Glossary of textile decoration


Refers to the colour that covers the most part of a fabric.


Refers to a type of needlepoint embroidery consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs. It was already fashionable as far back as the XVIIth century, and widely used in Louis XIII style. It is very becoming on sheep bone chairs (a type of Louis XIII style armchair). Its strong visual quality makes it perfect for contemporary settings. Example: Budapest. See a product


Refer to a type of fabric with a weave quite similar to plain weave. In basketweave, groups of warp and weft threads are interlaced so that they form a simple criss-cross pattern. Each group of weft threads crosses an equal number of warp threads by going over one group, then under the next, and so on. The next group of weft threads goes under the warp threads that its neighbour went over, and vice versa. Basketweave can be identified by its checkerboard-like appearance made of two or more threads in each group. Basketweave fabrics are mainly made from cotton and wool. If the weave is too loose, basketweavefabrics may loose their shape, but textile engineers at Pierre Frey have developed techniques to ensure high quality basketweave. See a product


Javanese traditional dyeing technique. Melted wax (Rice paste may also sometimes be used) is applied to cloth before being dipped in dye. The wax holds to the fabric and allows cracking, which is a characteristic of batik. The fabric undergoes a series of dyeing, drying and waxing steps and, after the last dyeing, is hung up to dry and dipped in a solvent to dissolve the wax, or ironed between paper towels or newspapers to absorb the wax and reveal the deep rich colours (red, indigo, brown) and the fine crinkle lines that give batik its character. Used as table cloth, bedspread or curtains, it adds a touch of exoticism to a room.


Possibly named after Jean-Baptiste, a weaver from the city of Cambrai, in northern France, in the XIIIth century. It is a lightweight, closely woven fabric with a glossy surface, usually made with linen. Its most widespread end uses include handkerchiefs, lingerie and sheets. Mercerisation gives a lasting lustrous appearance to the fabric, and also increases its hard wearing quality. Batiste is available raw, dyed, or printed, and is used for decorating purposes such as lightweight curtains or bedlinens.


Refers to a fabric with stripes that run crosswide (horizontally), produced by weaves following one another at regular intervals. This term is derived from the large heavily embroidered belts worn by female dancers in the Seraglios of Arabia. This stripy and often colourful look is achieved either through coloured yarns weaving or printing. Example: Haïti F 2303. See also Stripes (bayadere). See a product


See “Style” entry.


Ocean spray, sails, seashells, fish: all maritime-related themes belong to this particular style. See a product See a selection


This essential piece of furniture is entirely dressed with fabric. Spring or foam-filled mattresses are upholstered with cotton duck, while cotton duck box spring valances may be upholsteredred with the same fabric as the one used for the headboard. Headboards may be semicircular shaped and framed at the base by a cushion or bolster-like pad. In this case, headboards have to be upholstered by professionals. Check out the Pierre Frey headboard range.


See bedspread.


Refers to a topcover on a bed over other bedclothes, used to protect the bed from dust during daytime. Bedspreads can be topstitched, quilted, embroidered with patterns, made with patchwork fabric or cotton piqué. They can match the headboard, be made with double width fabric to avoid seams, or even with a custom-made piece. They may Boutis-style, white on both sides or pure-cotton reversible. Pierre Frey offers a wide range of custom quilts coming in various finishings (edge to edge, round or square edges, folded bias).


A label placed on the edge of a fabric to point out a flaw in a fabric. Pierre Frey uses coloured strips, whose auto-adhesive side is pasted onto one of the edges. For a standard quality fabric, the textile industry allows 5 flaws for a length of 50 meters, and little more for velvet and silk.


Artificial fibre produced from cellulose dissolved in cuprammonium. It is also known as copper viscose. It was named after German chemist J.P. Bemberg, who commercialised the fibre right after WWI. Bemberg fabrics have a silky feel and their relatively poor strength make them ideal material for lining. See a product


Refers to a tiny diamond-shaped geometrical pattern.


