Fabric Glossary

Welcome to our fabric glossary.

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - Y


The ability of a fabric to soak up liquid easily.  View our absorbency range here.

A synthetic manufactured polymer fibre that can be machine washed and dried. It also has excellent colour fastness.

A favourable property that a lining fabric should ideally have in order to prevent static build up and help promote a soft comfortable drape.  Click here to see our Aint-Static fabrics.

A pattern composed of diamonds of various colours on a plain background, used in knitted garments such as sweaters and socks.

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Bamboo Fabric
Bamboo fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of the bamboo grass, with the unique properties of softness, absorbency and is antibacterial. It is a light and strong fabric and produced from a sustainable product.

A method of producing colour designs on textiles by dyeing them, having first applied wax to the parts to be left undyed. Multi-coloured and blended effects are obtained by repeating the dyeing process several times.

Fabric cut at a 45 degree angle to the selvedge.

A knit or woven fabric with small curls or loops that create a nubby surface. The yarn is spun with one or more threads, with one thread having a tight tension and the other with less tension creating the loops. This fabric is often used in sweaters, vests and coats.

A plain weave tightly woven fabric that was traditionally made from wool but can be from 100% cotton or a cotton blend. Common uses are quilting and shirt-making.

A fabric with a brushed raised surface, tends to make the fabric feel softer. View our brushed cottons here.

A coarse canvas, woven from jute, hemp, or a similar fibre. Woven with a plain weave this fabric tends to have a rough hand but finer similar material can be used for dressmaking and furnishings.

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A plain woven cotton textile made from unbleached and often not fully processed cotton. Due to it's unfinished and undyed appearance it's often a very economical fabric. Take a look at our calico here.

A heavy duty plain woven fabric that’s durable, commonly used for making sails, tents and backpacks. See all our canvas' here.

A fine soft wool obtained from the soft fleecy Cashmere goat. Most commonly used in sweaters, shawls, suits, coats, and dresses. A luxury fibre with a very soft hand.

A linen-finished gingham cloth with a white weft and a colour warp, producing a mottled appearance, can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibres, but is most commonly cotton. Similar to denim but much lighter weight. View all our chambray's here.

Charm Quilt
A quilt made of small patches where each piece is a different fabric, often used by quilters to use up remnants. Click here for our remnants. Or click here for our charms.

A thin, loosely woven cloth of cotton, used originally for making and wrapping cheese, it is a lightweight, sheer, plain-woven fabric with a very soft texture. It may be natural coloured, bleached, or dyed.

Lightweight, sheer, airy fabric typically made of silk or nylon. Suitable for loose tops or dresses.  See our range of chiffon here

A plain-weave fabric, printed multi-coloured cotton fabric with a glazed finish to give a polished finish, used especially for curtains and upholstery. Sometimes also referred to for a covering with a dense, all-over pattern of flowers.

A heavy weight wool or wool blend material that is perfect for making warm coats and other winter clothes out of.

Fabrics dyed in colours that resist fading.

A thick cotton fabric with velvety ribs, this fabric is usually made of cotton or a cotton blend, utilizing a cut-pile weave construction. The ''wale'' indicates the number of cords in one inch. Suitable for jackets, trousers and skirts.  Click here to see all our corduroy.

A soft white fibrous substance that surrounds the seeds of the plant and is used as textile fibre and thread for sewing and has been used to produce many types of fabric for hundreds of years. Cotton fabric feels good against the skin regardless of the temperature or the humidity.  Here is our full range of cottons. 

Used to describe all kinds of fabrics--wool, cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics and blends-that have a light and thin wrinkled surface.

Crinkle Satin
Crinkle Satin is a light weight fabric, used mainly for cool, summer clothes.  See our crinkle satin's here.

A craft where yarn is made up into a patterned fabric by looping yarn with a hooked needle.

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A glossy jacquard-type fabric, woven with a pattern visible on each side. Usually the fabric is all one colour. Suitable for draperies, curtains bed and table linens.

