Fabric Glossary


Bamboo Fabric:

Fabric made of bamboo grass pulp.  It is an environmentally friendly product.  Durable and lightweight, bamboo fabric is naturally slightly antibacterial.  It is very absorbent and wicks moisture away from the body.

Bark Cloth:

A woven textured cotton fabric which  generally features large prints with flowers and foliage.  Bark cloth was a popular décor fabric from the 1930s through the 1950s.  It is great today when you want an African-inspired look.

Batik Fabric:

 A cotton fabric made with a special dying method.  Frequently used when an African or Indonesian look is desired, the design on  batik cloth is made by covering some parts of the cloth with wax.  The exposed areas take the dye, producing a design.  Designs with several colors are produced by repeating the wax process until all parts of the design are completed.  Batik fabric is  used for skirts, shirts, and loose, comfortable dresses. It should be sewn in the same way as cotton shirting material.

Batiste Fabric:

A thin, usually cotton, woven fabric which is semi-sheer.  Batiste fabric has a very delicate look and it is ideal for lingerie, baby clothes, and heirloom sewing. It is fairly easy to sew.  Use a small-hole throat plate (straight stitch plate) on your sewing machine to avoid fabric jams. 


A machine or hand made renaissance lace made from linen thread and linen tape or braid. Battenberg lace is made in many designs.

Bedford Cord:

A cotton cloth which resembles corduroy with horizontal ridges.  The ridges of Bedford cord are faint by comparison to the distinctive wales of corduroy.  This durable fabric is suitable for work clothes and upholstery.  It should be sewn in the same manner as corduroy.

Bengaline Fabric:

A material made with a distinctive crosswise rib. Bengaline fabric can be nylon, cotton, rayon, wool, or a blend.

Birdcage Netting:

A large gauge netting fabric used for hat veils which are worn over the face. Birdcage netting is also called Russian netting.   The netting may come simply over the eyes or it may veil the nose and mouth as well.  The wearer is given the appearance of being in a birdcage.  Veiled hats are popular for weddings and can be made in variety of styles, ranging from small pillbox hats to large-brim picture hats. Russian or Birdcage netting is available in many colors and in dotted versions.

Birdseye Fabric:

Woven cotton fabric with a distinct weave that is lightweight and absorbent.  Because of its softness and absorbency, Birdseye fabric is popular for cloth diapers. It keeps the baby's skin dry and comfortable. It is sold by the 27" width; the perfect width to make 27" square diapers.  Soft birdseye fabric makes ideal utility towels. Cut it to 27" square or an 18" by 27" piece and hem.  It is perfect for polishing delicate surfaces as well.

Black Batting:

Black-colored polyester padding for quilts. Batting, is traditionally a white or cream color, but black batting is ideal when you want to enhance the richness of the quilt's colors. Black batting is produced by Quilter's Dream, one of the top batting manufacturers.  Quilter's Dream Midnight Black Request Batting and Quilter's Dream Midnight Select Batting are made of fine quality polyester microfibers without resins, glues, or other chemicals using a unique needlepunch process which gives the products the breathability and softness of natural fiber batting.  Stitching can be placed several inches apart on this batting which resists shifting, bunching, and bearding.

Boiled Wool:

Wool knitted or woven fabric which has been boiled, causing it to shrink.  Boiled (felted) wool is very tight and warm.  It is suitable for vests, jackets, coats, and stuffed animals.    Knitting your own wool garment and then felting it is very popular.

Bolt Tulle:

A fine gauge, nylon netting fabric used for garments and special occasion decorating.  While purchasing tulle by the yard is convenient for small projects, bolt tulle is economical and convenient for garments like full overshirts and underskirts which require a lot of yardage, as well as for decorating banquet halls or party venues.  Tulle is available in an amazing selection of colors, including several shades of a sparkle variety.  Bolt tulle is available in 54” and 108”  widths and 40 yard lengths and 50 yard lengths.


A nubby woven or knit fabric.  The texture is created by a loops or small curls across the material’s surface. Boucle is suitable for loosely structured jackets, vests and coats.

