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The most common types of fabric are cotton, polyester, and wool. You’re probably also familiar with silk, denim, velvet, and spandex. However, did you know that there are hundreds of different types of fabric?
I bet you’ve never heard of most of them…
That’s why I added this Fabric Dictionary to SewingTrip.com!
Fabric is made from either natural or synthetic fibers. These fibers are twisted into threads and then woven, knit, or fused together. The combinations and designs are practically limitless. When you add in fabric dyes and treatments, it certainly makes you realize the vastness of the textile industry.
I tried to make a list of fabric types that is as comprehensive as possible. This fabric dictionary includes more than 400 fabrics. Please let me know if you see a fabric type missing from this dictionary.
A-Z List of Fabrics
The following list contains definitions for different fabric types. Bookmark this page so you can come back if you ever have a question about a fabric!
Aba: A natural fabric woven from camel or goat hair. It is used in traditional Middle East clothing.
Abaca: A natural, hemp-like fiber from the Philippines that is extracted from the stem of the abaca plant (a close relative of the banana). It is also called, “manila hemp.” This hard fiber is durable, flexible, and resistant to saltwater damage. It is used in rope, hammocks, rugs, and cordage.
Acetate: A synthetic fiber created from cotton filaments or wood pulp and acetic acid. It is lightweight, soft, shiny, crisp, breathable, and resists static. This delicate fabric is dry clean only and does not retain heat well. It is commonly used in drapery, evening wear, linings, and lingerie.
Acrilan: (Trademarked) A synthetic acrylic fabric, also called polypropenonitrile, made from a chemical reaction with acrylonitrile, acetylene, and hydrogen cyanide. It is soft, strong, and crease resistant.
Acrylic: A synthetic fabric made by polymerization of acrylonitrile and other monomers. It is lightweight, soft, quick drying, machine washable, and mimics wool. Acrylic tends to carry static and pills easily, but it is a cheaper alternative to cashmere and wool. It is used in winter wear, sportswear, carpet, and faux fur
Aerophane: A natural fabric made from a silkworm that has since gone extinct. It is semitransparent, thin, and crisp. Aerophane was often used to create three-dimensional ornamentation on dress trimmings.
Aertex: (Trademarked) A synthetic fabric made by trapping air within the warp and weft of fabric to create a barrier between the cold air of the atmosphere and the warmth of the body. Aertex became a famous, lightweight fabric in England and it is used mainly for sportswear and underwear.
Agneline: A woolen fabric with a long nape. It is typically black, coarse, and heavy. The fibers are water resistant when stretched tight.
Agilon: (Trademarked) A synthetic nylon fabric made from elasticized thermoplastic filament. It is strong, durable, and easy to care for. Agilon was typically knotted on a circular machine and used in vintage stockings because of its stretch.
Aida Cloth: A stiff, open weave fabric used for needlework, particularly cross stich. It is usually created with a basket weave.
Airguard: (Trademarked) A synthetic fabric made of polyamide hollow fibers. It is highly tear resistant, provides heat insulation, and is water/wind resistant. Airguard is used in motorcycle garments.
Alaskine: (Trademarked) A blended, natural fabric made from 65% wool and 35% silk. The wool is in the weft and the silk is in the warp. Alaskine was used in suits, dresses, and formalwear, but is only found in vintage garments today.
Albatross: A plain-weave fabric that resembles the soft downy feathers of an albatross bird. It is a worsted fleece-like fabric that is typically white.
Albert Cloth: A double-sided woolen fabric named after Prince Albert. It is used to make outerwear, especially double-breasted overcoats.
Alençon Lace: A needlepoint lace designed on net-like lining and trimmed with cording, pearls, sequins, and beads. It typically has heavy details and is used for bridal veils and formalwear.
Alepine: An obsolete fabric that was made of a mix of wool and silk or mohair and cotton.
Alginic: A natural fiber produced from seaweed. It is sometimes used as an additive in fabric for waterproofing and fireproofing. Alginic is used in camouflage and netting.
Anidex: A synthetic fiber composed of monohydric alcohol and acrylic acid. It has good stretch and resists fading due to sunlight, oxidation, and chlorine bleach. Anidex is used in outwear and sportswear.
Antron: (Trademarked) A nylon fiber used in carpet. It makes carpet last longer and look better because it is dense and does not easily absorb stains.
Alpaca: A natural fiber harvested from alpaca animals. It is soft, fine, silky, warm, durable, and has natural elasticity. Alpaca fabric requires dry cleaning and pills easily, but it is hypoallergenic and water repellent. It is mostly used for outerwear.
Amara: A synthetic fabric made of 60% polyamide and 40% polyurethane. It mimics leather but is also waterproof, soft, and comfortable. It is used in motocross gloves.
Angora: A natural fiber harvested from long-hair Angora rabbits. It is soft, fluffy, warm, and lightweight. Angora is used for suiting and outerwear.
Antique Satin: A reversible satin fabric that has a matte finish on one side and a shiny finish on the other. It drapes beautifully and is used in formalwear.
Aramid: A synthetic fiber with heat resistant polymers and extraordinary strength. It is used in military and aerospace applications.
Ardas: A fine silk.
Argentan Lace: A needlepoint lace, similar to Alençon Lace, with tightly stitched designs and intricate details. It is used in bridal veils and eveningwear.
Armure: A twilled, woolen, or silk fabric with an embossed surface. It is used in eveningwear.
Arrasene: An embroidery fabric made of wool and silk.
Art Linen: A plain and evenly woven linen that is crisp and good for embroidery.
Astrakhan: A natural fiber harvested from a karakul lamb. It is a rare fabric that is woven or knitted. It is used in eveningwear and trim.
Atlas: A rich satin fabric.
Baft (Baffetta): An inexpensive, course cotton fabric. It is similar to muslin, but typically blue or white.
