Fabric Glossary A-L
Our fabric glossary is a comprehensive resource for information on all of our entire online fabric selection. This section contains detailed descriptions of a plethora of fabrics, including silk fabrics, wool fabrics, cottons, and a wide range of designer fabrics available in a variety of weaves and knits. From the natural strength and durability of our silk fabrics to the natural weather resistant properties of wool, find out which of our online fabric selections is best suited to your particular project.
Whether seeking fabric for a high-end designer brand or a creative home sewing project, let us help you find the ideal material for your apparel and décor needs. New York Fashion Center is a trusted favorite among designers in the New York Garment Center and we have available an in-house fashion designer to answer any questions our customers may have about our many online fabrics.
See Glossary M-Z
A manufactured fiber formed by compound of cellulose. It resists shrinkage, moths and mildew, but is not a strong fabric as it breaks easily and has poor resistance to abrasion. It has a soft crisp feel and a lustrous face, which are its signature characteristics.
Baize is a loose woolen fabric, with a finely cut nap on both sides. This heavily felted material is traditionally dyed either red or green, and is used for simple clothing, as well as drawer linings and tablecloths. Derived from the French baie, the Spanish name for baize isbayetta.
Batik is a fabric dyeing technique originating in Indonesia, which uses wax resist molds to create designs. The wax is poured on a fabric, typically cotton, and allowed to harden in the shape of the desired design. The cloth is then dyed and the wav removed, with the remaining design in the original cloth color. This process can be repeated for intricate design work, and the characteristic veined look of Batik is achieved when some dye leaks through cracks in the wax.
An extremely fine, semi-sheer, lightweight, plain weave fabric. It is almost transparent and is usually made of cotton or cotton blends. Check out our Batiste Collection.
From the French word meaning curled, boucle is a knit or woven fabric with loops that create an uneven, textured surface at intervals. Because of the fabric's looped, knotted surface, it has a very supple, bouncy hand.
A dense woolen cloth with a plain weave that is tightly woven and usually made from cotton or a cotton blend. It is heavier, lustrous, and soft, and made with a crosswise rib. Check out our Broadcloth Collection.
A thick, heavy fabric made with a Jacquard loom and a satin weave, most often featuring a raised floral pattern. Brocade is typically made from silk, rayon or nylon, and has a very Oriental look. It is often used in home decor, womens wear and accessories.
The removal of excess knots, bumps, loose threads and slubs from a fabric before the finishing process, by means of a burling iron or tweezers. Burling does not damage the fabric and ensures a smooth texture.
A process to flatten fabric involving alternating smooth metal and cloth-wrapped rollers, similar to ironing. The process can also be used to apply different finishes to pre-treated textiles, as well as to coat fabrics with plastics or rubber.
A plain weave cotton material that is unbleached and still retains some of the natural vegetable matter normally extracted in the manufacturing process. Named for the town of Calicut in India, calico fabric is typically used for making quilts.
A lightweight plain weave cotton or linen cloth, slightly heavier than muslin, that is closely woven and calendered to give a slight sheen on one side. The material was originally a linen fabric woven in Cambrai in northern France.
A plain woven fabric, typically made from cotton or synthetic fibers, that is often woven in checkered or striped patterns and has a frosted appearance. Usually made from blue and white yarns and used to make shirts, dresses and childrens clothing, the fabric originated in the town of Cambrai in northern France.
A luxurious, supple, silky fabric with an extremely shiny face and a dull back, similar to satin but lighter in weight. Usually made from rayon or cotton, but premium varieties are made from silk. Check out our Charmeuse Collection.
Calico cloth printed with large flamboyant designs, typically with a floral print. This plain-weave fabric is often starched for stiffness and calendered with wax to produce a smooth shiny surface. Fabric must be dry-cleaned as the glazing will wash off with machine laundering.
An exceptionally durable fabric, usually made of cotton or a cotton blend, composed of twisted fibers that, when woven, lie parallel to one another to form the cloth's distinct parallel ribbed pattern, a "cord." The number of ribs, or wales, per inch of fabric indicates the type of corduroy, with values ranging from a very wide 3 wales to pincords with 21 wales per inch.
