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Fabric Dictionary

Fabric Dictionary

Bamboo

Rigid and used as corsets in the beginning of its fashion use, the fabric now is treated making it more suitable for a variety of applications. Rayon and viscose is created using bamboo cellulose which is one of the most common man-made fibers in the market.

Uses:

  • • t-shirts
  • • casual clothing

Pros:

  • • non-static
  • • wicking
  • • hydrophilic
  • • durable
  • • good tenacity
  • • good resiliency
  • • good dimebsional stability

Cons:

  • • poor elasticity
  • • not resistant to mildew
Banana Silk

Cultivated from a banana stalk, this fiber undergoes a long process to create its yarn. Coarse and thick, it is typically woven. It is a great alternative for Bamboo, however it is much finer and looks like that of a satin.

Uses:

  • • table cloths
  • • curtains
  • • upholstery
  • • floor mats
  • • bags
  • • authentic kimonos

Pros:

  • • smooth
  • • durable
  • • fine
  • • lustrous
  • • satin-like appearance
  • • absorbs moisture
  • • wicking
  • • biodegradable

Cons:

  • • coarse
  • • uncommon
Barathea

Woven in a hopsack manner, this twill has a slight pebbled hand. Commonly made of wool, silk, or cotton. Originally of English decent, it may appear ribbed too.

Uses:

  • • evening coats and jackets
  • • military uniforms
  • • neckties
Barcode Stripes

A striped pattern in which the widths and spacing of the stripes vary throughout similar to that of a barcode.

Basketweave

Evenly woven horizontally and vertically, yarns create a perfect square pattern throughout a woven fabric.

Uses:

  • • fashion applications
  • • home applications

Pros:

  • • durable
  • • dense
  • • good elasticity
  • • hydrophilic

Cons:

  • • poor abrasion resistance
  • • poor dimensional stability
Batik Dyeing

This is a dying technique that uses wax to create specific design patterns. By drawing dots and lines with wax, it resists the dye when dipped. The wax is then removed and repeated for additional colors. Commonly from Indonesia, each pattern is symbolic and made specifically for the person wearing it. From brides and grooms to newborns to a person's ranking, each geometric design reflects a story.

Batiste

A batiste is a plainly woven cotton, sometimes known as Cambric. On the scale of cotton fabrics, a batiste is more opaque than a voile, but can sometimes be translucent. It is commonly used as a lining for designer garments.

Uses:

  • • shirting
  • • tops
  • • dresses
  • • skirts
  • • lingerie
  • • linings

Pros:

  • • lightweight
  • • drapable
  • • soft
  • • breathable
  • • thin

Cons:

  • • easily wrinkled
  • • no heat retention
Battenberg Lace

Originating from America, this lace is made using a mechanical tape which creates the desired pattern and is then sewn with various needles.

Uses:

  • • embellishments
  • • straps
  • • home applications
  • • fashion applications
Batting

A padding that is generally used for quilting, it is placed between two pieces of fabric providing cushion to the desired piece.

Uses:

  • • quilting
  • • crafts
Beading

A variety of beads are sewn onto fabric providing 3-dimensional decoration and depth to create a couture look. This art form dates back to 18th century France where they began to use seed beads as added decoration on garments.

Uses:

  • • couture fabric
  • • appliques
  • • ribbon
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)

The world’s largest sustainable cotton program focused on supporting environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable practices in all aspects of cotton production. BCI uses the Better Cotton Standard System to certify principles regarding fertilizer use, water quality, fiber quality, land use, and biodiversity.

Beaver

A large, semi-aquatic rodent native to North America and was highly sought after for its fur's waterproof properties.

Beaver Cloth

Resembling a beaver's fur, this fabric is usually made of wool and is double-faced. Luxurious, its nap length varies and can have a silky hand.

Uses:

  • • coating
  • • hats

Pros:

  • • soft
  • • heavy
  • • warm
  • • lustrous
Bedford Cord

Brought about from England, this is not the Wales corduroy you are thinking of. Its ribs are created without a filling yarn yarn providing a faint texture.

Uses:

  • • trousers
  • • jackets
  • • dresses

Pros:

  • • durable
Beeswax

Used as a finish on wovens, (commonly used on cotton) it is either woven into or applied onto something giving it a slightly shinier look and making it both waterproof and windproof. This process was originated by mariners and sailors to keep dry. It is also used to strengthen and twist thread and yarn for stability for threading needles.

Belting

Made with a variety of materials such as ribbon, fabric or leather, it is sometimes embellished and used to accentuate the waist or hips of a garment or look.

Uses:

  • • belts
Bemberg Viscose

A type of rayon, this fabric is a great silk-substitute for it has a similar appearance and hand. Often used as a lining in suiting and coating, it is breathable and comfortable to wear.