Bagging: A course fabric used to make bags and sacks.
Bagheera Velvet: An uncut pile velvet with a rough surface.
Baize: A course fabric made from napped cotton or wool. It is commonly green and used to cover gaming tables.
Balbriggan: A lightweight knitted cotton fabric similar to jersey fabric. It is smooth, soft, and comfortable. Balbriggan is used in hosiery, sportswear, and nightwear.
Ballistic: (Trademarked) A synthetic nylon fabric that has an even weave. It is extremely thick and durable. Ballistic is commonly used in luggage.
Balzarine: A lightweight blended fabric made of cotton and wool. It generally has a cotton warp and worsted weft. Balzarine is used in summer dresses.
Bamboo: A natural fiber harvested from the bamboo plant that is ecofriendly, durable, and strong. Bamboo is porous, absorbent, and breathable. It is used in clothing, linens, and upholstery.
Ban-Lon: (Trademarked) A synthetic yarn with greater bulk than traditional yarn. It is used in retail clothing.
Banana Silk: A natural fiber harvested from a banana stalk. It is thick, course, absorbent, biodegradable, and has a satin-like appearance. Banana silk is used in upholstery, drapes, and some clothing.
Barathea: A blended fabric woven from acetate, cotton, rayon, silk, or wool in a hopsack manner. It is durable and has a granular texture or pebbly look. Barathea is used in jackets and outerwear.
Barege: A lightweight sheer fabric in plain weave, generally made from silk or cotton.
Barkcloth: A natural fabric made from 100% cotton. It has a slight texture that looks like the bark of trees. Barkcloth is used in outerwear and home furnishings.
Batiste: A strong, but sheer, fabric made from cotton, polyester, wool, or other blends in a plain weave. It is very delicate but drapes nicely. It is used in shirts, dresses, and linings.
Batting (Batt): Carded cotton or wool that comes in sheets or rolls. It is used in quilts and as stuffing.
Battenberg Lace: A manufactured lace made using mechanical tape. It is used in home décor and as embellishment.
Beaver Cloth: A double-sided fabric made from wool with varying nap length. It resembles the luxurious and silky appearance of beaver’s fur. Beaver cloth is used in hats and outerwear.
Bedford Cord: A natural ribbed fabric made from cotton, silk, wool, and blends. It is strong and looks like corduroy. Bedford is used in upholstery, pants, and outerwear.
Bemberg: (Trademarked) A rayon lining fabric that is soft and silky. It is translucent, absorbs moisture, and doesn’t pill. Bemberg is used in lining.
Bengaline: A natural fabric made from silk but sometimes blended with cotton, acetate, viscose, and worsted. It is strong and has heavy weft-wise ribs. Bengaline is used in suits, drapes, and outerwear.
Beta Cloth: A Teflon coated, woven glass fabric that is durable and fireproof. It is used in insulated blankets and aerospace applications.
Bicast Leather (PU): A split leather embossed with a thick layer of polyurethane. It is easy to clean and used in upholstery.
Bipolished Cotton: A cotton fabric treated with an enzyme that removes the roughness of the protruding yarns. It creates a super soft fabric.
Blanket Cloth: A heavyweight fabric with nap. It is used to make outerwear.
Blends: These fabrics are made when two different types of fabric are mixed together to create a new fabric, taking on the unique properties of each.
Bobbinet: A manufactured cotton lace made on a bobbinet frame. It is used in tulle applications, such as eveningwear and dancewear.
Bobbin Lace: A twisted and braided lace made with many threads. It is typically coarse and can be made from both natural and synthetic fibers.
Bogolanfini: A handmade cotton fabric also known as, “Mud Cloth.” It is used in camouflage and ritual clothing of the Malian culture.
Boiled Wool: A thick, nearly waterproof fabric that is dense and heavy. It is used in outerwear.
Bombazine: A twilled or corded fabric make from cotton or worsted wool. It is used for dresses.
Bonded Fabric: A non-woven fabric where the fibers are glued or fused together. Bonded fabrics are typically weak and have little elasticity. They are used for upholstery, crafts, and linings.
Bonded Leather: A fabric created from leather fibers that are bonded with polyurethane. It is cheaper than genuine leather.
Boning: A flexible plastic, nylon, or metal used to provide structure. It comes in flat and spiral forms. Boning is used in corsets, lingerie, and strapless dresses.
Bouclè: A fancy yarn with a rough texture and curled/looped appearance. It is formed by twisting yarns together to form loops at regular intervals. Bouclè is used in coats and decorative pieces.
Brilliantine: A fine, lustrous fabric with cotton warp and worsted mohair weft. It looks like alpaca but is more lightweight. It is known for its dust-shedding properties.
Broadcloth: A tightly woven wool or cotton fabric with a velvety nap and plain weave.
Brocade: A decorative jacquard weave fabric with an embossed texture. It typically features floral designs and is woven of silk, cotton, or polyester. Many brocades are embellished with beads and sequins and feature bright colors and metallic thread. It is used in eveningwear.
Brocatelle: A double-woven fabric similar to brocade. The surface is slightly embossed which creates a puffed appearance. Brocatelle is used in upholstery and outerwear.
Broderie Anglaise: A cotton fabric covered with eyelet embroidery.
Buckram: A stiff linen or cotton fabric with a plain weave. It is created using gum, latex, or starch to provide shape. Buckram is used in book bindings and bags.
Bump: A loosely woven and heavy fabric made from cotton and other blends. It is used as a lining and stabilizer.
Burlap: A course, plain weave fabric made from hemp, flax, jute, or kenaf. It is lightweight, durable, and inexpensive. Burlap is used for bags, sacks and upholstery.
Calico: A cotton fabric made using a plain weave. It contains some starch and has not gone through a regular finishing process. Calico is inexpensive and traditionally has a small, busy floral pattern. It is used in linings and quilts because it is soft and drapes well.
