28 Common Fabric Definitions

Published: 27th March 2009
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There are all types of fabrics for upholstery, drapery, curtains, clothing, quilting, interior designs, etc. Here are 28 fabric definitions used for different decorating and craft projects.

1. Acetate: A man-made fiber consisting of cellulose acetate and used in many luxury fabrics. It's quick drying and needs to be pressed with a cool iron. Rayon acetate is often used in drapery fabric.

2. Acrylic: A man-made fabric often used in knitted fabrics. Its characteristics are warmth and bulk without weight. It can give great shape retention and wrinkle resistance to fabrics.

3. Anidex: This is a new fiber in use to elastic-type spandex yarns. It is, however, much more resistant to heat, sunlight, and chemicals, but has less elongation stretch.

4. Antique Lace: Handmade bobbin lace made with heavy thread and square knotted mesh. Similar types of lace can be found in drapery fabrics.

5. Antique Taffeta: A crisp, lustrous fabric with slubbed yarns resembling types made before silk was finely cultivated. Formal draperies and bedspreads are frequently made from antique taffeta.

6. Appenzell: Swiss hand embroidery done with a buttonhole stitch.

7. Applique: A separate design which is sewn or attached to a cloth. Applique may be used to decorate plain fabrics and then be used as pillow covers, for instance.

8. Arabesque: Ornamental, geometrically balanced design in scrolled effects.

9. Bainin: Handwoven Irish woolen cloth made in the Aran Islands.

10. Bark Cloth: Nonwoven material made in the tropics from the inner bark of trees, soaked and beaten out to the required thinness, then dyed or ornamented with printed patterns. Also, woven drapery fabric that imitates the rough appearance of bark cloth.

11. Basket Weave: An interlaced weave resembling a plaited basket. Cotton blended with synthetic makes a strong and good-looking basket weave for slipcovers and upholstery.

12. Batik: Javanese process of wax-dying fabric. Parts of cloth are coated with wax which is then cut to shape the design. Only the uncovered parts of the cloth take the dye. Batik effects are also simulated in printing. The prints, tropical in nature, are good for summery rooms as slipcovers and laminated on shades.

13. Batiste: Sheer fabric, once cotton or silk and now constructed of man-made fibers as well. Named for Jean Baptiste, a French linen weaver.

14. Benares: Silk and metal tissue made in Benares, India.

15. Bias Tape: Double or single fold of tape cut on the bias and used to bind edges.

16. Blends: Mixed yarns that often combine natural fibers with synthetics.

17. Block Print: Ancient process of applying design by means of carved wooden blocks.

18. Bolt: Entire length of cloth from a loom.

19. Bonding: Uniting of two fabrics to make a stronger cloth. Fabrics can be bonded to a number of materials including knit and foam. A lightweight fabric can be bonded to knit for a heavier weight and then used for upholstery.

20. Botany: A generic word for fine wool used interchangeably with merino wool.

21. Boucle: Tightly looped fabric that is very sturdy. It's particularly good for covered pieces that take a lot of wear and tear.

22. Braid: Round or tubular narrow fabric for binding or trimming.

23. Bretenne Lace: Net with embroidered designs of heavy thread.

24. Broadcloth: Closely woven fabric with lustrous finish made of many different fibers and blends.

25. Brocade: Raised, figurative designs on lustrous fabric.

26. Brocatelle: A heavy furniture and drapery fabric similar to brocade but with figures in high relief.

27. Burlap: Jute fabric that is coarse and plainly woven. Its uses include both wall coverings and drapery.

28. Butcher Linen: A coarse, homespun linen. The texture is now simulated in synthetics.

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