Uses:

  • • linings

Pros:

  • • absorbs moisture
  • • breathable
  • • lucid drape
  • • lustrous
  • • doesn't pill

Cons:

  • • translucent
Bengal Stripes

A striped pattern where typically a color and white alternate. The width of the stripes are characteristically 1/4" wide. It lies between a candy stripe and an awning stripe. The stripe gets its name from its origins, Bengal, or modern day Bangladesh during the 18th century. This pattern is primarily seen in menswear shirting, but has made its way into a number of fashion applications.

Uses:

  • • menswear
Bengaline

In Vogue during the late 1800's, it has thick weft-wise ribs that provide texture. Historically, it was originally made with 100% silk from Bengal, India.

Uses:

  • • coats
  • • evening dresses
  • • suiting

Pros:

  • • durable
  • • lustrous
  • • drapable
Bias

The 45 degree angle from the warp and weft of a woven fabric. The term "cut on the bias" refers to garments who's seams showcase a 45 degree angle from the warp and weft of the woven.

Pros:

  • • fluid
  • • carries a bit more stretch
Birdseye Piqué

Sometimes called "marcella", this refers to a rounded honeycomb-like pattern that is constructed using a dobby loom. With the insertion of filler yarns, this fabric showcases depth and texture. Mostly seen using cotton, it is a summer staple.

Uses:

  • • evening shirts
  • • polos
  • • oxfords
  • • dresses
  • • skirts

Pros:

  • • lightweight
  • • breathable
  • • textural
Black Watch Plaid

Of Scottish origins, it was used for military uniforms and its colorways differed from region to region. This plaid, or tartan, features a mix of green, navy and black, and was assigned to The Black Watch, Royal Regiment of Scotland. Its name stems from their order to watch the Highlands of Scotland.

Uses:

  • • shirts
  • • skirts
  • • dresses
  • • home decor
Boas

Commonly used as a wrapped neck accessory, boas are either made with fur or feathers. They date back to the 17th century as a common decoration for women and entertainers. They were most trendy during the Victorian era and the glam rock era of the 1970's.

Bobbinet Tulle

Once done by hand by twisting yarns around one another using a bobbin, this Lace showcases hexagonal netting. In 1808, a machine was created to take off some of the hard-labor in creating this tulle making this fabric specific to the U.K. region. Depending on the thread used, this lace has the ability to disappear against other fabrics and skin.

Uses:

  • • evening dresses
  • • curtains
  • • bridal
  • • lingerie
  • • embroidery

Pros:

  • • slideproof
  • • durable
  • • sheer
Bobbins

A spindle that holds the thread that lies underneath the fabric. The bobbin's thread loops around the needle's thread to ensure a sturdy stitch. They are typically made from either plastic or metal.

Uses:

  • • sewing machines
Bobbin Lace

Unlike needle lace, bobbin laces are made by many threads which are twisted and braided to create the desired pattern. It dates back to the late 1400's and was relatively inexpensive to make. Coarse or fine threads of natural or synthetic fiber may be used. There are many types of bobbin laces which include guipure lace and Cluny lace.

Body

The opposite of drape, the body of a fabric refers to its stiffness or firmness.

Boiled

A process given to wool and rayon, either woven or knitted, with the use of water and agitation to shrink and create a felt-like hand.

Uses:

  • • cardigans
  • • coats
  • • jackets
  • • hats

Pros:

  • • durable
  • • dense
  • • wind resistant
  • • breathable
  • • warm
Bolo Cord

Usually made with leather, this woven cord is round in design and smooth. Seen mostly in bolo ties, which are commonly associated with Western America, while its traditional silver closure dates back to certain Native American tribes of the mid-20th century. We now see it used as decoration in both fashion and home applications.

Uses:

  • • embellishment
  • • straps
  • • trim
Bombazine

Originally used for mourning, it went out of fashion in the early 20th century and is not widely seen anymore. It mixes silk and wool yarns boasting a high-quality.

Uses:

  • • dresses
Bonded Fabric

Bonded fabrics are those bonded or fused together by a chemical, mechanical, heat or solvent treatment. Almost any two fabrics can be bonded together whether it be leather and suede, taffeta and wool knits, jersey and neoprene, etc.

Uses:

  • • upholstery
  • • apparel

Pros:

  • • often reversible

Cons:

  • • prone to seperation
  • • prone to uneven shrinkage
  • • not dryclean friendly
Boning

Used in corsets, lingerie and strapless gowns, they provide structure and shape while still remaining somewhat flexible. Although sometimes seen as being made from plastic and nylon, metal is regarded as having the best quality as it doesn't warp and has lasting power. Boning comes in two ways; flat and spiral. Spiral bends in two ways while the flat only bends in one direction.

Uses:

  • • corsets
  • • lingerie
  • • strapless gowns
Bouclé

This showcases a looped design that provides a lovely texture in both yarns and the fabric made with it. Yarns described as such have evenly looped strands that are twisted together. One strand is more taught than the other and spun creating its inherent looped appearance. It is commonly seen in Chanel blazers.