Cambric: A high-quality, plain weave fabric made from cotton or linen. It is lightweight, tightly woven, and glossy on one side. Cambric is used for shirts, dresses, and lots of apparel.
Camel Hair: A natural fiber harvested from the hair of Bactrian camels. It is used in suits and outerwear.
Camlet: A woven fabric made from silk or camel hair.
Candlewick Fabric: An unbleached muslin fabric with a chenille, pile effect. It is used in bedding.
Canton Crepe: A soft crepe fabric woven with small crosswise ribs. It is heavier than Crepe de Chine.
Canton Flannel (Cotton Flannel): A mediumweight, loosely woven cotton that is brushed to create a long nap. It is strong, warm, and absorbent. Cotton flannel is used for sleepwear and outerwear.
Canvas: A strong, heavyweight fabric made from cotton, jute, linen, or hemp. It has a plain weave and is usually left unbleached. Canvas is used in bags, tents, and crafts. It can be treated so it is water resistant and fire retardant.
Capilene: (Trademarked) A fast drying, polyester fabric with moisture wicking properties. It is used in swimwear and outerwear.
Carpet Backing Cloth (CBC): A jute fabric made with a plain, open weave. It adds dimension to carpets and is rot and mildew resistant.
Casement: A plain weave fabric made for casement window curtains. It is typically white or cream colored.
Cashgora: A fabric made from blending Cashmere goat fibers and Angora goat fibers. It is soft, warm, and used in outerwear.
Cashmere: A natural wool fiber made from the fine under hair of the Kel goat. It is extremely soft and expensive. Cashmere is typically reserved for high-end garments.
Cashmerlon: A soft acrylic fabric that feels like cashmere. It is machine washable and used in outerwear.
Cavalry Twill: A strong and rugged fabric with pronounced narrow and wide wale.
Ceraspace: (Trademarked) A synthetic fabric with extreme abrasion and heat resistance. It is used in textiles exposed to extreme heat because it does not melt.
Challis: A plain weave fabric made from cotton, wool, viscose, and sometimes synthetic blends. It is soft, lightweight, smooth, and semitransparent. Challis is used in eveningwear and sportswear.
Chainmail: A fabric made from interlocking metal loops. It is lightweight and easy to drape.
Chambray (Chambric): A lightweight gingham fabric made from cotton or linen with a plain weave. It has a white weft thread that is interwoven with a colored warp thread to create a striped of checked pattern. Chambray is used in shirts, dresses, and lots of apparel.
Chamois: A soft leather harvested from the skin of the Chamois animal. It is strong, pliable, and absorbent. It is used in gloves and sometimes upholstery.
Chantilly Lace: A shadowy bobbin lace made of silk. It has fine details, snags easily, and is typically black. Chantilly lace is used in eveningwear.
Char Cloth: A fabric made from vegetable fiber. It is slow burning and easy to ignite.
Charmeuse: A natural fabric made from silk using a satin weave. The right side of the fabric looks shiny and the back has a flat crepe appearance. Charmeuse is lightweight and used in eveningwear.
Charvet: A silk or synthetic fabric made by weaving ribs through the warp to create a unique texture and high luster. It is soft, has good drape, and is used in shirting and eveningwear.
Cheesecloth: A lightweight, gauze fabric made from cotton in a plain weave. It was originally used to wrap and press cheese, but it can be used in shirts and other apparel.
Chenille: A fancy fabric with a pile that resembles a furry caterpillar. It is made of silk or wool with a tight weave. Chenille drapes well and is incredibly soft. Chenille is used for outerwear and crafts.
Chiffon: A thin, semitransparent fabric woven from silk in a plain weave. It is a tightly twisted, fine yarn used in scarves and shirts.
China Silk: A lightweight, inexpensive silk fabric. It is soft and used mainly in dancewear.
Chinchilla Cloth: A natural fiber harvested from the dense fur of the Chinchilla animal. It is also mimicked by synthetic fibers and comes in medium and heavy weights.
Chino: A sturdy, cotton blend fabric with a twill weave. It has a subtle sheen and is used in uniforms, sportswear, pants, and outerwear. Chino is typically khaki or tan colored.
Chintz: A cotton blend fabric made using a plain weave and treated with starch to create a lustrous finish. It is usually printed with colorful designs and used in dresses and outerwear.
Chire: A nylon fabric with a taffeta-like shiny surface.
Cirè: A smooth, glossy fabric made from synthetic fibers. It is treated with a wax application to create the lustrous appearance. Cirè is used mostly for outerwear.
Cisele Velvet: A velvet fabric with both cut and uncut loops that form a design from the contrast.
Cloque: A heavyweight, raised fabric made from woven cotton, silk, or rayon. It has a sponge-like texture that looks puckered or quilted.
Cluny Lace: A bobbin lace with geometric designs. It is heavyweight and used in bridal trims.
Coburg: A thin, single twilled worsted fabric made from cotton or silk. It is spun using only the longest staple fibers. It has no nap and is typically dyed or printed. Coburg is used in dresses or linings.
Coir: A stiff, natural fiber extracted from the husk of a coconut.
Combed Cotton: A high-quality cotton with a high thread count. The shortest cotton fibers are removed during the manufacturing process.
Cordura: (Trademarked) A nylon fabric that is blended with cotton and other natural fibers to make durable clothing.
Corduroy: A tough, woven fabric made from cotton. It has a pile of vertical ribs that are made from an extra set of weft yarns. Corduroy is velvety to the touch and used in children’s clothing, pants, and outerwear. Read: How to Sew Corduroy.
Cottagora: A blended fabric of Angora rabbit hair and organic cotton. It is ecofriendly and extremely soft.
