Glossary of textile decoration


A finishing process used on cloth where fabric is run at high temperatures and pressures through rollers that polish the surface and make the fabric smoother and more lustrous, or to achieve a fine-relief effect.


Refers to a fabric whose foundation and patterns are of a single colour, yet in different shades. See a product


Refers to a city located in northern France, at equal distance from Paris and Brussels, renowned for its weaving industry, and the skills of its lacemakers. It produced many centuries ago a unique type of linen, remarkable for its delicate quality and whiteness, which is called Batiste in French, and is also known as “Cambric” in English. Pierre Frey chose the nearby town of Montigny en Cambrésis, right in the heart of this very old textile haven, as its production and storage epicentre.


Refers, variously, to the hair of a camel, or to a type of cloth made from camel hair. Part of the camel coat is extremely soft and shiny, and its natural colour ranges from tobacco brown to light brown. As it is a very expensive material, it is often blended with wool in variable proportions. Camel hair cloth is altogether warm and lightweight, yet it is quite fragile. It is chiefly used to make blankets.


Refers to a cloth whose both sides feature a series of round, transversal ribs alternating with a groove. The weft thread is covered by numerous flushing warps. See also rep fabric. See a product


A technique similar to that of cannelé: against a canvas foundation, two warps, including a flushing warp, go over the main weft, producing a small and regular geometrical pattern. This technique is typically used for silk, and its sleek and precious look makes it perfect for double curtains and lightduty seats. See a product


From Italian “Baldacchino” (Silk from Bagdad). Ornate or decorative fabric draped across the upper space between the posts at the four corners of a bed. A solid swath of gathered cloth create a ceiling directly over the bed. It was also called Polish Baldachin in the XVIIIth century. Its contemporary version’s design is much simpler, and comes in pleated sheer curtain fabric, cotton muslin, any frothy and light fabric, or Jouy Print.


Originally made of hemp, this cloth is typically heavily finished and hemstitched. It is used as a base for needlepoint or embroideries.


A large sheet of cloth originally used to protect merchandise from the rain, by extension a strong, waterproof or plastic coated plain weave fabric.


Refers to a mechanical process taking place prior to weaving. Carding breaks up unorganized fibres, then cleanses and aligns them so they are parallel with each other. The term Carding is sometimes considered a pejorative one by textile specialists, as low quality or recycled fabrics require carding, unlike other nobler fabrics. However, it is not synonymous with poor standards, as premium quality pure wool fibres also require carding. In the Cotton industry, most fibres are also carded.


Refers to a fibre obtained from the hair of specific breeds of goats in Kashmir and Tibet. The diameter of the undercoat fibre produced by a goat does not exceed 15 microns. On average yearly production per goat ranges from 100 to 150 grams. The first cashmere shawls were brought back from Asia to France during the reign of Napoleon the First. They typically were adorned with stylised palm tree or flower patterns. Cashmere wool may be used either pure or mixed with other wools. Paisley pattern is a pine cone-shaped motif of Indian origin, available in wool, cotton, silk or viscose. This versatile motif is perfect for seats, curtains, walls and sheets, as well as for garments. Example: F 1880 Cachemire. See a product


The back and the seat of a chair are sometimes covered with fabric. Seat pads can be added to make it more comfortable. There are may types of chair, varying according to styles and periods. As upholstering a chair only requires a short length of fabric, one may be a bit daring in terms of design, fabric, pattern or colour. In any case, make sure to use tight fibre fabrics, as indicated by our Pierre Frey pictograms, such as bristle. Pierre Frey has a large range of chairs, the most famous one being the Colette foldable chair, which meets the highest standards of comfort, and is available in many wood shades. Trevira fabrics are also highly recommended, for they are washable. See a product


Refers to a geometrical design or pattern that become an absolute classic of interior decorating, used equally in classical or contemporary settings. Checked fabrics are a trademark of Gustavian style, and is wonderful alternative to Tartan. Interior designers also use it as lining for the back of period chairs. Checked fabrics, whether large or small, two-coloured or manycoloured, and even in relief, are extremely widespread. The most famous checked pattern is arguably Gingham. See “Gingham” entry. See a product


A kind of novelty yarn, obtained by throwing, which looks like caterpillar skin.


A fabric made with yarns of distinct colours, or with mixed fibres reacting differently to dyeing. The Chiné à la branche process, which involves the dyeing of sets of threads tied up together, was highly popular in the XVIIIth century. Chiné à la branche fabrics are usually silk fabrics, whose warp ends were partially dyed prior to weaving. Direct printing imitations became widespread as soon as the XVIIIth century.


