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Glossary of textile decoration

PALAMPORE

Refers to panels made of a central piece featuring a tree of life or a repetitive pattern, with a rather wide border adorned with a floral or animal motif. The Pierre Frey historical collection features seventeen palampores, including seven that we re-edited for Braquenié. The founding of the East India French Company in 1664 by Colbert played a key role in the spreading in France of these lightweight and colourful fabrics that met a resounding success. Printed cloths come in two styles: pieces of fabric that typically are about 20 metres wide, and panels, known as palampores. They are used as wall hangings or bed covers. They were a very-sought after item as far back as the late XVIIth century, and the demand only grew from then on: 700 in 1682, 2406 in 1683 and 7286 in 1784.

PALLé

Refers to a stitching technique that was already popular in the Middle Ages: layers of fabrics are stitched together lengthways, patchworkstyle. The same technique is used in Africa. Today, even the most sophisticated interior designers and upholsterers use it to make many-coloured striped fabrics that are dazzling and unusual when used as curtains. Click on store locator for further info. Example: fabric Caraïbes F2620. See a product

PANAMA

Refers to a basketweave fabric (open and breathable) inspired by the weaving technique used to make panama hats. Its surface is entirely made of little squares that can be either even or uneven. Panama is perfect material for canvas embroidery.

PANNE

Refers to a fabric that is ideally made from silk, but can also be made from other material such as chemical fibers. Panne looks like a type of velvet, yet very shiny and with reclining hair. The length of the hair ranges between that of velvet and that of plush. Its appearance reminds one of animal fur or bird plumage. Soft and hard-wearing, it is recommended for seats. Example: Fadini Bagheria.

PANTHER

Refers to a Tachisme Art like pattern that appeared during the Louis XV era, and became highly popular during the first French Empire and the reign of Napoleon III, and all the rage when the Oriental style frenzy kicked in in the XIXth century. Typically coming in velvet, it imitates panther skin. Seats, X-shaped stools, foot stools, sofa cushions and other small items look beautiful upholstered in Panther patterned fabrics, especially when associated with malachite green. Wool carpets made with panther velvet are also available, and they look great in a small-sized room. Check with our experts from the Pierre Frey rugs and carpets department. See a product

PASSEMENTERIE OR ORNAMENTAL TRIMMING

Initially, passementerie simply consisted in braids used to adorn garments or wall hangings, but it quickly bloomed into a craft. Today, passementerie craft is used to adorn and enhance curtains, sofas, wall hangings and cushions in sophisticated interiors like the ones designed by Jacques Grange, for instance. Trimmings may come in many forms: cord, tasselled tie-back, cartisane, fringe, braided cord, plait… Meant to be coordinated with a Braquenié print, passementerie, when handcrafted by skilled upholsterers, will bejewel a room.

PATCHWORK FABRIC

Refers to a fabric made with ill-assorted pieces of fabric stitched together edge to edge, created by American pioneers initially to save money. Some prints or jacquards imitate very well the random and mismatched charm of this popular textile craft. Pierre Frey offers a whole range of sleek, custom-made variations, so you can create your own easily.

PEKING

As indicated by its name, this ancient, gouache-painted silk fabric came from China. It was made with wide, matted and glossy stripes, sometimes adorned with flowers or butterflies. Madame de Pompadour was very keen on peking, and used it to upholster her seats. Vertical stripes are produced by the juxtaposition of either alternating matted and glossy material or contrasted coloured material, or both. Initially made from silk, it is today available in all textiles. The contrast between stripes in plain fabrics is created by the use of different weaves, each reflecting the light in a specific fashion. That contrasting quality can be further enhanced by using thread dyed in two different colours. Stripes can also be created by using thread made from two different materials that react differently to dyeing. See a product

PERCALE

Refers to a closely woven plain weave fabric, originating from Persia (it is known as “Parkala” in Iran). It may be printed with flowers, fruit, leaves, paisley. When glazed through calendering process, percale is called chintz (see entry), thereby acquiring a subtle and fresh look. Percale is also often used for bed covers. See a product

PERSIAN CLOTH

Refers to a kind of printed calico, which was the very first printed fabric. Typically printed with paisley, arabesque or stylized flower motifs. Today, it brings a subtle touch of exoticism to your home. You can order a re-print based on one of the ancient documents kept in the Pierre Frey archives, have it updated, and even recoloured. Whether coming in its classic form, or in a contemporary rearrangement, Persian cloth is altogether stylish and unpretentious. Example: Bracieux by Pierre Frey. See a product

PICK & FILLING

A pick is a unit based on a single weft yarn interlacing with a single warp yarn. Within a ceratin length unit (within selvages). This unit is called a Pick, and is used to measure how tight the fabric is. The overall number of Picks (or weft yarns) per centimetre is used to define the contruction of the fabric. See Contruction. Pick count: number of Picks within a length unit, typically a centimetre, as in “15 picks per centimetre”. The length of thread left by a single loop of weft. The filling is the number of warps within a set dimension (reduction).

