fabric dictionary fi

Fabric Dictionary (with pictures)

When designing clothes, the fabric you choose can make or break your creation. 

But with countless options available, choosing the perfect one can feel overwhelming. 

That’s why I created this Fabric Dictionary – your go-to resource for the most used fabrics and terminology in the fashion industry. And of course, I made sure to include pictures to make it easier for you to imagine materials! 

Whether you’re a seasoned designer or a budding freelance fashion designer, this curated list will help you familiarize different fabric choices and simplify your design process.

Let’s dive in!

Why am I qualified to write about this stuff? In my 15 years of experience in the fashion industry, I’ve journeyed from being an in-house designer, starting my own brand (yep!), to growing my freelance career to $100,000+. Now, with all the knowledge I’ve learned along the way, I want to help fashion designers (and PDs, TDs, etc.) like you make it in the industry.



Alcantara: A synthetic suede-like fabric made from a blend of polyester and polyurethane. Soft, durable, and versatile, often used in luxury car interiors and accessories.


Batik: Fabric with colorful designs created through a wax-resist dyeing technique, often used in garments and crafts.

Batiste: Lightweight, soft cotton fabric with a plain weave. Often used for summer clothing and lingerie.

Bouclé: Textured fabric with looped or curled yarns, providing a unique and luxurious texture, commonly used in coats and furniture.

Broadcloth: Fine, tightly woven cotton or cotton blend fabric with a smooth finish. Suitable for dress shirts and blouses.

Brocade: Richly decorative fabric with raised patterns, often made from silk. Commonly used for evening wear and upholstery.

Burlap: Coarse, plain-woven fabric made from jute or hemp fibers. Known for its natural texture, used in sacks, bags, and rustic decor items.


Calico: Plain-woven cotton fabric, typically unbleached or dyed. Used for muslin, aprons, and quilting.

Cambric: Lightweight, closely woven cotton fabric. Ideal for handkerchiefs, linings, and fine garments.

Canvas: Heavy-duty fabric made from cotton or linen, known for its durability. Used for bags, tents, and workwear.

Cashmere: Luxurious and soft fabric made from the fine hairs of cashmere goats. Used for high-end sweaters and shawls.

Chambray: Lightweight cotton fabric with a plain weave and a colored warp and white weft. Suitable for casual shirts and dresses.

Charmeuse: Smooth, lightweight fabric with a glossy finish, often made from silk or synthetic fibers, used for elegant evening wear.

Cheesecloth: Lightweight, loose-woven cotton fabric. Breathable and absorbent, used for culinary purposes, crafts, and fashion.

Chiffon: Sheer, lightweight fabric with a soft drape, often made from silk or synthetic fibers. Commonly used in evening gowns and scarves.

Corduroy: Durable fabric with vertical ribbed texture, usually made from cotton. Used for pants, jackets, and upholstery.

Crepe: Lightweight fabric with a crinkled or pebbled surface, made from silk, wool, or synthetic fibers. Suitable for dresses and blouses.

Crinkle: Fabric with a wrinkled texture, achieved through special finishing techniques, offering a relaxed and casual appearance.

Crushed Velvet: Soft velvet fabric with a crushed or wrinkled texture, giving a luxurious and vintage look to garments.


Denim: Sturdy cotton fabric with a twill weave, typically used for jeans and casual wear.

Duchess Satin: Heavy, smooth fabric with a high sheen, typically made from silk or synthetic fibers, used in formal dresses and bridal gowns.


Eyelet: Fabric with small holes, often reinforced with embroidery or stitching, creating a breathable and decorative effect in clothing.


Felt: Dense fabric made from compressed fibers, usually wool. Used for hats, crafts, and industrial applications.

Flannel: Soft, brushed fabric, usually made from cotton, with a napped surface. Ideal for shirts, pajamas, and blankets.

Fleece: Soft, insulating fabric made from synthetic fibers, providing warmth and comfort, commonly used in outerwear and activewear.

French Terry: Knit fabric with loops on one side and a smooth surface on the other, offering comfort and breathability, used in casual wear.


Gabardine: Smooth, tightly woven fabric with a diagonal twill pattern. Commonly used for suits, coats, and uniforms.

Gazar: Crisp, plain-woven fabric with a stiff texture, often made from silk, used for structured dresses and evening gowns.

Georgette: Lightweight, sheer fabric with a crepe-like texture. Suitable for dresses, blouses, and eveningwear.

Gingham: Lightweight, plain-woven cotton fabric with checked patterns. Commonly used for casual shirts, dresses, and curtains.

Gauze: Lightweight, sheer fabric with an open weave, providing breathability and a delicate appearance, used in summer dresses and curtains.


