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Glossary of textile decoration

RAFFIA MATTING

A tropical canvas, similar to Japanese grass cloth, woven from raffia palm fibres. A canvas with strong looks. Sizes are rather standardized: a width of 60 to 70 centimeters, a length of 120 to 140 centimeters.

RATIO

The overall dimensions (width and/or height) of a motif, whether woven or printed, that is being repeated all along a textile material. The ratio may be very small or very large (mostly for upholstery wall hangings, as it takes a minimum length to see the full motif).

RAW

Refers to a cotton or silk or wool fabric in its natural state, prior to bleaching and dyeing. Used for net curtains, it dims the light, and its plain cloth version is ideal for elegant curtains or seat covers. It is also great carpet material, as it easily lends itself to intricate patterns.

RAYON

Refers to an artificial fibre (viscose, acetate, cupro) that is so glossy it was labelled as the artificial silk. Chiefly used for net curtains.

REMNANT

A small length of fabric, usually shorter than five meters.

RENAISSANCE

See “Style” entry.

RENAISSANCE STYLE

During the Renaissance Era, embroidery, lampas, velvet, damas or brocatelle are very popular. Velvets fabrics adorned with gold arabesque patterns are all the rage. The most popular colours are red and green on a lighter background. Grenade patterns, often associated to wreathing branches, appear in Europe at the beginning of the XVth century, right when the triumph of velvet casts silk fabrics aside. Floral prints reach epic proportions. In the second half of the XVIth century, Spanish style invades Europe. Patterns go back to more humble proportions. See a product See a selection

REPS FABRIC

Refers to a cloth made of silk, wool, or cotton. It is woven in fine cords or ribs across the width of the piece. It is used for various upholstery purposes: in silk for wall hangings, in rayon, it is a basic and understated yet hardwearing and cheap fabric. See Ottoman and faille entries for horizontal ribs.

RESISTANCE

Refers to the ability of a fabric to resist when subjected to various destructive factors: abrasion, fire, light, wear & tear…See Quality entry.

RESPONSIVE/ STRETCHY

Refers to a fabric that gets more or less quickly back into its original shape after being naturally or chemically made out of shape.

REVERSIBLE

A term used for a fabric that can be used on both sides. It is recommended to use the term “double-faced” for upholstery fabrics, and the term “reversible” for garments.

RIBBED FABRIC

Refers to a textile composed of twisted fibres that, when woven, form a distinct pattern of tufted cords exhibiting a channel between the tufts. The most famous ribbed fabric is arguably Corduroy, which is a form of ridged velvet. See a product

RIBBON

A strip of fabric used for decoration. In satin, it ties and gathers a bolster. As appliqué, it is a fine ornament for a table cloth. As a ring, it dresses the top of a curtain.

RIBBON BOW

This typically XVIIIth century motif is very popular as a print, or placed on damas and moiré, or embroidered on terrycloth, rugs and needlestitched cushions. Made with taffeta, it elegantly hides a picture-hanging hook. Made with fabric, it can be turned into a tie-back. It is also used to tie a seat cushion to a chair, or a slipcover to a sofa. It adorns both sides of a partytime tablecloth. Pleated, it livens up a net curtain. Printed, it will be ideal in a Louis XVI style room. Example: Braquenié les bleuets. See a product

RIGHT SIDE

The face side of a fabric, or the sleekest looking one.

RUG CARPETS

They have been popular since High Antiquity: back ten, Oriental carpets, made from wool or silk, were already imported from Turkey, China, India or Iran, whilst Kilims were also very sought-after for their intense colours, flat appearance and geometrical patterns. Nepalese carpets are famous for their dark colours and velvety wool. Contemporary artists designed various tufted carpets that reinvented the genre. A type of carpet as traditional as needlepoint stitched carpets, with their trademark ribbon and flower patterns so typical of the XVIIIth century, can easily be made contemporary with XXth century motifs. Even heavily-patterned, frieze framed wall-to-wall carpets like Wilton or Axminster, can also be turned into a rug carpet. Check the neverending possibilities with the specialists from the Pierre Frey rugs and carpets department.