A rugged cotton twill fabric twill weave and due to the twill construction, one colour predominates on the fabric surface typically blue. Suitable for trousers, jackets and skirts.  Take a look at our denim collection here.

Double Cloth
A type of woven textile in which two or more sets of warps and one or more sets of weft yarns are interconnected to form a two-layered cloth. The two fabrics are woven on the loom at the same time, one on top of the other, the two layers are held together using binder threads. The movement of threads between the layers allows complex patterns and surface textures to be created.

Double Knit
This is a form of knitting in which two fabrics are knitted simultaneously on one pair of needles which can result in two separate pieces or a reversible one.

Double Gauze
Double Gauze is where 2 layers of gauze which has a loose weave making the fabric very airy and breathable.  Here is our selection of double gauze.

Dress Net
An extremely light weight netting fabric, this is often used to add body and structure to a dress, both under the material and as an external trimming, it is often used to make tutu's out of and has many applications in craft and decoration.  Choose from our variety of dress nets.

Stout and durable heavyweight cotton fabric with a strong bias warp-faced, often bleached or dyed.  Here is our collection of colourful drill's.

A tightly woven, heavy, plain-weave, fabric with a hard, durable finish. The fabric is usually made of cotton or linen, and is widely used in men's and women's slacks, and children's play clothes.

Dupioni Silk
A rough slubbed silk fabric woven from the threads of double cocoons. Perfect for tailored slimmer silhouettes like flat-front trousers, jackets and fitted blouses and dresses.

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Fabric with cut-outs, around which stitching or embroidery may be applied in order to prevent the fabric from ravelling. Often referring to metal rings used to reinforce the hole such as in the case of curtains.

The ability of a fibre or fabric to return to its normal shape after the removal of stress if being stretched.

A pressing process in which fabrics are engraved with the use of heated rollers under pressure to produce a raised design on the fabric surface.

A handcraft of decorating fabric or a garment with embellishments of yarn or thread. Coloured threads are sewn onto the fabric to create a design and can include other materials such as metal, beads and sequins.  Here is all our embroidery consumables.

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Fat Quarter
A cut piece of fabric which is made by cutting a half metre of the full width fabric in half again vertically. The piece is therefore approximately 50cm x 55cm.  Here is our selection of beautiful colour/theme co-ordinating Fat Quarter collections.

Faux Fur
Synthetic fur made to resemble animal fur. Also called Fun Fur or Fake Fur.

Faux Silk
Faux silk is beautiful fabric suitable for dressmaking, decorative applications and other projects that require a soft and silky finish. It has the look of silk without any of the care problems, they are easy to wash and to work with. They are also considerably stronger than silk which is easily damaged.  View all our Faux Silks here.

A cloth made from rolling and pressing wool, hair, or fur, and sometimes in combination with certain manufactured fibres, where the fibres are locked together in a process utilizing heat, moisture, and pressure to form a compact material. Ideal for most craft projects.  We have a lovely selection of coloured felt here.

A soft woven fabric usually of cotton or wool that has been brushed on one or both sides for softness. Typically used for shirts and sleepwear.  We have a variety of coloured and patterned flannel available here.

A plant from which the stalk produces a fibre (linen) which is stronger than cotton but less flexible. Linen is used in apparel, accessories, draperies, upholstery, tablecloths, and towels.

Fleece generally is a term used for a soft fabric. It can be a synthetic knit fabric that stretches across the grain which can be used for jackets and tops.  See our range of patterened fleece, polar fleece and micro fleece.

A strong, durable, heavy, coarse woollen cloth with a nap usually one on side. The pile is made by the over-wire method to create a closed-loop pile.

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A smooth twill weave that is wrinkle resistant. Wool gabardine is the most common and is considered year-round fabric for suits, however can be made from cotton.

A sheer, open-weave fabric that is translucent usually made from cotton, silk or linen. It is suitable for blouses, dresses and curtains.

A drape able woven fabric created from highly twisted yarns creating a pebbly texture usually made out of silk. It is semi-sheer and suitable for blouses, full trousers and flowing dresses. Synthetic versions are also popular.

