A Guide to Fabrics

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Dinerman, May 28, 2013.

  1. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Bozeman, MT
    You may find this period guide to fabrics useful, particularly for fabrics and weaves which are no longer common.

    Originally published 1906, I have transcribed this dictionary of textiles from the revised 1925 edition of Textiles and Clothing, by Kate Heintz Watson, revised by Charlotte Gibbs Baker.

    Albatross- A soft woolen fabric with a slight crepe effect; plain weave; 36 in. wide

    Art Linen- A soft finished, plain woven linen, of round, hard twisted yarns; used for embroidery and especially adaptable for hemstitching.

    Batiste - The French word for lawn. Very fine cotton material, sometimes mercerized; white or delicate colors, sometimes printed; 36 or 45 in. wide. Also, wool batiste, a soft fine woolen fabric, suitable for children's dresses; 40 in. wide

    Bedford Cord - A closely woven woolen or cotton cloth having a raised, corded surface similar to pique; 32 or 42 inches wide.

    Birds-eye - Linen or cotton fabric with a figure resembling a bird's eye; different widths, 18 to 30 inches

    Broadcloth - A fine woolen cloth with the nam finished very smooth and glossy; in cutting, the direction of the nap must be considered. It takes its name from the width; 50 inches wide.

    Buckram - A coarse, heavy, stiff material, used largely for hat frames, 27 inches wide

    Calico - A coarse, cheap cotton fabric; color printed on, and design shows on one side only; 27 inches wide.

    Cambric - A soft finished, fine, white cotton fabric, polished in the finishing; 36 inches wide. Also a thin cotton lining, stiffened like paper, 25 inches wide

    Camel's Hair - A beautiful soft silky fabric, usually woven of camel's or goat's hair.

    Canton flannel - Made of soft twisted cotton yarns woven with a twill weave and with a nap on one side. Bleached or unbleached or in plain colors, 25 or 36 inches wide.

    Canvas - Linen or cotton of a variety of textures used for many purposes, from embroidery to awnings.

    Cashmere - A soft, fine woolen fabric, light in weight, twill weave, usually made from the hair of the Cashmere goat.

    Cassimere - A woolen fabric made in various grades and in men's suitings; 54 inches wide

    Challis - An inexpensive cotton or wool fabric; plain weave with printed design; varies considerably in quality and price; 27 inches wide.

    Chambray - originally of linen. Now a plain gingham usually with colored warp and white weft; 27 or 28 inches wide.
  2. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Bozeman, MT
    Cheese Cloth - A plain, open texture, bleached, unbleached, or colored cotton fabric. Poorest grades used for hospital purposes. Finer ones for fancy costumes, temporary decorations and sometimes for window curtains. 27 or 36 inches wide.

    Cheviot - Cotton or wool, heavy twilled material. Cotton cheviot is commonly used for shirting. Woolen cheviot 42 or 48 inches widel cotton cheviot 28 inches wide.

    Chinchilla - A thick, heavy, double woven fabric with a long napped surface, the surface yarn is curled in tufts in imitation of chinchilla fur. 54 inches.

    Coating - Those woolen and worsted fabrics most especially adapted to men's dress and overcoats.

    Corduroy - A thick cotton pile material, corded or ribbed on the surfacel used for men's, women's and children's wear. 27, 46 or 54 inches wide.

    Covert - A twill woven cloth sometimes with a full face, sometimes sheared to imitate whipcord. 54 inches wide.

    Crash - Coarse linen toweling, twill or plain weave, bleached or unbleached. Russia crash is used for art work. White crash suiting is used for garments. 18 to 36 inches wide.

    Cravenette - Cloths treated and finished before weaving by an improved process which renders them rainproof.

    Crepe or Crepon- A light weight sil, silk and wool, or all wool or cotton cloth of irregular weave. 27 or 44 inches wide.

    Crepe de Chine- A light weight but very serviceable silk fabric with a slight crepe effect produced by having twist of filling yarns alternating right and left. Good quantities have very little weighting and are washable. 36 inches wide.

    Cretonne - A printed cotton fabric, plain or fancy weave, in a variety of designs suitable for draperies. The lighter weight cretonnes are also used for house or garden dresses. 27, 36 and 40 inches wide.

