Fabric Glossary


P. Kaufmann Fabric:

A top manufacturer of interior design fabrics.  P. Kaufmann was found in 1957 and is now an industry leader. Braemore fabrics is a division of Kaufmann and the company is also the license holder for the popular Waverly brand of fabrics.  P. Kaufmann fabric runs the gamut from floral cotton prints to luxurious toiles and ethnic looks to fashionable textured solid color upholstery and drapery fabrics. They come in an assortment of delight solid hues and color combinations.


A tear-drop design which sometimes incorporates floral motifs.  Traditional bandanas are done in classic red or blue paisley prints, but many modern designers, such as Amy Butler, have added their own twist to the motif.  The design is widely used for cotton prints. 


Refers to a fabric which has been pressure rolled or pressed so that the pile runs in one direction.  The panné process produces lustrous fabrics.

Panné Satin:

Highly lustrous satin of polyester or silk.  Panné satin is treated with heavy roller pressure to achieve the smooth sheen.  It is suitable for evening wear.

Panné Velvet:

A luxurious velvet fabric which has been treated so that its pile is flattened in only one direction, producing a sheen. Panné velvet has some stretch and makes beautiful dresses and tops.

Peau De Soie:

A matte-finished silk or polyester satin fabric. The name Peau de Soie comes. From the French for “skin of silk.”   This fabric drapes well and is used for evening wear and bridal wear.


A plain woven cotton fabric with a low to medium thread count.  Percale is used for blouses, dresses, and sheets.

Pillow Forms:

Cloth covered stuffed forms or foam forms to insert into pillow covers.  Pillow forms come in a variety of sizes and styles: round, square, rectangle, and bolster.  Stuffed pillow forms are available filled with polyester fiberfill or down.  Foam forms are ideal when a firmer pillow is desired. Decorative pillows add style to upholstered furniture and window seats. They can be made in a variety of fabrics to suit the décor.  Pillows are easy to make using ready-made forms.  

Pima Cotton:

A  cross between Uplands and Egyptian cotton, this plant produces longer, more lustrous fibers than many American cottons. Pima Cotton is used for sheets and for silk-like quilting fabrics.  


A woven medium-weight fabric with a pebble-like texture which is made of cotton or a cotton blend.  Piqué has long been a favorite for children's clothes and is also used for fitted blouse, jackets, and vests.


A lightweight cotton, rayon, or acetate woven fabric which has puckered texture.  The texture is created by applying a caustic soda blend which shrinks the fabric in the places it is applied to.  This classic fabric resembles seersucker.  Plissé is used to make shirts, dresses, bedspreads and pajamas.


Woven fabric which has deeper pile than velvet.  Plush is available in silk, cotton, wool, and synthetic fibers.  It generally comes in solid colors, but is occasionally printed.  It is used for upholstery and coats.


A rib-knit material with a lacey appearance. Pointelle may be made with 100% cotton or with a cotton/polyester blend.  Occasionally Lycra is added to give the fabric more stretch.


A synthetic fiber first introduced in the 1950s.   Polyester can be used alone or with other fibers to make cloth and is frequently blended with cotton.  It is very strong and resilient and resists abrasion.  This fiber dries quickly because it has low absorbency.

Polyester Batting:

Padding made from polyester fiber for use in quilts.  Quality polyester batting, such as Mountain Mist brand, is easy to work with and is recommended for beginning quilters because it is easy to glide the needle through and does not shift or bunch.  Batting comes in several lofts (thicknesses), ranging from low to high.  Crib quilts and old-fashioned quilts are made with low loft batting, while thick comforters are made with high loft batting.  Batting is available by the yard in widths to fit different size beds.  It is also available in pre-cut sizes ranging from crib size to king size.

Polyester Fiberfill:

Stuffing for pillows, toys, and other items which is made from polyester, a synthetic fiber. Polyester fiberfill is hypoallergenic and easy to use.  It is used to make projects as soft or as firm as desired.  Projects are stuffed by using a small amount of fiberfill at a time and inserting it into the smallest parts of the item, such as ears, first, before stuffing the body of the project.  Fiberfill is available in several different size packages.

Polyester Lining:

Any lining fabric made from polyester; it is generally lightweight.  Polyester lining comes in several styles, including Habutae, drapery lining, and polyester blend broadcloth.  Habutae is a very lightweight, silk-like fabric and is available in numerous colors; used as lining, this polyester fabric allows garments to slip on and off easily because of its smooth surface.  Polyester drapery lining helps to insulate drapes and give lighter weight drapery fabric more body for a smoother vertical line.  Broadcloth in a polyester blend is an excellent choice when a cooler lining is needed.

Polypropylene Sacks:

Bags made from the synthetic material, polypropylene.  Polypropylene sacks come in several sizes and are also available in a mesh version.  They are used to store many types of products; the mesh version can be used to store produce, because its open design allows air flow to the contents inside.  The solid weave polypropylene bags can be used to make waterproof sand bags.  Some sizes of polypropylene sacks have a drawstring or tie string, while others do not. 

Polypropylene Sand Bags:

A sack made of synthetic, plastic-like polypropylene and used as a sand bag.  Polypropylene sand bags come in several sizes; some sizes have a drawstring or tie, while others do not.  They make excellent sand bags because they are tough and waterproof. Sand bags are used as barriers against water in the case of floods and they have other applications as well.  These bags can be used to weigh down signs and other lightweight items so that they won't tip over or be blown away.

Polyurethane Foam:

Foam used to make cushions for chairs, benches, and sofas, as well as pillows.  Polyurethane foam is made in several thicknesses, lengths, and widths.  It is also known as upholstery foam and comes in both high and low densities. The high density versions provide the most support for seat cushions and other areas that will receive a lot of use.  The low density foam is appropriate for parts of furniture (such as the front board) that do not receive a lot of use.  Special polyurethane outdoor foam is porous and allows water to drain and evaporate quickly.


A plain weave material which incorporates a rib variation.  It has a slight ridge effect running in one direct.  Poplin is widely used for casual clothing, especially pants, slacks, and shorts.  See also "trigger fabric".

Potato Sack Races:

Games in which participants place their legs inside of a potato sack (burlap bag) and hop to the finish line while wearing the bag.  The bag is held in place with the hands and the first person to make it to the finish line wins.  Potato sack races are fun events for family reunions, company picnics, and school field days.  The sacks used for the race are economical and re-useable.  While polypropylene sacks are also used for potatoes they are not a good choice for races; burlap sacks are the best choice for sack races.   Potato sacks are called by a variety of names, including gunny sacks, feed sacks, and burlap sacks.  See also “burlap bags” “feed sacks” and “coffee bags.” 

Pul Fabric:

A polyester cotton blend fabric which is treated with a breathable polyurethane coating to make it waterproof, and bacterial resistant.   It is a soft, medium weight fabric with a flannel-like surface which is available in several solid colors. Pul fabric is excellent for waterproof sheets and pads for bedridden patients and for infants.   The polyurethane coating adds body to the fabric while allowing for air circulation, so the material is suitable when body and comfort are needed for a project. This versatile fabric is ideal for lining sleeping bags and athletic wear.

Pvc Fabric:

Fabric made from vinyl, a synthetic fiber.  PVC fabric is waterproof and comes in several different weights.  Thinner vinyl fabric  is often called “oilcloth” and usually has a flannel or cotton/polyester backing; this type of material is available in a wide range of prints and solids, and is used for tablecloths.  Upholstery vinyl is heavier than tablecloth vinyl.  It generally has a cotton/polyester backing and comes in many designs which imitate leather.  Marine vinyl is used for boat seats; it is designed to withstand the elements.