Cotton: A natural cellulose fiber harvested from the cotton plant. It is spun into fine threads and then woven or knitted into fabric. Cotton is absorbent and breathable. It also creases easily and resists static. Cotton is a popular fabric used in apparel, quilts, crafts, and more.
Cotton-backed Satin: A blended fabric with a high luster right side made of satin or rayon and the back made of cotton.
Coutil: A strong, cotton fabric woven in a herringbone pattern. It is smooth, durable, and tightly woven. Coutil is used for linings, corsets, and anything that needs structure.
Cow Hide: A thick leather that is incredibly tough. It is warm and heavy.
Crépe (Crepe de Chine): A fabric with a crisp or crimped appearance. It can be made of cotton, silk, wool, or synthetic blends. It is typically soft with a lustrous appearance.
Crépe-Backed Satin: A blended fabric with a satin right side and a crisp, crepe back. It is used in dresses.
Crépon: A silk or wool fabric that is heavier than crépe. It has a wavy texture that runs lengthwise.
Cretonne: An unglazed, plain weave fabric made from cotton. It is heavyweight and used in upholstery.
Crimplene: (Trademarked) A textured, continuous fiber of synthetic yarn. It is used in shirts and other apparel.
Crinoline: A strong, stiff fabric made from cotton, silk, linen, or synthetic fibers with an open weave. It is used in petticoats and linings.
Cupro: A recycled cotton exposed to copper, caustic soda, and ammonia to create a synthetic fabric. It looks like Tencel and rayon, but breathes like cotton.
Cypress: A lightweight, gauze fabric made from cotton lawn or silk. It is semitransparent and crepe-like in appearance.
Dacron: (Trademarked) A polyester fabric obtained from ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. It is strong and resistant to stretching.
Damask: A reversible fabric made from silk, cotton, wool, linen, viscose, and a variety of synthetic fibers. IT is characterized by its elaborate patterns of florals and geometrics. Damask is woven on a Jacquard loom and can have different degrees of luster.
Darlexx: (Trademarked) A warp knit fabric laminated in a monolithic film. It is used in sportswear and outerwear.
Dazzle: A lightweight, soft polyester fabric with a slight sheen. It absorbs moisture and is used in sportswear.
Deerskin: A soft, supple leather made from deer hide. It is soft and used in pants, skirts, and outerwear.
Delaine: A wool fabric extracted from the Delaine animal. It is woven in a plain pattern and used in eveningwear.
Denim: A strong, durable cotton fabric made with a twill weave. In most cases, the warp threads are dyed blue and the weft threads remain white. It is used mostly for pants. Denim is also known as, “jean.” Read: Tips for Sewing Denim.
Dimity: A lightweight cotton fabric woven with raised stripes of checks. It is usually left undyed. Dimity is used in upholstery and apparel.
Doeskin: A smooth, woolen fabric with a leather-like appearance.
Domett: A lightweight twill or plain weave fabric made from cotton. It is stiff and durable and usually left undyed. Dommett is used in linings and upholstery.
Donegal: A wool tweed fabric with colorful thick slubs woven in.
Dotted Swiss: Semitransparent, crisp fabric with raised dot embossing.
Double Cloth: A woven fabric with two or more sets of warp threads and one of more sets of weft threads. Double cloth fabric is thick because it is essentially two pieces woven or fused together.
Double Gauze: A loosely woven, two-layer gauze fabric.
Double Knit: A knit fabric that looks the same from both sides.
Dowlas: A course, plain linen cloth. It is used in aprons and pants.
Down: A filler/stuffing material made from the feathers of ducks, geese, and other birds. It retains heat well and is used in bedding.
Drill: A durable cotton or linen fabric made with a twill weave. It is different than denim in that both the warp and weft threads are the same color. Drill is used for pants and outerwear.
Drugget: A course, woolen fabric felted or woven together. It is used in floor coverings.
Duchesse Satin: A heavyweight, satin weave fabric. It is used in formalwear.
Duck: A heavyweight, plain weave cotton. It comes in different weights but is always 100% cotton.
Duffel: A course, heavyweight fabric made from wool. It is woven with a nap on both sides of the fabric. Duffel is used in outerwear and camping grear.
Dungaree: A course, calico or denim cotton fabric. It is strong and used in utility clothing and pants.
Dupion (Douppioni): A textured silk fabric with the fibers woven into the base. It has a lustrous sheen and is used in formalwear.
Duvetyne: A soft fabric that looks like velvet. It is plush and has a pile on one side.
Egyptian Cotton: A soft, tightly woven cotton with strong and long fibers.
Elastane: A stretchy fabric used in swimwear.
Eolienne: A lightweight, lustrous fabric with a ribbed surface.
Epyngle: A high-quality velvet fabric woven on a wire loom. It has both loop pile and cut pile.
Escarlate: A fine fabric made from silk or wool. It is usually dyed scarlet.
Etamine: A lightweight, soft cotton or worsted fabric that is loosely woven with an open mesh. It is used in summer clothing.
Eyelash: A crisp, reversible, transparent voile fabric with clipped yarns on the surface. It is used for shirts and costumes.
Eyelet: A decorative fabric with evenly-spaced, small cut openings.
Faille: A soft, lightweight silk fabric made with a plain weave. It has a glossy finish and wide ribs. Faille is used in formalwear.
Faux Fur: An acrylic fabric made to resemble real fur.
Felt: A dense, wool fabric that is fused together with heat. It doesn’t fray or stretch.
Filet: A decorative needle lace fabric made by darning or embroidering on a diamond mesh.
Flannel: A plain or twill weave fabric made of wool or blended with cotton. It is soft and comes in various weights. Flannel is used in bedding, shirts, and linings.
Flannelette: A soft, napped flannel fabric made from 100% cotton. It is inexpensive and can be dyed or printed with patterns. Flannelette is used in children’s clothing.