    Damask - The name applies to a number of fabrics made on the Jacquard loom, in which the elaborate design is produced on a background woven in the satin weave. Linen damask for table service, cotton or mercerized cotton damask to imitate linen, silk damasks, and silk and cotton damask are all familiar fabrics. These vary in width from 27 to 72 inches.

    Denim - A heavy material of twill weave dyed in plain colors or with stripes and checks. Art denim is a finer and better quality. 26 or 54 inches wide.
  3. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Bozeman, MT
    Dimity - A fine cotton fabric characterized by small cords running lengthwise of the material, 30 inches wide.

    Drilling - General term for various twilled cotton stuffs used for lining, men's wear, and general purposes. 28 inches wide.

    Duck - Made of linen or cotton, chiefly the latter. It is a stout, heavy material of different weights, either unbleached, bleached, dyed or printed. 28 or 30 inches wide.

    Duvetyn - A very soft wool, or silk, or silk and cotton fabric with a fine nap. Very attractive, but not suitable for hard wear. 40 inches wide.

    Eolienne - A fabric with fine silk warp and a heavy worsted filling, giving an effect similar to poplin. 40 inches wide.

    Etamine - A light weight, open, wiry fabric of hard twisted worsted yarn. Also sometimes made of cotton or part cotton. 36 or 40 inches wide.

    Felt - Usually a fabric made by matting woolen fibers together, under the influence of pressure, heat and moisture. 54 to 72 inches wide. Also, a woven fabric with a heavily felted surface.

    Flannel - A soft, light weight, woolen or woolen and silk or woolen and cotton fabric. The yarn is lightly twisted and the weave plain or twilled. Used for infants, children's and adult's clothing. 27 inches wide.

    Flannelette - A flannel like cotton fabric with a nap on one side only. Design printed. Used for kimonos largely. 27 inches wide.

    Foulard - A soft, light weight silk of excellent wearing quality. Design printed. May also be of cotton. Silk foulard is 40 inches wide cotton foulard, 32 inches wide.

    Gabardine - a worsted or a cotton material with a market diagonal twill. Cotton gabardine is usually mercerized, and the twill may be very heavy. Worsted gabardine wears shiny, like serge.

    Galetea - A strong, firm, heavy, cotton fabric of satin or twill weave, in plain colors or printed.

    Gingham - First manufactured in Gongham, France, and known as Madras gingham. Seersucker gingham was originally a thin linen fabric made in the East Indies. Zephyr is a soft, fine variety of gingham. Scotch and French Ginghams are superior qualities, heavier in weight than zephyr. Gingham is woven with a plain weave, the stripes, plaids or checks being made by different colored yarns, dyed before weaving. Width 32 or 36 inches.
  4. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Bozeman, MT
    Grenadine - A thick silk gauze, either plain with a solid design, or pattern upon it, or combined in stripes with other weaves, as satin, moire, etc. 40 inches wide.

    Grosgrain - A close woven, finely ribbed or corded silk with but little lustre. 36 inches wide.

    Habutai - A soft, lustrous, light, plain silk fabric hand woven in Japan. Resembles "China Silk", but is of finer quality and different yarn construction. 27 or 36 inches wide.

    Haircloth - A cloth woven of horsehair, from which it takes its name, hair weft with cotton or linen warp used for facings, linings, furniture covering, etc. 15 or 30 inches wide.

    Homespun - A cloth woven on hand looms or made in imitation of such cloth for both men's and women's wear. 48 or 54 inches wide.

    Hop-sacking - A plain woven coarse dress fabric of woll. 50 or 54 inches wide.

    Handkerchief Linen - A fine quality, plain woven linen used for handkerchiefs or for dresses

    Henrietta - A light weight, lustrous woolen dress fabric of plain weave. 36 or 44 inches wide.

    Huckaback - A corruption of huckster-back, meaning originally peddler's ware. It is toweling made of all linen, linen and cotton or cotton, either by the yard or as seperate towels. The kind of weave makes it especially absorbent. Sometimes plain stripes, or damask figures, or borders are combined with the huck. Various widths from 16 to 27 inches.

    India Linen- Fine bleached cotton lawn - sometimes in colors, 30 or 36 inches.

    Indian Head - A cheap, heavy white cotton fabric which looks and wears well and launders excellently. 30 or 45 inches wide.

    Irish Linen - Full bleached, fine, plain woven linen used for shirts, collars, cuffs, etc; of different widths.