Houndstooth: Classic fabric pattern characterized by a broken check or four-pointed star, commonly used in suits, coats, and skirts.


Ikat: Fabric with dyed patterns created through a unique dyeing technique before weaving, resulting in intricate and colorful designs.


Jacquard: Elaborately woven fabric with intricate patterns, often made from silk or synthetic fibers. Used for formal wear and upholstery.

Jersey: Stretchy, knit fabric made from cotton, wool, or synthetic fibers. Ideal for T-shirts, dresses, and activewear.


Lace: Delicate, decorative fabric with openwork patterns, made from cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers. Commonly used for lingerie and eveningwear.

Linen: Natural fiber fabric made from the flax plant, known for its breathability and natural luster. Used for summer clothing, tablecloths, and curtains.


Madras: Lightweight cotton fabric with colorful plaid or checked patterns. Suitable for casual shirts and dresses.

Mesh: Fabric with an open, net-like structure, offering breathability and flexibility, used in sportswear, activewear, and accessories.

Metallic: Fabric woven with metallic threads, providing a shiny and reflective surface, used for glamorous evening wear and accessories.

Muslin: Plain-woven cotton fabric, often unbleached. Used for mock-ups, linings, and culinary purposes.


Neoprene: Synthetic rubber fabric known for its flexibility, durability, and water resistance, used in sportswear and wetsuits.


Organza: Sheer, crisp fabric with a smooth finish, made from silk or synthetic fibers. Commonly used for bridal gowns and evening wear.

Oxford: Durable fabric with a basket weave texture, often made from cotton, used in shirts, casual dresses, and accessories.


Pile: Fabric with raised fibers, creating a soft and fuzzy texture, commonly used in plush toys, blankets, and upholstery.

Piqué: Textured fabric with a geometric pattern, often made from cotton, offering breathability and used in polo shirts and summer dresses.

Poplin: Smooth, durable fabric with a plain weave, often made from cotton or a cotton blend. Suitable for shirts, dresses, and sportswear.

Quilted: Fabric with layers stitched together, creating a padded texture, used in jackets, bedding, and accessories for added warmth.


Rib Knit: Knit fabric with distinct vertical lines, offering stretch and flexibility, commonly used in cuffs, collars, and hems of garments.

Ripstop: Fabric woven with reinforced threads, preventing tears and rips, used in outdoor and sports clothing for durability.


Sateen: Smooth fabric with a glossy surface, typically made from cotton. Used for sheets, drapes, and formalwear.

Satin: Glossy, smooth fabric with a luxurious feel, made from silk, acetate, or synthetic fibers. Commonly used for evening gowns, lingerie, and accessories.

Seersucker: Lightweight cotton fabric with a crinkled texture. Ideal for summer clothing like suits, dresses, and shorts.

Silk: Luxurious natural fiber with a smooth, shiny surface. Used for a wide range of garments, including dresses, blouses, and lingerie.


Taffeta: Crisp, smooth fabric with a slight sheen, often made from silk or synthetic fibers. Suitable for evening gowns, bridal wear, and linings.

Tartan: Plaid fabric pattern associated with Scottish heritage, featuring crisscrossed horizontal and vertical bands in various colors.

Tie-Dye: Fabric with colorful, dyed patterns created by tying and folding before dyeing, resulting in unique and vibrant designs.

Tulle: Fine, lightweight netting fabric, commonly made from silk, nylon, or polyester. Used for veils, ballerina skirts, and eveningwear.

Tweed: Coarse, woolen fabric with a textured surface, often in mixed colors. Commonly used for suits, coats, and jackets.

Twill: Sturdy fabric with diagonal parallel ribs, made from cotton, wool, or synthetic fibers. Used for pants, jackets, and skirts.


Velour: Plush fabric similar to velvet, often made with cotton or synthetic fibers. Used in loungewear, upholstery, and costumes.

Velvet: Soft, plush fabric with a dense pile.

Voile: Lightweight, sheer fabric with a plain weave, made from cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers. Ideal for curtains, dresses, and blouses.


Waffle: Fabric with a textured grid pattern, offering breathability and moisture absorption, commonly used in thermal wear and towels.

That’s the complete fabric dictionary, with photos!

But if you’re curious for more and want to learn the science behind fabrics – I have just the guide for you! You can go check out my guide on the Fabric Burn Test, where you’ll learn how to easily identify different types of fabric through a quick investigation.

And while you’re at it, you can head over to my Fiber Dictionary, where you’ll learn the fibers that shape the various fabrics used in fashion. 

Happy learning! 🤓

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