Fabric Glossary



A lustrous silk-like fabric with fine ribs.  Faille is woven from silk, cotton, or synthetic fibers.

Fat Quarter:

 A piece of fabric approximately 18” x 22”.  It made by cutting a half yard of fabric in half vertically.  Fat quarters are sold for quilts.  They allow larger pieces and blocks to be cut from the piece than if the standard quarter yard of fabric (9” x 44”) was used.  They also allow more colors and prints to be economically included in the quilt.

Faux Fur:

Fake or artificial fur made of synthetic fibers.  Faux fur is used for trims, jackets, and coats.  It is also used for stuffed animals.

Feather Pillow Forms:

Pillow forms filled with a combination of down and small feathers or down, small feathers, and polyester. .  These ready-made pillow inserts are available in several sizes and shapes: rectangle, round, square and bolster.   Feather pillow forms provide comfortable support and are easy to use.  Simply make the pillow cover and insert a pillow form.  When choosing the appropriate size feather pillow form, opt for one that is two inches larger than the cover, so that the finished pillow will be well filled out.

Feather Pillow Inserts:

Another name for feather pillow forms.  Feather pillow inserts are ready to insert into a pillow cover.  They are available in several different proportions of down and small feathers, as well as in a down/poly blend.  Round, square, rectangle, and bolster pillow inserts come in different sizes.  The square and rectangle shapes are easy to make covers for, while the round and bolster shapes require slightly more sewing skill.

Feed Sacks:

Fabric bags used to store animal feed or grain.  They are made of burlap, sisal, or muslin and are generally fastened with a drawstring.   Feed sacks can be purchased new for use as storage bags or for horticultural use.  They are also used for craft purposes.  Used sacks with a logo of the product once stored in them can be purchased.  They make conversation pieces when used for crafts.  These bags are also known as gunny sacks, burlap bags, coffee sacks and burlap sacks. 

Felt Fabric:

A fabric composed of fibers which are compressed together with a special technique that has been used for centuries.    Felt fabric can be made of wool or synthetic fibers. It is sometimes made of fur or hair.  It is widely used for craft projects, especially for children.  Felt is available by the yard and in small sheets. Adhesive felt sheets are popular for children's crafts.

Filler For Pillows:

Fiberfill used to stuff pillows, cushions, and stuffed toys. It is generally made of polyester. Filler for pillows is economical and easy to use.  It can be used for any shape pillow. It is especially suitable when the pillow shape is unique, such as letter-shaped pillows and animal shape pillows, because it can be stuffed into every part of the shape to the firmness desired.  Mountain Mist is a leading manufacturer of high quality, hypoallergenic fiberfill. Fill stuffed items by using a small amount of filler at a time and gently, but firmly packing it into place until the desired firmness is achieved.

Firm Foam:

Another name for high density foam. It is used for high use/high traffic applications.  Firm foam is available in many widths, thicknesses, and lengths. Although the name may make it seem like it would be firm to the touch, high density foam is often soft to the touch.  It is called firm because it provides firm seating support and does not sag.  Rebond foam is a brand of firm foam made from recycled foam particles and bonded by a special process which makes it firm and resilient. It is appropriate for commercial furniture, motorcycle, snowmobile and ATV seats and bar stool seats because it retains its shape through years of hard use.


A woven cotton or wool fabric with a distinct soft texture that has been produced by brushing the fabric.  Flannel fabric is popular for sleepwear and shirts, but it is also used for jackets, jumpers, and accessories.  It makes warm sheets and pillow cases.


Plant which is processed to make linen fiber.   Linen is a cool comfortable fabric used for garments, sheets, draperies, tablecloths, towels, and upholstery.  It is two to three times stronger than cotton.  


Can refer to polar fleece or to wool fleece.  Polar fleece is a versatile polyester knit fabric which is lightweight and warm.  It comes in prints and solid colors.  It is suitable for outer wear, such as coats, jackets, and scarves, as well as for blankets, lounge wear, children's clothes and accessories.  Wool/wool blend fleece is suitable as a lining for cold weather outer garments and is sometimes used as a trim for such garments.

