All textiles can be categorised into three manufacturing processes, they are either: woven, knitted, or bonded/felted together. Below are definitions of various types of fibres and fabrics.
Acetate is a natural fibre made from spinning filaments of cellulose derived from wood pulp. It is a cool and comfortable fibre to wear, with good durability and anti-static properties.
Acrylic is a synthetic fibre made from polymer, it is commonly used as a wool substitute.
Alençon lace or corded lace is a type of lace originating in France, it is characterised by its delicate tulle and motifs with a raised cord running around the motifs.
Aloe vera is a fibre derived from the Aloe Vera plant, it has anti-bacterial and anti-allergenic properties.
Bamboo is a very sustainable fibre, known to be anti-bacterial, very soft and durable.
Basket weave is a type of weaving process, where the warp and weft are equally crossed under and over each other, e.g. two under, two over and so on.
Brocade is a woven cloth that can be made from any fibre, it is characterised by its richly decorative pattern using many coloured yarns and has a slightly raised texture to it.
Cavalry Twill is a pronounced double twill weave originating in the 1940’s, it is very durable and usually made using cotton or wool fibres.
Cashmere a fibre known for its softness, it is made from the hair of a goat. The word comes from the place, Kashmir located in Asia.
Canvas is a plain weave cloth, usually made from cotton. It is very durable and is commonly used by artists and for outdoor upholstery.
Cellulose is the group of fibres that are obtained from a plant-based material. Such fibres are; cotton, viscose, acetate, bamboo etc.
Chantilly lace is named after the region of France in which it was established. Known for its delicate and dainty look, it is very popular today in bridal wear and lingerie.
Chambray is a lightweight, usually cotton, fabric characterised by the use of a coloured warp and white weft.
Chenille is characterised by the fuzzy soft pile yarns used to create the fabric. It can be produced of any fibre such as cotton, viscose, silk and many more. The French word Chenille meaning caterpillar refers to the furry look of the yarn.
Chiffon is a plain weave fabric. It can be made of any fibre and is a very soft, drapey and transparent fabric.
Chintz is a patterned fabric originating in India. It is a painted and lacquered cotton which is commonly used for upholstery.
Cloqué, is a French word meaning blistered it is a type of brocade with an embossed, raised surface and can be made of any fibre.
Crêpe is a weave defined by its uneven surface, it is the twisted yarns that create the texture. It is usually made from fibres such as silk and wool and comes in many different weights.
Crêpe back satin or satin back crêpe is characterised by its double-sided finish, making it a very versatile fabric. The satin weave is constructed using four or more warp threads overlapping a weft thread or visa versa. This means the fabric is shiny on one side and matte on the other, silk, polyester and viscose are fibres commonly used to create this fabric.
Corduroy is characterised by the velvety ribs running through the cloth, it is a strong cloth made with a weft-pile construction. The ribs can come in many sizes and shapes and is usually made from cotton or polyester.
Cotton is a fibre derived from the cotton plant, it is the soft white hairs from the seed, which are picked and then woven to create yarn. Cotton is very durable, washable and comfortable to wear.
Damask is a fabric with the pattern woven in. It is reversible, hardwearing and usually made with cotton, silk or linen.
Denim is a durable twill weave fabric made of cotton, commonly used for jeans and jackets.
Devore is patterned velvet, created by burning away the pile using acid. The pile has to be a different fibre to the base, in order for this to work, e.g.: viscose pile & silk base.
Double crepe is a heavy textured fabric that is drapey, usually made with silk and wool fibres.
Double georgette is a heavy denser version of georgette, characterised by its texture and transparency.
Double knit, a thick jersey fabric made with twin needles where the stitches are interlocked together.
Drill is a twill weave fabric defined by its strong durability, commonly used for utility purposes.
Duchess or duchesse is made using a satin weave construction it is a structured cloth characterised by its high shine on one side and matte on the reverse.
Dupion a plain weave cloth, is characterised by the slubby effect created when raw yarns are woven with more refined silk yarns.
Embroidery is an ancient stitching technique used to create a design on top of a textile using yarns.
Eucalyptus fibre is derived from the Eucalyptus tree, the manufacturing process is similar to that of viscose.
Faille is a structured fabric characterised by very fine ribs, it is usually made from silk.
Faux fur is a pile weave cloth made from synthetic fibres to create a fur-like appearance.
Faux leather or leatherette is made from synthetic fibres to create a leather look appearance.
Faux suede or suedette is made from synthetic fibres to create a suede look appearance.
Fuji is woven using spun silk, creating a very matte and smooth surface.
Gazaar or gazar is a heavy weave organza, which is often satinised, bouncy and structured.
Georgette is a matte crepe weave fabric, which is very light, drapey and transparent.
Grosgrain is a structured fabric, which is defined by the raised rib effect.
Guipure lace is often heavy and is characterised by not having tulle between the motifs.
Habutai or Japanese silk is a plain weave cloth commonly used for linings.
Illusion tulle, made by fusing the yarns together, this tulle is very fine giving it the ability to disappear on the skin.
Ikat is a resist dyeing or warp printing technique used to pattern fabrics.
Jacquard is a fabric where the design has been woven into the fabric rather than printed or embroidered.
Jersey is a knitted fabric, which is characterised by its stretch, comfort and softness.
Jute is a strong and rough cellulose fibre.
Knitting is the process of looping and knotting yarns together to create a textile that is stretchy.