As soon as the beginning of the XVIIth century, Europe developed a passion for Chinese artefacts such as spears, chinaware and lacquerware. In the early XVIIIth century, the trend became so popular that imported goods alone failed to meet the demand of customers. The Chinoiserie industry took off in the years 1720-1730, when European manufacturers started imitating Chinese artefacts, though it must be said that these imitations had very little to do with authentic Chinese goods. The likes of Boucher and Pillevent created many Chinese-like lacquers, to be found on wallpapers, fabrics, furniture and earthenware. Chinoiserie never went of style, and a wide range of Chinoiserie-inspired fabrics are to be found in our current collections, such as “Cité interdite”, “Tea caddy”, “Ming”, “Marchand d’étoffes” by Pierre Frey, or Bracquenié”s “Voyage en Chine”, “Marquis de Pierre” or Cochinchine”. See a product


A term derived from Hindi, and referring to shiny calico cloth from India, with a glazed thin coating obtained through heavy pressing and heating. The glazing process also gives the cotton cloth a slightly stiffed finish. In the XVIIIth century, the process consisted in applying a coat of wax, which was then polished with marbles. Floral chintz is especially popular in the US and the UK. Chintz cloth, according to the finishing technique that was applied to it, may prove quite fragile when washed or pressed. On the contrary, chemical resin glazing ensures lasting quality, and is highly recommended for colourful curtains and wall coverings. See Glazing. See a product


Refers to a luxurious type of velvet featuring uncut loop pile and tufted cut pile. Such a combination creates a pattern, as the different textures and heights of the pile create a luminous textile that changes with the quality of light and with movement. This technique is also used for rugs and wall-to-wall carpets, and allows many variations with a same pattern. Check with our specialists at the Pierre Frey Custom-made Rugs and carpets department. See a product


A fabric with an irregularly raised or embossed surface, featuring symmetrical and asymmetrical gauffered or relief patterns. This fabric can be made with natural (cotton and silk) or chemical yarns. The embossed look of its surface is obtained either through a special weaving process using specific weaves, or through mechanical or chemical finishing. Example: Fadini Léoni I6502. See a product


Natural fibre extracted from coconut husk and used in products such as floor mats and wall to wall carpets. It is more fragile than Sisal, and has a high relief texture. This versatile fibre easily lends itself to decorating purposes, and is also available in various colours, and is a fine addition to a seaside residence or a country house. See Agave and Sisal.


Refers to a dye that is resistant to fading or washing (typically used for household linen). Check out the house linen range by Pierre Frey for Yves Delorme.


Refers to the art and manner of combining various fabrics in various shades in order to achieve a sleek look: a finely checked taffeta lining is the perfect counterpart to printed curtains, just like a striped lining will enhance the simple beauty of a plain woolen cloth. To decorate a room, be unafraid to use different patterns as long as you stick to a specific colour range. For tips and ideas, check out the Colour and Pattern Schemer reference books by Pierre Frey, Fadini-Borghi, Braquenié and Boussac, all available at Pierre Frey special retailers worldwide, to find them click on “Store locator”.


The number of warp and weft treads within a square centimetre of fabric.


Different patterns and colours and prints and pleats, provided they all come from a same range, can easily be combined, as they were designed to match when decorating a same room. Coordinates make it easy to choose, as they all may be mixed harmoniously. For further guidance, check out the various Pierre Frey Colour Schemer reference books, or visit our show-rooms. See also Combination.


A type of machine chain stitched embroidery. It was named after the man who invented it. It adorns ultra-thin fabrics such as polyester or cotton voile. It brings a refined touch to window treatments.


Refers to a raw natural fibre that has been spun into yarn for many centuries, and is the most widely used natural-fibre cloth in clothing today. Cretonne, Terrycloth, Percale and Canvas are all cotton-based fabrics. Whether dyed, woven, printed or mixed with artificial and synthetic fibres, it retains a soft feel and natural look, and can be treated for glossy finish. It easily washes and shrinks, and also comes pre-shrunk. Untreated cotton should be washed or decatised before use. Its long fibres are usually combed. Low quality cotton is difficult to dye, as weak fibres do not absorb dye pigment properly. As a result, white spots remain at the end of the dyeing process. Pierre Frey collections feature organic cotton fabrics that are labelled Pure Nature. The Pure Nature label ensures premium pesticide-free grown cotton, only dyed with natural pigments, and woven at our factory in Cambrésis. Our Pure Nature range is GOTS certified. Examples: F2668 Esprit, F2669 Céleste, F2670 Aurore, F2741 Concorde, F2740 Tuileries. See a product


Refers to brownish impurities that are blended into cotton fibres. Blemishes may be found in raw fabrics, but are easily removed by washing.