A medium weight, plain weave fabric with a plaid or check pattern.

A gossamer is a very light, sheer, gauze-like fabric, popular for white wedding dresses and decorations.

This refers to the direction of the warp in a fabric.

Grois Point
A fabric which features large points of yarn on the surface of the fabric.

A tightly woven, firm, warp-faced fabric with heavy, round filling ribs created by a high-warp count and coarse filling yarns. Grosgrain can be woven as a narrow-ribbon or a full width fabric.  View our variety of grosgrain ribbon here.

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A variation on the twill weave construction in which the twill is reversed, or broken, at regular intervals, producing a zigzag effect that resembles fish bones.

Hounds Tooth Check
A variation on the twill weave construction in which a broken check effect is produced by a variation in the pattern of interlacing yarns, utilizing at least two different coloured yarns.

Hemp fabric
Hemp fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of the hemp plant, it has high absorbency properties and is antibacterial as well as being from a susatainable plant.

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A style of weaving that uses a tie-dye process on either the warp or weft before the threads are woven to create a pattern or design. A Double Ikat is when both the warp and the weft are tie-dyed before weaving.

A type of material used on the unseen or "wrong" side of fabrics in sewing to provide extra structure to a garment. Here is a variety of white and charcoal interfacing.

An insulation, padding, or stiffening fabric, placed in-between the fabric and lining. The interlining is used primarily to provide warmth in curtains, coats, jackets, and outerwear.

Interlock Knit
Also known as T-shirt knit. It usually has stretch across the grain. Great for tops, skirts and lightweight trousers.  Available here is our collection of colourful Interlocks.

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Woven fabrics manufactured by using the Jacquard attachment on the loom, providing versatility in designs and permitting individual control of each of the warp yarns. Thus, fabrics of almost any type or complexity can be made. Brocade and damask are types of jacquard woven fabrics.

Jersey Fabric
A knit fabric used predominantly for clothing, it is usually thinner or lighter-weight than Interlock knit with less stretch making it appropriate for tops and fuller dresses.  We have a variety of Jersey available here.

A rough fibre made from the stems of plants, chiefly from India, used primarily for gunny sacks, bags, rope, and binding threads in carpets and rugs.

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A textile fabric of a dull brownish yellow, tan colour, softer and finer than drill. Name derived from East India word meaning "soil." Fabric made of cotton, linen, wool, worsted, or manmade fibres and blends often used in military clothing.

Knit Fabrics
Fabrics made from only one set of yarns, all running in the same direction. Some knits have their yarns running along the length of the fabric, while others have their yarns running across the width of the fabric. Knit fabrics are held together by looping the yarns around each other. Knitting creates ridges in the resulting fabric. Wales are the ridges that run lengthwise in the fabric; courses run crosswise.

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A fine open fabric with yarns that are twisted around each other to form complex patterns or figures. Lace may be hand or machine made by a variety of fabrication methods including weaving, knitting, crocheting, and knotting.

A woven fabric with interwoven gold or silver threads, to create either the design or the background in the fabric.

A light weight cotton fabric, perfect for summer dresses and clothing, it is often referred to as a Summer Cotton.  See our lawn collection here.

Material made from animal skin by tanning.

A Simulated leather or Faux leather

Laminated Cotton
Laminated cotton is usually a 2 layer construction made up using a laminate film, bonded to a 100% lightweight cotton fabric. Used for rain wear, bags, light table protection and other crafts where a waterproof fabric is useful.  The waterproof layer is generally applied on top of the print.  Here is our collection of Laminated Cottons.

A natural plant fibre made from flax, linen fibres are stronger and more lustrous than cotton. Can be used for many applications.  

Linen & Cotton Blend
A linen/cotton blend is usually made up of 55% linen and 45% cotton. It is often softer, and less likely to crease. They are generally fairly hard wearing and therefore suitable for lightweight upholstery tasks, these are easy fabrics to sew with.  Available here is our selection of Linen and Cotton blens.

A DuPont trademark for its spandex fibre. It is a elastic polyurethane fibre used for close fitting clothing and dance/ sports wear.  See our Lycra's here.

