Textile list

  • Abbott cloth – a coarse cotton fabric in basketweave
  • Acetate – a synthetic fibre
  • Acrylic fibre – a lightweight synthetic fibre which is soft warm and wool-like although it can resemble cotton, contains at least 85% acrylonitrile
  • Aida cloth – open, even-weave cotton fabric used for cross-stitch embroidery
  • A la mode – soft silk from India
  • Alencon lace – French lace from the 17th century
  • Alpaca – wool from the alpaca, a type of llama
  • Angleterre – English edging, a series of small loops of cord or braid
  • Angora wool – wool of the Angora rabbit.
  • Aramid – a strong, fire-resistant synthetic fibre
  • Argentan lace – Point de France, needlepoint lace bordering from Alencon in France
  • Astrakhan – tightly curled lambs skin from Russia
  • Baize – coarse woollen cloth used on billiard tables and cushions
  • Ballistic nylon – tough nylon fabric used for luggage, straps, motorcycle jackets and early flak jackets. Developed by DuPont to protect airmen against bullet and shell fragments rather than direct hits, later superseded by kevlar
  • Bamboo – one of the many uses of bamboo is that the fibres can be used to make a fabric. It is notable for its softness and reputed natural antibacterial properties.
  • Banana cloth – a high quality textile can be produced from the shoot of the banana plant, it was used in Japan for the manufacture of textiles, the finest being used for kimonos
  • Barathea – silk or cotton fabric with a small pattern resembling chain mail
  • Barege – gauze-like wool woven with silk or cotton, often used for veils
  • Bast fibre – the inner bark of certain plants that are used to produce vegetable fibres
  • Batiste – Extremely finely woven linen named after the 13th century weaver Baptiste Chambrai
  • Bedford-Cord – fabric combining plain and drill weaves
  • Bombast – cotton stuffing used in 16th century breeches and doublets
  • Bombazine – fabric with a silk warp and wool weft. Black bombazine was often used for mourning wear
  • Bri-nylon – another name for nylon coined by the British Nylon Spinners
  • Broadcloth – cloth of plain colour
  • Brocade – silk or wool woven with a raised pattern
  • Brocatelle – heavy silk tissue often on a satin background
  • Broderie anglaise – open-work embroidery
  • Buckram – course linen or cotton treated with glue size for stiffening
  • Buckskin – leather cured with animal brains and then smoked
  • Burlap – sackcloth
  • Caddis – thin woven woollen fabric similar to flannel
  • Calico – cotton fabric silkscreen printed on one side
  • Cambric – fine fabric woven from linen or cotton
  • Camlet – fabric of camel-hair with cotton or silk originally from Turkey but introduced into Europe in the 12th century for cloaks
  • Canvas – heavy duty cotton fabric used for sails, tents, backpack, handbags and shoes
  • Cashmere (Pashmina) – wool from the cashmere goat
  • Cavalry twill – heavy twill with a fine diagonal cord
  • Cendral – woven silk resembling taffeta
  • Challis- lightweight fabric originally made of a mixture of wool and silk but now from fine wool
  • Chenille – velvet-like cord of silk and wool with caterpillar-like tufts
  • Cheesecloth – fabric of loosely woven cotton fibres designed for cheese making but became popular in the 1960s and 70s for shirts and blouses
  • Chiffon – extremely light, transparent fabric of silk or rayon
  • Chintz – wax glazed printed cotton fabric, originally from India
  • Chino cloth – cotton twill fabric originally used in the 1800s for military uniforms but now better known for use in chino trousers
  • Cobury – lightweight worsted cloth originally from Germany
  • Coir – coarse vegetable fibre made from the outer shell of a coconut, used for doormats, twine and stuffing in upholstery
  • Corduroy – cotton velvet with a ribbed surface
  • Cotton – the soft vegetable fibre that surrounds the seeds of the cotton plant Gossypium sp. It can be processed and spun to make a fine yarn
  • Cotton flannel – a stout cotton fabric napped (raised surface) on one side
  • Crepe de chine – crepe of raw silk
  • Crinoline – a stiff fabric with a horsehair weft and a cotton or linen warp developed in 1830s for petticoats but by 1850 the term came to be used for a caged or hooped underskirt frame
  • Dacron – synthetic fibre made of Polyethylele terephthalate (PET)
  • Damask – rich fabric of silk or linen on a taffeta background, with matt and shiny surfaces to highlight the design
  • Denim – rugged cotton twill. The name is a corruption of serge de Nîmes.