Flax: A linen fabric made from the Flax plant.
Fleece: A soft, durable fabric made from synthetic polyester fiber. It is thick, fuzzy, warm, breathable, quick drying, and easy to launder. Fleece is used in blankets and outerwear. You can find, “anti-pill” and “polar fleece,” varieties. Read: Tips for Sewing Fleece.
Foulard: A lightweight, twill woven silk or cotton blend. It is used in scarves and trim.
Frieze: A course, heavyweight fabric made from cotton or wool. It is made with a plain weave and napped on one side to form an uneven texture. Frieze is used in outerwear.
Gabardine: A twill weave wool or synthetic fabric with diagonally running ribs on the right side and a flat back. It is durable, waterproof, and used in suits and outerwear.
Galatea: A strong, heavyweight fabric made from cotton. It is woven with a satin weave and fades easily.
Gannex: (Trademarked) A waterproof nylon fabric with an inner layer of wool that traps air between the layers. It is used in outerwear.
Gauze: A lightweight, loosely woven silk fabric made with a plain or leno weave. It is semitransparent, absorbent, and antibacterial. Gauze is sometimes made from synthetic fibers and frequently used in medical applications.
Gazar: A plain woven silk or wool fabric with a crisp, smooth texture. It retains its shape well and is used in formalwear.
Georgette: A lightweight, plain weave crepe fabric. It is sheer but durable. Georgette is used in dresses and all sorts of apparel.
Ghalamkar: A hand-painted or block-printed cotton fabric. It is one of the oldest Persian crafts.
Gingham: A plain woven fabric with different colored threads in the warp and weft. The weave creates a checked or striped pattern. Gingham is used in dresses and all sorts of apparel.
Glitter: A sparkly fabric made by laminating it with glitter flakes. It is used in costumes and crafts.
Gore-Tex: (Trademarked) A lightweight, waterproof fabric used in outerwear.
Gossamer: A lightweight, sheer, gauze-like fabric. It is used in formalwear.
Grosgrain: A firm, heavyweight, plain weave fabric with rounded weftwise ribs. It is typically made from silk, but sometimes wool. Grossgrain is used in linings and trim.
Grosgram: A course, silk fabric mixed with wool or mohair and stiffened with gum.
Guanaco: A soft, luxurious fiber extracted from the Guanaco animal.
Haircloth: A woven cloth made from horsehair or camelhair. It is used in upholstery.
Helanca: A pique fabric made from nylon. It has a lot of stretch, making it comfortable to wear. Helanca is used in swimwear and dancewear.
Hemp: A natural fiber extracted from the cannabis plant. It is ecofriendly, strong, lustrous, and a lightweight. It is used in t-shirts, bags, and all sorts of apparel.
Henrietta: A fine, woolen fabric with a twill weave. It has a subtle diagonal pattern running through it. Henrietta is used in apparel and is traditionally black.
Hessian: A woven fabric made from jute fibers. It is also known as, “Burlap.” Hessian is used in nets, ropes, and sacks.
Himalaya: A ribbed fabric made from bamboo. It is ecofriendly and durable.
Hodden: A course, woolen cloth.
Holland: A simple, plain weave cotton or linen with a dull finish. It is used in upholstery
Hopsack: A course, loosely woven fabric made from cotton and wool. It is durable and used in apparel.
Horsehair: A natural fiber extracted from the tail of a horse. It is woven with a cotton or polyester warp. Horsehair adds stiffness and it is used in outerwear and upholstery.
Huarizo: A natural fiber extracted from the hair of a Huarizo animal. It is course and has a natural crimp. Huarizo is warm, breathable, and elastic. It is used in apparel, particularly knitwear.
Illusion: A fine, nylon net fabric similar to tulle, but with a hexagonal pattern.
Interlock: A type of knit fabric that is identical on both sides. It is tightly woven and mostly used in t-shirts.
Iridescent: A lightweight taffeta with a luminous quality that appears to change color.
Joconet: A sheer, plain-weave cotton fabric.
Jacquard: A decorative fabric with an intricately woven pattern on a Jacquard loom.
Jaspe: A soft, denim-like fabric that is heathered or brushed. It is made with two threads of different colors. Jaspe is used in apparel.
Jersey Knit: A knit fabric made from cotton, silk, or wool. It is delicate and curls at the edges. Jesey is used in t-shirts and other apparel.
Jute: A natural fiber extracted from the Jute plant. It is soft, shiny, ecofriendly, and durable. Jute is used in rugs, home décor, and upholstery.
Karakul: A wool fiber extracted from a Central Asian sheep. It has a curled, glossy appearance, but is wiry and course.
Kasha: (Trademarked) A blend of wool and goat hair. It is soft and fuzzy.
Kersey: A course, heavyweight twill created from thick wool. It is no longer in production.
Kerseymere: A fine woolen cloth with a twill weave.
Khaddar: A homespun cotton cloth.
Khaki: A rugged, tan-colored fabric made from cotton, linen, wool, or synthetic blends. The weave is typically twill. Khaki is used in pants.
Kidskin: A soft leather made from the hide of a young goat.
Kincob: A fine silk fabric embroidered with silver or gold threads.
Knit: A fabric made from a series of interlocking loops to provide stretch. It can be made from cotton, wool, silk, or a variety of synthetic fibers.
Lace: An open work fabric made by embroidering natural or synthetic fibers onto mesh in intricate patterns. It is delicate and sometimes features beads and sequins. Lace is used in trim, lingerie, and fine apparel.
Lambswool: A natural fiber extracted from the wool of a lamb up to eight months old. It is typically short, soft, slippery, and elastic.
Lame’: A fabric that incorporates metallic threads. It is used in eveningwear and costumes.
Lampas: A lustrous fabric made with taffeta in the weft and adorned with silver or gold threads.
