Glossary

Terms to Help you Plan

Bengaline: A fabric with mini crosswise ribbing made from textile fibers (such as rayon, nylon, cotton, or wool.) We use Bengaline made from synthetic fibers which produces a fabric with a slight sheen and durability suitable for tablecloths and cushion covers. See bengaline Turquoise, Aqua, or Lavender.

Bolt: Wholesale fabric is sold in units known as Bolts. Fabric is measured by the yard and rolled onto cardboard tubes that resemble large paper towel rolls.

Box Pleat or Inverted Pleat: A Box Pleat is difficult to describe but unmistakeable when seen. It appears as an open part in a curtain, with both panels pulled back exposing a finished space inside. A very sophisticated treatment to the corners of rectangular tablecloths.

Brocade: A raised elaborate pattern usually woven into thick, heavier weight fabric for a rich luxurious feel. Modern synthetic brocades are now made from lighter weight fabric, but still woven to have raised areas in the pattern. See our Manhattan Gold Damask.

Burnout Velvet: A chemical is used on velvet which removes the pile on parts of the fabric leaving only the backing,  which forms the design; part velvet, part sheer.

Chenille: Chenille is the French word for caterpillar. In fabric, it is made from soft thread woven into a deep fuzzy pile, much like a hairy caterpillar. See our Green Chenille.

Chevron Pattern: V shaped zig-zag pattern. See Big Grey Chevron or Royal Blue Zig Zag.

Chinoiserie: An imitation of Chinese decorative style in the western hemisphere that was  popular in France and in vogue in England especially during the 18th century. See our tablecloths, Fusion and Chinese Lavender Brocade.

Colorway: The range of colors available for a specific fabric provided by the manufacturer. The overall effect of the print can change significantly between colors, hence the importance of choosing fabric from a colorway.

Damask: A more refined and smooth Jacquard in which the pattern is most often woven with a single color thread, Generally uses different natural fiber blends and some incorporate synthetic threads. (See Jacquard.)

Double Rub: Double rubs measure a fabric’s abrasion resistance.  Each “rub” is one back and forth pass over a stretched piece of fabric by a mechanical arm. The test is run until the fabric shows noticeable wear. Consider the double rub count when purchasing fabric. Number of rubs are available for many fabrics and labeled as: “this fabric has X number of rubs.”

Dupioni vs Shangtung: Both are silks; Dupioni is Italian and Shantung is Chinese. Dupioni is a bit thicker, with a more rustic weave, having slubs running horizontally across the fabric. (see Slub) Dupioni is also known for its vibrant polished colors. Shangtung is smoother, woven with a smaller thread without slubs. Our Contempo Dupioni line is  faux silk, sewn in the Dupioni style, making it more durable and economical than real silk. Contempo Dupioni is available in many colors.

Face: The face is the side of the fabric that is meant to be seen by the public; the right side.

Flocked: A process where adhesive is placed on backing in a pattern and fine fibers, often velvet, are applied to the material, leaving a velvet design over backing material. See our Red Flocked Damask.

French Seam:  A seam is first stitched on one side, then the fabric is flipped and the raw edges of that seam are stitched on the opposite side, leaving the material finished on both sides. A french seam enables the tablecloth to be used on both sides. Some of our tablecloths that are french seamed include Riviera, Green Tea Silk, Tesoro d’oro and Amazon Leaf to name a few.

Gingham: A medium weight, cotton or cotton blend fabric with a plaid or check pattern, almost always reversible.

Ikat: A technique used in handmade fabrics around the world where the threads are tie-dyed before weaving which gives a characteristic rustic look. Common Ikats are found in Guatemala, South America and Africa. Please see our Blue Ikat or Grey Ikat for a modern twist on traditional Ikat design.

Jacquard: A style of weaving incorporated into the loom, in which different threads are raised to form texture. It is named after its inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard, a french weaver, who lived in the 1700’s and invented the first “programmed” loom. Today Jacquard looms are computer programmed to raise different threads to create the textured pattern.  Most Brocades and Damasks are woven on these looms. So, Damasks and Brocades are Jacquards.

Matelasse:  – A heavier weight fabric constructed with 2 back to back cloths, sewn with stitching to create a quilted surface. See our Brown Metelasse.

Miter: Mitering a corner creates a neat, sophisticated 90 degree corner with a diagonal seam from the outside point of the corner to the inside corner seam; also used in carpentry and cabinet making. See our napkins sewn with mitered corners.

