GLOSSARY OF FABRICS
View the different fabric descriptions and uses to ensure that you understand the terminology.
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Denim is a rugged indigo cotton twill textile, which has been in use since the late 18th century, particularly for workwear.
Denim fabrics are universal. However, denim is a highly versatile textile that can be used for all kinds of apparel and accessories. In recent years, this fabric has also become popular in home furnishings.
A 3×1 twill weave piece dyed fabric, made from coarse yarns. It’s basically denim without indigo!
Due to its range of colours, strength and machine washability, Bull Denim has become increasingly popular for upholstery and soft furnishings.
Twill is a type of fabric woven with a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs. Examples of twill fabric are chino, drill, denim, gabardine, tweed and serge. Harris Tweed is a luxury twill.
Twills are often used for sturdy work clothing or durable upholstery because soils and stains are less noticeable on this fabric.
Is the name given to a woven textile with an intricate pattern. Jacquard weaving uses a variety of fibers and blends of fibers, and it is used in the production of fabrics for many end uses.
Jacquard weave is used for upholstery and drapery materials like brocades, brocatelles, tapestries, and matelasses.
Damask is a figured fabric of silk, wool, linen, cotton, or synthetic fibers, with a pattern formed by weaving. The term originally referred to ornamental silk fabrics, which were elaborately woven in colours. Damask may feature flowers, fruit, forms of animal life, and other types of ornament.
Damask weaves are most commonly found in table linens. The finest results are obtained when the so-called double damask weaves are used.
Calico refers to fabric made from unbleached, and often not fully processed, cotton. The fabric is less coarse and thick than canvas or denim, but because of its unfinished and undyed state, it is inexpensive.
As it is an inexpensive calico is often used by tailors in the construction of mockups of a garment for the purpose of testing a pattern. It has also become popular within the home for curtain material and accessories such as bags.
Voile is a lightweight woven fabric, generally made of 100% cotton or cotton blends including linen or polyester. Its name originates from the French language and means veil. Today intricately detailed voiles have become fashionable.
The fabric is often used in soft furnishing. Full-length curtains are made with voile and used as window treatments, mosquito nets etc. Voile fabric is also used in dress-making either in multiple layers or laid over a second material.
Percale is a closely woven plain-weave fabric. The term describes the weave of the fabric, not its content, so percale can be a 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester, 100% cotton, or a blend of other fabrics in any ratio. Percale fabrics are made in both solid colours and printed patterns.
A percale weave has a thread count of about 200 or higher and it washes very well. Therefore it is ideal for high quality bedlinen.
Flannelette is a light, napped cotton texture of flannel. Flannelette can either have a long or short nap and can be napped on only one or two sides. It comes in many colours, both solid and patterned.
Flannelette is used very extensively for things such as underclothing, nightwear, dresses, dressing gowns and shirts.
Hessian, also known as “Burlap”, is a woven fabric made from jute or sisal fibers.
Closed weave hessian is used for crafts, bags, upholstery and interior decorating.
Poplin is a fabric consisting of a silk warp with a weft of worsted yarn. It is made with wool, cotton, silk, rayon, or any mixture of these, though originally made from silk.
Poplin is used for shirting and dress purposes, and for rich upholstery work. Shirts made from this material are easy to iron and do not wrinkle easily. Medical Uniforms almost exclusively use Poly/Cotton blended Poplin fabrics.
Suiting fabrics are made in a variety of fabrics, but most commonly from wool. The two main yarns produce worsteds and woollens. These can be woven in a number of ways producing flannel, tweed, gabardine, and fresco among others. For hot weather, linen and cotton seersucker is worn. Other materials such as cashmere, silk and silk blended with wool are also popular.
Traditional business suits are generally in solid colours or with pin stripes; windowpane checks are also acceptable. Outside business, the range of acceptable patterns widens.
Linen is a textile made from the fibres of the flax plant. Linen is labour-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather.
The collective term linens is still often used generically to describe a class of woven and even knitted bed, bath, table and kitchen textiles.
Canvas material is an extremely heavy-duty plain-woven fabric that comes in a variety of types, such as Waterproof Canvas, Water Resistant Canvas, Fire Proof Canvas, Dyed Canvas, Stripe Canvas, Printed Canvas.
Canvas Textiles is used for making sails, tents, marquees, backpacks, and other functions where sturdiness is required. It is also popularly used for fashion on handbags and shoes, and by painters as a painting surface, typically stretched.