Fabric Glossary



A woven cotton material with a checked, striped, or plaid pattern.  It generally comes from India and tends to fade when washed.  Madras is used for dresses and shirts.


Raw silk which is dyed with the gum.  The term Marabou can also refer to a garment made from this silk or to the down of a large species of African stork.

Marine Foam:

Synthetic upholstery foam designed for use on boats and other areas subject to high moisture.  Marine foam is porous so that liquid easily drains from it and any remaining dampness evaporates quickly.  Eva Dri and Ez Dri foam are designed with all outdoor applications, including boating, in mind.  Both brands dry at top speed, helping to prevent mildew and mold growth.   Eva Dri is also mold and mildew resistant because a fungicidal agent has been added to it.  Marine foam is available in several widths, thicknesses, and lengths.

Marine Upholstery:

Upholstery fabric especially designed to be waterproof and resistant to the elements. Marine upholstery is used on boats and ships.  It is UV stable, mildew resistant and can withstand cold temperatures with a -10º cold crack limit.  Upholstery fabric designed for boats is available in several fibers: vinyl, cotton, polyester,  olefin, and fiber blends. When used with marine foam, these special fabrics provide easy to maintain, long-lasting seating for vessels of all sizes.  The combination of marine foam and upholstery is also great for patio furniture.

Marine Upholstery Foam:

Upholstery cushion material especially manufactured for use in areas subject to high moisture, such as ships and boats.   This material has large holes for drainage and fast evaporation.  Marine upholstery foam resists damage by sun and sea spray as well. Two brands of synthetic foam are designed for boating and other outdoor uses: Eva Dri and Ez Dri foam. These brands dry rapidly to prevent mold and mildew growth.   Eva Dri also has an added fungicidal agent. Marine upholstery foam is available in several thicknesses, widths and lengths.

Marine Vinyl:

Vinyl especially designed to withstand the rigors of boating and other outdoor uses.  Marine vinyl resists mold and mildew, damage by the sun and by cold temperatures. In addition it is highly resistant to abrasion and tears and may be washed with soap and water.   Allante, Seaquest, Nassimi, and Robert Allen fabrics make this sturdy fabric in a large variety of attractive colors and designs, such as Robert Allen Mikimoto Marine Fabric and Robert Allen Tiny Pebbles Marine Fabric.  Used with marine foam, this durable vinyl makes attractive cushions that can be used for years.


A double cloth luxury fabric with a quilted or blistered surface.  Matelassé is comes in medium and heavy weights.  It is used for draperies, upholstery and evening wear.

Mattress Ticking Fabrics:

Sturdy woven cotton fabrics with a distinctive stripe pattern.  This type of fabric was originally  designed so that straw or down stuffing would not come through the mattress. Classic mattress ticking features blue stripes on a white background; this durable fabric is widely used for pillow covers and laundry bags, but today's ticking is no longer limited to such mundane uses.  Modern mattress ticking fabrics from manufacturers such as Waverly, Covington, Beacon Hill,  and Robert Allen come in a variety of attractive color combinations. Ticking can be used for furniture cushions and some ticking is designed for outdoor use.


A woven wool or wool blend cloth which is dense and heavy.  Melton is used primarily for coats.


Wool from the Merino breed of sheep.   New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, and Uruguay are the leading producers of Merino wool.  Italy is known for high-quality Merino wool as well.


Any open work fabric. Mesh is also called net or netting.  It can be knitted or woven.  Laces and some crocheted fabrics are considered mesh.  Tulle and netting are popular mesh fabrics.

Mesh Firewood Bags:

Strong, sturdy polypropylene bags in various sizes, used to store firewood and produce, such as potatoes and onions.   Mesh firewood bags have a drawstring and come in different colors such as purple and red. They are available in up to a nearly 32 inch long size.   The mesh construction of these bags allows air to flow around the items stored inside. Mesh firewood bags are also known as leno bags. See also “Leno bags”  “Mesh onion sacks” “Mesh potato bags” and “Mesh produce sacks.

Mesh Onion Sacks:

Sturdy, durable polypropylene bags, also known as leno bags, which are used to store onions, potatoes, oranges, and other produce.  Mesh onion sacks have drawstrings and come in various sizes, up to a nearly 32” long size.   They are available in different colors including red and purple.  The bag's mesh construction allows air flow to the contents stored inside and the drawstring allows easy closing and access.    See also “Leno bags” “Mesh potato bags” and “Mesh produce sacks.

Mesh Potato Bags:

Durable, bags made of strong polypropylene mesh which are used to transport potatoes, onions, oranges, and other produce.  Mesh potato bags are sometimes called leno bags and come in sizes up to approximately 32 inches long.  They are available in different colors including red and purple.  The mesh construction allows air to circulate around the contents of the bag. These bags can be used to store other items in addition to produce. See also “Leno bags”  “Mesh onion sacks” and “Mesh produce sacks.

Mesh Produce Sacks:

Polypropylene bags used to store various types of produce such as potatoes, onions, and oranges.  These strong sturdy bags have a mesh construction which allows good air flow to the contents inside. Mesh produce sacks have a drawstring for easy closure and access.  They come in various colors, such as  red and purple and are available in sizes up to approximately 32 inches long.  They can be used to store a variety of items including firewood.  See also “Leno bags”  “Mesh onion sacks” and “Mesh potato bags.”


Very fine synthetic fiber used to produce soft cloth. It allows excellent air flow and is very resilient.   The fiber can be blended with other fibers to produce washable, water repellant fabric. Microfiber fabric is used for towels and polishing cloths.

Millcreek Fabrics:

Interior design fabrics produced by the Swavelle/ Mill Creek Fabric company (the former Associated Textiles). The company was founded in 1982.   Mill Creek fabrics are the finest quality upholstery and drapery fabrics.  Many of their designs are inspired by earthtones; some of their fine fabrics feature burgundies, ochres, chocolates, gold and copper.  They feature lighter florals as well in blue, aqua, yellow, and other hues.  These fine fabrics come in many textures and fibers, such as cotton, viscose, and polyester.


The hair or wool of the Angora goat.  Mohair fabric is a warm, durable product used for scarves, jackets, coats and suits.


A corded material with a water-mark wavy pattern.  Moiré is made from silk or synthetic fiber.  It is used for drapery and evening wear.


A sueded fabric which has a satin-like reverse side.  Moleskin is generally made of cotton to which 2-4% of spandex has been added.  It is wrinkle resistant and is ideal for jackets, heavy shirts, and pants.

Monks Cloth:

A loosely woven, basketweave cotton fabric.  It commonly comes in a 7 thread count variety. Monks cloth is used for cross stitch, embroidery, and Swedish weaving.  It is popular for light baby blankets, shawls, afghans, pillows, and wall hangings. Once available only in white or ivory, this versatile fabric is now available in several colors.  It can shrink up to 15% and must be pre-shrunk before use.  It is prone to raveling and should also be edge-finished before use. 


A versatile light or medium cotton plain weave cloth, available in natural and bleached varieties. Muslin has been popular for centuries. It is available in different weights and thread counts. The higher thread counts are heavier. This practical fabric is used for crafts, sheets, stage backdrops and curtains. It can make rustic looking stuffed animals and dolls and casual totes and re-useable grocery bags.   It is widely used to make slopers—practice fitting garments used to adjust pattern to the exact size needed by the wearer.  Higher thread count muslin is also used for sheets.