Glossary of textile decoration


The following criteria are used to assess the quality of a fabric: weave, basis weight (weight or mass per square meter or reel width), breadth, composition, appearance, feel, touch, colour and/or pattern, finishing, display form.


A fabric with one or both fluffy or shaggy sides, obtained through a mechanical process called brushing. The terms “brushing” and “brushed” are usually used by the cotton industry, and “worsted” and “fleeced” are usually the terms used by the wool industry The fabric is placed between two spinning cylinders at full speed for a length of time that varies according to the texture desired. This treatment gives a soft feel and extra-covering power to the fabric treated, making it warmer and fluffier, though more fragile. See “Emerized”, “Fleeced”, “Worsted”.


Refers to the many techniques used to keep textiles in prime condition, such as dry-cleaning, dust removal, hand or machine washing, ironing, fabric renovation and restoration. Synthetic or artificial fibres like polyster, Dacron®, Dralon®, Trevira CS®, le Tergal®, Pontella®, Courtelle®, Alcantara® and Pekari are easycare: they may be washed at low temperature, are easy to smooth out and do not shrink. Just like natural fibres, they can also be treated to be stain-resistant. Linen, cotton are easily washable but prone to shrinking. Certain fabrics should never get wet, such as Moire that looses its specifc wavy patterns when wet. Rugs and carpets should only be cared for by specialists. Care Chart: Care instructions in 13 countries have been standardized and simplified into an official chart. All pictograms used for care labels must be in conformity with this chart, a conformity strictly monitored by specific authorities, such as COFREET in France. Check out the pictograms used by Pierre Frey in our catalogue.


A process initiated in the 1960s in the US (Stone washing) that consists of machine-washing (once or several times) a piece of fabric, in order to artificially give it a rough, trusty look. Example: Shabby Linen.


Faille is a type of taffeta weave fabric with a textured feel and a faintly ribbed pattern created by the interlacing of a tight and thin warp with a loose and coarse weft. Typically a silky fabric, it is also available in less expensive chemical fibres. The hang of Faille is particularly neat, which makes this fabric very popular for decorating.


See SUEDETTE. See a product


see “Style” entry.


All fabrics inspired by animals: animal fur motifs, sketches of animals in the wild. See a product See a selection


Felt is a non-woven fabric formed when sheep's' wool or animal fur is subjected to heat, moisture and pressure or agitation. Heat and moisture cause the outer scales along the fiber to open and slide easily over one another thereby causing them to become entangled. Felt is waterproof and very hard wearing. It is widely used for decorating purposes, especially to upholster seats, sofas and tables. Baize is a type of fine felt fabric, very popular for covering pool and card tables.


Refers to a kind of viscose broken textile thread. Such fibres only have a limited length, and feature rough spots interlocking with one another. The interlocking process is achieved through twisting.


Refers to fabrics whose yarn and weft criss-cross to create a pattern. Fabrics are called “figured fabrics” whenever the pattern or motif has no specific name of its own : herringbone, bird’s eye, houndstooth and so on. Broché and damassé fabrics are both figured fabrics. In most cases, such fabrics are manufactured by dobby looms or jacquard looms, and are different from plain fabrics. See imitation plain fabrics. See a product


A technique used to fill cushions and pillows with feathers, down, wool or suitable synthetic fibres.


Any process designed to improve/upgrade a piece of cloth in its loom state, whether visually or/and to the touch, and give it new, sometimes strictly aesthetic, properties. The many processes available are fast-changing: calendering, milling, napping, waterproofing, watering, rippling, etc… Also refers to the substance blended into the fabric during the finishing process.


See nonflammable. This term is sometimes wrongly used for fabrics that burn or ignite less easily than a standard fabric, without being fireproof. All fireproof fabrics by Pierre Frey are M1 certified, meaning the highest fire hazard safety certification possible. M1 certified fabrics are compulsory in public venues.


Refers to a technique used mostly for public spaces that involves spraying a product onto fabric or material to make it nonflammable. For homes, we suggest the use of flame-retardant fabrics, which are also easycare. Example: Rayure Perla. All Pierre Frey flame-retardant fabrics are M1 certified, the highest and most demanding safety standard possible. Fireproofing is an option for some Pierre Frey fabrics, but it is totally usuitable for silk fabrics, uncut velvet fabrics such as Mohair, fabrics that were previously treated like Moire, stain resistant fabrics and obviously flame-retardant fabrics… Expect an extra-cost of about 4 to 5 € per meter, allow a week long lead time, and choose a size-stabilized fabric. See also Flame retardant and nonflammable.


In 1795, the French Directory brings much-needed peace after the turmoil of the Revolution. Time has come for a radical change in patterns. Antiquity-inspired style is all the rage: pastoral scenes vanish in the haze, and are replaced by mythology, monuments from around the world, or successful operas. This era is also marked by geometrical patterns. Most prints come with a geometrical background of ellipses and circles and stripes. The range of colours also broadens, with yellowish brown, purple, wine. Upholstery edges often feature friezes, rosettes or small palms, and become integral to wall decorating, as they put the emphasis on the central fabric panel. During the Bourbon Restoration, iconography and composition remain pretty much the same: imperial symbols are replaced by flower bouquets. Neomedieval decorating themes also appear, and become hugely popular (The Lady of the Lake). See a product See a selection


See “Style” entry. See a product


Refers to a soft woven fabric made from carded wool. It is perfect for wall hanging as it adds a very manly touch to a room (grey flannel). It is also ideal for a dressing room. Example: West F2715, Gentleman F2250. See a product


Refers to a binding technique used during weaving involving a warp going over (or under) several contiguous wefts, or a weft going over (or under) several warps. This is the very technique used to produce a satin weave: depending on whether the float (also called flush) is positioned as warp or weft, the satin is called “warp satin” or “weft satin”. See Weave. For a fabric, a float refers to the length of warp or weft that remains unbound.


