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Fabric Glossary

A

Acetate: A slippery, slinky, and shiny fabric make from wood pulp and used primarily for lining, home décor, and many bridal party dresses.

Acrylic: Mainly used in upholstery and knits, acrylic fabric is made from acrylic fibers.  Acrylic is usually made into yarn or fabric, and used directly in knit production.

 

B

Brocade: An embossed cloth used mostly in upholstery and made often with silk, gold, and silver.  Brocade fabric is most commonly seen used on couches or as drapery.

Brocatelle: Used mainly in upholstery fabric, brocatelle is a heavy fabric with highly raised patterns.  Similar to brocade, brocatelle fabrics are commonly used as drapery.

Burnout:  Light fabric with a semi-transparent design that is most commonly used in clothing, such as shirts, skirts, and dresses.  Burnout fabrics are created when some fibers are dissolved during processing; creating a pattern that disappears throughout the fabric.

 

C

Cashmere: An incredibly soft fabric derived from Cashmere goat neck hair.  The fabric is generally seen used as clothing in sweaters, scarves, and pashminas, and is known for being decadently soft.

Chambray:  A lightweight fabric, used in clothing, with color warp.  Chambray fabric is generally used in spring and summer clothing, creating lightweight shirts and shirts.

Chantilly lace: A handmade delicate lace with a fine, tough, outlined and embroidered pattern.  This French fabric is primarily used as an overlay for dresses or tablecloths.

Charmeuse: A shiny, woven fabric with a satin weave and finish, charmeuse can be found in both stretchy and non-stretchy styles.  Generally found in evening wear, lingerie, ties, and handkerchiefs, charmeuse is the perfect silk like fabric for fashion projects.

Checker: A geometric pattern with equally spaced squares of alternating color that can be seen in flannels, boxers, and many modern patterns.

Chenille: Used mostly in throws, blankets, and scarves, chenille fabric is a soft, unique, velvet like fabric made from fuzzy textured woven yarns.

Chiffon: Chiffon is a lightweight sheer fabric known for its flow-like functionality and is mainly used in women’s wear in dresses, tunics, and blouses.  Chiffon can be made from cotton, silk, or polyester fibers.

Corduroy: Most commonly seen in slacks, jackets, and furniture upholstery, corduroy is a fabric with cords that lie parallel to each other.  The fabric is known for its soft and warm characteristics.

Cotton: A soft, breathable textile spun from cotton plants and used widely for t-shirts, sweaters, pants, and everyday clothing.  Perhaps the most popular type of fabric in the textile world, cotton fabric is used in most clothing.

Crepe: A gauzy textured fabric make of silk, polyester, or wool with a crimpy look.  Crepe fabric is usually used in scarves, shawls, and pashminas, as it has a crinkled, comfortable finish.

Crepe de chine: Much like crepe fabric, crepe de chine is similar in fabrication, however, generally made of only silk.  Crepe de chine is used for softer and delicate designs in dresses, blouses, and even some upholstery.

Crochet: An intricate knit fabricated by using a specialized hook, crochet is used to make a range of clothing, including tops, dresses, and scarves.  Crochet is also used in upholstery fabrics as table runners, doilies, or pillow cases.

Cut Velvet: Used mainly in upholstery fabric, cut velvet is a brocaded velvet pattern and a background of a lighter weight fabric.  Cut velvet is usually seen in intricate designs and is used ad drapery, table cloths, or sofa upholstery.

 

D

Damask: Common in upholstery fabric, damask fabric has a reversible silk or linen design with a woven pattern.  Damask fabric is generally seen in drapery, sofa covers, and chair seat covers.

Denim: A very popular fabric used in jeans to manufacture mainly jackets and pants.  Generally dyed, this fabric is also regularly altered in processes such as acid washes, destruction, and fading.

Double knit: Seen in scarves, hats, and socks, double knit fabric is one that has two fabrics simultaneously knit together.

Dupioni silk: Used mainly in upholstery fabric, dupioni silk is a soft, crisp, iridescent, silk fabric, seen in curtains, drapes, and sometimes bridal or formal wear.

 

E

Eyelet: Delicate fabrics with small holes in them, eyelet fabrics are used in dresses and women wear, as well as baby and child sheets, pillows, and clothing.

Elasticity: Fabric with elasticity generally contains elastic properties and may contain spandex, lycra, or similar stretchy fabrics.

