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The Fabric Photo Glossary

Your photographic dictionary of 80+ pattern design, weave, and material buzzwords.

Let's face it, not everyone wants to spend big money for a full color hardcover fabric dictionary with pictures. Sometimes you just want to know what a particular weave or pattern looks like, not just the technical description. We at Sir's decided to do our best to step up and offer a short list of some of the common (and sometimes confusing) terms being used in the fabric and design industries today, and we came up with around 80 words that we thought might need a little extra help from a picture for their definitions.
Good thing we have all this fabric lying around to take pictures of!

Fabric Photo Glossary

A pattern of overlapping solid and outlined diamond shapes.
What is Argyle

Awning Stripes
Broad, solid stripes sometimes separated by thinner and lighter stripes.
What is Awning Stripes

A pattern with stripes of varying widths (not necessarily in black and white)
What is Barcode

A weave pattern where equal sized groups of weft and warp threads are criss-crossed, forming an interlaced pattern resembling a small checker board.
What is Basketweave

An especially lightweight opaque fabric, usually of cotton or polyester
What is Batiste

Sheets of wadded cotton used as interlining in quilts.
What is Batting

A strip of polyester or nylon fibers tightly woven to create a strong and durable utility strap.
What is Belting

Bonded Leather
A type of fabric where bits of leather recycled during the normal tanning process are used as backing on a specially designed polyurethane face. Has the look, feel, and smell of genuine leather, although it is produced artificially.
What is Bonded Leather

See Paisley
What is Boteh

Raised designs woven into silk or similar luxury material. See also, Lampas.
What is Brocade

An tough, stiff cotton cloth used to stiffen clothing.
What is Buckram

A rough weave traditionally made from the fibers of the jute plant, although cotton and polyester imitations are common.
What is Burlap

A pattern of brightly colored flowers on a light background, usually in traditional country style.
What is Calico

Camouflage ("Camo")
A pattern designed to blend in with the surrounding environment.
What is Camo

An even-weave cotton fabric, sometimes with husk and seed parts left behind.
What is Canvas

A pattern of alternately colored squares.
What is Check

The "zig-zag" pattern of stripes with alternating slopes and colors.
What is Chevron

A lightweight, plain-woven sheer fabric, commonly used in dresses.
What is Chiffon

A pattern of Western design depicting scenes of daily life in China, or other Chinese influences. Sometimes simply "chinois."
What is Chinoiserie

A fabric with an irregularly raised surface, sometimes creating an embossed design.
What is Cloque

A pattern that features identifiable objects.
What is Conversational

A pattern depicting coral growth.
What is Coral

A twisting of thick bunches of various yarns. Commonly used as a decorative edging trim.
What is Cording

A weave of twisted and tufted fibers that create parallel cords running the length of the fabric.
What is Corduroy

Silk, wool, or polyester fabric with a crimped appearance and often a gauzy texture.
What is Crepe

A rich pattern derived from an old Arabic weaving technique, usually featuring abstract foliage arranged in a geometric pattern. Translates from "Damascus," an ancient city in the Middle East.
What is Damask

A cotton twill weave where each weft thread passes under multiple warp threads in a series that creates a diagonal ribbing.
What is Denim

Dotted Swiss
A pattern of raised dots arranged evenly across a lightweight or soft fabric.
What is Dotted Swiss

Double Weave/Double Cloth
A cloth made of two sets of warp and weft threads, allowing complicated and intricate designs and layering.
What is Double Weave/Double Cloth

Duck Cloth
A plain-weave cotton fabric featuring a two yarn warp and a single yarn weft.
What is Duck Cloth

A plain-weave silk fabric made from thin warp threads and uneven weft threads from two or more entangled cocoons. A high-lustre silk with a significant amount of slub.
What is Dupioni

Stamped or otherwise imprinted with a raised design, giving a 3D textured effect.
What is Embossed

A cotton fabric design with embroidered-edge holes, commonly used as a tough substitution for lace in design.
What is Eyelet

Faux Fur
An imitation of the qualities of animal fur, sometimes also imitating the natural patterns of that animal. Usually made of polyester or other man-made fibers.
What is Faux Fur

A non-woven fabric made by matting and pressing fibers together. Typically used as a craft material today.
What is Felt

A pattern featuring flowers and other foliage.
What is Floral

A set pattern of small objects in a block repeat, commonly used as a design structure in quilting fabrics.
What is Foulard

A pattern featuring an ornamental geometric design of overlapping lines, usually resembling similar designs in ironwork and lattices.
What is Fretwork

A flat, narrow ornamental braid used for various trimming applications
What is Gimp

A woven pattern of white and colored yarns/threads, creating a cross-hatched check design.
What is Gingham

An elongated diamond pattern similar to a check, sometimes with space between each diamond or with small embellishments where points meet.
What is Harlequin

A fabric-foam combination used to line the "ceiling" in a car or truck cab.
What is Headliner

A weaving technique that produces a ribbed chevron design.
What is Herringbone

Hook And Loop Tape
A reusable adhesive fabric made of opposite strips of interlocking fibers; more commonly reffered to by the name-brand, Velcro.
What is Hook And Loop Tape

A check pattern with notched corners, supposedly suggestive of a canine tooth.
What is Houndstooth

