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plain weave

Plain weave, the best known and most basic form of weaving, is made by passing the filling thread over and under one warp thread in alternating rows.

art linen

A medium-weight linen or blended fabric which is plain-woven. Normally used for embroidery, dresses, uniforms, table linens, and other types of embroidered items.


A fabric named for Jean Baptiste, a French linen weaver. (1) In cotton, a sheer, fine muslin, woven of combed yarns and given a mercerized finish. It is used for blouses, summer shirts, dresses, lingerie, infants dresses, bonnets, and handkerchiefs. (2) A rayon, polyester, or cotton-blend fabric with the same characteristics. (3) A smooth, fine wool fabric that is lighter than challis, and similar to fine nuns veiling. It is used for dresses and negligees. (4) A sheer silk fabric either plain or figured, similar to silk mull. It is often called batiste de soie and is made into summer dresses.


Although the term broadcloth originally meant any fabric made on a loom of a certain width, it now means a fine, tightly woven fabric with a faint rib. Originally, it was made of mercerized cotton, but today the term is used to describe several dissimilar fabrics made with different fibers, weaves, and finishes. (1) Originally, a silk shirting fabric so named because it was woven in widths exceeding the usual twenty-nine inches. (2) A plainweave, tightly woven, high-count cotton fabric, with fillingwise rib finer than poplin. Best grades are made of combed pima or Egyptian cotton, usually with high thread counts (136x60 or 144x76). The fabrics are usually mercerized, sanforized, and given a soft lustrous finish, and are used for womens blouses, tailored summer dresses, and mens shirts. (3) A closely woven, medium-weight wool cloth with a smooth nap, velvety feel, and lustrous appearance. Wool broadcloth can be made with a two-up-and-two-down twill weave or plain weave. In setting up a loom to make the fabric, the loom is threaded wide to allow for a large amount of shrinkage during the filling process. The fabric takes its name from this wide threading. High-quality wool broadcloth is fine enough for garments that are closely molded to the figure or draped. Its high-luster finish makes it an elegant cloth. Wool broadcloth is ten to sixteen ounces per yard and is now being made in chiffon weights. (4) A fabric made from silk or man-made filament fiber yarns and woven in a plain weave with a fine crosswise rib obtained by using a heavier filling than warp yarn.

butcher rayon

A coarse rayon, or rayon and acetate blend, mediumweight fabric woven in a plain weave and originally intended as a substitute for butcher linen.

butchers linen

Strong, heavy, plain weave fabric, originally of linen (and originally worn by butchers), now made of any fiber.


A smooth-surfaced, plain weave cloth. Today, the term is almost always applied to fabric with bright, sharply contrasting, usually small-print designs. Calico is usually woven, although calico prints may appear on knits. Calico is a traditionally popular fabric for patchwork. It is also used for dresses, sportswear, and aprons.


A closely woven, plain weave, white fabric that is finished with a slightly glossy surface. The fabric is traditionally made from cotton or linen, but can be made from any fiber. It was formerly used in underwear and handkerchiefs, but today its major uses are to reinforce book bindings and to upholster the underside of chairs and sofas. Very low count, heavily sized glazed cambric is used for costuming.


A heavy, strong, usually plain weave fabric that historically was made of flax, hemp, or cotton. Today, it is usually made of cotton, but some fabrics made of man-made fibers or blends are also called canvas. Canvas is, roughly speaking, heavier than duck or sailcloth although the three names are often used interchangeably. The unbleached fabric is used for coat fronts, lapels, and linings of mens suits. Hair canvas for interlinings is made of goats hair and wool. See duck and sailcloth.


One of the softest fabrics made, it is named for the AngloIndian term shalee, meaning soft. lt is a fine, light-weight, plain-weave fabric, usually made of wool, cotton, or man-made fibers. Challis was traditionally printed with vivid floral patterns on dark grounds or with paisley designs, but now is produced in darker tones of allover prints and solid colors, in the finest quality fabrics. lt is normally used for neckties, dresses, blouses, scarves, bed jackets, and infants sacques.


(1) A plain-woven fabric with an almost square count (80x76), a colored warp, and a white filling, that gives a mottled, colored surface. The fabric is named for Cambrai, France, where it was first made for sunbonnets. Although chambray is traditionally woven, the look itself is so popular it is imitated in knitting. It is similar in appearance to denim but much lighter in weight. It is used for womens and childrens summer dresses and mens shirts. (2) A cotton print cloth made of yarn-dyed yarns that can also be woven in patterns and woven in stripes. (3) A similar but carded-yarn fabric used for work clothes and childrens play clothes. See denim.

