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Fabric Glossary

Ajour - A collective term for all textiles pierced with a fine hole pattern.

All over - A description for a small patterned material de- sign which is repeated over the whole fabric, such as a floral pattern or dots.

Appliqué - An intricate adornment with embroidered fabric, leather, pearls, sequins or tiny mirrors.

Atlas - Another name for satin.

Batik - Batik is an intricate material dyeing technique with a long tradition in India and Java. The part of the pattern which is not to be dyed is covered with wax, which is then later removed. In plangi batik, or tie-dye processes, these areas are tied with string. Every piece is completely unique.

Batiste - A fine, light fabric in a plain weave, mostly made of cotton or a linen mixture.

Burnout - A transparent material upon which a pattern is created by chemical etching – or ‘burning out’ part of the fibres.

Bouclé - A fabric with a strong-structured and almost curly surface, made of special bouclé yarn with lots of tiny loops. An elegant covering material made in wool mixtures.

Brocade - A gem of the intricate art of weaving made, this is the most exquisite fabric of all. Developed from silk damask interwoven with glistening me- tal threads, and in the 15th and 16th centuries with real gold plating. The pinnacle of sophistication is the silk brocade.

Cellulose - Main component of the cell walls of plants. All natural plant fibres - in other words cotton, linen, hemp, ramie, bast are made of cellulose. It can also be dissolved chemically from chip- ped wood or bamboo and can be spun to create synthetic fibres, such as viscose.

Chenille - A velour for which the velvety-fluffy chenille yarn is especially woven.

Chintz - A printed fabric – typically with floral prints and made of cotton – with a shiny surface. Generally considered as the most typically ‘English’ of all fabrics.

Cord- With its lengthwise velvet ribs, corduroy is an extremely resistant covering material. Often made of cotton mixtures.

Cotton - Natural fibres from the seed pod of the cotton plant. Cotton is very easy to spin and can be permanently dyed. It has a dry feel, typical of plant fibres. It is more abrasion-proof than wool, which is why it is also popular for use as a cove- ring material. In addition to this, cotton is extremely tear-proof and heat-resistant – it can be ironed hot and steamed. It never builds up an electrical charge and is easy to nap, for flannel, for instance.

Crash - A fabric with a permanent creased effect.

Crêpe - Fine and delicate fabric with a slightly ruffled surface, made of overwound crêpe yarn. The more sophisticated version is the practically transparent crêpe de Chine made of pure silk.

Damask - Damask flourished in Italy during the Renaissance. A luxury material originally made exclusively of pure silk, in which the twine or floral pattern arches forwards in a three-dimensional effect even on mono-coloured versions. If the upholstering fabric is tensed, this effect disappears.

Epingle - One of the sturdiest covering materials of all, with a surface made up of small, dense loops. Mostly made of wool or cotton.

Flannel - A fine, warming material with a napped surface, mostly made of cotton or wool. The latter is additionally furled in other words slightly felted and flattened again through calendars. Typical in marbled flannel grey.

Flock - print Fabric with all-over pattern which is flocked in- stead of woven.

Gauze Weave - A rare, transparent decorative fabric with a  stitch-like ajour appearance. When woven, the warp threads are twisted around each other using a special technique.

Herringbone - Twill weave fabric with a zigzag pattern reminiscent of a fish skeleton. Typical in black and white

Horsehair - From horse’s tail hair (as weft), an expensive but extremely sturdy covering material is made.

Houndstooth - Classic fabric in a two-colour twill weave, the pattern which is reminiscent of birds’ footprints. Typically, in black and white.

Ikat - An elaborate dyeing technique where the warp threads are dyed according to the pattern be- fore being woven. It is typical that the ikat pat- terns become slightly distorted when woven. Every piece is completely unique. A long tradition in Malaysia, South America and Majorca. A similar method can be seen with the sophisticated French warp prints on silk.

In-Between - Semi-transparent decorative material made of a linen mixture. Generally used for curtains or room dividers.

Jacquard - An elaborate material with large flocked patterns made on a jacquard loom. One of the most famous examples of jacquard fabric is damask. Through refined weave changes, the patterns become perfectly three-dimensional against the background, even when the fabric is only one colour. This discovery by Joseph-Marie Jacquard in 1805 signalled a veritable revolution which enabled the simpler production of large- format patterns.

Linen - A natural fibre made from the stalks of the flax plant. It boasts a long list of positive characteristics: linen is practically non-electrostatic, extremely absorbent and resistant to alkalis, and can therefore be washed often. It is an excellent heat conductor, and therefore has a cooling effect in warm weather. Linen does not fluff and is highly tear-resistant. A typical characteristic is its dry, slightly napped feel, and its tendency to crease.

Loden - A traditional Alpine wool. After being woven, it is napped, furled and calendared – in other words, felted and flattened again. Naturally dirt- and water-resistant, this is a sturdy decorative and covering material.

Mercerisation - Cotton is mercerised by dipping it in caustic soda to achieve a permanent shine.

Moiré - Shiny material with an elegant, marbled wavy pattern reminiscent of watermarks. It can be embossed or jacquard-woven. It is not always wash-resistant.

Non-woven - A collective term for fleece fabrics which are not produced by weaving. One example is felt.

Organdy - A starched, semi-transparent cotton material.

Organza - A delicate, semi-transparent silk fabric in plain weave with a certain stiffness.

Paisley - Classic fabric pattern of pear-shaped motifs with a curved tip.

Pattern Repeat - The pattern repeat refers to the distance between pattern repetitions in centimetres.