  • Dimity – fine fabric made of combed cotton with at least two warp threads in relief to form fine cords
  • Dowlas – course linen fabric of 17th and 18th century Britain, working class
  • Down feather – fine bird feathers, usually from geese, used for padding and insulation in jackets, bedding and pillows
  • Drill – strong cotton fabric for shirts and trousers
  • Drugget – heavy woollen fabric used for overcoats
  • Ducape – heavy corded silk used in America at the end of the 17th century
  • Duck – canvas-like fabric woven of cotton or linen
  • Elastic – rubber fibres with a covering of another fabric
  • Epinglé velvet (Genua velvet) – velvet fabric using both loop pile and cut pile
  • Faille – shiny fabric of woven silk with a horizontal rib
  • Felt – unwoven fabric of matted wool fibres or animal fur
  • Flannel – soft woollen fabric
  • Flannelette – napped (raised surface) cotton fabric imitating the texture of flannel
  • Flax – The common flax or linseed plant is the source of the oldest vegetable fibre known, linen.
  • Foulard – lightweight woven silk used for scarves
  • Frieze – coarse woollen cloth with a nap on one side and scrubbed to raise curls of fibre
  • Fustian – strong cotton fabric sometimes cross-woven with linen, hard wearing and so used for manual worker’s clothing
  • Gabardine – tough worsted wool fabric, smooth on one side and diagonally ribbed on the other. Used for suits, overcoats and trousers. Invented by Thomas Burberry in 1888
  • Galatea – strong printed cotton twill
  • Gante – fabric with a cotton warp and a jute weft, similar to a fine hessian cloth in appearance and mainly used for sugar bags
  • Gauze – fine transparent fabric of silk or cotton originally made in Gaza, Palestine
  • Genova velvet (Venetian velvet) – see Epinglé velvet
  • Gore-Tex – waterproof breathable fabric, based on thermo-mechanically expanded polytetrafluroethylene
  • Gossamer – light gauze-like fabric used in white wedding dresses and decorations
  • Gingham – light cotton fabric woven from pre-dyed yarn, usually checked
  • Grogram – coarse fabric of silk mixed with wool or mohair, stiffened with gum
  • Grosgrain – stout silk fabric
  • Hemp – fibre from the cannabis plant that was used to make rope and canvas. Now it is possible to soften hemp fibres sufficiently to make wearable clothes out of hemp fabric
  • Huckaback – absorbent cotton or linen used for towels
  • Ikat – fabric that has the warp or weft (or both in the case of double ikat) tie-dyed before weaving
  • Ingeo – trademark for a synthetic fibre made from renewable resources by using the carbon stored by plants by photosynthesis
  • Jamdani (jandani) – fine cotton muslin that originated in Bengal with coloured stripes and rich patterns. Its production is now a cottage industry in Bangladesh
  • Jean – a strong cotton twill originating in northern Italy best know for ‘blue jeans’
  • Jersey – soft elastic cloth or knitted tricot or stockinet stitch.
  • Jute – vegetable fibre from plants of the genus Corchorus. Jute fabric is known as hessian. Jute sacks are also known as gunny bag. In America jute fabric is known as burlap.
  • Kalmak – shaggy material of cotton or wool with the appearance of fur
  • Kenaf – vegetable fibre of Hibiscus cannabinus thought to originate from southern Asia. Similar to jute, also used for rope, twine and paper
  • Kente cloth (nwentoma) – the traditional fabric of the Ashanti people of Ghana, woven in narrow strips and then sewn together to produce large pieces of fabric. Brightly coloured and geometrically coloured.
