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Fabric Glossary

Appliqué:

A technique of applying cutout patterns of fabric onto a ground cloth using either plain or embroidery stitches.

Black stitch:

An embroidery worked in black threads on a white or ivory-colored background fabric.

Brocade:

A heavy fabric with elaborate patterns that are raised against a ground cloth by the addition of supplementary wefts.

Brocatelle

A variant of damask with raised areas of patterns.

Bullion fringe:

A twisted length of hanging robe made from gold, silver or metallic fibers. Primarily used for skirt base of sofa and armchairs.

Buttonhole stitch:

A looped outline stitch used to finish the raw edges of fabric.

Canvas:

A coarse, hardwearing fabric woven from fibers of hemp or flax.

Chenille:

A velvet-like fabric woven from a soft, fuzzy-textured woven yarns of natural or synthetic fibers.

Checker:

A geometric pattern consisting of regularly spaced squares of alternating color.

Chinoiserie:

Western adaptations of Chinese artifacts and styles of ornaments.

Cord:

A form of rope of various thickness made from twisted threads of fiber. Primarily used as trims or tie backs.

Corduroy:

A pile fabric with regularly spaced, parallel ridges.

Damask:

A monochrome reversible fabric displaying patterns (usually floral) created by the contrast between a shiny, satin-weave ground and matte, satin weave figuring.

Embroidery:

A decorative stitching applied to the surface of a fabric

Fleur-de-lis

A stylized three of five petal lilly. Originally a symbol of purity.

French knots:

A decorative embroidery knots worked on the show side of a fabric to create textured dots of color.

Fringe:

A trimming for upholstery or curtains.

Fustian:

A Collective term for a group of coarse, usually patterned fabrics woven from wool or cotton/wool.

Gaufrage:

A Method of embossing patterns onto the surface of fabrics with heated metal rollers (often used with velvets).

Gimp:

A type of braids made from strands of silk, wool or cotton, braided or twisted around a cord or wire.

Gingham:

A lightweight cotton fabric with geometric check pattern of two alternating colors on a white or off white background.

Hemp:

A Coarse fabric woven from fibers of plants.

Herringbone:

A geometric pattern consisting of alternating diagonal lines similar in appearance to the spine and ribs of a herring fish.

Holland:

A generic term for fine-woven linen cloth, available bleached or unbleached.

Ikat:

An Indonesian fine cotton or silk fabric, decorated with clocks, circles or stripes, softened by a vegetable dying process that blends the edges of the colors into one another.

Jute:

A Fiber derived from Asian plants.

Latticework:

A grid like design made up of open diamond shapes.

Linen:

A Strong fabric woven from fibers of flat plant stalks

Matelasse:

Derived from the French verb "matellaser", which means to quilt. Metalasse is a term used to describe double-woven damasks and other fabrics that incorporate raised figures or motifs on their surface.

Monochrome:

One color or shades of one color.

Moquette:

A woolen velvet, either plain or patterned, used for upholstery and carpeting.

Muslin:

A lightweight, plain weave cotton gauze.

Noile:

A Silk fabric with a shimmery surface created by the presence of tiny balls made from the waste products of spun silk mixed with cotton or wool.

Organza:

A fine, plain weave sheer cotton fabric. Produced plain or patterned.

Passementerie:

A Collective term for decorative trimmings applied to soft furnishings, includes ribbons, bows, braids, tassels and fringes.

Picot:

A decorative furnishing trim that is made of small loops of thread.

Plaid:

A plain or twill-weave cloth with a pattern of intersecting stripes.

Plush:

A velvet-like fabric but with a longer, denser pile. Mostly used for upholstery.

Polyester:

A durable, crease-resistant synthetic fiber.

Poplin:

Lightweight fabric traditionally woven with fine silk to produce a ribbed effect.

Seersucker:

Originally and India striped fabric of mixed silk and cotton. Characterized by a rippled or puckered textured formed by weaving the cotton warps at a looser tension.

Silk:

Luxury fabric woven from shiny, smooth filaments spun from the cocoons of the silk worm.

Slub silk:

A raw silk fabric with a textured surface produced by incorporating small flecks of the silkworm cocoon in the weave.

Strie

: A mottled effect on the surface of the fabric produced by dyeing the yarns with two different colors before weaving.

Taffeta:

A firm, closely woven silk or linen fabric with an identical glossy surface on both sides.

Tieback:

A length of robe, cord or fabric used to secure a curtain to one side of a window.

Velour:

A heavy, velvet-like fabric with a thick pile that lies in one direction.

Voile:

A fine, sheer, crisp fabric woven from cotton, silk, wool or synthetic fibers.

Wool:

A yarn spun from the fibrous coat of an animal, such as a sheep or a goat.

Worsted:

A smooth, strong woolen fabric made from carded and combed wool yarn.

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