Fabric Glossary



A stem (bast) fiber taken from the stalk of an Asian herb (Boehmeria nivea).  Ramie is much stronger than cotton, and is very absorbent and quick drying.  The fabric looks and feels similar to linen.

Raschel Knit:

A machine, warp knit fabric which looks similar to hand crocheted fabrics, nettings, and laces. Raschel knit is made with columns of stitches and inlaid connecting yarns.


Any fiber made by extruding regenerated cellulose through tiny holes.  Rayon generally has a soft hand and is suitable for dresses, skirts, blouses, and shirts.  It must be dry-cleaned.

Reupholstery Webbing:

Strapping used to replace the seats or seat supports of furniture.  Webbing is a strong, tear-resistant strapping used for woven seats and backs of furniture.  It was commonly used in older upholstered furniture to support the seat cushion and may need replacing when the piece is reupholstered. Webbing should be replaced with a fabric of similar strength and width.   Reupholstery webbing is available in jute, polypropylene, nylon, and cotton.  Jute, a natural fiber, is the traditional choice for furniture webbing and is extremely durable.

Rib Knit:

A basic machine knit made with two sets of needles. Rib knit is very elastic on the diagonal.  It is used for neck bands, sleeve bands, waistbands, and trims for knits, as well as for complete garments.

Rip-Stop Fabric:

A tear-resistant, wind resistant plain weave nylon fabric. It is often treated with urethane for waterproofing and it is available in different weights suitable for different applications.  Sportswear, like vests and jackets can be made with 70 denier weight rip-stop fabric.  A heavier 1000 denier weight is used for projects such as tents, parachutes, and sleeping bags that require a sturdier fabric. The 1000 denier rip-stop nylon is similar to Cordura.   The lighter weight versions of this fabric are fairly easy to sew.  All weights of this nylon are  available in many attractive solid colors.  Also see “Cordura fabric” and “Rip-stop nylon.”

Rip-Stop Nylon:

A wind-resistant strong, waterproof nylon material; it is sometimes coated with urethane.  Rip-stop nylon is made in different weights suitable to various uses.  The 70 denier weight is appropriate for sports garments, like jackets and vests.  The heavy 1000 denier weight is used for parachutes, sleeping bags, and tents; the 1000 denier weight resembles Cordura.   This nylon fabric is available in many solid colors and in camouflage. It is also appropriate for banners and flags which will be used outdoors.  Also see “Cordura fabric.”

Rit Dye:

A brand of fabric dye which has been around for over a century.  Rit Dye comes in both powder and liquid form and in a huge range of colors.  It is often used by theater wardrobe managers to dye costumes and fabric props to match.  This versatile dye is ideal for dye tying and for dying satin shoes.  It can renew older fabrics with a deeper color or a new color.  Rit Dye can be used in the sink, bucket or washing machine following the instruction on the package.  Wool, silk, ramie, linen, cotton, nylon, rayon and acetate fabrics dye well.

Robert Allen Fabrics:

A top provider of high quality interior design fabrics to interior design professionals; this manufacturer offers these same quality fabrics to individual do-it-yourselfers.  Robert Allen fabrics offer something for everyone.  For those looking for the unusual, the Beacon Hill fabric collection offers hand embroidered silk, fine suede and leather, as well velvet and chenille drapery and upholstery fabrics.  The Robert Allen @ Home collection offers more affordable home fashion fabrics in styles suited to every taste.  Individual consumers also like the Robert Allen Contract line with its easy to clear, durable fabrics for the restaurant and hotel industry; these fabrics are ideal for residential use as well, especially for areas that receive high use.

Robert Allen Home Fabric:

An affordable line of stylish home décor fabrics from one the leading suppliers of the interior design industry.   Robert Allen Home Fabric, which also goes by the name Robert Allen @ Home, offers fabric for every taste, from formal to whimsical.  For children's rooms there are charming animal prints, sports prints and more.  For a casual recreation area there are Western prints, sports prints, nautical prints and more.  For formal living rooms and dining rooms there are delightful florals, elegant stripes, unique patterns, textured fabrics and more.  In addition, the collection offers a wide selection of trims and braids.