Lasting: A dense, durable fabric made from twisting cotton or worsted. It is used in lots of apparel.
Latex: A type of rubber with water-repellant properties and extreme stretch. It is used in bodysuits and medical applications.
Lawn: A crisp, lightweight cotton or linen fabric. It is used in all sorts of apparel.
Leather: A fabric created from the hide of an animal.
Leatherette: A synthetic fabric made to look like leather.
Linen: A lightweight, natural fabric made from the Flax plant. It is lightweight, soft, and a versatile.
Lisle: A hard-twisted fabric with a smooth, lustrous surface. It is used in hosiery and underwear.
Llama: Long, coarse wool obtained from a llama in South America. It is lightweight, warm, and lustrous.
Loden: A heavyweight, napped fabric made from the wool of the Tyrolean mountain sheep. It is water resistant and used mainly in outerwear.
Longcloth: A bleached cotton fabric with a plain weave and soft finish. It is used in underwear and children’s clothing.
Lycra: (Trademarked) A highly elastic, synthetic fabric that is resistant to heat. It is comfortable and used in swimwear and dancewear.
Lyocell: A rayon fabric made from dissolved wood pulp. It is strong, soft, absorbent, and wrinkle resistant. It is used in denim and lots of apparel.
Mackinaw: A twill or double cloth wool that is napped on both sides to conceal the weave. It is heavy, water repellant, and used in outerwear.
Macramé: A course lacework made by knotting strong cords or yarn together in a decorative pattern.
Madapolam: A soft cotton fabric made from fine yarns in a linen weave.
Madras: A lightweight, woven fabric made from cotton, silk, viscose, or synthetic blends. It is used for all types of apparel.
Marcella: A stiff, cotton fabric made using a marcella weave. It has raised, parallel ribs that are similar to twill but more crisp.
Marquisette: A lightweight, silk fabric made using a leno weave. It looks like netting and is used in bridalwear and formalwear.
Marvello: A heavyweight, high luster pile fabric.
Matelassè: A woven fabric with a blistered surface. It is used for dresses and lots of other apparel.
Melton: A thick, dense cotton or synthetic blend fabric with a slight nap. It is durable and resembles felt. Melton is used in outerwear and uniforms.
Merino: A high-quality wool obtained from purebred Merino sheep. It is strong, stretchy, fine, and soft like cashmere.
Mesh: A net-like fabric with an open weave. Mesh is breathable and lightweight. It is used in summer clothing and embroidery crafts.
Microfiber: A synthetic, polyester fabric that is soft, stretchy, and stain resistant. It is used for cleaning materials.
Milliskin: A lightweight fabric made from a nylon/spandex blend. It is thin and stretchy. Milliskin is used in dancewear.
Mink: The pelt of a small animal with soft fur. It is used in outerwear and accessories.
Misit: A natural fiber obtained from the Alpaca animal. It is soft, fine, and similar to wool. Misit is durable, silky, and lustrous.
Mockado: A synthetic blend, pile fabric made to imitate silk velvet.
Modal: A durable, rayon fabric made from the fibers of the Beech tree. It is soft, lustrous, and holds its shape well.
Mohair: Natural fibers obtained from the Angora goat. It is used in outerwear.
Moleskin: A heavyweight cotton with a brushed surface. It is durable and used in sportswear.
Monks Cloth: A rough, heavyweight fabric made using a basket weave. It is used in upholstery and embroidery crafts.
Moquette: A woven pile fabric with cut or uncut threads.
Moreen: A heavyweight, ribbed fabric made from wool and sometimes a cotton blend. The surface looks rippled because of the moiré finish.
Mousseline: A lightweight, plain-weave silk fabric that is crisp and sheer. It is similar to chiffon and sometimes made of polyester.
Mudcloth: A handmade cotton fabric dyed with fermented mud by Malian people.
Mull: A sheer muslin fabric with a plain, open weave. It is soft, typically white, and used in trim and linings.
Muslin: A lightweight, open-weave fabric made from cotton. It is typically undyed and inexpensive. Muslin is used in summer apparel and mockups.
Nainsook: A lightweight, cotton fabric similar to lawn with a palin weave. It is soft, fine, and has a lower thread count. Nainsook is used in nightwear.
Nankeen: A rare, cotton fabric with a natural yellow color. It is sturdy and used in pants.
Needlecord: A tough, corduroy fabric made from cotton. It has a cut pile that forms lengthwise ribs. Needlecord is used in pants and outerwear.
Net: An open-mesh fabric with a grid-like pattern. It is used in embroidery crafts.
Neoprene: (Trademarked) An extremely durable, synthetic rubber. It is lightweight, buoyant, and resistant to heat. Neoprene is used in sportswear.
Ninon: A sheer, silky fabric made from rayon, silk, or nylon. It is fine and strong.
Nylon: (Trademarked) A lightweight, synthetic fiber that is strong and flexible. It resists stains and is often added to natural fiber blends.
Nytril: (Trademarked) A synthetic fiber with a low melting point.
Oilcloth: A fabric treated on one side with oil or synthetic resin.
Olefin: (Trademarked) A lightweight, synthetic polypropylene. It is strong, colorfast, and resistant to staining.
Organdy: A lightweight, sheer fabric made from cotton muslin. It has a plain weave and the yarns are combed and treated with an acid of starch to make it stiff and crisp. Organdy wrinkles easily and is used in summer clothing.
Organic Cotton: A cotton fiber grown without the use of artificial pesticides or insecticides.
Organza: A lightweight, plain-weave fabric made from polyester, rayon, silk, or nylon. It is crisp and sheer with a high thread count.
Orleans: A lightweight, elastic fabric that is rough to the touch. It is inexpensive and similar to poplin.
Osnaburg: A course fabric made from 100% flax.
Ottoman: A ribbed silk or cotton used in formalwear.
