Glossary of textile decoration


Refers to a lightweight silk fabric made in India. Its takes its name from the former British name for the city of Chennai, India. Its typically large plaid design coming in many colours make it highly decorative. Madras are also printed on cotton or woven on viscose taffeta. Used as curtains, wall hanging or sofa upholstery, madras lightens up a room. In the summer, madras tablecloths will bring a touch of exoticism to your diner parties.


Refers to a short and thick fringe, which may be made from wool, cotton or viscose, used to trim the edges of a cushion, or enhance the shape of a sofa. Typically made of many-coloured strands, Marabout fringes are typical of the Napoleon III style, and are an alternative to piping. Ottoman sofas, which are armless sofas, are very often adorned with marabout fringes.


Refers to a lightweight open fabric of leno weave, used for blinds and curtains. Traditionally a weft and warp woven fabric, it is now also machine-knitted. Initially made of cotton, it is now also available in numerous chemical fibres, whether used on their own or mixed with other fibres.

MARROT (Paule)

After studying at the prestigious School for Decorative Arts in Paris, and in Maurice Denis’ atelier, Paule Marrot chose to create fabric patterns, a creative field she had always been interested in. In 1928, she received the Blumenthal Prize, and with the money that came with the award, she rented a small workshop in the Batignolles area of Paris. The creations she developed there quickly earned her the esteem of a small yet international and distinguished set of followers. Paule Marrot found inspiration in the nature around her: fields, gardens, forests. One of her early creations was named after Ronsard’s poem “Mignonne, allons voir si la rose” (Sweetheart, let’s go and see the rose) and this very poem encapsulates Marrot’s creative universe: poetic, graceful, understated, elegantly colourful.


A Martindale is a device used to test the abrasion resistance of textile products/fabrics. According to the standard certification NF EN ISO 12947-2, a random sample of fabric is taken with a diameter of approximately 4cm. Once set on the Martindale machine, these samples are put under a pressure of 12 kPa and rubbed against a woollen fabric in a rotating movement. The certification considers that the fabric resists as long as there are less than 2 broken threads, or, for velvets, until the complete disappearance of hairs. The result of the “Martindale test” corresponds to the number of turns performed at the time of the break/deterioration of the fabric. Therefore, it enables one to qualify the resistance of the textile and to give indications on the type of use it can be able to support/endure: less than 10.000 rubs: not recommended for chairs, decorative use, between 10.000 and 15.000 rubs: moderate use, occasional chair seat (ex: guest seats), between 15.000 and 20.000 rubs: normal use, quotidian (ex: family sofas), more than 20.000 rubs: intensive use, permanent solicitation (ex: hotel entrance hall). Resistance to rubbing is not the only factor to be considered to determine the use of a cloth. Other technical criteria must be taken in consideration (tendency to pill, colour discharge…). Make sure you have a close look at the technical pictograms found in our catalogue and on our labels, as they have been approved by Pierre Frey specialized engineers.Unlike the Wyzenbeek Test which complies with American norms, the Martindale Test depends on European norms.


A generic word for flat surface textiles meant to be used for clothing and upholstering, or specific technical uses. See Fabric and Knitwear and Felt entries. Textile material is called Fabric when it the result of the interlacing of a weft and a warp performed by a loom, it is called knitwear if it is the result of the interlacing of stitches and loops produced by knitting needles, it is called Felt when not woven.


Traditionally, mattresses and pillows were covered with off-yellow and white striped cotton cloth, which was woven tightly to contain the down or feather filling. This cloth has become quite popular with interior designers, and much more colourful. Its simplicity, combined to a stylish hang, is much appreciated: perfect for seaside houses in blue and white stripes, it also lends itself wonderfully to curtains, slipcovers, cushions or wall hangings.


“mercerizing” and “mercerized” are also used. A process invented in 1844 by English printer John Mercer. Cotton thread, or fabric, is given a sodium hydroxide bath that is then neutralized with an acide bath. With this process, fabric or thread gains a very sought-after lustrous and smooth appearance, and also gains mechanical resistance and improved dyeing affinity.


