Fabric Glossary

Want to talk fabric? These are the words you should know, so you sound really smart.


Bengaline – (behng-ah-leen) A lustrous, durable fabric with ribs running in the direction of the filling.

Brocade – (broh-cayd) Rich jacquarded woven fabric with raised floral or figured patterns emphasized by contrasting surfaces or colors. Often metallic threads are used.

Chiffon – A lightweight sheer fabric known for its easy draping effect. Best Dressed Tables’ chiffon is 100% polyester and is wash and dry for easy care.

Crush – engineered wrinkles that will not wash out.

Damask – (dam-ask) Jacquard-woven fabrics with elaborate floral or geometric patterns. The pattern is distinguishable from the ground by contrasting color or luster and is reversible. Similar to brocade but flatter. It is one of the oldest and most popular staple fabrics originating in Damascus.

Dye Lot – The color variation that occurs from one batch of dyed fabric to another batch.

Embroidery – Raised designs created on fabrics by stitching a motif or pattern with colored threads.

Face – The surface of the fabric that is intended to be seen because it presents a better appearance than the other side.

Ground – A general term for the plain base or background of a decorated fabric.

Hand – A characteristic of fabrics that is perceived by touching, rubbing and feeling the fabric. Describes characteristics of softness, drapeability and resilience.

Hem – The manner in which the raw edges of the fabric are turned under and then sewn down to finish off the edge of the manufactured product.

Moire – (mwaah-ray) A French word that means water. The finishing process produces a wavy or rippling effect.

Organza – ( ohr-gan-zuh) Light weight transparent fabric in plain weave.

Passementerie – A term refering to trims and fabric adornments. Click here for more information.

Peau de soie – [poh deh swah]- A heavyweight soft silk or manufactured fiber satin with a dull luster.

Pintuck – a very narrow tuck, as made in cloth by sewing

Polyester – Thw workhorse of the tablecloth industry. This fabric is available in over 50 colors – with one to suit your decor, event or kitchen. Easily washed and stain resistant this fabric will always be ready to party.

Spun – Although it is 100% polyester it has the feel and absorbancy of cotton and it will hold a napkin fold! Available in over 50 colors.

Toile – (twahl) French for a cotton or linen cloth having a colored pattern on a light colored background.

Topper – A decorative round or square tablecloth that sits on the top of the table with a drop of about9-15 inches from the edge. Should always be used with a full undercloth and not used used alone. Also can be used as a fluff cloth for a buffet or bar.

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