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Fabric Dictionary

Paillette Satin

It is characterized by its changeable color and is available in a variety of different colors. It was originally executed in silk but is now made with manufactured fibers.


Characteristics: Panne is a French word meaning plush. It resembles velvet but has a much longer pile. It has high luster and is made in silk, silk blends or with manufactured fibers.

Panne Velvet

Has a longer or higher pile than velvet, but shorter than plush. It is pressed flat and has a high luster made possible by a tremendous roller-press treatment given the material in finishing. Now often made as knit fabric.

Paper Taffeta

Plain weave, very light in weight and treated to give a crisp, paper-like finish.


Characteristics: Highly resistant to flame. When exposed to heat, is prone to low shrinkage. Has exceptional thermal and chemical stability.

Peau De Cynqe

Crépe yarns are woven to create a silk textile with high luster. It has a slightly slubbed texture and a good body.

The name comes from a French phrase that means "swam skin".

Peau De Peche

The name comes from a French phrase meaning "skin of peach". This textile has a soft nap that is acquired after a finishing process.

Peau De Soie

Soft, satin-face, good quality cloth. It has a dull luster. Has a grainy appearance, and is a characteristic in the cloth which may have a single or double face construction. Fine close ribs are seen in the filling direction. With the best grades, the fabric can be used on either side. Lower qualities are finished on one side only. Name means "skin of silk". Some cloth sold as peau de soie is really a de-lustered satin. It doesn't have the grainy appearance. Because of crosswise rib, fabric difficult to ease. Also sold as "de-lustered satin".


Weave: Novelty

Characteristics: It has a very fine quality. It is characterized by its vertical stripes of identical width that have equal widths between them. It consists of Cotton, wool, silk, or elaborate velvet stripes that are separated by satin.


Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Medium weight, firm, smooth, with no gloss. Warps and washes very well. Made from both carded and combed yarns. Comes white or can be printed. Percale sheeting is the finest sheeting available, made of combed yarns and has a count of 200 - carded percale sheeting has a count of 180. It has a soft, silk-like feel. The thread count ranges usually from 180-100. First made by Wamsutta Mills.

Uses: Dresses, women's and children's, sportswear, aprons, and sheets.


Formation of fiber fuzz balls on a fabric surface by wear or friction.

Pin Check

Fiber: Worsted, also made in cotton and rayon.

Weave: Twill.

Characteristics: A minute check effect caused by a combination of weave and color. It has the appearance of tiny white dots appearing in rows, vertically, and horizontally. Holds a sharp crease, tailors and wears exceptionally well. In time, it is inclined to shine with wear.

Uses: Men's suits, women's tailored suits and skirts. In cotton, it usually has a white dot on a blue ground and it is used for work clothes.

Pina Cloth

Pina cloth is a fine cloth made from pineapple fibers. A Barong Tagalog (or simply Barong) is an embroidered formal garment of the Philippines. Most barong are made of pina cloth or jusi fabric. Pina cloth is hand loomed and quite delicate. Pina cloth is more expensive than Jusi and is thus used for very formal events.


Fiber: Worsted, also made in cotton and rayon.

Weave: Twill.

Characteristics: A minute check effect caused by a combination of weave and color. It has the appearance of tiny white dots appearing in rows, vertically, and horizontally. Holds a sharp crease, tailors and wears exceptionally well. In time, it is inclined to shine with wear.

Uses: Men's suits, women's tailored suits and skirts. In cotton, it usually has a white dot on a blue ground and it is used for work clothes.


Fiber: Cotton, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Lengthwise rib, English crosswise rib or cord weave.

Characteristics: A stiff ribbed cotton or other fabric. Originally was a crosswise rib but now mostly a lengthwise rib and the same as Bedford cord. Ribs are often filled to give a more pronounced wale (cord weave). Comes in medium to heavy weights. It is generally made of combed face yarns and carded stuffer yarns. It is durable and launders well. Wrinkles badly unless given a wrinkle-free finish. Various prices. Also comes in different patterns besides Wales. Some of the patterns are birds eye (small diamond), waffle (small squares), honeycomb (like the design on honeycomb honey). When the fabric begins to wear out it wears at the corded areas first.

Uses: Trims, collars, cuffs, millinery, infants wear, coats, and bonnets, women's and children's summer dresses, skirts and blouses, shirts, play clothes, and evening French, past part. of piquer: 'prick, irritate', from Romanic.