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A finishing treatment on fabric that burns the 'fuzziness' off the cotton to achieve a more lustrous and smooth appearance.

A type of high quality wool that originates from Merino sheep breed for their long fine wool.

A fabric made of a network of threads characterized by its net-like open appearance, and the spaces between the yarns. It is available in a variety of constructions including woven, knits, laces, or crocheted fabrics.

Microfibre Terry
An extremely fine synthetic fibre that can be woven into textiles. Very fast to absorb moisture, it holds on to the moisture in between it's fibres rather than absorbing it in to the fibre itself.

Is made from the hair fibres of the Angora goat. It is durable and resilient and is noted for it's high lustre and sheen and is sometimes blended with other fibres. Mohair can be used for garments such as sweaters, coats, suits, and scarves.

A fabric that has been subjected to heat and pressure rollers after weaving to give it a rippled appearance, usually made from silk or one of the manufactured fibres, which has a distinctive water-marked wavy pattern on the face of the fabric.

A thick and strong cotton fabric with a shaved pile surface. It resists wrinkling and has a beautiful suede look on the face.

Monk's Cloth
A heavy weight cotton fabric utilizing the basket weave variation of the plain weave. This cloth has a loose over and under four strand weave, often used for draperies and slip covers, monk's cloth is an example of 4 x 4 basket weave. It has poor dimensional stability and tends to snag.

An inexpensive, light weight, plain weave cloth with a low thread count (less than 160 threads per square inch) cotton sheeting fabric. In its unfinished form, it is commonly used in fashion design to make trial garments for preliminary fit. Also used in the kitchen for straining.  Available here is our muslin.

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The raised surface of the fabric giving texture.

Refers to any open-construction loosely woven fabric whether it is created by weaving, knitting, knotting, or another method.  Click here to see our Nets.

Produced in 1935 by DuPont, its the first completely synthetic fibre developed. Known for its high strength and excellent resilience, nylon has superior abrasion resistance and high flexibility.

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A fabric that is treated on one side with oil to make it waterproof. Used for table coverings and waterproof outerwear.  Oil cloth is available here.

A heavy cotton, linen, silk, or manmade material treated with oil to make it waterproof, often used for raincoats.

A stiffened fine translucent cotton or silk used in woman's clothing.  Browse through our organdy here.

A crisp, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric traditionally made from silk but many modern organzas are woven with synthetic fibres.  Take a look at our colourful Organza's here.

Oxford Cloth
A fine, soft, lightweight woven cotton or blended with manufactured fibres in a basket weave variation of the plain weave construction. The fabric is used primarily in shirting and dresses.  Oxford cloth is available here.

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A distinctive tear-drop pattern or feather shape based on a pine-cone design. Originally manufactured in Scotland and can be used in dresses, blouses, and men's ties.

Peach Skin
Peach Skin has a brushed finish, usually on woven fabrics. It is commonly sanded to give it a texture like peach skin. Perfect for dresses and tops.  Here is our variety of Peach Skin fabric.

A rich soft fabric, woven with warp pile higher than that of velvet. It can be made from cotton, wool, silk, or manmade fibre, often woven as double face fabric and then sheared apart. Often used for cloth nappies, stuffed toys and blankets.  Browse through our huge variety of coloured and patterened Plush here.

The twisting of two or more single yarns together.

A manufactured fibre, polyester is made from synthetic resin. It has high strength, excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fibre to dry quickly.

Ponte Roma
Ponte Roma is a double knit fabric with 25% stretch across the grain. The knit is perfect for creating tops, skirts, dresses, jackets, shirts and much more. This material does not have as much stretch as jersey or interlock. The fabric will usually have a texture where you can see lines forming the knit and the name allegedly comes from the similarity of the shape of the knit to a bridge in Rome.  Choose from our selection of Ponte Roma.

A fabric made using a variation of the plain weave. The construction is characterized by having a slight ridge effect in one direction, usually the filling. Poplin has become a staple fabric in the production of clothes for all occasions.  See our collection of beautiful coloured Poplin.