Refers to a very visible fold that run parallel to selvages, right at the center of a fabric, that is caused by doubling (see Folding entry). It goes away when ironed, but it is nevertheless imperative to unroll and unfold the piece of fabric upon reception. Broad width valuable fabrics are never doubled at Pierre Frey, as to prevent merchant’s fold.


Refers to a support onto which a thin film of powdered aluminium is bonded. The support may then be dye-varnished, and thereby be made more resistant to abrasion.


Refers to a blend cloth with linen weft and cotton warp. It is very popular for house linen, table cloths, dish towels, and upholstery in general. Britons are also very keen on this blend fabric they use for making thick and rustic-looking print cloth that combines the mated and hard wearing quality of linen with the easycare quality of cotton. In France, Metis is used to give a countryside twist to curtains and sofa covers. Last but not least: it ages very well. See a product


Refers to a fabric or yarn made from the hair of the Angora goat (not to be mistaken with the hair of the angora rabbit). This silk-like, thin and soft fabric is naturally shiny and has an excellent dyeing affinity. Originally coming from the Turkish province of Angora, Angora goats are now bred in South Africa and Texas. There are over 10 million angora goats in the world today, although it is quite a fragile breed. Whether used on its own or mixed with different types of wool, it is very sought after for making high-end menswear and womenwear. Mohair blankets are altogether lightweight and warm, and woven with curly thread, and then brushed. Example: F 2500 Teddy. See a product


Refers to a fabric with a glossy, wavy appearance created by calendering process. This shiny fabric lends itself admirably to wall hangings and curtains, but not to seat upholstery, as the constant rubbing induced by seating removes its watery look. Whether plain, striped or printed, moiré is an eye-catcher thanks to its forever changing shimmer. Example: F2230 Moire Princesse. See a product

MORRIS William (1834-1896)

This English designer founded the Art&Craft movement. He wished to introduce the decorative arts to a broader audience, as he felt the industrial revolution had, by standardizing the manufacturing of objects, privileged profit over beauty and quality. He was hoping for a general bloom in the field of creative craft. Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co, established in 1861, designed stained-glass works, wall papers and textiles. The firm subsequently changed names, and became Morris & Co. His designs cannot be separated from the passions he shared with his preraphaelite friends, among which Burne Jones: pre-renaissance painters and medieval art. His textile creations typically feature highly recognizable floral arabesques.


See “Style” entry.


This style incorporates all mountain-related fabrics, whether they were inspired by mountain living or simply made with warm material such as wool. See a product See a selection


This city was the epicentre of the French calico industry. Great textile industrialists such as Boussac, in Wesserling, both contributed to and drew inspiration from the archives of the local textile printing museum. See a product


The textile industry is always highly representative of the civilization it belongs to, as it is a hub for social, aesthetic and technical progress. But it is not until quite recently that people took conscience of this cross-cultural relevance. In recent years, many museums were created and dedicated to textile. To name just a few: The Jouy Print Museum in Jouy in Josas, The Historical Fabric Museum in Lyon, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, The Charles Deméry Museum in Tarascon, the Crozatier Museum in Puy-en-Velay, The Fabric Printing Museum in Mulhouse, The Tapestry Museum in Aubuson, The Fine Arts and Lace Museum on Alençon and Calais, the Museum of Arts and Industry in Saint-Etienne, The Old Nîmes Museum in Nîmes, The Museum of Bayeux Tapestry in Bayeux. Patrick Frey, a lover of history and art, contributed to this rediscovery of textile history: in 2003, he open an Archive department, whose aim is to preserve and showcase his collection of textile documents.


Refers to a type of plain weave, loose, thin, transparent fabric often used as a skimming device. Today, cotton or wool muslin may be printed with paisley patterns, and is ideal for table carpets, sofa spreads and net curtains. It is highly recommended not to use muslin for seat covers. See a product