Plain or Jacquard weave soft and dense fabric. It is milled and napped to make it softer to the touch and thicker.


This type of bedspread is essential when the bed remains unmade. Coming in white cotton piqué or festooned honeycomb stitch, or simply in a bright or warm shade, it is a refined addition to your home.


A small, hollow engraved device used to print cotton fabrics. Today, only a handful of workshops still use the block printing technique. Special orders are nevertheless still possible, bearing in mind that a bit a patience will be necessary for completion. Pierre Frey’s archives feature a fine selection of original woodblock printed designs made with very old copper and wood blocks originally used by the house of Braquenié.


Refers to a fabric with a cardboard-like feel, due to over-finishing. This flaw can easily be fixed and our engineers at Pierre Frey have developed very efficient techniques to take care of it.


Refers to a type of novelty yarn made by combining at least two strands, with the tension on one strand being much looser than the other as it is being plied, with the loose strand forming the loops and the other strand as the anchor. Bouclé can also refer to the fabric made from this type of yarn. They are covered on one or both sides with small loops, and are soft to the touch, with a fluffy look. Bouclé fabrics with much tighter loops are used for furnishing.


Floral prints remain an endless source of inspiration for interior decoration: printed flowers, stems, petals or branches will prove as harmonious and fresh as real ones, yet they will last much longer. The Pierre Frey, Bracquenié and Boussac collections all feature wide range of floral print fabrics to choose from. See a product


Also known as Provençal Quilts. Refers to the original finely quilted wholecloth, which was very popular with fashionable ladies of Provence. It was also used to make blankets that were stacked in piles on beds. Boutis are now widely used for sofas or as tablecloths, and are perfect for country houses. Double-sided boutis are also very popular: whether coming in floral print or finely patterned cretonne, their tight quilting makes them easily recognizable. Quilted blankets are also a fine example of the Boutis tradition. Example: Monbazillac. See a product


From Provençal word “ganso”. It is a kind of loop or cord used to trim the edges of bedspreads and table skirts. Whether ton sur ton or in a contrasting colour, Braid is a stylish alternative to border. Braids are available by the meter, and come in a wide range of colours and styles. Ask your uphosterer to help you choose the right one.


A heavy woollen cloth used for decorating, which gives a warm and cosy feel to your home. Naturally fire-resistant, it has a remarkable hang and is widely used for curtains, sofas and table spreads.


A rich fabric typically made of silk or cotton, into which raised patterns with gold or silver threads have been woven. See also Brocaded. In the XVIIth century, the main Brocade manufacturing centres were Tours and Lyon. Brocades are still being woven nowadays, mostly to adorn churches or to be used as fancy draperies. Velvet brocade is a type of rich velvet featuring threads of gold and silver on its background. See a product


Brocading creates raised patterns that stand out on the fabric’s background. Patterns are produced by a supplementary, non-structural, weft in addition to the standard weft that holds the warp threads together. The brocade patterns present a distinctive appearance only on the back of the material, and can only be woven on a special draw loom. Example: no sample available in our collections, see our archives.


A figured fabric similar to brocade, utilizing four or more set of threads, equally for warps and wefts. It has large patterns in high relief to appear embroidered or puffy. The filler yarns (often in linen) give it a distinctive embossed look. Patterns stand out on the matte background. Example: B7555 Maintenon, Licosa. See a product


Refers to a cross weave cotton fabric, with a brushed wrong side, used for curtain lining and bed sheets. Its fluffy quality makes it warm and cosy.


Refers to a process applied to a dual-material fabric that chemically removes one of the two components according to a precise layout, thus allowing intricate see-through or impervious patterns.


Refers to a stitched and padded section adorned with a button, which decorates low armless chairs, bean bag chairs, Napoleon III style chair seats. Button tufted doors are soundproof. All types of fabric may be used for tufting purposes.