    Jean - A heavy twilled fabric of cotton, used largely for overalls and workmen's coats.

    Jersey Cloth - A knitted fabric of wool, artificial silk, or silk. Sometimes knit in tubular form. 36 or 72 inches wide.

    Kersey - A heavy, closely woven woolen cloth with a smoth face and glossy finish.

    Khaki - A heavy, twilled, yellow brown colored cotton cloth, used for army service and for outing clothes. 28 inches wide.

    Ladies' Cloth - A fine, wide, wool flannel, slightly napped, similar to broadcloth. 54 inches wide.
  5. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Bozeman, MT
    Lawn - A thin, sheer cotton fabric in plain weave, lace strips or open work effects. Varieties include Persian linen, Victoria and printed lawns. 32 and 40 inches wide.

    Longcloth - A fine, soft, bleached material made of good grade cotton fiber. 36 or 40 inches wide.

    Madras - For drapery, a soft figured fabric in which the background is thin and more or less open, and the figures are much heavier. In weaving the filling thread is carried from one figure to another on the surface, then these long loose threads are sheared off, leaving the threads in the design with loose ends which become fuzzy.

    Marquisette - A fine, sheer fabric of open mesh and gauze weave. Cotton, silk, fiber silk or wool. 36 or 50 inches wide.

    Melton - A stout woolen cloth, fulled, sheared and finished without a nap; like kersey, but without a gloss. 50 or 54 inches wide.

    Merino - A thin woolen fabric made of the fine wool of the merino sheep, generally used for women's and children's wear, vestings and underclothing.

    Mohair - A shiny fabric of great durability, made from the wool of the Angora goat; used for both men's and women's clothing.

    Moire - The water effect produced on silk, moreen, and like fabrics. The finest watered silks are known as Moire Antique. Moreen is a woolen or mixed fabric to which the same process has been applied.

    Mull - A soft, thin, and semi-transparent cotton fabric, usually dyed in soft shades. Swiss mull is stiffened.

    Muslin - A firm white or unbleached cotton fabric, plain weave, and in various weightsl used for undergarments, and for household purposes, including sheeting. 36 to 40 inches wide. Sheeting 36 inches wide and every one-quarter yard wider to 99 inches.

    Nainsook - A thin, fine cotton material of plain weave and soft finish. 36 or 40 inches wide.

    Organdy - A thin, semi-transparent material, known by its stiffness or crispness and bright clear finish. The best grades of organdy are finished to launder well, the cheaper grades lose their sheerness after washing. 36, 45 or 68 inches wide.

    Outing Flannel - Plain white and striped cotton cloth, very soft and finished with a nap on both sides. 27 inches wide.
  6. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Bozeman, MT
    Palm Beach Cloth - A smooth, wiry fabric of cotton and mohair, used chiefly for men's summer suits. 36 inches wide.

    Percale - A firmly woven cotton fabric, containing considerable dressing but not much gloss. Resembles calico. Is known by its printed figures, stripes and plaids. 27 or 36 inches wide.

    Persian Lawn - A fine, sheer cotton material, suitable for waists or children's dresses. 32 inches wide.

    Pique - A heavy cotton cloth having a surface that is corded or having a raised lozenge pattern; used for women's and children's suits, men's vests, etc. 27 or 40 inches wide.

    Plush - similar to velvet, with a deeper pile; may be of silk, worsted or mohair. Sometimes the pike is partly cut and partly uncut, thus forming a design.

    Pongee - Silk made from the fiber of the wild silk worm. The gum is not removed from the fibers and the fabric is left in its natural color or printed. Different pieces of pongee vary greatly in quality. The name is also applied to imitations made from spun silk, silk and cotton, or mercerized cotton. 27 inches wide.

    Poplin - A cotton, silk or wool fabric having a fine cord across the cloth, this cord is produced by a a soft, heavy filling thread woven through a fine warp. In silk poplin the cord may be of wool or of cotton. Cotton poplin 27 and 36 inches wide. Silk or wool poplin 45 inches wide.

    Prunella - A strong worsted cloth having a twill weave. 42 or 54 inches wide.

    Ratine - A cotton fabric woven with loops on the surface, or woven of yarns in which one ply is twisted loosely around the other, forming knots on the surface. 27 or 54 inches wide.

    Rayon - The commercial name for artificial silk.