Made from the soft fibers that grow around the seeds of the cotton plant. The fibers are spun into yarns to create a comfortable, breathable, machine washable fabrics that are the most widely used natural-fiber materials in the world.
A fine, almost gauzelike fabric made of synthetic or natural fibers that are twisted to give a slightly crinkled texture. It can be found in a variety of different weights and levels of sheerness. Crepes are dull with a harsh dry feel.
From the French word meaning hook, crochet is the method of creating fabric from yarn using a crochet hook, a tool with a knobbed end used for pulling loops of yarn through other loops. Similar to knitting, although crochet only involves one active loop at a time.
A heavy fabric made from cotton, silk, linen, wool or synthetic yarns, typically used for draperies and home decor. Typically made using a satin weave, this reversible fabric is named for a luxurious silk fabric introduced through Damascus, Syria.
A strong, durable twill weave cotton fabric, originating in Nimes, France, made with different colored yarns in the warp and the weft. The weft passes under two or more warp fibers, which produces a diagonal ribbing found on the reverse of the fabric. The twill construction causes one color (blue is most common) to dominate the fabric's surface.
The silk yarns are made from the cocoon of two silk worms that have nested together. In spinning, the double strand is not separated, creating uneven yarns that give the fabric a crisp texture with irregular slubs. Also referred to as dupion or doupioni.
A non-woven fabric where the fibers are pressed, matted, and condensed together to form a compact material. It comes in varying weights and thicknesses, and because of its grain, felt can be cut any direction, and does not fray.
An all-wool or synthetic knit fabric with a deep soft pile. It provides good insulation without the too much weight or bulk. Also the term for the complete shaving of a sheep's wool at on time.
A tough, tight, twill weave that is wrinkle resistant and features diagonal ribbing. Worsted wool (woolen yarn) is the most common fiber used, but cotton, synthetic, or blended fibers are also popular.
A manual weaving style that involves resist dyeing the warp or weft threads before the fabric is created. Originating in Southeast Asia, ikat fabrics can be extremely ornate and intricate, often featuring detailed designs or larger pictures. The more difficult method of double ikat involves the dyeing of both the warp and weft threads.
Interfacing & Interlining
The fabric used between the inner and outer layers of a garment to enhance warmth, strength or shape. Interfacing fabrics come in fusible (pre-treated with glue and attached to the fabric with an iron) and sew-in varieties, in a wide array of weights.
A weaving method invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard, which involves a machine attached to a loom that can electronically select and control individual warp threads. The Jacquard loom is used to create intricately woven fabrics, including brocade and damask. Silk, polyester and rayon are commonly used in the Jacquard process.
A general term for any knit garment or fabric, the material has length-wise ribs on the right side, and cross-wise ribs on the wrong side. It is crease-resistant, very resilient, and has the flexibility and stretch of knit. Usually made from wool, cotton or silk, but synthetics are often used as well.
A lightweight vegetable fiber found in the seed pods of the Bombocaceae tree, native to Central and South America. The fiber is water resistant and buoyant, and while difficult to spin and weave, is often found as filling in mattresses, pillows, life vests and upholstery.
The first clippings of young sheep, about seven or eight months old, are mostly used in high grade fabrics. They are woven to create a warm, durable wool that is elastic, soft, and resilient.
A material created through the tanning of animal hides, typically from cattle. Leather can feature course or smooth finishes, and takes dye well. Used for jackets, pants and upholstery. Check out our Leather Collection.
A machine or frame used to weave cloth. The earliest looms featured vertical warp yarns affixes to two ends of the frame, while the horizontal weft yarns were manually woven through. Today there are many different types of looms, from the hand looms still in use in developing countries to computer-controlled Jacquard looms that are able to control minute movements in the weaving process with speed and efficiency.
A manufactured fiber made from wood pulp cellulose, an environmentally-friendly material found in plants cells. It is classified as a sub-category of rayon, with a similar soft hand and drape, but slightly more durable. It has a subtle sheen and is very breathable.