Category Archives: Woven Material


Satin, sateen. How different can they be? About $3/yard, for starters. As satin was traditionally made from silk, sateen was created as a cheaper alternative. It’s a twill-woven cotton with some yarns ‘floated’ as per a satin weave – it’s not quite one or the other, although most of my textile books prefer to refer to… Read More »


Ciré  is a fabric that has been finished by heat, pressure and – sometimes – a wax-like coating  to create a very glossy surface. From a distance, it can be mistaken for vinyl and, up close, you might think you’re looking at a very shiny chintz or spandex. Often marketed as “wet look fabric” because,… Read More »


Part of the ‘Antique Fabrics‘ series, this fabric isn’t necessarily extinct, but it was more popular in the past than the present. Cambric is a lightweight, densely-woven, plain-weave cloth. Originally made of linen, but later made of cotton as well. It’s name derives from Cambrai, France, where it was once made in significant quantities. Today, linen cambric is… Read More »


Part of the ‘Antique Fabrics‘ series, this fabric isn’t necessarily extinct, but it was more popular in the past than the present. A firm, plain-weave cotton fabric. Imported from India in the 17th & 18th centuries, then produced in France, thereafter. Thread count is usually 200 per inch or more. Percale uses long-staple cotton, resulting… Read More »


(By popular request – Ed.) Baize is a dense, plain-weave wool cloth, traditionally used as a surface for gaming and pool tables. It’s usually green, but it can be found in other colors (red is a popular alternative). A lot of fabrics will be described by sellers as baize simply because it’s green and fuzzy, which can be… Read More »


We all know what denim is, right? It’s what our jeans are made out of, what our little brother’s dungarees are made from and it’s, y’know, self-explanatory, right? Maybe so, but for the sake of completion… Denim is a dense twill weave fabric, traditionally made from pure cotton and featuring white yarns in the weft and… Read More »

Silk Noil

Silk noil is made with silk yarns created from very short fibers – usually remnants from other cloth manufacture. The yarn has a rougher texture and is less reflective than longer-yarn silk, which results in a fabric similarly dull and somewhat rough underhand. It’s sometimes called raw silk which isn’t accurate. It’s finished silk, alright,… Read More »


Gingham fabric is a plain weave cotton or cotton-blend distinguished by a checked pattern which is woven into the fabric – not printed on top. The fabric is completely reversible. The checks can range from 1/8th of an inch wide to a full inch. You’re going to run into this one a lot if you… Read More »

Worsted Wool

Wool’s wool, right? So why is there a special entry for worsted wool? Because all wool is not the same. Worsted refers to a process whereby sheep’s wool is carefully combed to ensure that the fibers spun into yarn are only the longer fibers (long staple) and that they lie parallel to each other before spinning. This results… Read More »


Poplin is a plain-weave fabric with ribs running across the grain (warp). Historically, it was made from a silk and wool blend, but now is found made from many fibers, including cotton, silk, nylon and polyester. In heavier weights, it’s popular for upholstery as the texture gives even a pure solid color some interest. Poplin… Read More »