A knit fabric with vertical ridges on both faces made by alternating two wales drawn to the face and two wales drawn to the back of the knit, a process further described under rib knits.
A knit fabric with vertical ridges (ribs) alternating on the face and reverse. 1 × 1 alternating with 2 × 2 is known as accordion rib, further described under rib knits.
Lustrous and relatively crisp fabric of 35% silk and 65% wool, with the silk in the warp and the wool in the weft. The name Alaskine was trademarked in 1960, although used commercially starting in 1956. The trademark was cancelled in 2001. The elegant fabric was especially popular in the 1960s.
Uses: Suits, formal wear, dresses
Assuit is a netting fabric embroidered with metal. The embroidery is done by threading wide needles with flat strips of metal about 1/8” wide. The metal may be nickel silver, copper or brass, and it is threaded through the holes in the net, folded over, cut and flattened, making little packets of metal. When finished, the metal packets are further flattened by rolling and/or hammering over the fabric. The netting is made of cotton or linen. The fabric is also called tulle-bi-telli, an Arabic term meaning “net with metal.”
The patterns formed by this metal embroidery include geometric figures as well as plants, birds, people and camels.
Assuit has been made in the Asyut region (where it gets its name) of Upper Egypt since the late 19th century, although the concept of metal embroidery dates back to ancient Egypt, as well as other areas of the Middle East, Asia, India and Europe. A very sheer fabric is shown in Ancient Egyptian tomb paintings and the metallic embroidery is referenced in Exodus 39: “and they did beat the gold into thin plates and cut it into wires, to work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the scarlet, and in the very fine linen, with cunning work.”
With the invention of the bobbinet machine, the netting fabric could be machine made, and during the French Protectorate this machine was introduced to the Asyut region (a textile center) by the French. The fabric was first imported to the U.S. for the 1893 Chicago Exposition, and again became popular with the fascination surrounding the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922. The geometric motifs were well suited to the Art Deco style of the time. Assuit is generally black, white or ecru. It is found most often in the form of a shawl, but also seen in small squares, large pieces used as bed canopies and even traditional Egyptian dresses. Assuit shawls were made into garments by purchasers, particularly during the 1920s.
The fabric’s name is seen in many alternate spellings including asyut, assyut, asyute, asuit, assuite and azute.
Astrakhan fabric is made to look like karakul (astrakhan, Persian) lamb fleece—with heavy, curly pile. The pile may be looped or cut. Any fiber may be used; lustrous wool is common.
Uses: Coats, hats
See also: Lamb-Sheep in the VFG Fur Resource
A jersey knit named for the town in Ireland where it was first made, balbriggan may be cotton, wool or a blend. It often has a soft, napped reverse. Balbriggan—or just bal—is also the name given to underwear made of it.
Uses: Underwear, including long underwear
Although we now associate bandanna with a handkerchief of red or navy with a black and white pattern, a much older resist-dyed fabric from India is the progenitor of the mass-produced modern version. The name comes from the Hindi word bandhana meaning “to tie”—as in the preparation for dying the fabric. Tying small areas of a cotton cloth and then dying the fabric creates a tie-dye pattern of white spots in a darker ground.
Bandanna discharge prints are also mentioned in some sources.
Uses: Handkerchiefs, scarves (Note that bandanna is both a fabric type and the scarf to which it gives its name.)
Once a name with a registered trademark, barathea is a silk or silky manufactured fiber fabric with a broken rib weave.
Note that wool barathea is unrelated.
Uses: Ties, cravats, dresses
A soft worsted suit fabric with a twill weave, barathea features a basket weave element: Two weft yarns cross each warp yarn. It can be called a basket twill or a hopsack twill. It is usually dyed black or deep blue.
Note that silk barathea is unrelated.
Uses: Coats, suits
A textile made by soaking and pounding the fibrous inner bark of trees, most often the paper mulberry. The fabric is nonwoven and paper-like, although it can be made thick and tough, as well as fine and delicate. The cloth takes dyes well and is often decorated with geometric patterns. A type of barkcloth, Tapa (called Kapa in Hawaii) is traditionally made by Pacific Islanders who make it to this day. Other types of barkcloth are indigenous to tropical cultures throughout the world.
Uses: Clothing, decorative items
A fabric with a crepe-like texture, woven barkcloth is actually a granite or momie weave textile, as compared to non-woven traditional barkcloth. The term barkcloth as applied to this type of fabric appears to date from the 1920s, and it is most associated with interior decorating in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. The fiber is cotton and the weight substantial. The texture is characteristic of the fabric—as are the decorative, bold patterns and colors—which truly evoke Mid-century home decor.
Uses: Interior decorating, decorative items
An ancient form of resist printing from Indonesia in which wax is used in patterns where dye is not desired. The wax resist is then removed and the process may continue, creating rich multicolored patterns—most often in blues, browns and oranges. Characteristic of batik are tiny lines where the wax has cracked and the dye has seeped into the resist pattern. This is not considered a flaw, rather part of the fabric’s distinct beauty. Originally almost always made of cotton, batiks today are usually cotton can be made of silk or blends.
Imitation batik is machine printed to resemble true batik.
Uses: Apparel, household decor
Named for Jean Baptiste, a French weaver of the 13th century who wove fine linen cloth, batiste is now most commonly made of cotton or a cotton/polyester blend, The fabric is light and sheer, with lengthwise streaks. It is a balanced plain weave. When cotton is used, the soft, limp fabric is often mercerized to bolster its luster and strength. The fabric is often white, pale solids or delicate prints.
There are also wool, silk and rayon batistes.
Uses: Blouses, shirts, nightwear, infant clothing, lingerie, handkerchiefs and dresses
In the piqué family but of heavier weight, bedford cord features vertical cords usually padded with stuffer yarns. It may be made of cotton or cotton blends—sometimes wool—or with a wool face and a cotton back. It is asserted that the fabric comes from New Bedford, Massachusetts (it had a thriving late 19th to early 20th century textile industry), hence its name.
Uses: Riding habits, uniforms, slacks, suits, coats
A plain weave fabric made with thicker (or grouped) weft yarns and fine and more numerous warp yarns. The result is a very noticeable horizontal rib with a silky surface. The weft is often cotton while the filament warp is silk or a manufactured fiber. The name is from Bengal, India.
Uses: Dresses, coats, suits
One of the piqué fabrics, made in cotton or cotton blends and with a small, distinct raised pattern on its face. Birdseye piqué’s pattern is a tiny diamond shape, reminiscent of a bird’s eye. A similar but somewhat larger oval pattern is called bullseye piqué.
Also written bird’s-eye piqué, bird’s eye piqué.
Uses: Dresses, blouses, sportswear, children’s clothing
Before the invention of the bobbinet machine, netting was made by hand with bobbins. The bobbinet machine was invented by the Englishman John Heathcoat in 1806. He first called the fabric he produced “bobbin net.”
Bobbinet is a hexagonal-mesh netting fabric, originally of silk, then also of cotton, rayon and (especially) nylon.
Uses: Veils, trims, lace grounds, dresses, bridal wear
Characterized by loops on one or both sides, bouclé comes from the French word for “buckled,” “ringed” or “curled.” Some versions of the fabric combine looped sections with plain; others are looped all over. Most commonly wool—with mohair a fine choice for this treatment—bouclé may also be acrylic or other fibers. It may be woven or knitted.
Uses: Coats, suits, sweaters
Bouclette is the diminutive of bouclé (French for “buckled,” “ringed,” or “curled”) and features very small loops over the surface of the fabric. As with bouclé, it is usually made of wool, and its uses are similar.