Embroidery: Used in upholstery fabric, embroidered fabric is generally handcrafted intricate stitching on different types of fabrics.  The stitching has a raised feeling and is usually seen in blankets, coats, caps, and polo shirts.

 

F

Felt: A multi-purpose fabric that can be used for hats, gloves, musical instruments, or even cars, felt is not woven.  It is constructed by matting and condensing fibers to create squares of fabric.

Flannel: Popular as a tartan design and used as bed sheets, shirts, and sleepwear, flannel fabric is a thick, soft, warm fabric made of wool or yarn.

Flat Weave:  Flat weave style is generally seen in rugs and other thick upholstery items.  It is characterized by being woven on a loom, rather than knotted.  They usually have large geometric designs covering the length of the fabric.

Fleece: Used in sweaters, blankets, and outdoor clothing, fleece fabric is made from sheep wool or synthetic fibers and is an extremely soft and cuddly fabric.

Foil: A metallic fabric, with or without holograms, foil is a unique, shiny fabric used in drapery or costume and dancewear.  Foil fabric stands out for its creative sparkle and dazzle.

Fringe: A textile trim used in upholstery and seen in drapery, curtains, and tassels.  It is commonly made separately and sewn on during the completion of the project.

 

G

Gauze: A thinly weaved fabric with translucent properties used for clothing, hosiery, and lining.  Gauze can be made from thick or fine yarns, adjusting the delicacy of the fabric.

Georgette: A crepe like fabric with a crinkly surface used for women’s wear and generally seen in blouses, dresses, and gowns.  This sheer, lightweight, and dull fabric can be made from silk or other types of yarn.

Gimp: Common in upholstery, gimp is a type of braided trim that is used for furniture and drapery.  Gimps are also popular in sewing and embroidery projects.

 

H

Heather: Generally seen in gray colored fabrics, heather is when yarns of two different colors are interwoven to create shades of different colors.  Heathers are seen in jerseys and knits most commonly.

Hemp: A natural fabric made of the hemp plant, the fiber is used to construct dresses, shirts, and pants.  The quality is linen like and very lightweight.

 

I

Ikat: Seen in many cultural designs, ikat is a dyeing technique to make patterned textiles by single dying threads.  Ikat designs can be seen in dresses, fleece blankets, and drapery and is most commonly used in fine cotton or silk fabrics.

Interlining: A fabric used on its unseen side, interfacing is commonly used to make fabric more rigid, stop fabrics from stretching, or strengthen certain areas of fabrics.  Interlining is used in shirt collars, where buttonholes are sewn, and at hems of clothing.

Interlock: A multipurpose popular lining, interlock is a lightweight fabric used to line dresses, shirts, and drapery.  Interlock has a dull finish and flows easily.

 

J

Jacquard: Common in upholstery items, jacquard is a type of weaving that is made with a specific loom attachment.  Jacquard weaving is a delicate design seen in drapery, dresses, and stretchy materials.

Jersey: A very popular knit fabric, jersey is used in manufacturing clothing such as dresses, shirts, leggings, and cardigans.  Generally lightweight, jerseys can contain stretch or not, and exhibit drape-like and flowy qualities.

 

K

Knit: A popular type of fabric, knit fabric is used in clothing, bedding, and everyday items.  There are different types of knit fabrics that depend on the styles they are manufactured.

Knit de knit: A crinkly textured fabric that is made by knitting, heat setting, and unravelling, knit-de-knit is used for slinky dresses, blouses, and bedding.

 

L

Lace: Very popular and versatile, laces are fabrics with openly weaved yarns that form complex and delicate patterns and designs.  Laces are used for practically everything- from dresses and women wear to upholstery and bedding.

Latticework: Similar to pie crusts, lattice work is a diamond shaped crisscrossed pattern that can be seen in patterns, designs, laces, or meshes or clothing, bedding, or upholstery.

Leather: Popular and durable, leather is a material made by tanning animal rawhide and skin.  Leather is used in both menswear and women wear and has recently be seen in upholstery materials such as couch and chair covers.

Leatherette: With the same feel as leather, leatherette is a simulated leather fabric generally made from natural and synthetic fibers and is used mainly in clothing.

Linen: Known for its cool feel, linen is made from natural fibers and used typically in summer and spring light weight clothing, such as blouses, pants, and dresses.