Nap: Nap is the fuzzy part in some fabrics, like a velvet, that has a different appearance depending on the direction of the fibers.  The look can be shiny and one shade from one view, and dull and a different shade when viewing from another direction. When sewing tablecloths, care must be given to keep the nap in the same direction when hemming pieces together.

Paisley: An adorned, curly, tear-drop pattern, with the tear-drops usually facing multiple directions. See our Summer Paisley.

Pattern Match: When sewing a tablecloth, the pieces of material are laid out so that the pattern continues through the seams. When sewn well, the seams are secondary and “invisible” to the overall pattern. Large patterns require substantially more yardage to properly match seams.

Peau de Soie: A heavier weight satin weave sometimes referred to as Bridal satin because of its excellent draping quality. Can be made of silk or synthetic fibre. See our Gold Peau de Soie.

Pile: Pile refers to the surface of a textile that is composed of many free ends of thread. There can be long or short pile of different densities. Velvet and Chenille are examples of fabric with pile. (See also Nap.)

Pinking Shears: Shears with a V shape zig-zag along the cutting edge used to cut fabric and have it be ravel-free. We use pinking shears to cut all our swatches.

Pintuck: Similar to a pleat, a pintuck is a fold of fabric that has been stitched to hold it in place. Usually, this type of fold is very narrow, creating a visual line. Pintucks are often spaced evenly across the fabric with each tuck parallel to the next one. We have channel pintuck, where the tucks are horizontal evenly spaced lines and Pintuck where the lines criss-cross to form squares; 1” squares, 2”squares or 4” squares.

Piping:  A cord covered with fabric, used for decorative edging. Sometimes we use piping to outline cushion covers or for custom linen manufacturing projects.

Ply: The number of threads twisted together to make the final thread.

Printed Fabric: New technology enables a print to be digitally produced on the fabric as opposed to be woven into the material. When looking at fabric, a woven design is still expressed in some form on the reverse side; a digital print is not. Color fastness may be an issue in some printed fabrics used in commercial applications.

Put Up: Specifies how many yards are on a bolt. Fabric dealer may advertise; “Put Up is approximately 50 yards.”

Railroaded: Refers to the way the pattern is milled on the fabric. Usually the pattern is woven down the length of the roll and parallel to the selvage edges. The pattern on railroaded fabric runs perpendicular to the selvage edges, across the roll, not down the length. This is most evident in stripes.

Rayon: Regenerated fabric made with wood pulp, and cellulose specially treated with chemicals to form a light smooth material. Semi-synthetic due to the chemical treatment.

Repeat: One complete set of the pattern on a fabric which is then repeated in the weaving. A large pattern when repeated requires more yardage when sewing a tablecloth in order to match the pattern at the seams.

Selvage: The Selvage refers to the edges of bulk fabric. It is usually woven tighter then the rest of the material to keep the threads from unraveling and not incorporated into the sewing of the tablecloth.

Slub: A thickness or irregular lump in thread or yarn. This is what gives Dupioni the characteristic weave.

Suzani: A fabric pattern that originated in Central Asia which features large, intricate medallions that were originally created through needlework. Fabrics that feature suzani prints usually include round embroidered floral designs.

Ticking: Thick, tightly woven denim like, cotton fabric that was originally designed for mattresses and pillows to prevent feather quills or straw from poking through. It was usually striped blue or black and until recently was never meant to be seen. Often woven with a twill weave. See our Blue and Cream ticking in 96″ rounds.

Toile: A detailed decorated design is woven into, or printed over a white or off-white background on which a repeated complex pastoral theme is depicted, which may include sheep, picnics, trees or varied rural settings. The pattern portion usually consists of  black, dark red, or blue color . Green and magenta toile patterns are new modern twists.

Tulle: A lightweight, extremely fine, machine-made netting with a certain amount of stiffness to the material. See our Gold and Silver Dots which is tulle embellished with metallic dots.

Twill: Usually cotton fabric or cotton mixed with some synthetic fiber where the cross threads are woven over and under, 2 or more warp threads. The warp thread is the lengthwise thread in the roll. Twill weave is identified by the characteristic diagonal lines this crossing produces.

Voile: Soft, sheer, lightweight fabric that is semitransparent; similar to chiffon.

Warp Thread: The lengthwise thread in a roll of fabric.

Weft Thread: The thread that is woven over and under the lengthwise thread in the roll.