Fabric Dictionary

Fabric Dictionary


The pattern derives from a dyeing technique that originated in Indonesia, where the yarns are dyed before the fabric is woven. There are warp ikats, weft ikats and double ikats where both the weft and warp are dyed. Traditionally the warp threads are gathered using grass or wax-treated cotton on the loom to create a resist on what should not be dyed, resulting in the desired pattern. The shifting of the pre-dyed threads as they are wound onto a loom creates ikat's blurred edges. The patterns are most commonly geometric.


A hexagonal open mesh tulle, typically derived from silk, that contains a cobweb appearance.


  • • veiling
  • • bridal trimmings

Fabrics that are described as inflammable ignite quickly. Untreated cotton, linen and acetate burn the fastest, while nylon, polyester and acrylic burn slowly and melt.


  • • easily lights on fire

A knitting technique where the multi-color pattern appears to be inlayed, fitting together like a puzzle. Only one "active" color is used at a time allowing the pattern to appear only on one side. Intarsia is most commonly seen in argyle sweaters and socks.


  • • sweaters
  • • socks
Interlock Knit

Two ribbed fabrics made from one yarn are interlocked to create ribs that sit closely next to each other and run down the length of the fabric. It only carries stretch through the weft.


  • • sweaters
  • • tees
  • • dresses
Invisible Thread

A thread that goes unseen when used. It is primarily used in quilting, for multi-colored fabric, and to avoid mismatching. Early invisible threads were stiff and wirey resulting in many sewist distaste for them. Today, invisible thread is soft, light and strong (so strong, we used it for our Chainmail DIY). It can come in clear and smoke, and is typically made of nylon.


  • • quilts
  • • multi-colored fabric


  • • invisible

Having a luminous quality that when turned in light appears to change color. Mother of pearl and some shells are naturally iridescent, although the same effect can be given to man-made materials as well.

Iron Cleaner

A solution used to clean an iron.

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