Fabric Dictionary


Fiber: Silk.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: Very lightweight and soft. A little heavier than China Silk, but similar. Sold by weight measure known "momme" (1 momme = 3.75 g). Made from waste silk that can be twisted. It is piece dyed or printed and sized. Has many defects in the cloth which has a "shot-about" appearance but this does not effect the cloth. Comes from Japan - originally woven in the gum on Japanese hand looms. Lighter than shantung but heavier than silk.

Uses: Dresses, coats, shirting, lamp shades, lingerie, curtains.


Rabbits and Hares, common name for certain small mammals of the Leporidae family. Although the names "rabbit" and "hare" are sometimes used interchangeably, in zoological terms the species called rabbits are characterized by the helplessness of their offspring (which are born naked and blind) and by their gregarious habit of living in colonies in underground burrows. Furthermore, a typical hare is larger than a rabbit, and has longer ears with characteristic black markings. Hair texture is woolly.

Uses: Felting.

Harris Tweed

All are hand woven on the islands off the Northern coast of Scotland (outer Hebrides).

There are two types of Harris Tweed:

  1. Fabric woven from hand-spun yarn.
  2. Fabric woven from machine-spun yarn.

Now very few are woven from hand spun yarns as it takes too much time and labor. It is always stamped to that effect in addition to the label which any Harris Tweed always bears. Much is woven in 27" and 28" widths, but also in 54". When damp, it smells mossy and smoky. From one of the islands where it's made "Harris". Trademark.

Heat Transfer Printing

The technique of printing fabrics by transferring a printed design from paper to fabric via heat and pressure. It's derived from the art of decalcomania, which is the process of transferring pictures or designs from specially prepared paper to other materials such as glass. HTP paper is the starting point for heat transfer printing. Transfer printing is used mainly on fine knit fabrics and lightweight fabrics and is rapidly gaining in importance in textile circles. Also being used by apparel makers on parts of garments to enhance their fashion appeal


Common name for an Asian annual herb (Cannabis), and also for its strong, pliable fibers. This species is often called true hemp or Indian hemp. It is cultivated in Eurasia, the United States, and Chile. A hemp plant may be as small as 91 cm (36 in) or as tall as 5 m (15 ft), depending upon the climate and soil type. There are two cultivated strains: the one commonly grown in the north is grown principally for fiber, the one grown mainly in southern regions is grown as a drug plant.

Hemp stems are hollow and have a fibrous inner bark. The fibers from this bark are used to make a great variety of textile products, including coarse fabrics, ropes, sail cloth, and packing cloth. Soft fibers, used for making clothing fabrics in Asia, are obtained from hemp harvested at the time of pollination; strong, coarse fibers are obtained from mature plants. The fibers are removed and processed by methods similar to those used in processing flax. Partly decomposed, the stalks are dried, broken, and shaken to separate the woody stalks from the fibers. The fiber is dark tan or brown and is difficult to bleach, but it can be dyed bright and dark colors. The hemp fibers vary widely in length, depending upon their ultimate use. Industrial fibers may be several inches long, while fibers used for domestic textiles are about 3/4 inch to 1 inch (1.9 to 2.54 cm) long. The elongation (1 to 6 percent) is low and its elasticity poor. The thermal reactions of hemp and the effect of sunlight are the same as for cotton. Hemp is moth resistant, but it is not impervious to mildew. Coarse hemp fibers and yarns are woven into cordage, rope, sacking and heavy-duty tarpaulins. In Italy, fine hemp fibers are used for interior design and apparel fabrics.


It is obtained from the leaves of the Agave fourcroydes plant, which is native to Mexico. It is produced by mechanically decorticating the leaves into strands from 4 to 5 feet. Henequen, sisal, and bowstring hemp belong to the family Agavaceae.


Weave: Twill

Characteristics: Originally consisted of worsted filling and silk warp. Today, it can be found in a variety of blends. It has excellent drapability. Its weight and quality vary with fibers, however, when created with silk and wool it is lustrous and soft.

Uses: Dress goods.

Herringbone Twill

Weave: Twill

Characteristics: It was named after the skeleton of the Herring as this is what the fiber pattern resembles. It is usually created in wool and has varying qualities. It is also known as Arrowhead.

Uses: Suitings, top coatings, sportcoats.

Hickory Cloth

Weave: Twill

Characteristics: It is characterized by its excellent durability. It is warp striped and comes in a variety of colors. It usually is created with cotton.

Uses: Work clothes.


Fiber: Cotton or wool

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Coarse, rugged yarn is used. Originally an un dyed woolen cloth spun into yarn and woven in the home, by peasants and country folk the world over. Has substantial appearance and serviceable qualities. Made with irregular, slightly twisted uneven yarns. Has a spongy feel with a hand-loomed tweedy appearance. Genuine homespun is produced in a very limited quantity and much powerloom cloth is sold as genuine homespun. Many qualities made - the best is an ideal rough-and-ready type of cloth.

Uses: Coats, suits, separates and sportswear.


Fiber: Silk, also from man-made synthetics.

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: The best grade of wild silk. Very similar to "pongee" but finer. Made from wild silkworms raised in the Honan area of China. The only wild type that gives even dyeing results. Do not fit too tightly.

Uses: Dresses, ensembles, blouses, lingerie.

Honey Comb

Weave: Float

Characteristics: Its name comes from a French word meaning birds nest. Its patterns are regular and open. Honey Comb is found in many fabrics and is also known as Diamond Weave.

Uses: Draperies, jackets and women's clothing.

Hong Kong

This is a ribbed fabric usually found in plain colors. It comes in a variety of qualities but the best type is made out of silk.


Fiber: Wool, worsted, cotton, linen, rayon, silk, hemp, jute.

Weave: Basket. In wool and worsted 2 x 2 basket usually or novelty basket to resemble hopsack cloth.

Characteristics: Made with coarse yarn. Has a rather rough texture and quite durable. Often quite bulky but various weights.

Uses: Men's and women's sportswear, coats, suits, draperies. If fine, used for dresses.


Fiber: most commonly made with wool.

Weave: broken twill weave.

Characteristics: weaved into an irregular check of a four pointed star.

Uses: sport coats, suits.


Fiber: Linen, cotton.

Weave: Dobby or basket.

Characteristics: It is strong. Rough in the surface finish but finer, shinier than cotton huckaback. Has variation in weaves but most have small squares on the surface that stand out from the background. Comes in white, colors, or colored borders. Also stripes. The motif is made from a series of floats, some of them rather long, which gives a loose effect in certain areas. This, if well spaced, acts as a good absorbing agency.

Uses: Mostly used for toweling.