Fabric Glossary


Habotai Fabric:

A woven material with a subtle sheen which is  often called “China Silk.”   This smooth textured fabric was once  only made of silk .  Today Habotai fabric is available in polyester, making it more affordable.  The polyester version comes in numerous colors. It is soft and very lightweight and is popular for linings.  It drapes beautifully and is also suitable for lightweight blouses.  Use a straight stitch plate, a size 9 or 11 needle and a quality all purpose thread when sewing this fabric.        

Habutae Fabric:

Another spelling for Habotai fabric, this plain weave cloth has a subtle sheen.  Habutae is now available in 100% polyester, making it practical and affordable. It was once made exclusively of silk.   This lightweight, nearly sheer material is popular for linings and lingerie and is also called China Silk, but it is not the true China Silk.  It can be used for the lightest weight blouses.  It drapes with ease and is soft to the touch.   Use a fine sewing machine needle and the straight stitch plate when sewing this delicate material.


The softness and feel of a fabric.   The hand can be crisp or soft or somewhere in between.  There is no standard of measurement for the “hand” of a fabric; it is a subjective feeling, rather than a measurement. 

Hat Netting:

One of several types of mesh or netting used for hats.  Russian netting, standard netting, and tulle are popular millinery nettings. Russian netting, which is sometimes called French netting, comes in many colors and is also available with dots. Hat netting adds style and glamour to headwear. It can be added to any ready-made hat and looks great on both pillbox styles and wide-brimmed styles.   It can be used to make veils as well. Some brides choose a veiled hat rather than the traditional bridal veil.

Headliner Fabric:

Foam-backed fabric used to make headlining (ceiling lining) in vehicles.  Headliner fabric is available in several neutral colors and in various fibers. The foam-backing adds some soundproofing, but it is lightweight and thin, usually about ⅛” thick.   It can be stretched smoothly on a vehicle ceiling. It stays securely in place when properly installed. Do-it-yourselfers can install headliner fabric successfully. See also “car headliner material.”


Yarn spun with pre-dyed fibers of different colors.  When blended these colors produce a specific look.  White and black blended together will make a grey yarn with a heathered look.  Fabric made with heathered yarns is also described as heather.


A natural environmentally friendly fiber which comes from the cannabis sativa L. plant.  Hemp is woven into a linen-like fabric which can be used for garments.  With use this linen-like material gets softer and more attractive.  Hemp fabric is far stronger and stretch resistant than cotton.  It retains its shape for many years and it is naturally resistant to mold and ultraviolet light.  Hemp is easy to sew and to care for.  It is available in several colors.


A woven twill fabric with a zig-zag design.  Herringbone is generally made of wool or wool blends.  It is used for jackets, coats, and suits.

High Density Foam:

Upholstery foam which is especially made to provide excellent seating support; it has more polymers per square inch than low density foam.   Support means that the foam does not sag when sat upon and that it returns to its original height once weight is removed.  High density foam is also called firm foam; however, most of this type of foam is actually soft to the touch, while providing optimal support.  This product is available in several lengths, thicknesses, and widths.  It is ideal for seat and back cushions.


A coarse woven fabric which gives the appearance of being hand-woven.  Homespun is suitable for some historical costumes and re-enactors outfits.

Hound's-Tooth Check:

A twill weave variation.  A checkered effect is created by using two or more colors of yarn.  Hound’s-tooth check is generally made of wool or wool blends. It is suitable for coats, jackets, and suits.

Huck Toweling Fabric:

A cotton fabric with a distinctive weave on the front and a smoother surface on the wrong side. Huck toweling is highly absorbent and is used for kitchen towels.  Its unique surface is perfect for machine and hand embroidery.  Cross stitch designs work well on it.  This toweling fabric is sold in a 15” wide, the ideal width for a dish towel.  A yard of huck fabric makes a large kitchen towel or two smaller ones. Simply hem the raw edges to transform the fabric into a towel.