China silk

China silk is a lightweight and soft fabric. This plain-weave silk fabric is used for lingerie and soft suits. Nowadays, China silk has been replaced almost completly with lining fabrics of man-made fibers.


This French word, meaning speckled, is used for fabrics in which the warp threads are printed before weaving whereas the filling threads are left plain, giving a shadowy effect to the finished fabric.


Any closely woven, plain-weave, glazed cotton and blends of polyestercotton fabric, often printed in bright designs, which are most often floral. It is used for draperies, slipcovers, bedspreads, upholstery, and now mens and boys shirts, and ladies and girls dresses.


A plain-weave, carded cotton fabric, usually printed with large designs. Cretonne is unglazed, and is used for draperies, slipcovers, and other home furnishings.

Donegal tweed

Originally a thick woolen homespun fabric woven by hand by Irish peasants in County Donegal, Ireland. Today, the term is used to refer to any tweed in plain weave characterized by thick, colorful slubs woven into the fabric. See tweed.


Originally, a fabric lighter in weight than canvas. Today, the terms are synonymous. A durable plain-weave, closely woven cotton, generally made of ply yarns, in a variety of weights and thread counts. It is used for uniforms, belts, awnings, tents, and sails. See canvas.


A lightweight, soft, plain- or twill-weave fabric made of silk, mercerized cotton, rayon, acetate, or thin worsted wool. Foulard has a high luster on the face and dull on the reverse side. It is often printed, and the patterns range from simple polka dots to small, allover elaborate designs on light or dark grounds. It is also made in plain and solid colors. Foulard has a characteristic hand that can be described as light, firm, and supple. It is used for spring and summer dresses, scarves, robes, and neckties, and frequently sold as surah.


A thin, sheer, open, loosely woven, plain-weave cotton fabric with widely spaced yarns, used for diapers and surgical dressings. It can also be made of wool, silk, rayon, or other man-made fibers. Some weights are stiffened for curtains, trimmings of dresses, and other decorative or apparel purposes.

grass cloth

A plain-weave, loosely woven fabric made from such fibers as hemp, ramie, and even nettle. Today, true grass cloth is relatively rare, but the appearance of grass cloth is copied in wallpaper and fabrics of man-made fibers.


A plain-weave fabric used in the home primarily for window shades.


Originally, fabrics made from yarns spun by hand. Today, homespun is used for fabrics that imitate this look. It is a very coarse, rough, plain-weave fabric, loosely woven with irregular, tightly twisted, and nubby, unevenly spun yarns. It is made from linen, wool, cotton, or man-made fiber, or blends in varied colors and is used for coats, suits, sportswear, draperies, upholstery, and slipcovers.

Indian muslin

Muslin is the name for a very large group of plain-weave fabrics originally made of cotton. Most muslin used for purposes other than sheets is unbleached, which means that bits of trash, usually appearing as brown flecks, add color to the fabric. Occasionally, unbleached muslin becomes popular in fashion, even for wedding gowns. Indian muslin is a very fine muslin from India, often printed with gold and silver and is an expensive luxury fabric. See muslin, trash, and flecks


A single knit fabric with plain stitches on the right side and purl stitches on the back. A weft-knitted rayon, acetate, or two-bar tricot-knitted rayon or acetate used for slips, gowns, and blouses. Jersey is also made of wool, cotton, silk, nylon, or blends of the newer synthetics. As an elastic knitted wool fabric, usually in stockinette stitch, jersey was first made on the Island of Jersey off the English coast and used for fishermans clothing. [t is also used for blouses, dresses, and basque shirts. The word jersey is also occasionally used as a synonym for any knit. See knitting, single knit, and purl knit.

you will find a wide selection of jersey fabrics at jerseyfabrics.net.

rib knit

A knit that consists of groups of alternate plain and purl stitches (the reverse of a plain knit with loops showing). Rib knit fabrics are stretchier and have a snugger fit than plain knits. Rib knit is frequently used at wrists, waists, and necklines of plain or patterned knit garments where it is called ribbing.

single knit

Single knit, made on a weft knitting machine, is another term for plain knit


A light, well-hackled linen fabric first made in haon, France. Now, it is a lightweight, fairly sheer, fine, plain-weave cotton or linen muslin fabric generally more sheer and with a higher count than nainsook. It can be given a soft or crisp finish and is sized and calendered to produce a soft, lustrous appearance. Linen lawn is synonymous with handkerchief linen. Cotton lawn is a similar type of fabric. Lawn is slightly stiffer than batiste, but can be used for similar purposes. [t is white, solid colored, or printed and is used tot dresses, blouses, curtains, lingerie, and as a base for embroidered items. See batiste, nainsook, and handkerchief linen.

moss crepe

Officially, moss crepe is made in a plain or dobby weave with rayon yarns that produce the moss-like effect. In practice, however, the term refers to any crepe, including polyester, considered to have a moss-like surface. See weaving.

mousseline de soie

Literally, muslin of silk. The words de soie mean of silk which may explain why the fabric, similar to this made from man-made fibers is usually called mousseline. Mousseline de soie (silk organdy) is a lightweight, sheer, plainweave silk fabric similar to chiffon in its appearance and uses, but a little crisper.