PICOT

Refers to tiny marks lined up along the edges of a fabric. The marks are made by needles designed to stabilize the fabric’s width while it undergoes various post-finishing treatments.

PIECE DYED

Refers to a raw material that was entirely plunged into a dye bath. As a result, pefect colour homogeneity is achieved. See thread dyed entry.

PIECE OF FABRIC

Refers to a set length of fabric, used by the manufacturer as a retail unit. The term “piece” is quite vague, as it includes many different lengths. In France, a piece of cotton had a length of 100 meters, that of broadcloth was about 50 meters, whilst a piece of silk had a standard length of 35 meters. But things were different in England for instance. Nowadays, the term is still used in most catalogues, especially for discount sales, it is highly recommended when buying a piece of fabric to specify the number of meters desired rather than the number of pieces.

PINSTRIPE

Refers to a pattern consisting of thin, vertical stripes or lengthwise parallel ribs. May also refer to a plain weave fabric with coloured yarns for the stripes and typically white yarns for the background. Pinstripe pattern may also be printed. Example: Fadini Gilda. Velvet fabrics with a pinstripe pattern are called Velvet needlecords. Carpet: The House of Bracquenié is famous for its emblematic and everlasting pinstriped carpet. See a product

PIPING TRIM

Refers to a fabric-made edging or border, placed in between two stitched pieces of fabric, so the piping shows through the cut-outs in the top layer. Use contrast colours or different fabrics for more definition.

PIQUé

Also known as Marcella. Refers to a quilted fabric with a double warp, whose patterns (diamond, arabesque, honeycomb) are in relief. Piqué may be made from various materials, though we recommend pure white cotton piqué, which is perfect for bedspreads, as it is easycare whilst looking like it was needle-stitched. Made from silk, it is quite fancy. This fabric quite similar to boutis is also available in a large colour range. Piqué is sold by the meter in standard width (140 cms) or double width (280 cms). Example F2656 Muscari, B7359 Monbazillac, B7542 Mirambeau. See a product

PLACEMENT PRINT

A single graphic placed according to the nature of the item to be manufactured. Different techniques may be used (the graphic may be printed, embroidered or figured…). For instance, Pierre Frey cushions come in exclusive prints all featuring a special placement print to avoid imitation: you will recognize them right away thanks to the Pierre Frey logo stamped on at least one side. See a product

PLAID BLANKET

Originally a heavyweight, warm, checked blanket, used by the Scots to wrap the upper part of the body with. Today, it is available in braided or fringed versions, and it can be made of mohair, cashmere or flannel. Casually thrown on a sofa or an armchair, or used when travelling, it is highly versatile. Click on Accessories to discover the large range of plaid blankets by Pierre Frey.

PLAIN FABRICS

In upholstery, plain fabrics are the indispensable counterpart of prints and patterns. The Pierre Frey range of fabrics and colours to choose from is so wide it allows endless combinations. Check our online catalogue. See a product

PLAIN WEAVE

The simplest of the three basic weaves (See Weave entry), and also the most hard-wearing. This term includes a wide range of fabrics (rubber cloth, oil cloth, broadcloth, Jouy, Denim…), from very basic to highly sophisticated, used for many different purposes. Although many fine fabrics are plain weave fabrics (Shantung, taffeta), somehow the term is wrongly associated with rustic, rough looking material such as broadcloth or percale. See a product

PLEATED / PLEAT

Refers to a flat and repetitive waving of a fabric. Pleats only are “permanent” when made from Polyester. The most famous type of pleat is the “Fortuny”, mostly used for net curtains, though skilled upsholsterers might also suggest sunray pleat, or accordion pleat. Pleated flounces are most becoming on cushions and table carpets, or placed on the lower part of curtains and swags. Flat pleats are perfect for headboards.

PLUMETIS #2

Refers to a type of relief embroidery stitch mostly used with cotton fabrics.

PLUSH

From Italian “peluccio”, a word derived from latin “pilus” (hair). This velvet-type or knitwear-type fabric (one “background” warp and one “hair” warp, united by a same weft) features long hair on one side, and may be made from any material, whether pure or blended. While velvet has cut piles, plush has long, glossy, reclining ones. Plush is mostly used to imitate animal fur. Check the Pierre Frey plush range for your beds and sofas, or to decorate a ski lodge.

