Upholstery Fabrics Glossary

Welcome to our Upholstery Fabrics Glossary

Click on the next to the each term to view its description:

A manufactured fiber, its major properties include a soft, wool-like hand, machine washable and dryable and excellent color retention.
A reversible satin-weave fabric with satin floats on the technical face and surface slubs on the technical back created by using slub-filling yarns. It is usually used for drapery fabrics and often made of a blend of fibers.
A method of dyeing fabric where some areas are covered with wax or pastes made of glues or starches to make designs by keeping dyes from penetrating in pattern areas.
A lightweight, plain weave fabric, semi-sheer and usually made of cotton or cotton blends.
A cord cotton-like fabric with raised ridges in the lengthwise direction. Since the fabric has a high strength and a high durability, it is often used for upholstery.
A knit or woven fabric with small curls or loops that create a nubby surface. The fabric has a looped, knotted surface..
A plain weave tightly woven fabric that is usually made from 100% cotton or a cotton blend. Most common uses are for quilting .
A heavy jacquard-type fabric with an all-over raised pattern or floral design. Appropriate for upholstery and draperies.
A tightly-woven cotton type fabric with an all-over print, usually a small floral pattern on a contrasting background color. Commonly used in quilts.
A strong, durable, closely woven cotton fabric.
A plain woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns.
This lace has a net background, and the pattern is created by embroidering with thread and ribbon to create floral designs. The pattern has areas of design that are very dense, and the pattern is often outlined with heavier cords or threads.
A lightweight, sheer, plain-woven fabric with a very soft texture. It may be natural colored, bleached, or dyed. It usually has a very low count.
Lightweight, extremely sheer and airy fabric, containing highly twisted fibers.
A plain-weave fabric, which has been glazed to produce a polished look. Fabric must be dry-cleaned as the glazing will wash off with machine laundering. Suitable for drapes and lining.
A fabric, usually made of cotton or a cotton blend, utilizing a cut-pile weave construction. The ''wale'' indicates the number of cords in one inch.
A white vegetable fiber grown in warmer climates in many parts of the world, has been used to produce many types of fabric for hundreds of years.
Used to describe all kinds of fabrics--wool, cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics and blends-that have a crinkle, crimped or grained surface.
A satin fabric in which highly twisted yarns are used in the filling direction. The floating yarns are made with low twist and may be of either high or low luster. If the crepe effect is the right side of the fabric, the fabric is called satin-back crepe.
A true crewel fabric is embroidered with crewel yarn (a loosely twisted, two-ply wool) on a plain weave fabric. Traditional crewel fabrics are hand-woven and embroidered in India. The design motif for crewel work is typically outlines of flowers, vines, and leaves, in one or many colors.
A glossy jacquard-type fabric, the patterns are flat and reversible. Unlike jacquards, the fabric is all one color.
A twill weave cotton fabric made with different colored yarns in the warp and the weft. Due to the twill construction, one color predominates on the fabric surface.
A decorative weave, characterized by small figures, usually geometric, that are woven into the fabric structure.
Generally applied to fabric with a low nap that is brushed in one direction to create a soft suede-like hand on the fabric front. Great for tops, pants and fuller skirts.
A lightweight, sheer cotton or cotton blend fabric with a small dot flock-like pattern either printed on the surface of the fabric, or woven into the fabric. Often used in curtains.
Fabric with patterned cut-outs, around which stitching or embroidery may be applied in order to prevent the fabric from raveling.
An embellishment of a fabric or garment in which colored threads are sewn on to the fabric to create a design. Embroidery may be done either by hand or machine.
A glossy, soft, finely-ribbed, silk-like woven fabric made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers.
Usually a 100% cotton fabric that has been brushed on one or both sides for softness.
A thin piece of material put under another material to add color or brilliance.
A lightweight twill-weave fabric, made from filament yarns like silk, acetate, polyester, with a small all-over print pattern on a solid background.
A worsted twill weave that is wrinkle resistant.
A sheer, open-weave fabric usually cotton or silk. It is suitable for curtains.
A medium weight, plain weave fabric with a plaid or check pattern. Often used to make curtains.
A tightly woven, firm, warp-faced fabric with heavy, round filling ribs created by a high-warp count and coarse filling yarns. Grosgrain can be woven as a narrow-ribbon or a fullwidth fabric. .
A variation on the twill weave construction in which the twill is reversed, or broken, at regular intervals, producing a zig-zag effect.
A variation on the twill weave construction in which a broken check effect is produced by a variation in the pattern of interlacing yarns, utilizing at least two different colored yarns.
An insulation, padding, or stiffening fabric, either sewn to the wrong side of the lining or the inner side of the outer shell fabric.
Also known as T-shirt knit. It usually has stretch across the grain.
There are two types of Irish poplin: (1) Originally a fabric constructed with silk warp and wool filling in plain weave with fine rib. (2) Fine linen or cotton shirting also made in Ireland..
Woven fabrics manufactured by using the Jacquard attachment on the loom. This attachment provides versatility in designs and permits individual control of each of the warp yarns. Thus, fabrics of almost any type or complexity can be made. Brocade and damask are types of jacquard woven fabrics.
Fabrics made from only one set of yarns, all running in the same direction. Some knits have their yarns running along the length of the fabric, while others have their yarns running across the width of the fabric. Knit fabrics are held together by looping the yarns around each other. Knitting creates ridges in the resulting fabric. Wales are the ridges that run lengthwise in the fabric; courses run crosswise.