Refers to a technique involving a textile support being partially or wholly covered by tape, onto which very short textile fibres or fibrils called “flock” are being projected in order to achieve a velvety look. Example: F2770 Arlequin. See a product


Whether stylised, gigantic, as seedling, with a light background, as print or woven, flowers remain by far the most popular upholstery motif. Example: F2293 Fayence, F2399 Beauregard. See a product


A conditioning procedure consisting in folding a piece of fabric over a predetermined length. The standard folding lengths are 0,50 m and 1 meter. Folding is a very useful procedure, as it only takes to count the number of folds to determine the total length of a piece of fabric. This way of displayin fabric is called “fanfolding”. A piece of fabric can also be folded over so it retains its initial width (broadwidth folding), or be first doubled, and then folded. The Pierre Frey team pay a special attention to folding procedures, in order to ensure that fabrics are delivered to customers without merchant’s fold (see entry). Nevertheless, when the piece of fabric was previously doubled, it is imperative to unroll and unfold it upon reception.


A type of screen composed of 3, 4 or up to 5 frames connected by hinges. A popular decorative item, it is used to hide radiators, for instance, but also to structure a room. Famous interior designer Jacques Grange likes to put folding screens at each end of a large sofa. They can be made with limed wood, wood carved with a gouge, coromandel lacquer, painted canvas, engraved glass, mahogany topped by beveled glass, turned wood, embossed leather, kilim, and is typically upholstered with fabric or tapestry. Hinges are a detail not to be overlooked : fabric ones allow the screen to be used on both sides, metal ones have to be hidden underneath tapestry nailing. Door hinges hidden underneath a layer of fabric can be quite becoming. A folding screen may be upholstered to match wall hanging on one side, whilst the other side is in a different colour, thereby allowing various atmospheres and looks. Ask our Pierre Frey team to recommend specialists, or click on Store locator.

FONTAN (Suzanne)

This XXth century designer collaborated with Pierre Frey and created colourful prints inspired by nature.


Refers to a piece of furniture upholstered with fabric, the purpose of which is to support one’s feet. It was initially designed in Britain. It comes in different shapes and sizes. A fine addition to a drawing room or a bedroom, it can be used as a stool or as a complementary coffee table. Whether square-shaped, round-shaped, oval-shaped, rectangular-shaped, it lends itself to many uses and many fabrics. Example: Pierre Frey Grégoire TA001, Mercure TA002, Ninon TA003, Martial TA007. See a product

FORTUNY (Mariano)

Mariano Fortuny was a Venetian designer who invented groundbreaking printing techniques that remain secret up to this very day. His creations look as if they are hand-painted and worn out by the passing of time. His silks and lames and velvets and brocades are Renaissance-inspired and traditionally crafted at Palazzo Orfei in Venice. Fortuny fabrics are extremely exclusive, and are very sought after by the most famous interior designers. Fortuny fabrics are renowned for their unique tight pleating (the fabric is pleated and crumpled randomly), which has been massively copied. Initially developed for silk fabrics, the Fortuny technique is now used to produce permanently pleated polyester and may be used for net curtains, canopy curtains, or to adorn toilet bags, bed sheets or pillow cases.


See “printing”.

FRANCK (Josef)

A designer who co-founded in Vienna in 1925 famous design company Haus & Garten and created furniture, lighting and printed fabrics. His uplifting and colourful wood block floral designs became very popular in the late 1920s.


Refers to a decorative band of fabric that may be stitched to wall hangings. It may also be used along a curtain or as a central pattern for a seat. Madeleine Castaing was very keen on friezes and used them to give a twist to otherwise very simple seats upholstered with plain reps fabric. Sold by the meter, it may be printed, woven and comes in different width sizes. Certain types of Fabric are woven or printed in bands. All you have to do is simply cut the bands lengthwise for desired length. Other fabrics are trimmed on both sides, but the procedure to follow remains unchanged.


Coarse woollen fabric, usually dyed in brown, originally used to make frocks for monks or convicts.


Refers to a strip of gathered fabric used to frame a curtain, adorn a cushion, give a new twist to a table cloth, a seat cushion or a valance.


A perfect adornment for seats and drapery. May be made of cotton, wool, viscose, rayon, simple or double… It is particularly emblematic of the Napoleon III era & style, and a very sought-after finishing touch for embossed velvet or carpet padded seats, squat armchairs or pouffes. Used as skirting, it hides the foot of a chair and sometimes even enhances it.


Some might object to fur, but there still are many fans of its wonderfully soft and shiny texture made of long, reclining hair. Fur bedspreads and sofa blankets are a must, especially in a mountain lodge. Simply trimmed with a woollen strip, Pierre Frey fake furs are manufactured with plush, and provide a highly realistic imitation of real fur. See a product