Lycra: A type of brand name that manufactures spandex, Lycra is stretchy and comfortable fabric used for dancewear and yoga wear, amongst other clothing.

 

M

Mesh: With net-like open appearances, mesh fabrics are multipurpose materials that can be created in different styles and fashions.

Microfiber: Used mainly for athletic wear, microfiber fabric is a made of fine synthetic fibers and used in upholstery, industrial materials, and thicker athletic clothing, such as jerseys, which help keep sweat away from the body.

Muslin:  A light, loose fabric, muslin is used in hotter climates to keep bodies cool.  Muslin can be seen in linings, dresses, and blouses and is typically used to make trial garments in fashion design.

 

N

Net: Like mesh, net is an open weave fabric which can be made in different designs.  Netting can be used in stocking, clothing, and is most commonly seen with spandex or Lycra.

Nylon: Made of synthetic fibers, nylon is a durable material popular in clothing, industrial materials, and upholstery.  An extremely flexible fabric, nylon has high strength and can come in different lusters and weights.

 

O

Organza: A lightweight sheer fabric made from silk, organza is used for blouses, lining, and drapery lining.  Organza is also known for its flowy qualities and cool feel.

Ottoman: Used in athletic wear and formal dresses, ottoman fabric is a heavy, thick fabric with a pronounced rib or corded effect.

 

P

Paisley: A delicate flower and twisted teardrop pattern, paisley pattern is of Persian origin and its design is used everywhere, from dresses to bathing suits to quilts.

Panne velvet: A type of crushed velvet, panne velvet is used in leggings, evening dresses, and jackets, amongst upholstery items, such as couches, chaises, and drapery.

Pique: A heavier fabric with a check-like weave used in menswear for suits, jackets, and fitted clothing.  Pique fabric is characterized by its raising ribbing or fine cords.

Plush: Used as lining for blankets, upholstery, coats, and children’s toys, this soft fabric is constructed similarly as velvet, in that is manufactured with a high pile and made of cotton, wool, silk, or synthetic fibers.

Pointelle: A delicate open-weave designed knitted fabric used for clothing such as sweaters, blouses, and leggings.

Polyester: A very popular synthetic fiber, polyester fabric is used extensively in apparel and home furnishings.  Most polyester fabrics are known for their durability, resistance to damage, and high color retention.

Poplin: Also called tabbinet, poplin is a strong plain weave fabric with a cord like surface.  Poplin can be used for high quality dresses, blouses, and shirts.

Print: A print is a design that is applied directly to fabrics so that the color bonds to the fiber, resisting loss of quality during wash and wear.  Prints come in many different forms and can be accomplished through different techniques and are seen in many different fabric forms, from clothing to home décor and upholstery.

 

Q

Quilting: A process in which multiple layers of fabric are sewn together to form a thicker material, quilting can be accomplished by using quilt squares, strips, or pieces.  Quilting is popular for fabricating blankets, skirts, and jackets, amongst other pieces of apparel.

 

R

Raschel knit: A type of warp knitting, the yarn zigzags along the length of the fabric; however the fabric does not succumb to stretching.  Raschel knits are typically used for dresses, coats, and bottom heavy apparel and material.

Rayon: A semi-synthetic fiber, rayon is a popular stretchy fabric made from cellulose from wood pulp.  Rayon is seen in many different laces, knits, and apparel clothing.

Ribbing: Vertical stitches in alternate strips, ribbing is used in knits and can contract easily.  Ribbing is common is sweaters, stockings, hats, scarves, and other heavy knit apparel.

 

S

Sateen: Similar to the satin weaving pattern, sateen is made in the same process, but with cotton yarn instead of silk, producing a soft, sleek fabric used for dresses, blouses, and bedding.

Satin: A sleek, soft, and glossy fabric, satin is used for bed sheets, lingerie, blouses, and dresses, amongst other apparel.  Satin has a high luster surface and feels cool to the skin, making it a popular summer and spring fabric.

Sequin: Disk shaped beads usually made from plastic or sometimes shiny metals and used for the decorating and bedazzling of apparel.  Available in many colors and shapes, sequins are used on shoes, clothing, bags, and upholstery.

Sheer: A semi-transparent light fabric, sheer fabric is made using thin threads and knits.  Sheer fabric is common and popular in curtains and drapery, dress linings, stockings, dancewear, and gowns.

