Fabric Dictionary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X, Y, Z




A filament fiber made from acetate with a crisp hand and high luster. Drapes well. Acetate woven fabric is often used for linings, but it shows perspiration stains.



A synthetic fiber that has a soft hand and good wrinkle resistance. It is often used in blankets and socks.

Admiralty Cloth

Admiralty Cloth

Melton cloth often used in military uniforms and pea coats.

Aida Canvas

Aida Canvas

Stiff, coarse fabric used for needlework.

Albert Cloth Albert Cloth

A reversible wool double cloth with different colors on front and back. Used for coats.

Alencon Lace Alençon Lace

A needlepoint lace with fine net background with cord outlining design.

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Bark Cloth Bark Cloth

Rugged looking 100% cotton, formerly used to make draperies but now used for unlined jackets and straight or a-line skirts.

Bemberg Bemberg

A trademark of Bemberg Spa, Italy, this rayon lining material has a soft, silk-like quality and comes in several weights.

Bengaline Bengaline

A lustrous, durable, warp-faced fabric with corded appearance most often used in millinery, ribbons, and suits.

Botany Wool Botany Wool

Originally referred to Australian wool, of fine quality, but now refers to fine wool from all over the world.

Boynge Boynge

Thermal underwear fabric.

Silk Broadcloth Broadcloth

A fine, closely woven, lustrous cotton or poly-cotton blend with an unbalanced weave that creates a fine rib. An excellent shirting material.

Buckram Buckram

A coarse, stiff, plain open-weave fabric used as a stiffener.

Burlap Burlap

Very rough open weave inexpensive fabric. Can be used as window coverings but tends to fade and stretch overtime.

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Cabretta Cabretta

A fine lightweight goatskin fabric. Excellent choice for garment sewing, especially pants.

Calico Calico

A plain cotton weave with a typically busy, small floral pattern.

Cambric Cambric

A soft plain-weave cloth or linen with a slight luster used for handkerchiefs, aprons, and underwear.

Calvary Twill Cavalry Twill

A popular fabric for military uniforms. Its distinct twill weave makes it an excellent choice for a jacket or coat. Wrinkle resistant.

Chambray Chambray

Has the appearance of very fine denim. With a plain weave using colored warp and white weft. Makes great shirts and pajamas.

Chamois Chamois

Light-weight leather from sheepskin. Used for buffing cars and american indian-inspired garments.

Charmelaine Charmelaine

A wool twill dress fabric with a ribbed face and smooth back.

Chintz Chintz

Plain-weave cotton fabric with a glazed finish often used for slipcovers and curtains.

Chino Chino

A durable twill-cotton fabric with a slight sheen that makes excellent work clothes or casual pants.

Cool Wool Cool Wool

A trade name used to denote a light-weight “tropical” wool. Armani suits are often made in this fabric.

Covert Covert

A durable twill-weave fabric made from tightly twisted yarns. Wool covert makes an excellent top coat that can be waterproofed. Cotton covert makes good work clothes or sportswear.

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Dacron Dacron

A trademark of Dupont, this polyester is an old favorite for house dresses.

Deerskin Deerskin

Soft, supple leather skin from deer hide. Makes first-quality garments; especially soft shirts, loose pants, and skirts.

Donegal Tweed Donegal Tweeds

A rather-coarse, wrinkle-resistant multicolored wool most often used in men’s sports jackets.

Dotted Swiss Dotted Swiss

A sheer cotton or nylon fabric patterned with small dots that are woven in or glued on. Makes good summer blouses and curtains.

Drill Drill

A strong, dense, medium-to heavy-weight cotton of twill weave. Used for uniforms, lining shoes, work clothes, and mattress ticking.

Duchesse Satin Duchesse Satin

A highly lustrous, smooth, very finely woven silk fabric. Used in bridal or evening wear where volume without bulk is desired.

Duck Duck

A durable, plain-weave cotton that is flexible. Used for sails, tents, and awnings.

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Egyptian Cotton Egyptian Cotton

A high-quality long staple cotton used in the finest sheets.

English Net English Net

A cotton netting with a hexagonal weave that dyes well. Used in evening wear for sheer sections and as underlining in bodices.

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Facile Facile

A trademark of Skinner Co., this faux suede is lightweight and drapes better than ultrasuede.

Faille Faille

A flat, ribbed fabric with a light luster. Fabric has body but drapes and tailors well. Makes beautiful spring suits and coats.

Flax Flax

Used to make linen.

Fukusa Fukusa

A silk square used in Japan to wrap gifts. Can be combined in garments for beautiful effects

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Gauze Gauze

A fine, transparent, plain-weave fabric with open texture.

Gingham Gingham

A lightweight plain-weave fabric often woven in checks. Great for pattern pretests.

Gore-Tex Gore-Tex®

This porous fabric repels water but allows body moisture to escape, making it comfortable for active outerwear.

Grosgrain Grosgrain

A closely woven ribbed ribbon made with a rayon warp. Must be preshrunk.

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Habutai Habutai

A soft, lightweight plain-weave silk usually referred to as china silk.

Handkerchief Linen

Handkerchief Linen

A plain weave of the lightest weight linen. Used for handkerchiefs, blouses, and bias binding.

Harris Tweed

Harris Tweed

A woolen fabric hand-woven on the islands off the coast of Scotland. It is wrinkle resistant and often used in men’s sport jackets.

Hopsacking Hopsacking

A coarse, loosely-woven fabric woven in hopsack or basket weave. Burlap is a rough hopsack. Cotton or linen hopsacking is more pliable and can be used in lightweight, loose coats.