An openwork fabric with yarns that are twisted around each other to form complex patterns or figures. Lace may be hand or machine made by a variety of fabrication methods including weaving, knitting, crocheting, and knotting.
A woven fabric using flat silver or gold metal threads to create either the design or the background in the fabric.
A fabric made from linen fibers obtained from natural plant fiber, linen fibers are stronger and more lustrous than cotton.
A light, fine cloth made using carded or combed, linen or cotton yarns. The fabric has a crease-resistant, crisp finish. Linen lawn is synonymous with handkerchief linen. Cotton lawn is a similar type of fabric, which can be white, solid colored, or printed.
A DuPont trademark for its spandex fiber. Any time you see this fiber listed on a label, expect comfort, movement, and shape retention that won't wash away.
A lightweight plain weave cotton fabric with a striped, plaid, or checked pattern. A true madras will bleed when washed. This type of fabric is usually imported from India.
An extremely fine synthetic fiber that can be woven into textiles with the texture and drape of natural-fiber cloth but with enhanced washability, breathability, and water repellancy.
Hair fibers from the Angora goat.
A corded fabric, usually made from silk or one of the manufactured fibers, which has a distinctive water-marked wavy pattern on the face of the fabric.
An inexpensive, medium weight, plain weave, low count (less than 160 threads per square inch) cotton sheeting fabric.
Produced in 1938, the first completely synthetic fiber developed. Known for its high strength and excellent resilience, nylon has superior abrasion resistance and high flexibility.
A stiffened, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, usually cotton or polyester.
A crisp, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count, made of silk, rayon, nylon, or polyester.
A fine, soft, lightweight woven cotton or blended with manufactured fibers in a 2 x 1 basket weave variation of the plain weave construction.
A tear-drop shaped, fancy printed pattern.
A medium-weight cotton or cotton blend fabric with a pebbly weave that looks almost like a check.
A compactly woven fabric with warp pile higher than that of velvet. Made of cotton, wool, silk, or manmade fiber, often woven as double face fabric and then sheared apart. Higher pile gives bristly texture. Usually piece-dyed but may be printed. Used for upholstery.
Very feminine, delicate-looking, rib-knit fabric made with a pattern of openings.
A manufactured fiber introduced in the early 1950s, and is second only to cotton in worldwide use. Polyester has high strength (although somewhat lower than nylon), excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fiber to dry quickly.
A fabric made using a rib variation of the plain weave. The construction is characterized by having a slight ridge effect in one direction, usually the filling.
A fabric construction in which a layer of down or fiberfill is placed between two layers of fabric, and then held in place by stitching or sealing in a regular, consistent, all-over pattern on the goods.
A warp knitted fabric in which the resulting knit fabric resembles hand crocheted fabrics, lace fabrics, and nettings. Raschel warp knits contain inlaid connecting yarns in addition to columns of knit stitches.
A natural fiber created from wood pulp, it usually has good drape and a soft hand.
Any heavy, plain-weave canvas fabric, usually made of cotton, linen, polyester, jute, nylon, etc.
A fabric made from yarns with low luster, such as cotton or other staple length fibers. The fabric has a soft, smooth hand and a gentle, subtle luster. Sateen fabrics are often used for draperies and upholstery.
With a lustrous, shiny surface, drapability depends on fiber content. Silk and rayon satins have the best stitch results.
A medium-weight, plain weave fabric, characterized by a ribbed effect, resulting from slubbed yarns used in the warp or filling direction.
Any very light-weight fabric (e.g., chiffon, georgette, voile, sheer crepe). Usually has an open weave. Sheers mostly feel cool.
A natural filament fiber produced by the silkworm in the construction of its cocoon. Tussah silk, is a thicker, shorter fiber. All silk from Asia, primarily China.
Similar to Dupioni silk, Shantung has a more refined appearance with smaller slubs.
A strong bast fiber that originates from the leaves of the Agave plant, which is found in the West Indies, Central America, and Africa.
Leather with a napped surface.
With a crisp hand, taffeta is typically used for formal wear like gowns and fuller skirts. Underlining prevents some of the wrinkling it has a tendency to have.
A heavy, often hand-woven, ribbed fabric, featuring an elaborate design depicting a historical or current pictorial display. The weft-faced fabric design is made by using colored filling yarns, only in areas where needed, that are worked back and forth over spun warp yarns, which are visible on the back. Uses include wall hangings and upholstery.
A type of decorating pattern consisting of a white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, generally of a pastoral theme such as (for example) a couple having a picnic by a lake. The pattern portion consists of a single colour, most often black, dark red, or blue.
A fabric that shows a distinct diagonal wale on the face (e.g., denim, gabardine, tricotine).
Usually with a knitted back, velour resembles velvet, but has some stretch.
With a longer pile, velvet is the most luxurious fabric. Stretch velvet has some lycra,
A cotton or cotton blend fabric with a short, dense pile. It lacks the sheen and drape of velvet. It is perfect for drapes and home décor items ..
A crisp, lightweight, plain weave cotton-like fabric, similar in appearance to organdy and organza. It is appropriate for curtains.
Wool is naturally stain and wrinkle resistant. It can absorb up to 40% of it's weight in moisture without feeling damp.
Fabrics composed of two sets of yarns. One set of yarns, the warp, runs along the length of the fabric. The other set of yarns, the fill or weft, is perpendicular to the warp. Woven fabrics are held together by weaving the warp and the fill yarns over and under each other.
A continuous strand of textile fibers created when a cluster of individual fibers are twisted together. These long yarns are used to create fabrics, either by knitting or weaving.