Robert Allen Textiles:

One of the interior design fabric industry's leaders, which has been in business over half a century.   Robert Allen Textiles are a favorite with professional interior designers.  They offer a wide range of fabrics for both professional and do-it-yourself interior designers.  The Robert Allen@ Home collection offers affordable upholstery and window treatment fabric in styles ranging from serious to playful.  The exclusive Beacon Hill collection features suede, leather, velvet, chenille, and hand embroidered silk, while the Robert Allen Contract line offers durable fabrics for the hospitality industry, which are stylish enough for home use.

Roc-Lon Muslin:

A brand of high quality 100% cotton muslin. Founded in 1832, Rockland fabrics today uses the Roc-lon brand name for a variety of muslin fabrics.  Roc-lon muslin is smooth with a higher thread count than most muslin.  It is easy to sew and durable.  This quality fabric is used for quilt backs, sheets, slopers, and crafts. It is convenient to use for quilt backs because the bleached variety  is available in a 120” width.  This wide muslin is also great for stage backdrops.  The 45” inch bleached and unbleached varieties of muslin can be used for numerous crafts and for fitting slopers.

Rubber Flannel:

Fabric with a waterproof, rubber core which is covered by cotton  flannel on both sides.  Rubber flannel is used when comfort, and liquid absorption is needed.  It is ideal for bedding for invalids, the ill, and small children.  It is a practical fabric for dog and cat beds. This versatile fabric is available in 100% white cotton over a rubber interior. It is also known as rubberized flannel. 

Rubber-Backed Fabrics:

Fabrics which have a rubber backing for insulation or waterproofing.  The surface is generally a cotton or cotton blend material. Rubber-backed fabrics serve many purposes.  Hanes Thermafoam Drapery lining is a rubber-backed fabric which  provides insulation for draperies.  Rubber flannel is a two-sided flannel fabric with a rubber core; it is used for bedding for the bedridden and small children. Headlining fabric is a foam rubber backed material used for the headlining (ceiling) of vehicles.   

Russian Netting:

Nylon netting with diamond shape meshes. Russian netting is used for hat veils on hats ranging from pillboxes to wide-brim picture hats.  It is also called birdcage netting and French netting. The hats it is used on are sometimes called birdcage hats, because the wearer appears to be peering out of a birdcage.  This versatile netting is available in numerous lovely plain colors and with chenille-like dots, as well as in metallic colors.  It is easy to attach to ready-made hats for a stylish new look and is widely used for period costume hats, especially from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

Russian Tulle:

A netting with diamond meshes. It is more commonly called Russian netting or French netting.  It  is made of nylon and is used for veiled hats.  Veils add an air of glamour and mystique to ordinary hats; they can be used on large picture hats and small pillbox hats.  Russian tulle comes in wide range of colors and is also available in a dotted version and in metallic colors.  It makes stunning bridal hats and can also be used for bridal veils.

Russian Veil:

Netting with diamond openings; it is also called Russian netting or French netting.  Russian veil is used to add mystique and romance to hats of all sorts.  It makes great bridal hats and wedding veils. It's available in numerous colors including metallic and in a dotted version.   Hats made with this netting are also called birdcage hats, because the wearer looks like she is looking out of a birdcage.  Netting is easy to attach to ready-made hats.

Russian Veiling:

A large gauge nylon mesh with diamond-shape opening.  Russian veiling is also called Russian netting, Russian veil, Russian tulle and French netting.  It is used for veils on all types of women's hats and is sometimes called birdcage veiling because the wearer looks like she is looking out from a birdcage.  This elegant veiling comes in numerous colors, including metallics and it is also available in a dotted version.  It is easy to make stylish veiled hats by attaching the netting to ready-made hats.


Absorbent, durable cotton cloth used for cleaning and polishing.  The soft 100% cotton cloth is made with purified fibers that leave no residue behind. It has a wrinkled texture which traps dirt and dust particles, but it will not scratch delicate surfaces. It is ideal for polishing furniture and silver and for dusting electronics.   Rymplecloth is biodegradable and reusable.