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Jaconet Jaconet

A fine, sheer plain-weave cotton fabric used in children’s summer clothing.

Jacquard Jacquard

A weaving system that can produce large woven designs.

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Lawn Lawn

A finely-woven, semi-crisp fabric woven in cotton or linen. It is primarily used in heirloom dresses, blouses, collars, and cuffs. Also makes great underlining.

Leatherette Leatherette

A coated fabric that simulates leather. Used in upholstery.

Liberty Liberty

Hand-blocked floral prints in silk, rayon, cotton, and wool challis.

Loden Cloth Loden Cloth

A thick, soft, oily green wool fabric that repels water and is typically seen in coatings.

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A fine cotton, hand loomed in the Madras region of India. Dyed with natural dyes.



A fabric with crepe and ordinary yarn interfaced in the warp. When the crepe yarn shrinks, it causes the ordinary yarn to pucker, creating raised patterns. Can be made in cotton, silk, or wool.

Merino Wool Merino Wool

A very fine, dense wool from the merino sheep. Takes dye well.

Mesh Mesh

Woven, knitted, crocheted, or knotted with open spaces between yarns. Supple and elastic. Used in men’s sport shirts. Lightweight mesh is used in evening wear.

Moire Moire

A wavy, water-like pattern produced onto a fabric surface by engraved rollers during the finishing process.

Momme Momme

A Japanese unit of weight for silk fabrics.

Monks Cloth Monk’s Cloth

A heavy, coarse cotton fabric with a loose, basket weave. Used in draperies, slipcovers, and upholstery.

Muslin Muslin

A firm plain-weave cotton found in many weights. Great for pattern pretests.

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Napa Napa

A soft, thin, very drapey leather skin used for quality garments.

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Oilcloth Oilcloth

An oil-coated fabric with a waterproof surface. Cleaned with water. Used for table or shelf covers.

Organdy Organdy

A very fine, sheer cotton with a crisp hand.

Oxford Cloth Oxford Cloth

A plain weave with twice as many threads in the warp as in the weft, resulting in a basketweave.

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Panne Satin Panné

A high-gloss satin fabric.

Panne Velvet Panné Velvet

Often with a knitted base, pile on this velvet is pressed down in one direction, resulting in a shiny appearance.

Patent Leather Patent Leather

Shiny, hard, smooth leather created by applying a solution that hardens to the surface of the leather.

Percale Percale

A lightweight firm cotton with a balanced weave that can be piece-dyed or printed.

Pigskin Pigskin

A sueded leather skin that can be drapey or firm depending on the dye lot. Works well in jackets, slim pants, and straight skirts.

Pima Cotton Pima Cotton

A very fine American-Egyptian cotton that is great for underlining.

Plisse Plisse

A puckered or crinkled cotton.

Point D'Esprit Point D’Esprit

A netting with a rectangular dot in a regular, all-over pattern.

Pongee Pongee

A plain-weave, medium-weight silk with a finer warp than weft; feels like a starched china silk.

Poplin Poplin

Fabric with a similar weave to broadcloth but the rib is larger and the fabric heavier.

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Raschel Knit Raschel Knit

A warp-knitted fabric that comes in a variety of patterns.

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Sateen Sateen

Fabric made of long staple cotton or filament yarns to produce a strong, lustrous surface.

Sea Island Cotton Sea Island Cotton

The finest grade of cotton.

Seersucker Seersucker

A permanently crinkled cotton stripe. Crinkle is produced in the weave and is not destroyed by heat.

Sharkskin Sharkskin

A worsted wool with a mottled effect often found in men’s suits. A lighter weight in cotton is used in sportswear and uniforms.

Sheepskin Sheepskin

Suede produced from a breed of sheep that grows hair rather than wool.

Silk Broadcloth Silk Broadcloth

A fine, closely woven silk with a fine rib.

SilkBrocade Silk Brocade

Silk brocades are known for their smooth texture, durability and strength, which qualify as a perfect clothing material. Only the highest quality of raw silk is used in brocade weaving.

Spandex Spandex

A manufactured fiber of at least 85% polyurethane with excellent recovery and flexibility.

Surah Surah

A soft, lightweight lustrous silk characterized by fine twill lines. Because it isn’t durable, it’s best used in ties and vest fronts.

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Thermolite Thermolite

A fabric made from inter-locked polyester that is coated to be slippery and durable.

Thinsulate Thinsulate

A thermal insulation that can’t be dry-cleaned. It provides twice the insulation of similar thicknesses of polyester, down, or wool.

Ticking Ticking

A durable plain, twill-or satin weave cotton fabric most often used as covering for mattresses and pillows and sometimes for upholstery.

Triacetate Triacetate

A modified acetate fiber that is stronger than acetate when wet, with greater resistance to heat, shrinking, wrinkling, and fading.

Tricot Tricot

A warp knit fabric with a horizontal rib used often in women’s lingerie. Makes a great lining for knitted pants. Fusible tricot makes an excellent lightweight interfacing.

Tropical Worsteds Tropical Worsteds

Lightweight suiting made of highly twisted yarns that permit air circulation. One yard weighs 7 1/2 ounces to 10 ounces.

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Vicuna Vicuna

The finest wool woven from a small South American relative of the camel. Very soft to touch and very warm to wear.

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Whipcord Whipcord

A strong worsted fabric with an upright twill weave. Very resistant to wrinkling or stretching out of shape. Used in riding habits, uniforms, sportswear, and coatings.