"Polyurethane laminate" fabric is breathable, waterproof and durable and has a slight crossgrain stretch. One side is a polyester knit, the other side is a waterproof laminate. Used in making nappies, changing mattress covers, waterproof clothing and toiletry bags.  Here is our colourful collection of PUL.

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A decorative construction in which two layers of fabric whereby a padding or fibrefill is placed between. It is then held in place by stitching or sealing in a regular, consistent, all-over pattern on the goods.  Available here is beautiful collection of cotton, perfect for quilting.

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A semi-synthetic fibre, it has good drape and a soft hand. It’s appropriate for tops, shirts, skirts and dresses.

Ribbed Knit
This is made of 97% cotton and 3% elastane. The stretch in Ribbed Knit makes it perfect for trimming of cuffs, waistbands and necks.  See our variety of Ribbed Knits here.

Ripstop Nylon
A lightweight, wind resistant, and water resistant fabric, Ripstop uses a reinforcing technique making them resistant to tearing. Mainly used for outdoor wear and equipment as well as outdoor flags.  Available here is our patterend Ripstops.

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Any heavy, plain-weave canvas fabric, usually made from flax, hemp or cotton, traditionally used for sails.  Take a look at our canvas' here.

Sateen Fabric
A fabric generally woven from cotton, it has a glossy finish much like satin. Sateen fabrics are often used for draperies and upholstery.  Here is our range of Sateen fabrics.

Woven with a satin weave structure where the warp yarns are floated over the weft yarns, usually made from silk, giving the fabric a lustrous, shiny surface, with good drapability depending on fibre content.   Click here to see our full collection of Satin.

A woven fabric with a surface containing a puckered surface, this fabric is traditionally cotton, but can be polyester. Suitable for shirts, casual slacks and children’s clothing.

The firm side edges of the fabric running parallel to the warp.

Embellished with a small plate of shining metal or plastic to give shine.  Available here is Sequined fabric.

Any very light-weight fabric which results in a semi-transparent cloth (e.g., chiffon, georgette, voile, sheer crepe). Usually has an open weave or low density knit.

A natural, soft, and lustrous fibre produced by the silkworm in the making of its cocoon. Most silk is collected from cultivated worms; Tussah silk, or wild silk, is a thicker, shorter fibre produced by worms in their natural habitat.  Have a look at our brighly coloured collection of Silk.

Silky Satin
A perfect choice for light weight fabric to make airy garments such as tops. It is made from a satin weave using filament fibres such as silk.  Here is a lovely collection of patterned Silky Satins.

A strong baste fibre that originates from the leaves of the Agave plant, uses include matting, rope and twine.

A manufactured polyurethane fabric that can be repeatedly stretched without breaking, and will still recover to its original length and is known for its elasticity.

Suede is the reverse side of the leather hide, it has a napped surface.

Swimwear Jersey
Swimwear Jersey is designed not to go see through when wet. It has a good stretch to it and is perfect for all types of swimwear. It can also be used for other projects where Jersey is needed. Swimwear Jersey is available here.

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A fine lustrous fabric with a crisp hand, taffeta is typically used for formal wear like gowns and fuller skirts.

A heavy, often hand-woven, ribbed fabric, featuring an elaborate design depicting a historical or current pictorial display. The weft-faced fabric design is made by using coloured filling yarns, only in areas where needed, that are worked back and forth over spun warp yarns, which are visible on the back. End-uses include wall hangings and upholstery.

A heavy duty waterproofed cloth sometimes made of nylon or other manmade fibre.

Terry Cloth
A fabric with a looped pile, 100% cotton terry cloth is highly absorbent. French Terry has a looped reverse and a knit-like face. Used for absorption.  Here is our range of Terry cloth.

Thread count
A measure that determines the coarseness or fineness of fabric, achieved by counting the numbers of threads contained in 1 square inch or 10 square centimetres of fabric.

A strong, durable woven material, typically striped, used to cover mattresses and pillows.

Short for Toile De Jouy, Toile is a type of decorating pattern consisting of a white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, very often of a pastoral theme.