Uses:

  • • sweaters
  • • coats
  • • jackets
  • • cardigans
  • • blazers
Braid

A type of weave that is made when 3 or more yarns, leather or cords are woven over and under one another to create a flat, sturdy decorative design.

Uses:

  • • embellishment
  • • straps
  • • trim
Broadcloth

One of the oldest woven designs that dates back to the 11th century, it is still manufactured and used today. Woven and then shrunk to create a tighter weave, this cloth is durable and dense showcasing its lasting power. It is commonly seen using cotton or wool fibers.

Uses:

  • • shirts
  • • dresses
  • • drapery
  • • upholstery
  • • coats
  • • jackets
  • • uniforms

Pros:

  • • durable
  • • smooth
  • • lustrous
Brocade

Dating as far back as the 4th Century, this fabric has been synonymous with luxury and royalty. Originally woven with silk, and in some countries linen and wool, they depict ornate and detailed designs that feature anything from floral patterns to conversational motifs and damasks. With the addition of colored and metallic yarns, designs pop providing a dynamic appearance. Note that brocades are typically textural in construction.

Uses:

  • • upholstery
  • • drapery
  • • couture dresses
  • • jackets
  • • coats
  • • tops

Pros:

  • • luminous
  • • heavy
  • • detailed in design

Cons:

  • • may require a lining for comfortability purposes
Brocatelle

Like a brocade, it is double-woven allowing part of its pattern to lift off creating a slightly raise puffed appearance. The result showcases an embossed look like that of leather.

Uses:

  • • upholstery
  • • drapery
  • • couture dresses
  • • jackets
  • • coats
  • • tops
Brooches

Made in a variety of materials such as metal, plastic and mother of pearl, brooches are decorative ornaments usually embellished with gemstones, sequins, or beads that pin onto garments and accessories.

Uses:

  • • embellishments
Brush Fringe

A thick luminous fringe primarily used in home decor. They can feature an array of colors or come in one solid color. Some are free along one edge, and some are sewn shut for a sealed edge on either side. Embellish decorative pillows, curtains and upholstery.

Uses:

  • • decorative pillows
  • • curtains
  • • upholstery
Brushed

A process given to wovens using a metal brush that creates a nap giving the fabric a fuzzy, soft hand. Commonly used to create flannel.

Uses:

  • • flannel
  • • jackets
  • • coats
  • • tops

Pros:

  • • soft hand
Buckram

Known for its stiffness, in fashion applications it is used to add structure to garments or for hat making. It is also used as book covers due to its stretch, anti-mildew and moisture qualities.

Uses:

  • • stiffener in shirts
  • • dresses
  • • handbags
  • • hats
  • • bookbinding

Pros:

  • • durable
  • • stretch
  • • stiff
  • • anti-mildew
  • • anit-moisture
Buffalo Check

The origins of this plaid, like most plaids, lies in Scotland. It was originally a tartan of the MacGregor Clan. The name we refer to here was created in 1850 by the Woolrich Woolen Mill. The pattern features perpendicular awning stripes, that most iconically alternate in red and black. The name "Buffalo Check" came from the designer who owned a herd of buffalo and linked the ruggedness of the design to the animal. Buffalo Check is now seen in a wide variety of color ways and may be used on everything from outerwear to buttoned shirts and even blankets!

Bullseye Pique

A form of pique that consists of a oval shaped pattern within the construction, not unlike Birdseye Pique outside of the general shape of the pattern.

Uses:

  • • backings of rugs
  • • crafts
  • • interior design

Pros:

  • • durable
  • • textured

Cons:

  • • open weave
  • • coarse
Burlap

Also referred to as Hessian, it is woven using plant and vegetable fibers. Known for its coarse hand, it has since been made softer (known as jute) to be used in eco-friendly fashion. Commonly used to ship and package coffee beans, it offers a rustic aesthetic when used for interior design.

Uses:

  • • backings of rugs
  • • crafts
  • • interior design

Pros:

  • • durable
  • • textured

Cons:

  • • open weave
  • • coarse
Burn-Out

Also known as devoré, a burn-out design is created, typically in velvets, when chemicals "burn" away the fabric leaving behind its backing providing an almost lace-like appearance. After making a huge come back in the 1990's in the form of theatrical costumes, it is still seen today with more of a grunge/rock-and-roll aesthetic.

Uses:

  • • tees
  • • gowns
  • • dresses
  • • tops
  • • skirts
Button

A closure (usually accompanied by a hole) that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are made from a variety of materials such as metal, plastic, bamboo and shells. They are attached with a stitch through either 4, 2 or 1 hole, or a shank back. Use them for functionality purposes or decoration.

Uses:

  • • fashion applications
  • • home applications
Button Hole

Used to secure the button closure, it is a slit with a stitched edge for added durability that receives the button. Commonly seen in shirting, cuffs or as decoration.

Uses:

  • • shirting
  • • fashion applications
  • • home applications
  • • duvet covers
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