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Touch of Class

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Types of Fabric

Looking for bedding, towels, or even curtains online can be tricky, since you're not able to feel the fabric for yourself before purchase. Having an idea of how each fabric behaves as well as its texture will make this process much easier. Check out this fabric glossary for definitions of fabrics as well as prints, weaves, and embellishments.

And don't forget—you can order a FREE fabric swatch for many of the soft goods sold on this site. Order up to 3 swatches, and you can inspect the colors and textures in person.

Batiste Curtain
Delicate, lightweight fabric fashioned from polyester; this fabric is generally used in sheer curtains.

Chenille Tufts
Chenille (shuh-neel)
A type of fabric identified by its tufted, velvety yarns; chenille is usually made from cotton.

Tip: The fibers in chenille fabric will catch light differently from angle to angle.

Cotton Fabric
A natural material harvested from plant seeds; this fabric is highly-absorbent, breathable, and durable.

Tip: As the percentage of cotton increases, so does the softness in a product.

Crushed Window Treatment
Polyester, satin, or taffeta fabric designed with a purposefully-wrinkled appearance; this lends vintage appeal to a window treatment.

Cotton Duck Window Treatments
A type of canvas made from cotton; it makes for durable and heavyweight window treatments.

Faux Suede Fabric
Faux Suede
An imitation suede fabric with a plush texture and matte shine. It can be brushed in different directions to create lighter or darker coloration.

A multicolored medallion print fashioned from a plain or twill weave; it usually serves as backing on a bed covering.

Gimp Trim TowelClose-Up of Gimp Trim
Gimp (Gimp Trim)
A decorative border fashioned from polyester or cotton thread; it can be braided or twisted into a cord.

Texture of Towel Fabric
The texture of fabric as observed through touch; the fabric may be soft, nubby, light, heavy, etc.

Jacquard Fabric
Jacquard (Brocade, Jacquard-Woven)
A heavyweight woven fabric featuring raised patterns and complementary colors.

Polyester Linen Fabric
A natural fiber formed from the flax plant; it is absorbent and soil- and crease-resistant.

Macrame Curtain
A decoration formed when threads are tied in consistent knots to form a lacy pattern.

Man-Made Polyester
Man-Made Fibers
Thread-like materials manufactured by people to form into fabric.

Matelasse Fabric
Matelasse (maht-luh-sey)
A thick, woven style of fabric that mimics a quilted look; this is usually a cotton or a poly-cotton blend.

Natural Cotton Fibers
Natural Fibers
A thread-like material harvested from animals (like wool or silk) and plants (like linen or cotton) that is then formed into fabric.

Percale Cotton Sheets
A style of cotton fabric fashioned from plain-woven, closely-bound fibers; it has a smooth texture and is commonly found in bed linens.

The development of fuzzy balls of fiber on the surface of a fabric; it can be generated through improper care of fabric or normal wear-and-tear.

Plain Weave Voile
Plain Weave
The most basic technique of meshing fibers together to create fabric; one fiber passes repeatedly over and under another fiber.

Examples: Cotton Duck, Foulard, Percale, Shantung, Velvet, Voile

Polyester Pillow
A man-made fabric that is shrink- and wrinkle-resistant, highly durable, and easy to wash; it can be blended with natural fibers like cotton to reduce wrinkling further.

Sateen Sheets
A cotton material woven with a satin weave pattern; it has a sleek texture and lustrous shine; it is a popular fabric for sheets.

Satin Curtains
A glossy, slippery fabric constructed from silk or rayon with a satin weave pattern.

Satin Weave
Satin Weave
A technique of meshing fibers together to create fabric; more fibers pass over than tucking under the other fibers, creating an even, smooth surface not broken by constant weaving in and out, like with plain weave fabric.

Examples: Satin, Sateen

Shantung Fabric
Silk fabric with a textured surface constructed from the plain weave pattern.

Polyester Silk
A natural material harvested from silkworm cocoons; the fabric is luxuriously soft and breathable; it stretches easily and fades when exposed to sunlight.

Tip: Faux silk imitates authentic silk in texture but is made from more durable polyester.

Taffeta Fabric
A luxurious fabric fashioned from polyester using a plain-weave; it has a smooth, stiff texture and lustrous shine but creases easily and is not stain-resistant.

1500 Thread Count Sheet
Thread Count (TC)
The number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric; higher thread counts mean higher quality fabrics.

Tip: Most Touch of Class percale and cotton sheet sets are a quality 300 thread count or greater.

Twill Fabric Close-Up
A material with diagonal lines created by the twill weave pattern; this resilient and durable fabric drapes well and is great for bedding, cushions, and curtains.

Twill Weave
Twill Weave
A technique of meshing fibers together to create fabric; the fibers produce diagonal lines throughout the fabric.

Velvet Fabric Close-Up
A fabric with a plush texture created through short-cropped, closely-woven loops of synthetic and/or natural fibers (usually cotton); it is commonly constructed with a plain weave.

Velveteen Pillow
A closely-woven pile that imitates velvet; made exclusively from cotton, the fabric loops on the surface are cut shorter than velvet.

Viscose Cotton Blend Fibers
Rayon fabric constructed from wood pulp; it has a texture and breathability similar to cotton and is generally blended with other fabrics.

Voile Window Treatments
A thin and airy fabric woven from polyester, cotton, or a blend of the two; ideal for sheer curtains, it has a plain weave.

Wool Fabric Close-Up
A natural material generally harvested from sheep, this fabric is highly absorbent, durable, and soil- and static-resistant. It also has tendency to pill and shrink.