Fabric Dictionary


Characteristics: Thought to be the fur of the squirrel, one of the most valuable furs of the middle ages.


Fiber: Cotton, wool, or spun rayon.

Weave: Thick, plush pile, with a plain or satin ground, or sometimes knitted.

Characteristics: The pile is characterized by uneven lengths (usually two) which gives it a rough look. The two lengths of pile create light and shaded areas on the surface. A rather pebbled effect. This type of velour was invented and made in Lyons, France, in 1844. "Velours" is the French term for velvet. "Cotton velour" is simply cotton velvet.

Uses: Hats, dressing gowns, dresses, waist-coats, upholstery. Now most commonly sold as knit velour.

French velours 'velvet' via Old French velour, velous from Latin villosus 'hairy', from villus: see VELVET


Fiber: Silk, rayon, cotton, synthetics, and a little wool and worsted.

Weave: Pile, made with an extra warp yarn.

Characteristics: A closely woven fabric of silk, cotton, etc., with a thick short pile on one side. Mostly made with a plain back but some with a twill. Some are made with a silk pile and a rayon or cotton back. Comes in many types, qualities, and weights. Good velvet wears fairly well and is inexpensive. The cheaper cloths give little service and look well only a few times before beginning to deteriorate. Better velvet may be crush resistant, water resistant, and drapes well. Has to be handled with care, and pressed on a velvet board. Cut all one way. For the maximum amount of depth in the color, cut with the pile running up. it also wears better when cut this way. Velvet should be cut with very simple lines in the garment, so not to destroy the beauty of the fabric. It has the tendency to add weight to the figure.

Uses: All types of evening wear, at home wear, draperies, upholstery.

Middle English via Old French veluotte from velu 'velvety', via medieval Latin villutus from Latin villus 'tuft, down'

Velvet Satin

A satin weave is used as the base for this luxurious figured silk, made with a cut pile effect.


Fiber: Cotton, sometimes rayon.

Weave: Filling pile, very short.

Characteristics: Woven with a extra filling yarn with either a plain or a twill back (twill back is the best). Warp yarns 80/inch - weft ranges from 175 to 600 depending on the desired density of the pile. Mercerized with a durable finish. Strong and takes hard wear. Poor quality rubs off. Some of it can be laundered. It is warm. Comes in all colors, gradually piece dyed or may be printed. Has to be cut all one way. Press carefully, preferably on a velvet board, or tumble dry after laundering (no pressing needed).

Uses: Children's wear, dresses, coats, draperies, lounge wear, separates.


Fiber: Worsted, wool worsted and wool, cotton.

Weave: 5 shaft satin, some in small repeat twill weaves, in cotton, 8 shaft satin (warp face). 2 ply warp and single filling.

Characteristics: Clear finish. Has a very good luster finish which resembles satin. Some has a slight nap. Wears well - similar cloth has worsted warp and woolen filling.

Uses: In a good quality used for expensive suits for women and sports jackets for men. Also used for fine coatings for both men and women. In cotton, it resembles very heavy sateen and is used mostly for lining.


Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: The weave of this fabric is formed of horizontal bands and vertical bands respectively in a light and strong variants of the same color.

Uses: Dress.


Vicuéa, ruminant mammal belonging to the camel family. The animal is native to the Andes in South America, and is a close relative of the llama. Vicuéas are small, slender animals with orange-red fur. They generally roam in small herds and have never been successfully domesticated. They are much hunted for their hides and for their wool, which is valued for weaving. The term vicuéa is applied to the fabrics manufactured from the wool of the animal, and also to textile fabrics made from the wool of the merino sheep in imitation of natural vicuéa. Such fabrics generally resemble serge in weave but are fuller and softer and have a distinct nap. Textile industry uses the fibers to manufacture the softest coat cloth in the world.


Viscose fabrics have a silky to matte luster with an elegant flowing drape. The natural effect of the colors gives them an attractive look. Viscose is supple and has a softness that is comfortable to wear. As they can absorb perspiration quite quickly, making them very skin-friendly, but with poor thermal properties.

Cellulose, usually derived from tree trunks, is converted into a highly viscous state and spun into a fiber by forcing it through spinneret holes.

Late Latin viscosus (as VISCOUS)


This is a non-toxic fiber with a high resistance to chemicals. It softens at low temperatures.


Fiber: A blend of 55% wool and 45% cotton.

Weave: Twill.

Characteristics: Has the appearance of very fine flannel. It is soft, fine, and warm. Holds a good pleat. Washable by machine. If made up in a slim skirt for women, should be underlined, as it has not much body.

Uses: Excellent for all kinds of children's and baby's wear, sportswear, men's and women's tailored shirts and dresses.


Fiber: Cotton - also wool and called "Voilé de laine".

Weave: Plain, loosely woven.

Characteristics: A thin semi-transparent dress material of cotton, wool, or silk. Sheer and very light weight. Usually made with cylindrical combed yarns. To obtain a top quality fabric, very highly twisted yarns are used. Voilé drapes and gathers very well. The clear surface is obtained by singeing away any fuzzy yarns. Has a hard finish and crisp, sometimes wiry hand. "Voilé de Laine" is wool Voilé.

Uses: Dresses, blouses, curtains.

French, VEIL