  • Kersey – coarse ribbed woollen fabric once used for men’s stockings
  • Kevlar – bullet proof fabric developed by Du Pont in the 1970s
  • Khaki – earth-coloured fabric used for military uniforms introduced by the British Indian Army. Linen or cotton twill dyed with pigment from the Khair-tree Acacia catechu. The colour is also referred to olive drab or ‘od’
  • Lamé – metallic fabric, usually gold, silver or copper, types include tissue lame, hologram lamé
  • and pearl lamé
  • Lampas – decorative fabric similar to damask
  • Lansdowne – fabric of silk and wool, mainly for women’s dresses
  • Lawn – delicate fabric of cotton or linen, used for ruffs, wimples, collars and cuffs
  • Leather – tanned animal skin, valued for its hard wearing properties. Used for shoes, belts, bags and jackets
  • Linen – any fabric made from flax
  • Linsey-woolsey (Woolsey-linsey or wincey) – fabric with a of linen warp and a wool weft, warm, tough and cheap. A low status fabric
  • Lisle – fine cotton thread used for women’s stockings
  • Loden (loden green) – heavy greyish green woollen waterproof fabric made by Tyrolean peasants in Austria
  • Lurex – brand name for a metallic fabric, usually a synthetic with an aluminium layer
  • Lycra – a trademark name for spandex
  • Lyocell – fibre of wood pulp cellulose, first manufactured by Courtaulds Fibres UK in 1987. Marketed under the trade name Tencel in the USA. It is soft, absorbent and strong
  • Macramé – a knotted lace used for scarves and shawls also used for decorative furnishings and jewellery
  • Madras – muslin or cotton fabric, normally plaid, made in India
  • Maline – fine gauze of silk or cotton used for veils
  • Manila hemp – the vegetable fibre from the leaves of abaca (Musa textilis), a relative of the banana plant. It can be made into rope, fabric or paper
  • Marramas – ornamental gold cloth used by the Church
  • Melozine – rabbit hair fabric with a texture similar to camel hair
  • Melton – heavy woollen felt made in England and used for men’s overcoats and military uniforms
  • Merino – a breed of sheep and also fabric made from its wool
  • Mesh – woven fabric which appears semi-transparent, used in underwear and sportswear
  • Mockado – mock velvet of silk or wool made in the 16th century
  • Modal – vegetable fibre derived from beech trees. It is spun from reconstituted cellulose and is similar to Rayon
  • Mohair – silk-like yarn made from the hair of the Angora goat.
  • Mousseline – woven fabric of silk, wool or cotton
  • Muslin, light cotton, named after the town of Mosul in Iraq
  • Nainsook – fine cotton muslin from India used for underwear, pyjamas and baby clothes
  • Nylon – synthetic polymer first made in 1935 as a replacement for silk. In 1940 stockings were produced in nylon. Also used for string, rope and straps.
  • Oilcloth – heavy cotton or linen fabric with a linseed oil coating, rendering it semi-waterproof. Used for bedrolls, sou’westers and tents and brightly printed for tablecloths. By the 1950s it came to refer to flannel cloth with a vinyl coating
  • Organdy (organdie) – the sheerest cotton cloth that is made, stiff and prone to wrinkling
  • Organza – sheer, plain weave silk cloth, polyester or nylon, used for bridal wear and eveningwear
  • Paragon – fabric made in Turkey in the 17th and 18th centuries of camel hair
  • Patent leather – leather with a high gloss, invented in New Jersey by Seth Boyden in 1818
  • Parvati – Indian handwoven cotton fabric using different coloured threads
  • Percale – closely woven cotton fabric similar to cambric, used for sheets and clothing
  • Pina – vegetable fibre from the Philippines made from the leaves of the pineapple plant, it is hand-woven to produce pina cloth which is used to make the traditional Barong tagalong garment
  • Plaid – patterned woollen cloth
  • Polyester – the most common synthetic fibre, often blended with natural fibres. A polymer made of terephthalic acid
  • Poplin (tabinet, tabbinet) – heavy durable fabric with a ribbed appearance, silk warp and wool yarn.
  • PVC – a shiny material made from the synthetic plastic polyvinyl chloride. Usually with a backing woven from polyester fibres and a shiny, plastic surface. Sometimes used for jackets, skirts and trousers.
  • Qalamkai (kalamkari) – hand-painted or block-printed cotton fabric from India, used for scrolls, temple hangings and chariot banners
  • Qiviut – musk ox wool, does not shrink but cannot be used for felting
  • Quintin – very sheer form of lawn, originally from Quintin in France
  • Radium – smooth fabric of rayon or silk for lingerie and lining
  • Ramie – Flowering plant of the nettle family from eastern Asia, Produces a strong natural fibre with a silky appearance, usually blended with cotton or wool
  • Rayon – silky fabric woven from manufactured regenerated fibres of a cellulose base. Although raw materials are heavy modified they are naturally occurring and so it is not technically a synthetic fibre. It is also known as viscose rayon. Usually has a high sheen.