Fiber: Cotton, rayon, and others.

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Could be made from any fine material, e.g. organdy, lawn, etc. Treated with a caustic soda solution which shrinks parts of the goods either all over or in stripes giving a blistered effect. Similar to seersucker in appearance. This crinkle may or may not be removed after washing. This depends on the quality of the fabric. It does not need to be ironed, but if a double thickness, such as a hem, needs a little, it should be done after the fabric is thoroughly dry.

Uses: Sleepwear, housecoats, dresses, blouses for women and children, curtains, bedspreads, and bassinets. Often it is called wrinkle Crépe and may be made with a wax/shrink process (the waxed parts remain free of shrinkage and cause the ripples).


Velvet or velveteen where the pile is 1/8" thick or more. e.g. Cotton velour, hat velour, plush "fake furs".

Pocket Weave

A jacquard double-layered fabric with several warps. The design is created with both warps and fillings.

Point D'esprit

Fiber: Cotton - some in silk.

Weave: Leno, gauze, knotted, or mesh.

Characteristics: First made in France in 1834. Dull surfaced net with various sized holes. Has white or colored dots individually spaced or in groups.

Uses: Curtains, bassinets, evening gowns.

Polished Cotton

A plain weave cotton cloth characterized by a sheen ranging from dull to bright. Polish can be achieved either through the weave or the addition of a resin finish. Can be a solid color, usually piece dyed or printed.

  1. Any of a group of condensation polymers used to form synthetic fibers such as Terylene or to make resins.
  2. A fabric made from such a polymer.

Characteristics: It is an extremely resilient fiber that is smooth, crisp and particularly springy. Its shape is determined by heat and it is insensitive to moisture. It is lightweight, strong and resistant to creasing, shrinking, stretching, mildew and abrasion. It is readily washable and is not damaged by sunlight or weather and is resistant to moths and mildew.

Uses: Many and varied. Poly- Greek combining form of polys much, many.


The process of forming a Polymer. A polymer is a compound formed by joining two or more molecules to form a more complex chemical with a higher molecular weight.

Typical examples are polyethylene, Nylon, Rayon, Acrylic and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Greek Polymeres of many parts.


Originally executed in silk. Often has large floral designs in velvet or pile on a Taffeta ground. Occasionally stripes are used instead of flowers. Today it is made with manufactured fibers.


Fiber: Silk, cotton, rayon.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: Originally from China and originally woven on hand looms in the home. Light or medium weight. Tan or ecru in color. Woven "in the gum". Some is dyed, but color is not quite uniform. Some printed. warp is finer and more even than filling. Nubs or irregular cross ribs produced by uneven yarns. It is woven from wild tussah silk and it is a "raw silk".

Uses: Dresses, ensembles, blouses, summer suits, in a medium weight. It used to be a great deal for drapery linings. Pongee cotton is made of combed yarns and given a variety of finishes.


Fiber: Cotton, wool, and other textile fibers.

Weave: Crosswise rib. The filling is cylindrical. Two or three times as many warp as weft per inch.

Characteristics: A plain-woven fabric usually of cotton, with a corded surface. Has a more pronounced filling effect than broadcloth. It is mercerized and has quite a high luster. It may be bleached, or dyed (usually vat dyes are used) or printed. Heavy poplin is given a water-repellent finish for outdoor use. Originally made with silk warp and a heavier wool filling. Some also mildew-proof, fire-retardant, and some given a suede finish. American cotton broadcloth shirting is known as poplin in Great Britain.

Uses: Sportswear of all kinds, shirts, boy's suits, uniforms, draperies, blouses, dresses.

Obsolete French papeline, perhaps from Italian papalina (fem.)

Protein Based Fibers

Fiber: Cellulose

Characteristics: This cellulose fiber is highly absorbent. Its drapability and dye ability are excellent and it is fairly soft.


Fiber: Cotton.

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: This is a typed style of printing which characterizes Provence, a French country.


Fiber: Wool

Weave: Characteristics This fabric is made in France from the wool of Pyrenees sheep. The Pyrenees is a mountain chain between France and Spain. The fabric is well known because it is a high quality fabric which keeps warm.

Uses: Men's and women's dressing gowns.