POCHAGE

Refers to the more or less reversible overstretching of a fabric, due to the mechanically-induced slackening of fibres. All Pierre Frey fabrics are designed to avoid pochage.

POCKET FABRIC

Refers to a kind of “double-faced” fabric, to be used indifferently on both sides, one side being the exact opposite of the other in terms of colour and motif lay out.

POMPADOUR

The Marquise de Pompadour was King Louis XV’s mistress. A great patron of the arts, she commissioned many famous painters and china manufacturers and cabinetmakers. When it came to textiles, she favoured floral motifs (especially bouquets and roses), and was very keen on fabrics like damas, moiré and “Pompadour”calicos.

PONGEE FABRIC

Initially refers to a lightweight, piece-dyed, taffeta weave fabric, with raw silk warp and weft, originating from the Far East. By extension, any artificial or synthetic lightweight fabric. See Shantung.

POP

See “Style” entry.

POP STYLE

This art movement was initiated in Britain in the 1960s. Artists were inspired by the consumer society. Today, this term refers to colourful, playful designs. See a product See a selection

POPLIN

Refers to a plain weave fabric with thin yet visible ribs that run across the fabric from selvage to selvage. This appearance is due to the use of very thin yet very dense warp yarns (with a density up to three times higher than weft yarns), and of significantly thicker weft yarns. High quality poplin may is obtained with plied weft and warp, and is made from Egyptian brushed cotton. Chiefly used for the manufacturing of lightweight yet hardwearing shirt, cotton poplin is also used as printing support for some Braquenié prints.

PRINCE OF WALES CHECK/ GLEN PLAID

Refers to a design of small and large checks linked to one another with vertical and cross stripes. The thiner the thread, the smaller the pattern. Typically available in black and white or navy and white, and made from wool, modern day princes of wales check is now available in a broad range of colour and fabric variations.

PRINTED BORDERS

Traditional printed calico fabrics from India often featured trimmed selveges, which are most likely the inspiration for the printed borders that adorn the edges of a patterned piece of fabric. Upholsterers can cut them up to tailor tiebacks or pelmets. Example: Braquenié. See a product

PRINTED CALICO

Refers to a plain woven textile made from cotton that is printed or dyed ou painted, and which originates from India. They are also sometimes called Chintz or Persian Cloth. Printed calico first came to France in the XVIth century. However, it only became fashionable during the second half of the XVIIth century, for three major reasons: The East India French Company, founded in 1664 by Colbert, guaranteed a steady supply. The trade between France and the East intensified. Calicos were lightweight, colourful and did not shrink or bleed when washed. They became so successful that Silk and Wool manufacturers started complaining and a Court ruling on October 26, 1686 banned altogether the manufacturing, trading and buying of printed calico. But the prohibition only led to a greater success, and black market sales soared. The ban was finally lifted in 1759, as it had proved utterly inefficient. France immediately became a hotbed for calico manufactories, including the Jouy-en-Josas one. Calico motifs are usually divided in two styles: all over the surface of the cloth, or by patches. (B1756 le Grand Génois, B1900 Pondichéry). See a product

PRINTED/PRINTING

Refers to a fabric with patterns or motifs produced by direct application of the colour onto the cloth. This technique was originally invented in India (see printed calico entry. There is historical evidence that printed calico was already around in 2500/1500 BC) and reached France in the XVIIIth century. Jouy-en-Josas, Nantes, Rouen, Boreaux and the Alsace region were the main wood block printing centres. Today, printing is mostly performed with engraved plates, rollers, silksreens or Inkjet. The sophistication of the pattern chosen determines how many times engraved plates will have to be used, and the cost of the process as a result. Each Pierre Frey pattern comes with a precise break up of all colours used, which allows one to choose colours for a room accordingly. Floral prints are the most popular. Larger patterns should only be used for rooms with significant clearance. Quality print is visually steady, and does not cause your vision to blur. The Pierre Frey show rooms are the perfect place where to choose fabrics, and truly see what they actually look and feel like. See a product

PROVENCE

This region inspired many prints. Provençal calicos (also called boutis) are reminiscent of a land blessed with glorious sunshine and the smell of lavender. Only a fraction of the Provence prints or fabrics available today are actually based on XVIIIth century documents, the rest being more or less successful variations. Provençal calicos will add a touch of provençal style to your home. As printed calicos were banned in France in 1686 (see Printed calico entry) fabric printers from the Avignon area used the fact that Avignon was located in Pontifical territory to develop a local know-how for patterns (seedlings, paisley, palms, friezes) and colours.