Pile Velvet - A collective term for velvet fabrics with a pattern in which velvet parts are raised against a smooth background.

Piqué - A two-ply fabric with a relief-like surface structure with a back-stitch appearance. Waffle pi- qué obtains its waffle pattern through a special weaving process. A typical fabric for dish and hand towels.

Plain Weave - The simplest type of weave, in which warp and weft are bound in a one-up, one-down rhythm. This weave need not be carried out with a specific fabric, such as linen.

Plissé - Fabric with permanent pleats.

Polyacrylic - A synthetic fibre. Acrylic fibres can be produced with a range of different properties. In general, they are light, soft, full, warm, sturdy and resistant to abrasion, light and weather. Polyacrylic is suitable for mixing with wool, which often displays similar properties, for the production of faux fur and strong upholstering materials.

Polyamide - A synthetic fibre. There is one variant which dis- plays a close similarity to silk. It is intense in co- lour, resistant to discolouration and crease proof but pleatable. The other variant can be created to resemble angora, cashmere, alpaca or cotton.

Polyester - Polyester is a chemical fibre which is capable of adopting many properties. In general, polyester is particularly resistant to light and weather, whilst offering highly elastic and crease-proof characteristics. It is therefore a popular material for the production of curtains. It is suitable for crease-reduced linen, wool, cotton and silk mixtures, in addition to silk imitations. Polyester can be pleated and used for seersucker or cloqué effects.

Rib Weave - Fabric with clear length and crosswise ribbing.

Synthetic Fibres - Synthetically made fibres such as polyacrylic, polyamide, polyester and viscose.

Satin - Shiny smooth, flowing fabric in an atlas weave. Satin is also known as atlas because of the atlas weave used to create it. The fabric consists of lengthwise thread (warp) and crosswise thread (weft). For atlas, the threads are set particularly closely on the loom. The special atlas weaving technique then pushes the threads so closely together that in warp atlas, only the warp threads are visible on the surface, and in weft atlas, only the weft threads can be seen. They form an extremely smooth, shiny surface whilst the under- side has a matt appearance.

Scherli - Fabric with tiny, fringe-like and raised weft threads arranged in a pattern.

Seersucker - Plain-woven fabric with a striped pattern which forms crêpe-like waves.

Shot Fabric - Fine fabric in a plain weave created with various yarn colours in the warp and weft. This causes a ‘changing’, slightly shimmering effect depending on how the light falls.

Silk - Natural fibre from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworm. Alongside its delicate fineness and noble shine, pure silk presents high elasticity and sturdiness (it is impossible to break off a real silk thread by hand), a crease-proof and in- credibly soft touch and is particularly light and thermally insulating. Nevertheless, this beautiful material is also extremely sensitive to alkalis, washing, acids, heat and UV rays. Special consideration must be given to its light sensitivity when planning to use silk to make curtains, given that if it is exposed to strong sunlight, it may break after some years. Lining the silk with another fabric prevents this to some extent or can delay breakage for a number of years.

Taffeta - Shiny fabric in a plain weave with a tendency to crease. Taffeta has a typical matt appearance with a simultaneous intensive shine. A method used to heighten this effect involves using warp and weft in two different colours, resulting in different tones depending on the light.

Toile De Jouy - Patterned material made of cotton with copper- plate printed designs. It was created in the 18th century in Jouy-en-Josas near Versailles, and often portrays shepherd scenes or chinoiserie. Typical French decorative material.

Trevira Cs - Copyrighted brand name for a highly inflammable and easy-care polyester fabric. The ‘CS’ addition stands for ‘comfort and safety’.

Trimmings - Collective term for textile decoration and ornaments such as ribbon, edging, fringe or pom- pom borders and tassels.

Twill - Fabrics in twill weaves present a typical structure made up of diagonally running lines.

Tweed - Twill-woven wool fabric originally from Scotland. Mostly with mottled natural tones and often with small nubs. A sturdy covering material.

Two-Ply Fabric - Elaborate fabric made of two fabric layers, which are repeatedly woven together at certain points.

Velour - Another name for velvet. The velvet-like feel of velour is created by its nap, or pile. The production technique remains more or less the same as was once used in Venice: thickly threaded lengthwise thread (pile warp) is wound over thin rods on the loom. This creates a series of tiny loops, which are then cut open to create the pile. Modern automatic looms also create velvet from weft thread or two layers of fabric, which is woven first and cut apart later.

Viscose - A synthetic fibre made of cellulose. It is extremely soft and supple, has a silky shine and is very susceptible to dye, although not very moisture- proof.

Voile - Feather-light, transparent decorative material in a plain weave. A range of variants: elegant silk, often made of synthetic fibres, naturally made of fine linen or cotton.

Warp - The lengthwise thread in a fabric. Mostly fine and denser than weft.

Weave - The weave describes the way in which warp and weft yarns are bound to make a piece of fabric. The three plain weaves are the linen weave, twill weave and atlas weave.

Weft - The crosswise threads in a fabric which are woven back and forth on the loom. Often made of more voluminous yarn than the warp.

Welting - A fabric band with a piece of cord on the inside. Used as decoration in the seams of cushions or upholstered furniture. Quilting cotton instead of cord bestows the padded welting with luxurious volume.

Wool - Natural fibre from sheared sheep. Good wools are practically crease-proof, given that wool is extremely stretchy and elastic. This animal hair is not only naturally supple and insulating, but also dirt-resistant, highly inflammable, insensitive to acids and, with the exception of angora, is not electrostatic. Can be felted or even permanently pleated with heat, pressure and steam. The drawbacks: wool is not very tear- proof and is sensitive to alkalis.