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How To Identify Fabrics

how to identify fabrics

Each step of the selling process of each garment requires in depth research and how to's in the vintage clothing fashion industry. One of the challenges is the identification of fabric. The following pages are shared with you, from the Better Homes and Garden Sewing Book. I hope you find this fabric dictionary useful in your buying, selling, collecting vintage clothing and textiles.

Fabric Dictionary

1&2. Gabardine
(1) Cotton gabardine, and (2) wool gabardine. Gabardine is a tightly woven twill material. The cotton is much coarser twill than the wool. This material is usually finished with a high sheen. It is made in many different fibers and blends.

3. Wool Crepe
This is a lightweight fabric made of many fibers. It has a crinkled surface obtained either by use of (1) weave, (2) embossing, (3) hard-twist yarns, or (4) chemical treatment.

4. Chinchilla
Chinchilla is a heavy, twill weave coating. It has a napped surface that is rolled into little tufts or nubs.

5. Fleece
This is the name of a fabric that has a deep fleece-like, napped surface. It may be a pile fabric, or the fleece effect may be obtained by a napping surface.

6. Flannel
Flannel is a fabric of medium weight, in plain or twill weaves, that has a slightly napped surface.

7. Boucle
A fabric woven or knitted with looped or knotted surface. It usually has a spongy effect and feel.

8. Duvetyn Type Coating
Duvetyn is twill weave fabric with a fine, velvety, napped surface that is raised to hide the weave.

9. Wool Ottoman
The rib of ottoman is widely spaced and in a contrasting color.

10. Zibeline
Wool fabric made in coating and suiting weights. The nap is long and lustrous, running in one direction. Often camel’s hair or mohair shows in the nap of zibeline.

11. Wool Broadcloth
This is a very different fabric from cotton or silk broadcloth. It has a glossy finish with a nap running in one direction. It can be made either of wool or worsted.

12. Cashmere
This fabric is made from the extremely soft hair of the Kashmir goat from India. Similar goats are now raised in this country. Cashmere is most often used in combination with sheep’s wool.

Learn about more fabrics.

All pictures and fabric information is from Better Homes & Garden Sewing Book.


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