The name for a large group of plain-weave fabrics, originally made of cotton.

rib weave

A plain weave that forms ridges in a fabric through the way in which it is woven or by the use of thicker yarns for the filling than those used tot the warp. See weaving, filling, and warp.


Rib knit that is used at wrists, waists, and necklines of plain or patterned knit garments. See rib-knit/250/rib-knit.html" title="rib knit" class="normal">rib knit.


Originally, a firmly woven cotton canvas used for making sails. Today, sailcloth is a very heavy, strong, plain-weave fabric made of cotton, linen, jute, nylon, or palyester. It comes in many qualities and weights. In common usage, the terms duck, sailcloth, and canvas often are used interchangeably. Sailcloth can be used for sportswear, slipcovers and upholstery, and curtains and draperies. See canvas and duck.


An open, plain-weave, mesh fabric used for curtains, bunting, and as a supporting fabric for some laminated fabrics. Scrim was traditionally made of cotton, but today usually is made of nylon or other man-made fibers. See bunting.


(1) A heavy weight, fairly lustrous cotton, linen, silk, or man-made fiber fabric with a sleek, hard-finished, crisp, and pebbly surface and a chalky luster. Today, it is almost always made of acetate or triacetate. Filament yarns, when used, are twisted and woven tightly in a plain-weave or basket-weave construction, depending on the effect desired. Staple fiber yarns are handled in the same manner, except for wool. Sharkskin is best known in its stark white color especially popular for tennis outfits and for permanently pleated white skirts when they are in fashion. (2) A wool fabric in twill weave, originally made of yarns of two colors.


A plain-weave, fairly lightweight silk fabric with a slight slub to the yarns. Today, the terms Honan and pongee are used interchangeably for fabrics with this texture, but made from man-made fabrics.

silk broadcloth

A soft spun-silk fabric in plain weave, used for shirts, blouses, and sports dresses.

stockinette stitch

In hand weft knitting, characterized by vertical wales on the face and horizontal courses on the back of the fabric. See plain stitch.


A fine, yarn-dyed, closely woven, plain-weave, smooth on both sides, stiffened fabric with a crisp feel and a sheen on its surface. Taffeta was originally made of silk, but is also made of rayon, cotton, acetate, or other man-made fibers. lt is named for the Persian fabric "taftan". The rustle of silk taffeta is called scroop, and it may be a solid color, printed or woven so that the colors appear iridescent. A list of the most common types of taffeta follows. lt is used for dresses, blouses, ribbons, draperies, bedspreads, and curtains. See scroop.

cotton thread

Formerly the most common thread, but difficult to find today. lt is usually made in two types. A plain thread with a dull surface is called basting thread. Mercerized cotton thread has a shiny surface that enables it to slide smoothly through fabric and is suggested for general purpose sewing. Polyester thread has replaced cotton thread to a large extent. See mercerization.

tufted fabric

"A fabric ornamented with soft, fluffy, slackly twisted ply yarns (usually cotton). Most tufts are inserted by needles into a woven fabric, such as unbleached muslin, textured cotton, and rayon plain-weave cloth. When tufts are spaced (as coin dots), a bedspread is called candlewick

unbleached muslin

A cotton plain-weave printcloth fabric in grey goods and lightweight sheetings, used for ironing board covers, dust covers, and dust cloths.

velvet rug

A floor covering woven on a plain harness loom with Cut pile. It has solid color or printed pile.


A sheer, transparent, low-count, crisp or soft, lightweight, plain-weave muslin with a thready feel, made of highly twisted yarns. lt can be comprised of wool, cotton, silk, rayon, polyester, or other man-made fibers. Voile is especially popular when made of cotton or blends for summer wear and is often printed to match heavier fabrics. Voile is used for clothing, especially for blouses and summer dresses, and for curtains and similar items.

plain weave

Plain weave, the best known and most basic form of weaving, is made by passing the filling thread over and under one warp thread in alternating rows.