A lightweight, extremely fine, machine-made netting, it is softer to the touch than netting. Appropriate for veils and costumes.  Here is the Tulle we have available.

A medium to heavy weight, woollen, twill weave fabric containing coloured slubbed yarns. Common end-uses include coats and suits.  See our range of Tweed here.

A fabric that shows a distinct diagonal wale on the face (e.g., denim, gabardine ). Browse through our Twill fabric.

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A trade name for a synthetic microfiber imitation suede fabric composed of polyester microfibers combined in a non-woven structure. Hand and appearance resemble sheep suede.

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A soft woven fabric resembling velvet, usually with a knitted back, with some stretch. Appropriate for tops and sportswear like trousers and jackets.  Here is a selection of Velour fabric.

Velvet is a type of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it a distinctive soft feel. Velvet is a very luxurious fabric. Stretch velvet has some lycra, It can be machine washed and will not create a shine in the seat or elbows. Appropriate for tops, skirts and fuller trousers and some upholstery projects.

A cotton or cotton blend fabric with a short, dense pile that resembles velvet, It lacks the sheen and drape of velvet. It is perfect for drapes and home décor items as well as trousers, jackets and skirts.

The most common type of rayon.

Viscose Javanaise
Viscose Javanaise is made up of 100% Viscose. It is a light weight fabric with a beautiful drape. It is cool and comfortable to wear and is perfect for dressmaking and other types of crafty projects.  Click here to see our range of Viscose Javanaise.

Viscose Jersey
Viscose Jersey is a lovely knitted fabric, made from Viscose and 4% Elastane. The Jersey can be stretched both ways. This fabric is cool and light, therefore would be great for T-Shirts, draped garments, tops and dresses.  Here is our range of colourful Viscose Jersey.

Viscose Twill
Viscose Twill is a lovely fabric with a gorgeous soft drape. It has a soft finish with a twill construction visible on the fabric, giving a lovely effect. It is made from 100% Viscose and is light weight, cool and comfortable, perfect for garment making such as jackets, tops, skirts and dresses.  Available here is our collection of Viscose Twill.

A crisp, lightweight, plain weave cotton-like fabric. It is appropriate for curtains as well as blouses and dresses.

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Usually non-woven padded made of cotton or synthetic fabric. It used for added insulation for quilting projects or curtains.  Take a look at our huge variety of Wadding.

Waffle Cloth
Similar to piqué in texture. Waffle cloth has a honeycomb finished look and is usually made of cotton.

This is a term that refers to the 'rib' effect on a cloth such as in a twill or corduroy.  Here is our collection of lovely coloured Wale Cord.

The yarns that run along the length of the fabric.

Completely resistant to water penetration.  Available here is our full selection of waterproof fabrics.

Water- resistant
Resists but does not entirely prevent the absorption of water.  

The yarns that run across the fabric, selvedge to selvedge.

The fine soft curly or wavy hair forming the coat of a sheep, goat, or similar animal, wool is naturally stain and wrinkle resistant. It can absorb up to 40% of it’s weight in moisture without feeling damp. Wool comes in many forms including crepe, challis, gabardine, merino, melton, jersey and worsted wool suiting.  Take a look at our wool fabrics here.

Wool Crepe
A lightweight worsted fabric with a more or less crinkly appearance, obtained by using warp yarns that are tightly twisted in alternate directions. The term is often applied to lightweight worsted fabrics for women's wear that have little or no crepe surface.

Woven Fabric
Cloth composed of two sets of yarns. One set of yarns, the warp, runs along the length of the fabric. The other set of yarns, the fill or weft, is perpendicular to the warp. Woven fabrics are held together by weaving the warp and the fill yarns over and under each other.

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A continuous strand of textile fibres created when a cluster of individual fibres are twisted together. These long yarns can be used to weave, knit or sew.

Fabric made from yarn that has been dyed before being woven or knitted into a fabric. Yarn dyed fabrics tend to give a much better level of colourfastness and are almost always more expensive than their fabric-dyed equivalents.

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