  • Regatta – English fabric of twilled cotton usually striped blue and white
  • Reploch – course handwoven woollen fabric made in Scotland
  • Roselle – the tropical plant Hibiscus sabdariffa which is cultivated in India for its vegetable fibre
  • Rubber – latex rubber has been used for gas masks and Wellington boots but can be used for leotards, bodysuits, stockings and gloves. Mackintoshes are made up of rubberised cloth.
  • Sailcloth – sailcoth canvas
  • Samite – silk fabric interwoven with gold and silver wire
  • Sarsanet – Fine silk fabric originally woven by the Saracens in the 13th century
  • Satara – ribbed woollen cloth made in India
  • Sateen – cotton fabric with a satin-like finish
  • Satin – woven silk or rayon with glossy out surface and matt back
  • Seersucker – thin silk, cotton or rayon fabric with a crinkly surface
  • Serge – worsted fabric with diagonal twill use for men’s suits
  • Shalloon – light twilled worsed fabric from France
  • Shagreen – Stingray skin/leather
  • Shantung – Chinese silk woven from coarse silk yarn
  • Silk – woven protein fibres made from the cocoon of the silkworm. When produced commercially the pupae are killed to harvest the silk. Wild silk is made form the coccons of caterpillars other than that of the mulberry silkworm.
  • Sisal – linen-like fabric woven from straw imported form the Far East
  • Soya fibre – a by-product of the soya bean food industry the fibre is soft with a silk-like lustre. Suggested to have anti-bacterial properties.
  • Spandex – synthetic fibre of exceptional elasticity, invented by Joseph Shivers in 1959. Also known as elastane
  • Sparterie – material made from esparto grass from Spain and North Africa and used for hats and shoes
  • Stamin – coarse woollen fabric used for winter underwear
  • Stuff – originally a thick wool cloth manufactured in Kidderminster which developed into a Woolsey-linsey cloth. The term is also used to describe any fabric that is not silk
  • Suede – a soft leather with a napped (raised surface) or brushed finish, it is made of the underside of the leather
  • Tabinet – poplin fabric made in Ireland in the 18th century
  • Tactel – brand name for a synthetic fibre derived from nylon introduced by Invista in 1983,
  • Taffeta – thin glossy fabric woven from silk
  • Tagal – straw from Java used to make hats
  • Tapa cloth (tapa) – bark cloth from the Pacific Ocean islands, decorated with painted geometrical designs
  • Tarlatan – starched open mesh muslin used for petticoats, similar to cheese cloth
  • Tartan – closely woven woollen cloth cross-barred and striped
  • Tartarine – ancient silk woven in Tartary
  • Terry cloth (towelling) – fabric with exposed loops that can absorb large amounts of water, used for towels, nappies, bedlinen and sweatbands
  • Textile – a flexible material comprised of a network of natural or artificial fibres
  • Tissue – finely woven gauze
  • Tricolete – knitted fabric made from cotton or silk
  • Tulle (bobbinet) – fine, lightweight netting, often starched, can be made of various fibres. Used for ballet tutus, veils and wedding gowns
  • Tussah – sturdy silk from India used to make dresses and summer suits
  • Twill – fabric woven with diagonal parallel ribs
  • Twill tape – ribbon of twill
  • Tyvek – strong high-density polyethylene fibres. Water vapour can pass through tyvek but not liquid water. Used for emergency coveralls and lab coats
  • Vair – valuable fur in the middle ages
  • Velour – a knitted cotton or polyester textile used for clothing and upholstery. As a knitted textile it is stretchy but also has a velvet-like quality
  • Velvet – closely woven material of silk with a short soft pile on one side
  • Velveteen – cotton cloth that imitates velvet
  • Venetian – glossy cotton fabric used for linings
  • Vichy – light cotton fabric woven from two different coloured threads used for summer dresses
  • Voile – fine semi-transparent fabric of cotton, wool or silk
  • Warp threads – thread that stretch lengthways across a loom and are interwoven with the weft or filling threads
  • Whalebone – the baleen plates with which baleen whales feed, these were used for stays in women’s dresses and corsets
  • Whipcord – corded fabric of worsted yarns for heavy duty clothes
  • Winceyette – lightweight cotton fabric with two-sided nap (raised surface)
  • Wool – fibre from the hair of sheep, goats, llamas or rabbits
  • Worsted – hardwearing woollen fabrics from the village of Worstead in Norfolk
  • Yarn – vegetable or animal fibre that is twisted by spinning to make a continuous filament, fine yarn is known as thread
  • Zibeline – thick soft fabric with a long nap, usually wool but can be mohair, alpaca or camel

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