Oxford: A strong, soft, cotton cloth made using a basket weave. It is used in outerwear.
Paduasoy: A heavyweight, corded or embossed silk fabric.
Panne: A rayon or silk velvet with one-directional pile.
Paramatta: A lightweight, twill-weave fabric made with a silk warp and a cotton weft.
Peau de Soie: A heavy satin that is smooth. It is slightly corded and has a semi-dull appearance.
Percale: A mediumweight, plain-weave fabric with a glossy finish. It has a high thread count and is used primarily in bedding.
Percaline: A lightweight, cotton fabric that is glazed or woven with mercerized yarns. It is usually dyed bright colors. Percaline has good drape and is used in dresses.
Petersham: A durable, ribbed fabric with heavy weft threads and light warp threads. It is used in pants, skirts, and trim.
Pima Cloth: A high-end cotton with longer fibers than traditional cotton. It resists pilling.
Pina: A natural fiber obtained from the pineapple leaf. It is lightweight, soft, and delicate.
Piqué: A strong, mediumweight fabric with rounded ribs that are woven in diamond, stripe, honeycomb, or waffle patterns. It is typically made from cotton, but sometimes silk and synthetic fibers. Pique is used for all sorts of apparel.
Plisse: A lightweight fabric with a puckered finish. It is treated with caustic soda to create a blistered surface effect.
Point D’espirit: A mesh, bobbinet fabric with scattered woven dots. It is sometimes called, “Spotted Tulle.”
Poiret: A soft, mediumweight fabric in a twill weave.
Polo Cloth: Soft fabric with a heavy pile.
Polyamide: A synthetic fiber used to create nylon. It is elastic, waterproof, and resistant to high temperatures.
Polyester: A popular man-made fabric with low absorbency. It is used in all sorts of apparel.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): A thermoplastic fiber used in backing polyester. It is also called, “Vinyl.”
Pongee: A mediumweight silk with a rough, woven surface.
Poplin: A strong and absorbent cotton or silk fabric woven with a rib weave. It is strong, breathable, and soft. Poplin is used for shirts and dresses.
Power Mesh: A nylon fabric with two-way stretch. It is used in compression garments.
Quiviut: A natural fiber obtained from the Artic Musk Ox. It is softer than cashmere and does not shrink. Quiviut is used in hats, scarves, and outerwear.
Raffia: A fiber obtained from a palm tree. It is straw-like and used in upholstery and baskets.
Rajah: A thick, rough fabric made from silk or rayon. It is used in pressing cloth.
Rakematiz: A thick silk embroidered with strands of gold. It is rare and valuable.
Ratinè: A loosely woven, plain-weave fabric made from fancy yarns with a nubby surface.
Rayon: (Trademarked) A silk-like fabric made from wood pulp. It is also called, “Viscose.” Rayon is comfortable and absorbs moisture. It is used in bedding and all sorts of apparel.
Repp: A heavyweight, plain-weave, blended fabric with a prominent weft. It is used in dresses and suits.
Ric Rac: A flat, narrow braid woven in a rounded zig zag pattern. It is used in trim.
Rinzu: A lightweight silk made with two different types of silk thread. It is used in dresses.
Romal: A plain-weave silk used in handkerchiefs.
Romaine: A heavyweight, transparent crepe fabric. It is used in drapery.
Russel: A corded fabric made by weaving two warp ends together. It is typically 60% wool and 40% cotton. Russel is crease and wrinkle resistant and holds its shape well.
Russet: A course, wool fabric dyed with woad and madder.
Sacking: A heavyweight, unbleached fabric made from cotton, hemp, jute, or flax. It is rough and scratchy.
Sagathy: A lightweight, finely twilled fabric made from a blend of silk and cotton or wool. It is used in drapery and apparel.
Sailcloth: A heavyweight, tightly woven fabric similar to canvas. It is made from cotton, linen, jute, viscose, and other blends. Sailcloth is used mostly in sails.
Samite: A heavyweight silk with a twill weave. It is lustrous and includes gold or silver threads.
Sateen: A tightly woven, satin-like fabric made from cotton. It is smooth and has a shiny surface because the weft threads float over several warp threads at a time.
Satin: A shiny, lustrous fabric woven with a satin weave. It is the most common type of silk. Satin is shiny on one side and matte on the other. Read: Tips on Sewing Satin
Scrim: A lightweight, gauze fabric made from cotton or flax. It is translucent and used in drapery and apparel.
Seativa: A fiber obtained from seaweed that is often blended with other fibers for its hydrophilic, non-static, and thermal properties. Seativa is used in sleepwear and sportswear.
Seersucker: A textured, plain-weave fabric with contrasting strips of smooth and puckered fabric. It is made from cotton, linen, silk, or viscose blends. Seersucker is used in suits, dresses, and a lots of apparel.
Serge: A durable, twill-weave fabric with visible diagonal ribs on both sides. It is made from a blend of fabrics and used in sportswear and outerwear.
Shantung: A course fabric with irregular thickness spun from silk fibers.
Sharkskin: A smooth, worsted twill fabric that is long lasting and retains heat. It is used in suiting.
Silesia: A sturdy, twill-weave cotton that is course. It is used for linings and to cover buttons.
Silk: A natural, protein filament fiber obtained from silkworms and some moths and spiders.
Silkaline: A thin, silk-like fabric made with a plain weave. It is soft, sheer, and has a nice drape.
Slub: A fabric made from yarn that has lumps and nubs. It is used in table linens and drapes.
Snakeskin: A fiber obtained from the skin of a snake.
Soufflé: A lightweight, warp-knit fabric that is soft, sheer, and breathable. It is used in dancewear and costumes.
Soy: A fiber obtained from the leftover dregs of soybean oil or tofu. It is ecofriendly and similar to silk.