Refers to a thin, tightly woven cotton canvas, usually coming in light brown or white. It is hard-wearing and tow-resistant. It was originally designed to contain down and feathers, and used to cover box springs, mattresses, bolsters and pillows. Its unusual and highly decorative stripes (two wide strips juxtaposed with three narrow stripes) were the inspiration for many fancy patterns. Duck is also perfect for being made into edgy, contemporary wall coverings, curtains, or sofa covers. Altogether understated and resistant, it is a timeless classic. Exemple: F2661 Perla. See a product


Refers to a loose, fluffy cotton weaving placed underneath wall hangings and curtains to make them heavier, or used as table mat. It is altogether soudproof and warm. Check with your upholsterer to find the fabric best-suited to your needs in terms of soundproofing and draughtproofing, and to get rid of the static electricity generated by Fleece, which might otherwise attract dust. Fleece is also used for bedspreads.


Refers to a lightweight fabric originating from the city of Mosul, Irak. It first arrived in France in Marseille, where it was used to make mosquito net. Today, this frothy fabric is mostly used to make net curtains and to upholster canopy beds. To be heavily gathered.


Also spelled Crêpe, as in French. Refers to a variety of fabric of hard and gauzy texture, having a peculiar crimpy appearance. Crape is often quite springy and gummy. Originally, Crape was woven of silk yarn, but today all sorts of fibres are used to weave crape, as its structure does not depend on the nature of the fibre, but on the kind of weave and threads, or the process that causes threads to shorten differently, used to manufacture it. Many sorts of crape fabrics are available, due to the variety of fibres, yarn twists, weaves, weight and texture, Canton, Georgette, Wool crape and Marocain being the most famous.


A type of fabric with relief crimpings on the surface, looking like bark. Exemple: Fadini Federico. See a product


Refers to a fabric designed to remain uncreased when subjected to wear or use. Such a characteristic is the result of either a special chemical treatment based on thermosetting resin, or due to the very nature of the fibres the fabric is made of. See a product


Refers to a special process used to make fabrics less prone to creasing.


Light cotton canvas floral print fabric, with a distinct country style. It was used to line drawers and wardrobes, or to make curtains. It was named after the small Normandy village of Creton, which was renowned for its textile industry in the XVIth century.


A type of weave used to produce the effect of diagonal ribs leaning from one selvage to the other, ribs and channels being of even width. Cross weave fabrics have identical sides, while twill weave fabrics have different sides. One of Pierre Frey’s most emblematic fabrics is Cross weave Collobrières, a classic that never goes of style, perfect for all uses, and available in 75 colours.


A curtain plays a key role in the overall decoration of a room. It has to be full (allow three times the width of the window to determine the length of fabric necessary). Make sure it is not too short, as floor-sweeping curtains are very elegant. Lining is a safe option, especially light-dimming ones. A curtain may be hung (see Hanging up entry) in various fashions, the top of a curtain may be pleated, or gathered, or tied in a bow, or even covered with draperies. The rod (see Rod entry) determines how the curtain is to be hung. The choice of fabric is vast: lightweight fabrics, net curtains. A curtain may be held back with a tieback or a hook, or simply left to hang freely. Ask Pierre Frey retailers, and find them by clicking on “Store locator” or try our ready-to-hang options by Boussac.


There are many kinds of curtain rods. The most common one is flat and ideal for net curtains. Curvy ones are available for round-shaped windows. Decorative rods are made from light or dark coloured or white lacquered wood, silver metal, gold brass. Standard diameters range from 2 to 4 centimeters. Rods are equipped with a mouthpiece. They may be smooth or ridged. Some rods are even made of wrought iron! Rods simply made of brushed metal, or upholstered with the very same fabric as used for the curtains are elegant options, the latter one actually being a convenient choice if the fabric was previously coated to ensure that the curtains slide smoothly along the rod. Ask Pierre Frey retailers, you will find them by clicking on “Store locator”.


A most essential accessory for your home. Cushions come in many a shape and many a look: round, square, or rectangular; pleated, bolstered, covered with silk, print, needlepoint, kilim, organdy, lace, antique cloth, Jouy; they may be edged with braids, ropes, plain or frilly flounces, raffia fringes; buttoned up or zipped up, tied with a ribbon. Cushions adorn seats, sofas, chairs, beds. They should ideally be equipped with removable covers. Check out the Pierre Frey cushion range: new models are added each year, including our exclusive limited editions featuring unique patterns. See a product


See piece.


A sample strip, cut out from a piece of fabric, to be shown to a customer for them to fully understand and assess its characteristics and whether it may fit harmoniously in the decor they have in mind.