Fabric Dictionary


Fiber: Silk, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Usually plain with a fine cross rib.

Characteristics: Lustrous silk or rayon fabric of plain weave. A cloth supposed to have originated in Iran (Persia) and was called "taftah" (a fine silk fabric) - (in 16th century, became a luxury for women's wear). It is made in plain colors, fancy prints, watered designs, and changeable effects. It is smooth with a sheen on its surface. The textures vary considerably. They have a crispness and stiffness. Taffeta in silk will not wear, as long as other high quality silks, since weighting is given the fabric to make it stiff. If it is over weighted, the goods will split or crack.

Uses: All kinds of after 5 wear, dressy evening wear: suits and coats, slips, ribbons, blouses, umbrella fabric. It is quite a dressy fabric.

From Persian taftah silken or linen cloth


A heavy jacquard fabric usually multicolored. Warps and filling very tightly woven. The designs vary from traditional to contemporary. Used for upholstery only.

Taslan Toile De Jouy

A floral or scenic design usually printed on cotton or linen. Originally printed in Jouy, France, the fabrics were printed in single colors from engraved copper plates. The designs were characterized by classic motifs beautifully engraved and finely colored. Today, some are multicolored.

Terry Cloth

Fiber: Cotton and some linen.

Weave: Pile, also jacquard and dobby combined with pile.

Characteristics: Either all over loops on both sides of the fabric or patterned loops on both sides. Formed with an extra warp yarn. Long wearing, easy to launder and requires no ironing. May be bleached, dyed, or printed. Better qualities have a close, firm, underweave, with very close loops. Very absorbent, and the longer the loop, the greater the absorbency. When the pile is only on one side, it is called "Turkish toweling".

Uses: Towels, beach wear, bathrobes, all kinds of sportswear, children's wear, slip covers, and draperies.


Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Usually twill (L2/1 or L3/1), some jacquard, satin, and dobby.

Characteristics: Very tightly woven with more warp than filling yarns. Very sturdy and strong, smooth and lustrous. Usually has white and colored stripes, but some patterned (floral). Can be made water-repellent, germ resistant, and feather-proof.

Uses: Pillow covers, mattress coverings, upholstering and some sportswear. "Bohemian ticking" has a plain weave, a very high texture, and is feather-proof. Lighter weight than regular ticking. Patterned with narrow colored striped on a white background or may have a chambray effect by using a white or unbleached warp with a blue or red filling.

Tissue Taffeta

Plain weave, very lightweight and transparent.

Transparent Velvet

Lightweight, very soft, draping velvet made with a silk or rayon back and a rayon pile.


Fiber: Silk, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Knit, warp knitted. Vertical Wales on surface and more or less crosswise ribs on the back.

Characteristics: Has a thin texture, made from very fine or single yarns. Glove silk is a double bar tricot (very run-resistant).

Uses: Underwear, sportswear, bathing suits, gloves.


Fiber: Worsted, wool, rayon, blends with synthetics.

Weave: 63 twill, left to right (double).

Characteristics: Has a double twill rib on the face of the cloth. Has a very clear finish. It drapes well, and tailors easily. Medium in weight. Has exceptional wearing qualities. Very much like cavalry twill, but finer. In the same family as whipcords, coverts, and gabardines.

Uses: Men's and women's suits and coats. It is also used for ski slacks in a stretch fabric.

Triple Sheer

Heavier and flatter than sheers. Almost opaque. Many are made from "Bemberg", which wears, drapes, and washes well. Sheers are used extensively for after 5 wear, as well as afternoon dresses in heavier weights, and some coats, lingerie, curtains, trims, etc.

Tropical Worsteds

Fiber: 100% worsted. If just called tropical, it can be made up in any fiber or blends of wool and a synthetic.

Weave: Plain and rather open weaves.

Characteristics: The yarns are very tightly twisted and woven to permit a free circulation of air. It is lightweight and is ideal for summer and tropical wear. It has a clear finish. Wears and tailors very well.

Uses: Both men's and women's suits and coats.

Tufting Yarn

Hooked by needle into fabric structure usually at a very high speed developed initially for carpeting. Recently developed for upholstery fabric.


Fiber: Silk, nylon, cotton.

Weave: Gauze, knotted, leno, made on a lace machine.

Characteristics: a soft fine silk etc. net for veils and dresses. First made by Machine in 1768. Has a hexagonal mesh and is stiff. It is difficult to launder. Comes is white and colors, and is very cool, dressy, and delicate.

Uses: It is a stately type of fabric when used for formal wear, and weddings. It is also used for ballet costumes and wedding veils.

Tulle, a town in SW France, where it was first made


Fiber: Silk.

Weave: Usually plain but also in twill.

Characteristics: Made from wild or uncultivated silkworms. It is coarse, strong, and uneven. Dull luster and rather stiff. Has a rough texture with many slubs, knots, and bumps. It is ecru or tan in color and it is difficult to bleach. It usually doesn't take an even dye color. Wears well and becomes more rough looking with wear. It wrinkles a little, but not as much as some. Various weights. Appears in filament and staple form.

Uses: In lighter weights, dresses. In heavier weights, coats and suits and ensembles.


Fiber: Wool, also cotton, rayon, silk, linen, and synthetics.

Weave: Twill, novelty variations, or plain.

Characteristics: It is the Scotch name for twill and originated along the banks of the Tweed river, which separates England from Scotland. Sometimes known as "tweel". Sister-cloth of homespun cheviot and Shetland. They are the same in texture, yarn, weight, feel, and use. Originally only made from different colored stock-dyed fibers, producing various color effects. There are a wide range of rough surfaced, sturdy fabrics. There are also some closely woven smoother, softer yarn fabrics, and many monotone tweeds. May also be plaid, checked, striped, or other patterns. Does not hold a crease very well.

Uses: Wide range of suits, coats, and sportswear for men, women and children. Lighter weight, used for dresses.


A fabric so woven as to have a surface of diagonal parallel ridges. v.tr. (esp. as twilled adj.) weave (fabric) in this way. VV twilled adj. northern English variant of obsolete twilly from Old English twili (from twi- 'double'), translating Latin bilix (as BI-, licium 'thread')