Spandex: A lightweight, synthetic fiber made from polyurethane. It is strong, elastic, and nonabsorbent. It is used in sportswear, swimwear, and lots of apparel.
Spannette: A rubber/latex fabric with lots of stretch and thousands of air holes. It is comfortable and breathable.
Stockinette: A seamless, tubular knit fabric that has a lot of stretch. It is made from 100% polyester.
Suede: A type of leather with a napped, velvety finish. It is used in shoes, bags, gloves, and upholstery.
Sulfar: A durable, synthetic fiber that is resistant to heat and acids. It is used in protective wear.
Surah: A lustrous, twill-weave fabric made from silk or rayon. It is soft, fine, and used in linings, dresses, and suits.
SympaTex: (Trademarked) A synthetic laminate fabric. It is ecofriendly and highly breathable. SympaTex is used in sportswear, linings, and outerwear.
Tactel: (Trademarked) A lightweight, nylon fabric that is soft and quick drying.
Taffeta: A plain-weave, silk fabric that is smooth, crisp, and holds its shape well. It is used in lingerie and women’s clothing.
Tapestry: A tight-weave, jacquard fabric made by hand. It is used in upholstery and drapes.
Tarlatan: A gauze-like, coarse fabric that is sheer and has an open plain weave. It is used in dresses and hats.
Tartan: A plaid fabric with many vertical and horizontal shapes that create trademarked patterns.
Taslan: (Trademarked) A strong, synthetic fabric similar to cotton. It is stain resistant and durable. Taslan is used in sportswear and outerwear.
Tattersall: A checked or plaid fabric, typically with alternating colors of stripes in the warp and weft.
Tencel: (Trademarked) A synthetic fabric made from wood pulp and recyclable solvents. It is the brand name of lyocell. Tencel is soft, breathable, wrinkle resistant, and durable.
Terrycloth: A soft, absorbent fabric made from a variety of fibers. It has a nap created by slack tension weaving. Terrycloth is used in toweling.
Themastat: A synthetic fiber with a hollow core. It is warm and wicks away moisture.
Ticking: A strong, twill-weave fabric made from cotton or a cotton and linen blend. It usually has narrow strips of color woven in. Ticking is used for bedding and apparel.
Triacetate: A synthetic fiber made from acetylated cellulose roots. It is wrinkle resistant, shrink resistant, and holds pleats well. Triacetate is used in dresses and all sorts of apparel.
Tricot: A strong, knitted fabric with fine, lengthwise ribs. It is resistant to fraying and drapes well. Tricot is used in underwear and sweaters.
Tricotine: A soft, twill-weave fabric with a flat, diagonal double rib. It typically has a cotton warp and a worsted weft. Tricotine is used in outerwear, dresses, and suits.
Tulle: A fine, soft net fabric made from silk or synthetic blends. It is used in dancewear and veils.
Tussah: A strong, coarse silk with a dull luster. It has a rough texture with many slubs. Tussah is used in dresses and outerwear.
Tweed: A durable, twill-weave fabric made from wool or mixed with other fiber blends. It typically has a flecked appearance from two different colored threads. Tweed is used in outerwear.
Tycora: (Trademarked) A synthetic fabric made from nylon and polyester fibers.
Ultrasuede: A synthetic, microfiber alternative to suede. It is sometimes called, “Faux Suede.” Microsude is used in shoes, dresses, and upholstery.
Urena: A rare, natural fiber obtained from the Urena Lobata plant. It is durable, flexible, and lustrous. Urena is used in rope, carpet backing, and twine.
Velour: A soft, plush fabric with a short, dense pile on one side made from cotton or synthetic fibers.
Velvet: A soft, woven fabric made from acetate, nylon, silk, or rayon. It has a pile of cut or uncut loops. Read: How to Sew Velvet.
Velveteen: A fabric similar to velvet, but made from cotton.
Venetian Lace: A needle lace that is stitched into a dissolvable fabric that is removed to create a raised embroidery pattern. It is used in trim.
Vinyl: A shiny, plastic fabric backed with polyester or flannel.
Vinyon: A synthetic PVC fiber with flame-resistant properties. It is used in carpet and drapery.
Viscose: The European name for rayon. It is soft and used in lots of apparel.
Viyella: A soft, durable twill fabric made from Merino Wool and cotton. It is used in dresses and children’s clothing.
Voile: A lightweight, 100% cotton fabric that is sheer and good for draping. It is used in upholstery and outerwear.
Whipcord: A durable, cotton or worsted fabric made from bulky, hard-twisted yarns in a twill weave. It is used in suiting and sportswear.
Wigan: A plain-weave, cotton fabric that is stiff. It is used in linings to provide weight, texture, and shape.
Wincey: A plain-weave or twill-weave fabric made from a cotton warp and a wool weft. It is warm and looks like flannel. Wincey is used in shirts and nightwear.
Winceyette: (Trademarked) A soft, plain-weave cotton fabric with a slightly woolley finish. It is used in bedding, shirts, and children’s clothing.
Wool: A natural fiber obtained from the fleece of sheep, goat, alpaca, or llama. It can be knit or woven.
Woolsey: A course, roughly woven fabric made from a cotton or linen warp and a wool weft. It is sometimes called, “Woolsey-Linsey.” Woolsey is used in blankets and apparel.
Worsted: A smooth, lustrous fabric made from staple wool fibers that are heavily combed and carded. Worsted is used in suiting.
X-Static Silver: A silver fiber that is bonded to the surface of a fabric. It has anti-odor and anti-bacterial properties.
Zephyr: A lightweight, plain-weave cotton fabric that is thin and airy. It is used in dresses and shirts.
Zibeline: A thick, wool fabric made with a satin weave. It is soft with a brushed nap. Zibeline is used in outerwear.
Zorb: (Trademarked) A thick, super absorbent fabric that can hold 10X its weight.