Fabric Glossary



A single color jacquard-like fabric with reversible patterns.  Damask is an elegant fabric appropriate for table linens, bed linens, curtains and draperies.

Decorative Pillow Inserts:

Forms for insertion into pillow covers.  They are available as foam inserts and as fabric cases filled with fiberfill or down. Both types are  available in a variety of shapes and sizes, including bolster pillows.  Decorative pillow inserts are ideal for creating new looks for furniture.  Pillow covers are easy beginner projects, especially the square and rectangle shapes.  Covers can be made a wide range of fabrics to suit the décor.  It is simple to insert a ready-made insert into a pillow cover.  Throw pillows offer new style for beds, chairs, sofas, and window seats.

Decorator Fabric:

Fabric used for upholstery, draperies, and wall coverings.   An extraordinary variety of decorator fabric is available to modern consumers. Braemore, Covington, P. Kaufmann, and Robert Allen are among the leading lines of décor fabric.  Some interior design fabrics are suitable for either upholstery or draperies, but many are designed for a specific purpose. Décor fabric is available in virtually any fiber imaginable.  Woven cotton prints and solids are popular.  Polyester, viscose, nylon, and rayon are other fibers used to create durable interior decorating fabrics.   Prints range from floral to scenic to novelty, along with geometric designs.  Weaves include plain and textured.


A cotton twill weave fabric created by the use of different colors for the warp and weft yarns.  Because of the twill weaving process, the fabric appears to be primarily a solid color.  Denim is sometimes also called “blue jean material” because it is the standard fabric for jeans.  To prevent shrinking and fading, Denim should be pre-washed and dried two times or more before laying it out.

Denim Upholstery Material:

A sturdy woven cotton fabric suitable for upholstering cushions, arm chairs, sofas, and recliners.  Denim upholstery material is woven in the same way as the denim used for blue jeans, but it is heavier.  If a casual, or playful look is desired, consider denim upholstery fabric. This fabric is ideal for family room, den, and gameroom furniture, as well for the cushions of casual dining sets.  It comes in traditional denim blue and several other stylish colors, including white, natural, tomato red, butter yellow, and indigo.


A woven, textured fabric design featuring geometric or other small figures.  Dobby fabrics are made with cotton, rayon, or silk.  The fabric types featuring this design range from diaper material (birdseye) to drapery and upholstery material.  The term dobby is also used to refer to the loom attachment used to make such a design and to the loom itself.


Fabric with a brushed low nap that runs in one direction.  Doeskin is soft and suede-like.  It is ideal for pants, full skirts, and tops.

Dotted Swiss:

A sheer or semi-sheer cotton/ cotton blend material with flocked dots in an over-all design.  Classic dotted Swiss has raised dots, but the term is also used for printed dots. It is perfect of spring and summer weight dresses, blouses,  and children’s dresses, as well as  curtains.

Double Cloth:

Two fabrics which are simultaneously made on the same loom.  Double cloth does not interlock; it is held together with binder threads.  Each layer may be of a similar design or totally different.

Double Knit:

A fabric with two layers of knitted loops made on a special machine. These interlocking layers form a strong knit which appears the same on each side.  Most double knit is made with 150 denier polyester, but it is also available in finer yarns.


The soft, small underfeathers of birds.  Down has long been used for pillows and quilts because it provides padding and thermo insulation.  It is used to pad jackets and sleeping bags as well.  Most commercial down comes from geese or ducks. 

Down Pillow Fillers:

Pre-filled down pillow forms for use in pillows.   Down pillow fillers come in several shapes and sizes: square pillows, rectangle pillows, round pillows, bolster pillows.    They are available with different percentages of down filling.  The 5/95 blend features 5% down feathers and 95 % small feathers.  The 25/75 blend features 25% down and 75% feathers.  The 50/50 blend features 50% down and 50% feathers, while the down/poly blend features 50 % polyester fiber fill and a 25/75 blend of down and feathers.   Down provides natural comfort and support. It is preferred over synthetic pillows by many people. 

Down Pillow Inserts:

Ready-made pillow forms featuring some amount of down.  Down pillow inserts are available with different percentages of down.  The highest of amount of down is found in the 50/50 combination which is filled with a blend of half down and half small feathers.   The down/poly combination features 50% polyester fiberfill with a blend of down and small feathers.   These versatile products provide natural support and comfort.  They are available in several shapes: round, square, rectangle, and bolster (cylinder). Pillow forms are also available in several sizes.

Down-Proof Fabric:

Any fabric designed with a tight weave so that down will not come through it.   Old-time striped ticking (mattress ticking, pillow ticking) was the original down-proof fabric. Today, ticking is available in a variety of attractive colors and stripe patterns.  Tightly woven upholstery fabrics are also down proof and come in an amazing range of patterns.  Many drapery fabrics are also tightly woven enough to be down-proof.  Down pillow inserts/forms are covered with down-proof fabric, providing an extra measure of protection when they are covered. 

Drapery Fabric:

Any fabric suitable for making drapes.  Specially designed drapery fabric is available.  Braemore and Covington fabrics are some of the leading lines of fabric for drapes.  Drapery material ranges from sheers, such as batiste, voile, and gauze to heavy fabrics, such as brocade. The fibers used in these fabrics include cotton, silk, polyester, and hemp.  Some drapery fabric features a stain-resistant finish or insulating abilities. Using ready-made curtain tapes, do-it-yourselfers can fashion stylish window treatments for contemporary and traditional interiors.

Drapery Lining:

Any fabric used to line drapes.   Drapery lining provides body and extra coverage to drapes.  It can also provide insulation. Some linings are designed to provide thermo insulation, keeping the home comfortable and cutting fuel costs. Other linings are designed to blackout the light and some are stain-resistant, which is especially important for windows which will be frequently open.  Hanes and Roclon are leading manufacturers of specialty drapery linings.


A twill weave, warp-faced fabric with a diagonal bias.  Drill is available in medium and heavy weights. This cotton fabric is strong and durable.  The medium weight is used for shirts, blouses, martial arts uniforms, work clothes,  and play clothes. The heavy weight is for sails.


Also known as duck canvas, this is a high thread count woven fabric which is strong and durable.  Duck is generally woven of cotton.  It is used for apparel that needs to be sturdy, such as work clothes and children's play clothes.

Dupioni Silk:

A crisp silk material which has distinctive, irregular slubs and a subtle sheen.   Dupioni silk is perfect for slim dressy suits and fitted dresses and blouses.  It is great for slacks and jackets.  This classic fabric is also available in drapery weight in a range of hues, including variegated and iridescent  suitable for any décor.  Drapery weight Dupioni silk can be used for tablecloths, table runners, and placemats  as well as for curtains and pillows.  It makes an elegant addition to any room.