A dyeing technique where either the warp or weft threads are dyed in a fashion similar to tie-dye before being woven into a fabric. The resulting pattern appears to be "pulled" in opposing directions along the dyed fabric a thread at a time.
What is Ikat

Sprawling designs commonly featuring flowers, foliage, and/or birds where the repeat is not readily apparent. Sometimes also features paisley elements as leaves.
What is Jacobean

A fabric woven with faint stripes created by the arrangement of light, medium, and dark warp yarns.
What is Jaspe

A knit fabric that takes on different qualities depending on the contents. For example, polester knits are used to make athletic shirts and "jerseys", whilewool and cotton varieties make especially soft, stretchy clothes.
What is Jersey

A woven fabric where the yarns are covered in a metallic ribbon, creating a shiny, brittle cloth commonly used for costumes and fancy dress.
What is Lamé

A weft-woven pattern on a plain woven luxury silk. Usually, the pattern is woven with gold and/or silver thread.See also, Brocade
What is Lampas

A weave featuring two warp yarns twisted around the weft yarns, creating a strong, sheer fabric. Also called "gauze weave" or "cross weave".
What is Leno

Marine Vinyl
An especially durable and long lasting grade of vinyl. The backing of marine vinyls are sewn-in instead of fused, the top coat is treated with UV resistance, and anti-mildew and anifungal additives protect from deterioration from weather.
What is Marine Vinyl

A woven fabric that has been given the appearance of being quilted or otherwise padded.
What is Matelassé

A common pattern featuring large ornamental circles with intricate details. See also, Suzani
What is Medallion

A man-made durable knit fabric made from microscopic polyester threads. Microfiber is softer and easier to clean than natural suede, making it a common choice for upholstery projects.
What is Microsuede

A wavy, watered gloss effect produced by particular weaves or by a heat treatment called calendering. Also called watered silk.
What is Moire

A pattern featuring designs within a continuous "S" curve that often creates and onion-shaped motif.
What is Ogee

A fabric made of a thicker version of "grosgrain" weave material, often made of silk or some silk-like substitute.
What is Ottoman

Outdoor Fabric
Fabric that has been treated in various ways to resist the hazards of outdoor use, like UV resistance, soil repellant, and sometimes even water-proofed backing.
What is Outdoor Fabric

A design adopted from Persian culture featuring a droplet shaped vegetable motif and intricate designs in and around it. Sometimes referred to as "Persian pickles" by quilters.
What is Paisley

Pile Weave
A weaving technique where threads are woven over metal rods during normal weaving. When the rods are removed, the pile fabric has protruding loops in its weave, which can be cut or left uncut to make a variety of fabrics, including velvet (cut-pile) and corduroy (loop-pile).
What is Pile Weave

A design of criss-crossed colored bands and stripes, forming a blocked square pattern with varying shades of color.
What is Plaid

Fabric treated to have the appearance of being naturally crinkled.
What is Plissé

A four-petalled abstract flower motif that is symmetrical on all four sides.
What is Quatrefoil

A fabric produced by weaving the warp yarns over several weft yarns at a time, creating a luster in silk, nylon, and polyester materials.
What is Satin

Most commonly, a translucent gauze-like material made of cotton.
What is Scrim

Similar to dupioni silk, although it is not as irregular and sometimes thinner. Saux silks often imitate shantung style silks with an irregular satin weave.
What is Shantung

A textile fiber made from the natural proteins used by silkworms and similar insects to create cocoons.
What is Silk

A thick sport in a yard created by variability in the twist of the yarn while spinning.
What is Slub

A pattern, often embroidered, of disk shaped motifs decorated as suns, moons, or flowers, in a style originating from Central Asia. See also, Medallion
What is Suzani

A durable, tightly woven fabric often used for covering bedding and pillows because the tightness of the weave tend to prevent down feathers from poking through.
What is Ticking

A monochromatic scene print most often depicting daily life in a rural or colonial community, usually on a white or other light background.
What is Toile

A pattern of interwoven lines sometimes decorated with foliage, similar to latticework. See also, Fretwork
What is Trellis

A fine, lightweight netting often used for gowns and tutus.
What is Tulle

A weaving pattern where the weft passes over and under the same number of warp threads in a manner that produces diagonal ridges.
What is Twill

A piled fabric that has had its piled loops evenly cut, creating a surface of fine piled threads with a distinctive feel.
What is Velvet

A durable, waterproof material made of polyurethane. Through different chemical mixtures and backings, vinyl comes in a variety of colors, weighs, and textures.
What is Vinyl

A sheer fabric, usually cotton or some cotton blend, that is especially lightweight and semitransparent.
What is Voile

Wine Orchid Violet Plum Lavender Purple Indigo Midnight Navy Royal Blue Slate Cornflower Light+Blue Sky Powder Azure Turquoise Cyan Blue-Green Sea Teal Aquamarine Pale+Green Forest Dark+Green Emerald Lime Green Chartreuse Yellow-Green Olive Goldenrod Gold Lemon Black Gray Silver White Ivory Cream Brown Sand Taupe Tan Bisque Khaki Peach Salmon Coral Pink Carnation Pastel Magenta Fuchsia Hot+Pink Red Rose Cranberry Burgundy Maroon Brick Rust Sienna Red-Orange Coral Peach Orange Yellow-Orange Yellow