric that is made by using an open weave. It is cotton or silk. Used mostly for women’s apparel and curtains.

Georgette

A sheer fabric that is very lightweight. It is usually silk with yarns that are highly twisted. It is used mostly for women’s blouses and dresses.

Gingham

A fabric is known for its check or plaid pattern. It is made by plain weaving dyed yarns. It is commonly used for shirts, dresses, baby clothing, and casual draperies.

Grosgrain

A heavy fabric created by tightly weaving warp-faced fabric with ribs. Grosgrain is used for ribbon but can also be a full fabric for dresses or draperies.

H

Hatchi

A knit fabric that is very lightweight. One side of the Hatchi is typically brushed creating softness. It is used commonly for sweaters, cardigans, sweater dresses, and tops.

Homespun

A handwoven looking fabric created by a coarse, plain weave.

I

Interlock Knit

A form of jersey knit fabric that has no wrong side. The v’s of stockinette stitch is done on both sides. It is stretchy but not as stretchy as jersey knit. It is used commonly for tops, skirts, and dresses.

ITY Knit

A light, soft, and even slinky jersey knit fabric. It has a fluid drape and a smooth hand that is cool. It is made with a lycra, polyester, and spandex blend. It does not wrinkle.

J

Jacquard

A fabric typically made on a loom that is woven with an intricate pattern. The patterns are reversed on the backside of the fabric. It is heavily used in home décor tapestries and lighter weight silk feeling fabrics. A type of Jacquard is damask and brocade.

Jersey Knit

A type of knit fabric that is lighter than interlock knit. It was originally only made of wool but now is commonly made from jersey. Stretchiness is added by using lycra, elastine, and spandex.

K

Knit Fabric

A fabric that is made from one set of yarn that runs the same direction. Knit fabrics can be created by having yarn run the width or the length of the fabric. Knit fabric is very flexible and can be used for a variety of different things such as socks and hats.

L

Lace

A delicate fabric that is made by hand or by machine. A web-like fabric is created when yarns or threads are twisted around each other to create a very complex pattern. Commonly used in home décor or apparel.

Lamé

A fabric that uses metallic thread to create a design on fabric. Typically used for eveningwear or draperies.

Laminate

A fabric created when a thin polymer film is added to a plain cotton fabric. This fabric is used for tablecloths, creating raincoats, or automotive applications.

Faux Leather

An artificial leather used for apparel or upholstery

Linen

A rustic-weave fabric that is typically made from a flask. It has a crisp finish and great breathability. It is a spring and summer fabric because it allows air in so well. It is used to make all types of apparel from suits to blouses.

Lawn

A very fine fabric that is light. It is made by using combed or carded linen or cotton yarns. This fabric has a natural crisp finish and is crease and wrinkle resistant.

M

Madras

A lightweight cotton shirting featuring various plaid patterns. Madras is often imported from India and is an ideal fabric for both men’s and women’s shirts or dresses.

Matelassé

Luxurious, double-clothed fabric with a medium or heavy feel. It is constructed to create a blistered, quilted texture. Ideal in upholstery, drapes and sometimes evening dresses.

Melton

Compact, tightly woven wool or wool-blend fabric. This heavyweight material is almost exclusively used in coat manufacturing.

Mesh

This fabric features spaces between the yarn which gives it a characteristic net-like look.

Minky

Made to imitate mink, it is a fuzzy, soft polyester fabric. Comes in many colors or prints, and is used for baby blankets and other baby accessories.

Monk's Cloth

Cotton fabric with a basket weave. It is a heavy fabric in a 4 by 4 basket weave, yet is soft to the touch. It can snag due to its insufficient dimensional stability. Used frequently in crafts, slipcovers, drapes, and throws.

Muslin

An inexpensive cotton fabric with a plain weave and medium weight. It has less than 160 threads per square inch. In its unfinished form it is often used for preliminary fittings or trial garments.

N

Netting

Any open-construction fabric is a netting even if it has been woven, knotted, knitted or otherwise constructed to have the open spaces.

Nylon

This is the first synthetic fabric ever made. It has been in production since 1938 and has an excellent flexibility, resilience, and strength. It is used in many types of clothing from pants to undergarments and stockings.

O

Oilcloth

This is a fabric sheeting or a close-woven cloth that has been bleached or dyed with a linseed oil pigment. It was once commonly used for tablecloths and other items suited to being outdoors. Vinyl or plastic-coated fabrics have become more popular than it.

Onion Skin

A lightweight knit with a patterned backing. The backing looks much like onion skin. Onion skin can be dyed different colors.

Organdy

Made of cotton or polyester, this is a stiff but sheer, lightweight, plain- woven fabric.

Organza

A plain weave with a lightweight feel and a crisp, transparent appearance. Medium to high yarn count, it can be made with silk, nylon, rayon, or polyester. Special occasion clothing is often comprised of organza.

Osnaburg

A sheer, lightweight fabric in a plain weave. It has a medium to high yarn count and is a silk, nylon, rayon or polyester material.

Ottoman

Heavy with a plain weave, the ribbing is wide and flat. These ribs are larger than a faille fabric and can sometimes come with wide and narrow alternating ribs. When only comprised of narrow ribs the fabric is called Soleil. It may be made of cotton filling, silk, wool or manmade fibers. Found on dress coats and suits.

Outdoor

Made to be soil or stain resistant, it is made from polyester or acrylic. It is used in outdoor cushions, awnings, and pillows. Can be cleaned with a damp rag.