Foam Bolsters:

Cylinder foam made for inserting into cushion covers.  Bolster cushion forms are available in different diameters and lengths. Foam bolsters can be covered in attractive fabric to match any décor and used on sofas, chairs, and beds.  They are ideal to provide support for the arms on furniture which lacks padded arms and can be used at each end of a daybed or futon.

Foam For Boat Cushions:

Foam which dries quickly and easily.  Ez Dri and Eva Dri are two brands of foam especially designed as foam for boat cushions and patio furniture  These special foams are porous so that liquid quickly drains away from them .  The Eva Dri brand has been treated with a fungicidal agent to prevent mold, and mildew and the odors which come from them.  Both brands of foam come in several thicknesses, widths, and lengths and are also known as marine foam or marine cushions because of their suitability for areas that will receive a lot of water.

Foam For Cushions:

Synthetic foam designed for insertion into cushion covers. It is also known as upholstery foam or upholsterer's foam.  Foam for cushions is available in high density and low density versions and in several thicknesses, widths and lengths.  High density foam provides the greatest support for seating.  Low density foam is used for areas that will not receive much use.  Cushion foam can be purchased in long lengths and cut into several cushions.

Foam Padding:

Thin, flexible sheets of synthetic foam.   Foam padding is used for the upholstered arms and front boards of sofas and chairs.  It is also used for bench and banquet seating and for cornice padding.  Padding is available in various thicknesses, lengths and widths, and in high and low density.  High density foam provides great support and is used in areas that receive frequent or heavy use.  In most cases, low density padding provides sufficient support, since padding is mainly used on furniture parts that receive little wear and on items like drapery cornices, which receive no wear.

Foam Rubber:

Foam that is used on furniture for cushions and padding.  Foam rubber is older term for upholstery foam.  The original foam rubber was of lower quality than the synthetic foam which is available today.  Today's foam is more durable and supportive than the older foam was.  Foam for cushions and padding is available in several thicknesses, widths, and lengths and in high or low density.  High density foam provides the most support and is used for seat cushions and back cushions, since it is resilient to sagging.

Foam Rubber Pads:

Thin, flexible foam sheets used for upholstery purposes including cornice padding.  Foam rubber pads are used for nap mats, gym mats, and to pad the arms and fronts of furniture.  They are also called foam pads, foam padding,  and upholstery padding.  Foam pads are available in several widths, lengths, and thicknesses. Foam rubber is an older name for this product. The foam now available is far more durable and supportive than the original foam rubber.   It is also easier and cleaner to work with, since the older product tended to crumble easily.   


Material placed under another fabric to give additional brilliance or color.  Foil is used for novelty fabrics.


Woven twill fabric which has a small overall printed pattern against a solid backdrop.  Polyester, acetate, or silk are used alone or in combination to make this material. Foulard is frequently used for men’s ties and ties are sometimes referred to as foulards.

French Netting:

A large gauge mesh fabric with diamond-shaped meshes. It is used for birdcage hats and is more popularly called Russian netting. Birdcage hats take their name from the fact that the wearer looks like she is peering out of a birdcage. It is easy to turn a ready-made hat into a romantic veiled hat.  Netting looks great on styles from small pillbox hats to large-brim picture hats.  Some brides choose a veiled hat, rather than the traditional wedding veil.  French netting comes in several colors, including metallics, as well as in a dotted version which has chenille like dots scattered over it.  See also  “Russian netting”.


A yarn pile fabric made with a heavy-warp yarn.  The over-wire technique is used to make pile with closed loops.  Friezé is used for heavy coats.

Furniture Foam:

Synthetic foam used for cushions and padding on upholstered furniture.  Furniture foam is also known as upholstery foam, upholsterer's foam, and foam rubber.  It is available in both high density and low density.  High density foam provides excellent support; it does not sag when sat upon and quickly returns to its original shape when weight is removed.  High density foam is best for items that will receive high use; it is available in versions which are soft to the touch and comes in several thicknesses.  Low density foam is used for areas that will not receive much use.