Silk: A natural fiber produced from insect cocoons, silk is a strong, slinky, shiny fabric used for ties, dresses, lining, lingerie, amongst other forms of apparel and upholstery.  Because the fabric is so light and slinky, it stays warm in warm weather and cool in cooler temperatures.

Slub: Seen in knits, a slub is a thick spot in a yarn weave that is created by varying the tightness of the yarn twist.  Slub is a novelty yarn that can be seen in some upholstery, bedding, and jerseys and can be used as clothing or drapery.

Spandex: A strong, synthetic fiber known for its stretchy ability, spandex fabric is seen mostly in sportswear, active wear, leggings, swimsuits, shaped garments, and compression garments.  A fabric that is easy to move in, spandex can be used for most exercise activities, including but not limited to: yoga, dance, volleyball, cycling, swimming, wrestling, surfing, snow sports, and football and baseball pants.

Suede: Made from the underside of animal skin, suede is a type of leather used for shoes, jackets, upholstery, and purses, amongst other types of apparel.  Suede is made with a napped finish, giving the fabric a soft, smooth, and thick feel.

Swatch: A sample of fabric used to check for feel, pattern, stitch, stretch, and color.  Our swatches are generally 5” X 5” squares and are available for most of our fabrics- just click the ‘order swatch’ button if you’d like to test the fabric before you buy it!

 

T

Taffeta: Used for lining in dresses or curtains, taffeta is a smooth, crisp high quality fabric made of silk or rayon fibers.  Because taffeta can be quite stiff, it is more commonly used in formal wear.

Tapestry: Commonly referred to as needlepoint, tapestry is a form of hand embroidery where yarn is stitched through an open-weave canvas.  The products of tapestry are usually stiffer than other fabrics, usually made perfectly for pillows, upholstery, purses, and shoes.

Techno: A type of fabric used for mainly apparel, techno is a knit fabric seen in stretch knits such as leggings, dresses, and skirts and is usually thick, making it warm for cooler weather needs. 

Trim: Used in upholstery and apparel, trims are small ribbons, ruffles, gimps, tassels, or piping applied to fabrics to curtains, dresses, jackets, sweaters, and more.

Tulle: Popularly seen in dresses, gowns, tutus, and veils, tulle is very fine soft netting that can be bunched or layered to be given different effects.  Previously used to make petticoats and underskirts, tulle has become more popular in wedding material, dance costumes, and ball gowns, and is available in a variety of colors.

Tweed: A rough wool-like fabric with a twisted pattern, tweed is mostly seen in blazers, slacks, and suits.  It is associated with vintage looks and can come in different patterns, such as houndstooth, herringbone, or windowpane designs.

Twill: Similar to the feel of tweed fabric, twill is has a diagonal parallel rib, which results in a diagonal pattern when weaved.  Twill is a two sided fabric, and its method of use is seen in denim and tweed.  Twill is commonly seen in apparel fabrics.

 

V

Velour: A type of plush fabric, velour is made from cotton or polyester and is known for its soft, velvet-like feel.  Velour fabric is used in jackets, blankets, pants, robes, and some bedding and upholstery, such as pillow or sofa covers.

Velvet: Incredibly soft and delicate, velvet is a type of woven fabric with a short pile, making it’s surface smooth and thick.  Used in leggings, jackets, dresses, or even drapery, a material can consist solely of velvet or can be trimmed or designed with the material to give it a high quality feel.

Velveteen: A velvet imitation, velveteen is a more economical fabric and is very similar to velvet in its feel and use.  Velveteen has a shorter pile and because of this, it does not easily drape.

Viscose: A type of rayon made from wood cellulose, viscose is used for outer wear, dresses, linings, and bottom heavy apparel.  Viscose is chemically treated to form a softer feel.

 

W

Wool: Thick and warm, wool fabric is made from fibers that come from animals, and can feel soft or scratchy depending on the animal and the way the wool is spun.  Wool is used in sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats, jackets, leggings, and other outer wear apparel.

Woven fabric: Designated as knits, jerseys, or even linings. Woven fabrics are formed by different types of weaving and can be made manually or automatically on looms.

 

Y

Yarn: Used in knitting and weaving, as well as other types of fabric manufacturing, yarn is a long continuous string of interlocked and braided fiber.  Yarn may be made from cotton, silk, or any synthetic material and can be spun in either direction.