Braemore Fabric:

 A division of P. Kaufmann Fabrics, a leading manufacturer of upholstery, drapery, and wall covering fabric.  Braemore Fabric produces top quality fabrics available in numerous styles suitable for contemporary and traditional decors and every room in the home.  The cotton prints range from large florals to romantic old fashioned toile scenes to contemporary boating and rodeo motifs, stylish paisleys, bright stripes, and geometric patterns, dotted material, and more.  This manufacturer also features many solid-colored, textured upholstery and drapery fabrics in a variety of fibers. 

Bridal Fabric:

Any fabric suitable for wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses, and mother of the bride dresses.  Traditional bridal fabrics include satin, silk, crepe de chine, chiffon, georgette, organza, tulle, and lace.  Laces include both handmade and machine-made varieties.  White and ivory are the classic wedding gown colors, but are not the only choice.  Some brides choose a dress in a non-traditional color while others choose to incorporate color into their white or ivory dress.  Bridesmaid, flower girl, and mother of the bride dresses can be any color desired.

Bridal Satin Fabric:

A fabric with a high sheen made of either silk or polyester.  Bridal satin fabric is the most popular wedding dress fabric.  Traditionally made of silk and worn only by the wealthy, today high quality polyester satin is luxurious and affordable.  Satin is available in various weights and varieties.  Crepe back satin is used for garments that require body; it features a satin sheen on the front and a matte crepe back on the reverse.  Charmeuse, a glossy soft fabric, is great for flowing fashions which require draping.  Habutae is very lightweight with a subtle sheen and is suitable for linings.

Broadcloth Fabric:

Plain weave tightly woven fabric usually made from 100% cotton or a cotton/polyester blend. It is commonly used for quilting and shirt making.  It is also useful for costumes and for cotton linings. Broadcloth fabric is very versatile and easy to sew.  It comes in a wide spectrum of colors and is available in different weights and grades, ranging from the fine quality Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton at 4.3 ounces per yard to the lighter weight, good quality basic broadcloth.


A heavy jacquard-like material with a textured design.  Brocade was traditionally woven with gold or silver threads included in the pattern.  Today, it is available in wide variety of colors and designs.  It is used for a draperies, upholstery, evening wear, historical costumes (especially from the Medieval and Renaissance periods) and purses.

Burlap Coffee Bags:

Sacks for coffee bean storage which are made of natural jute (burlap). Jute fabric is a safe material which will not harm the food stored in it.  Because it is very porous it allows air circulation to what is stored in it.   Burlap coffee bags have been a tradition since coffee first became popular in the West.  These large fabric sacks are screenprinted with the logo of various brands and can be a great conversation piece when used in crafts.  Used bags are sold for crafting purposes.  They often retain a distinct coffee aroma.

Burlap Fabric:

Loosely woven, coarse jute fabric commonly used for horticultural, agricultural, and industrial purposes. It is a natural, environmentally friendly  material often used as a weed barrier because it allows good air flow and will eventually decompose, enriching the soil. It makes a good plant cover in climate weather. Burlap fabric is also used for sand bags, grain bags, coffee bags, and feed sacks.  This versatile fabric is tan and has a distinct jute smell in its natural state.  It  is now available in several colors which are less coarse and have had the jute smell removed. 

Burlap Sacks:

Bags made of jute, a natural fiber which gives burlap fabric a unique smell.  This coarse, loosely woven fabric allows air circulation for anything stored in it. Burlap sacks can be used for many purposes.  They are used to store grains and seeds, as well as various types of beans.  Coffee bags are frequently made of burlap.  Because this jute fiber fabric  decomposes and adds nutrients to the soil, burlap bags are used for to contain the root balls of trees which are being transplanted.   These bags can also be used for crafts when a rustic or casual look is wanted. 

Burn-Out Velvet:

A velvet fabric with a design created by a special process.  The design is created through the application of chemicals to a pattern which burn away part of the velvet, revealing the backing material.  Burn-out velvet is suitable for loosely fitting garments and unconstructed items.