    Sateen - A firm cotton fabric, woven in the satin weave, in which the filling thread is thrown to the surface, giving a lustrous effect. 27 or 36 inches wide.

    Satin - A silk fabric woven with the satin weave in which the warp threads are thrown to the surface, giving a high luster. There are various weights and qualities of satin. Some satins have a cotton back. Satins are also made of artificial silk and cotton. 27 to 40 inches wide.
  7. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Bozeman, MT
    Scrim - An open meshed cotton fabric woven of hard twisted threads. Sometimes mercerized. Suitable for curtains. 36 or 50 inches wide

    Seersucker - A thin linen or cotton cloth of alternate smooth and puckered stripes running lengthwise, and produced by varying tensions of warp yarns; 27 inches wide.

    Serge - A lining of cotton or linen warp and a wool or mohair filling, woven twill. 32 inches wide.

    Serge - A worsted cloth woven in twill weave which produces diagonal lines across the material. On the right, the diagonal runs from the right down to the left; on the wrong side, runs from the left down to the right. 48 and 54 inches wide.

    Shoddy - Waste thrown off in spinning worsted, shredded woolen or worsted rags, bits of cloth, or knitted goods, or wool extracted from a mixture of wool and cotton, manipulated into new cloth.

    Sicilian - Another name for Mohair.

    Stockinet - A plain, elastic, knitted cotton fabric, used chiefly for infant's garments and underwear.

    Swiss - A sheer cotton fabric with a dull finish, not as fine as organdy. May or may not have dots, woven, embroidered or printed on. 27 and 36 inches wide.

    Taffeta - A glossy silk of fine plain texture. 32 or 40 inches wide.

    Tarletan - A thin, transparent muslin with considerable dressing. Very perishable. 54 inches wide.

    Terry - A cotton material woven with loops on the surface, on one or both sides. Used largely for bath towels.

    Ticking - A heavy twill weave cotton material used largely for be ticking, mattresses and pillows. 27 or 36 inches wide.

    Tweed - Much like homespun in appearance, both being either twilled or plain. They are made from rough worsted yarn spun at home. In tweed the yarn is harder twisted than in homespun, giving a more distinct twill. It is generally more compact, less rough, and better finished than homespun.

    Velveteen - A cotton pile fabric made in imitation of silk velvet.

    Velvet - A pile fabric in which the pile is always silk, although the back may be cotton. In panne velvet and chiffon velvet, the pile is pressed flat, giving more sheen. Chiffon velvet is light in weight, 25 or 50 inches wide.

    Velour - A thick bodied, close-nap, soft woolen fabric. 54 inches wide.

    Vicuna - A soft twilled cloth, similar to cheviot.

    Voile - A cotton fabric of hard twisted threads which have had the surface fuzz burned or gassed off. Often mercerized. In white, colors, or with printed design; also with dots or small figures of a composition printed on, which are not always permanent. 36 inches wide.

    Whipcord - A worsted cloth having a prominent twill similar to gabardine. 48 inches wide.
  8. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    This is quite magical...
    Fustian... Where's the fustian?

    Great job! and it's very appreciated!
  9. LaMedicine

    LaMedicine One Too Many

    I beg to differ. There are no authentic kimonos--as in Japanese traditional wear-- made of flannelette, unless this is referring to kimono style PJs. Plus, authentic kimono fabrics are approximately 14"(female)-16"(male) wide.
    Of course, the western conception of kimonos has always been warped anyhow, if you ask me. :p
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  10. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Bozeman, MT
    Since it's a 1906/1925 American publication, It's probably referring to something different. I think one of the most interesting things about old documents like this is how words change over time, and from region to region.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  11. LaMedicine

    LaMedicine One Too Many

    I suppose the author may mean a kimono-like robe, but at any rate, the word "kimono" (着物) itself is Japanese, so either the author knew nothing about kimonos, or was under a total misconception that we wore flannel robes all the time whether at home, or going out :eusa_doh: :p

    Besides, since Habutai (habutae 羽二重 actually), a fabric here used mainly for formal kimonos, is on the list,I still say that the use of the word "kimono" in flannelette is misleading. :p
  12. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Bozeman, MT
    At the time this was written, in American fashion, the word kimono was used to describe both the Japanese kimono and similar garments, and this type of shawl, which was generally made of flannelette.

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