Oxford

Made with 2 x 1 manufactured fibers, it is a soft cotton plain weave fabric with a lightweight feel. Often used in shirts.

P

Pack Cloth

Made of nylon it is designed to be pliable but sturdy. Found often in tents. Backpacks or other utility clothing.

Panné Velvet

Lightweight, velvet fabric with a sheen. The pile is flattened to one side. The nap’s luster varies and the fabric offers good stretch for dresses or tops.

Pincord

This is not unlike corduroy. It has a similar texture but its raised stripes are thin. It is commonly found in decorative items for the home and can also be used in apparel.

Peachskin

Soft fabric with a brushed, peach-like texture. Has plenty of drapes and is used in dresses with linings, skirts, and some blouses.

Peau de Soie

A twill fabric weave made from silk, manufactured fibers, or satin. It has a heavy feel with a matte appearance which distinguishes it from other satins. May also be called Duchess Satin or Matte Satin.

Piqué

Medium in weight, it has a pebbled texture that makes it look like a checked pattern. This fabric may be woven or knitted.

Plissé

Lightweight, cotton, acetate or rayon fabric in a plain weave. It has a striped, puckered texture which is created by the use of a caustic soda solution. This shrinks the fabric wherever it is applied allowing it to have a resemblance to seersucker. Used in shirts, dresses, pajamas, and bedspreads.

Pointelle

Delicate ribbed, knitted fabric. It has a pattern of openings making it a natural fabric for women’s or baby’s clothes.

Poplin

Made by using a rib variation on the plain weave. There is a slight ridge appearance that lays on one side giving it a corded texture. It was once used often in casual clothes. This is now used mostly in men’s casual trousers.

Q

Quilted Double Side Cotton

Down or fiberfill batting is inserted between two pieces of fabric. This fiberfill is held in place using a stitch or a seal that remains consistent throughout the item.

R

Rib Knit

There are two types of rib knits. One is a 1 x 1 rib going up and down the material. The other is a 2 x 1 rib with two ribs going up and down the fabric. It is similar to Poor-boy knit.

Ripstop Nylon

Water-resistant and lightweight, this is a good material for outdoor use. It holds up to wind, making it a good flag fabric or a good fabric for outdoor apparel.

S

Sailcloth

Made of either, cotton, nylon, jute, polyester, or linen, it has a plain weave and is a heavy material. Used often in sails and nautical clothing.

Sateen

Made with low-luster yarns of cotton or any other staple, it has a smooth, soft feel and some sheen to it on one side and is matte on the other. Ideal for upholstery, draperies and other household goods such as decorative pillows.

Satin

Satin can be made of silks or rayons. It offers a drapability and a shiny appearance. The best stitching on satin is done when it is comprised of silk materials.

Seersucker

Made from cotton, it can also contain polyester. It is noted for its puckered texture and is used in its namesake suit, shirts, and casual trousers.

Shantung

A refined fabric that looks like Dupioni silk. It has small slubs and is ideal for ballgowns and tailored pants

Faux Suede

This is made of leather with a napped surface making it appear fibrous and soft.

T

Taffeta

This fabric is often used in gowns as it has a crisp hand. Plain woven and often made of silk, it can wrinkle and often needs bolstering with an underline of some kind.

Tapestry

Ribbed, heavy, fabric featuring an artistic, intricate historical picture. This fabric is comprised of colored filling yarn which has been worked back and forth to create the weft-faced design. The spun warp yarns are visible on the back of the material. Can be used in upholstery as much as it is used for wall hangings.

Terry Cloth

This is a looped pile material made of cotton. The pile is unclipped, making it absorbent. It has a knitted face and is used for towels.

Tulle

The netting is made by machine. It is a soft, lightweight material good for veils.

Tweed

Woolen fabric with a medium to heavyweight. It contains slubbed, colored yarns. Ideal for coats.

Twill

Material that has a distinctive diagonal wale in the fabric weave. Denim is a twill as is gabardine.

U

V

Velour

Stretchy, knit that looks something like velvet. It is used in sportswear, tops, and jackets.

Velvet

A long pile gives this material a luxurious feel and look. Can be used in clothing as well as decorative household items like upholstery.

Velveteen

Cotton or cotton blended fibers give this a dense pile. It does not have the drape or luster of velvet but is used in many items velvet can be used in such as clothes or drapery.

Voile

Plain cotton weave with a lightweight feel and an appearance not unlike organza. Used in blouses, dresses, and drapes.

W

Waffle Cloth

The cotton honeycomb weave is produced on a dobby loom. Microfibers can also be used to create this absorbent, quick drying material. It can be used in dish towels, bath towels, or bed covers.

Wool Crepe

Warp yarns twisted in alternate directions create this lightweight worsted fabric with a crinkled look. The fabric’s name can apply to other fabrics without a crepe surface that is used in women’s clothing.

Woven Fabric

Two sets of yarn create these fabrics. One set goes along the length and the other set goes perpendicular to the warp. The weave is created by moving the fill yarns over and under one another. These fabrics will fray without being hemmed at the edges.

X

Y

Yarn

Textile fiber strands are twisted to create individual strands. The yarn is knitted or woven to create many other materials.

Yarn Dyed

When several fibers are twisted with one another they create a long strand of yarn dyed fabrics. When these longer yarns are kintted or woven they can create different fabrics.

Z

Zari

A thread with a gold or silver tone that gives any item it is used in a metallic shine. It is often used in brocades and saris.