Lace is an openwork fabric that is either hand made or machine made by looping and threading yarns to create a delicate and intricate textile.
Lame or lurex can be any type of fabric that is woven with ribbons/yarns of metallic wrapped around or between yarns.
Latex is made from the rubber tree, this fabric is very resilient and stretchy.
Lawn is a plain weave fabric, made with fine yarns creating a very soft and smooth finish, often made with cotton.
Leather is the skin that comes from many animals such as cow, goat, lamb, pig etc. It is a durable fibre, with a double-sided effect and is comfortable to wear.
Leavers lace is characterised by its bold patterns, it is heavier than a Chantilly and usually lighter than a guipure. It still features tulle between the motifs like Chantilly lace.
Linen is a fibre derived from the flax plant, making it part of the cellulose family.
Matka is made from the silk fibre, it is spun from thick and raw looking yarns creating a rough texture and hand-woven look.
Melton is a fabric made from very tightly woven wool, which the surface is then manipulated to hide the weave structure, making it look like it is bonded.
Milk fibre is from the animal protein family, it is processed when the milk fibre dries and is spun into yarns. It is a very soft and comfortable fibre with anti-bacterial and anti allergenic properties.
Moiré meaning ‘watered’ in French is a finishing technique applied to a fabric (traditionally silk) by pressing it through engraved rolls. It creates a watermarked, wavy look.
Moleskin is a woven cloth with a sheared surface to create a soft pile.
Muslin is a finely woven fabric created using a plain weave, usually made from cotton.
Neoprene is synthetic rubber that can vary in thickness, it is then sandwiched by a thin fabric on each side.
Noil is made from short yarns woven together to create a rough and textured look.
Ottoman is a fabric defined by its large rib effect.
Organic cotton is grown and produced without pesticides and is not genetically modified.
Organdy is a starched plain weave cotton which is transparent and very structured.
Organza is a plain weave transparent and structured fabric.
Panné velvet is a long and flattened pile velvet, creating a shiny and luxurious look.
Piqué is a textured fabric, it can be woven or knitted and is defined by its embossed look.
Pleated fabrics are constructed through either a steaming process or stitching, where the fabric is folded over itself and held in place.
Polyester is a artificial fibre made from joined polymers. It is very versatile, durable but hot to wear.
Polyurethane is a synthetic resin that is sometimes applied to cloth.
Radzimir is a heavy, structured silk, sometimes found with a twill weave. It has a matte but lustrous finish and is similar in handle to a silk duchess or taffeta.
Raffia fibre is made from the palm, it is a natural string that is woven into baskets, shoes and clothing.
Rayon, also called viscose is a plant fibre. It can be woven in many different ways, creating many different types of fabric properties.
Raw silk is a term used to describe silk that has a less-refined, raw look to it. Also called dupion, Thai silk or matka.
Rib knit is a fabric with a raised rib texture, it is stretchy and can be made with any fibre.
Satin is a weave known for its luxurious, shiny, smooth finish. It is constructed using four or more warp threads overlapping a weft thread or visa versa. It is called Sateen if made with the cotton fibre.
Satinised chiffon is a woven fabric with a satin finish. It is shiny on one side, matte on the other and very lightweight.
Satin back crepe is a woven fabric with a satin finish. It is shiny on one side, matte on the other and can be light or heavy weight.
Silk is a fibre derived from the silkworm cocoon. It is a very comfortable, soft and luxurious fibre.
Shantung is a soft fabric woven with irregular yarns to create a slubby look.
Shot fabric can be woven in many ways. It is defined by the warp and weft being different colours to create an iridescent look.
Soybean is a sustainable fibre made from the soy plant. It is a very comfortable, durable and soft.
Swiss voile is a very soft sheer fabric made from fine cotton with a small cutback spot.
Taffeta is a plain weave fabric; it is a smooth, structured, papery fabric that can be made with many different fibres.
Tartan is a checkered cloth in multiple colours, traditionally woven from wool. It originates from Scotland and comes in many hundreds of colour ways. Each colour way is associated with specific family names or Clans.
Tencel is a cellulose fibre made from dissolving wood pulp and spinning into yarns.
Tri-Acetate is a cellulose fibre made from plant fibres combined with chemicals.
Tulle is a net fabric, which can be made from any fibre, it can be soft and drapey or starched for a structured look.
Tweed is a textured and open look fabric usually made of wool or silk, it was made famous by the designer Chanel.
Twill is a type of weave created by two warp threads crossing two weft threads, it is defined by its diagonal lines.
Tussah is a lightweight plain weave fabric with a rougher, less refined yarn creating a slubby look.
Velour is a pile fabric, which is generally seen as stretch velvet made of lesser quality fibres to that of velvet.
Velvet or velveteen is a pile fabric created on a special loom with extra yarns. It can be made with a W pile or V pile depending on the quality. It is historically made from silk fibre, but can now be made with many more. All types of velvet are commonly used for upholstery and garment making.
Viscose is a cellulose fibre derived from the wood plant, it is cool and comfortable to wear and can be spun into any weave of fabric.
Voile is a very soft sheer fabric usually made from fine cotton
Wool is a fibre, which is derived from the hair of sheep, it is then spun into yarns and woven or knitted to create textiles. It is a very durable, warm and breathable fibre.
Worsted is a type of wool made from high quality, very fine yarns.
Zibeline is a twill weave fabric; it is heavy with bounce and lustre. Traditionally made of other fibres, but today it is most commonly found in silk or polyester.