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
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.
Buffalo check is a large-scale check, most characteristically in black and red. Originally this check was woven of heavy wool in a right-hand twill and napped. The original use of the fabric was for blankets, then heavy lumberman jackets. Now the term buffalo check is used for any fabric with this outsized check pattern.
A sturdy, resilient fabric named for its use in making riding pants for cavalry uniforms. Cavalry twill can be recognized by its pronounced double twill line. It is woven in a steep right hand twill. The best is made of wool or worsted, but cavalry twill can be made of blends including cotton, rayon and manufactured fibers.
Uses: Riding and ski pants, uniforms, sportswear, slacks, coats, suits
The name challis comes from the Anglo-Indian word “shalee,” meaning soft. Challis is indeed a very soft fabric, particularly fine in wool. It may be made of wool, rayon, cotton or manufactured fiber blends, and was originally made (1832) in Norwich, England, of silk and worsted. Characteristically in a light and open plain weave, although twill challis may be found. Challis is one of the few printed wools with the most common prints being floral or paisley on a dark ground. Also spelled challi, challie, challys, shallie.
Uses: Dresses, skirts, robes, pajamas, scarves and shawls
Originally made from the coarse, thick wool of cheviot sheep (named for the Cheviot Hills on the Scottish-English border), cheviot can now be made of other wool, wool blends, and manufactured fibers. The fabric is heavy, fulled and rough, with a hairy nap. It can be made in various weaves including twill and herringbone.
Uses: Coats, jackets, suits
From the French couvrir (to cover), also from the hunting term covert (a thicket that is a cover for game), covert cloth is true to its name—rugged and protective. It is woven in a twill weave and is usually of two colors for a marled effect. Originally always wool, worsted, or a wool/silk blend, covert can be made from manufactured fiber alone or in a blend with wool, sometimes also cotton.
Uses: Coats, suits, riding clothes
A group of distinctly patterned fabrics of Scottish origin, originally designed for the livery of large estates in the second half of the 19th century. The patterns are of small checks and groups of checks, woven in a right-hand twill weave and mostly of one color with an undyed light color. Some have up to three dyed colors. Historically made of wool, now the patterns can be found in any fiber.
Doeskin is a medium-weight wool fabric with a short, soft nap and a tightly woven structure. It is similar to duvetyn, but lighter; usually softer and less densely napped than melton; softer and with a shorter nap than fleece. Despite doeskin’s softness it is hardwearing due to its compact weave.
Rayon doeskin is a twilled fabric with one side napped, and there is also a heavy twilled cotton doeskin with one napped side. All three of these fabrics have in common their soft hand, reminiscent of deer skin.
Uses: Coats, riding habits and trousers for the wool; sportswear and suits for the rayon; sport coats and backing on faux leather fabrics for the cotton
A coarse wool fabric traditionally handwoven in Donegal County, Ireland, the name Donegal tweed is now applied to any fabric that has the same look. Usually in a plain weave, but sometimes a twill, the most common colors are black and white woven to make a heathered earth tone, flecked with colorful slubs.
Uses: Irish walking hats, driving caps, golf knickers, slacks, jackets and skirts, heavier weights for coats
A group of weft knits made with two sets of needles and two sets of yarns, creating two fabrics that are knit together into a single fabric. Double knits may be of various weights, textures and styles, although they are all more stable than single knits. They may be made of any yarn.
Uses: Suits, slacks, skirts, sportswear
The name duvetyn comes from the French word duvet, meaning down. Wool or wool-blend commonly, the finish is napped, sheared and fulled. This creates a downy nap which covers its weave which is usually right-hand twill. It is softer and more lustrous, though its nap isn’t quite as long as that of fleece.
Cotton duvetyn is usually called suede cloth.
Uses: Coats, uniforms, suits; the heavier blanket cloth for blankets and Hudson’s Bay “point” blanket coats
Nonwoven felt is a fabric made in a process that involves fibers of wool or fur being subjected to moisture, heat, friction and pressure. The minute natural scales on the fibers cause them to tangle and mat while the heat and moisture shrink and thicken the fibers to form a dense fabric. Felting is the name of this process. Wool felt is probably the oldest fabric known to man, referenced in ancient writings and found in Bronze Age tombs.
Fine felts may use rabbit fur fibers, while the finest use beaver fur fibers. These fine felts are known for their use in hat making.
The fabric called felt which is currently widely available for crafting is actually an imitation; usually made of acrylic fibers and adhesives, no natural fibers are present. Other felts available are made of part wool. Half of the fibers must be natural for the fabric to felt.
Uses: Hats, bags, slippers, padding, crafts, and a wide range of household and industrial applications
A warm fabric with a soft, close nap, flannel may be in a plain or twill weave. It is brushed to create the nap, and this may be on one or both sides. If woolen, it can be in a plain or twill weave, while worsted flannels are right-hand twills, finer and appreciably more substantial.
Flannel was originally always wool (the name is derived from the Welsh word for flannel, gwlânen, which is derived from gwlân, “wool”). It is now found in wool blends, often with cotton.
Uses: Jackets, suits (men’s particularly of worsted flannel), dresses, shirts, skirts