Glossary of textile decoration


Refers to a hemmed fabric used to cover a table during meals. Today, table cloths are very creative. Traditionally, tablecloths were made with white damask fabric, and sometimes embroidered and discreetly monogrammed. For festive occasions, they were rather made of linon fabric with coloured embroideries or appliqués. Today, they may be printed and made of bright damask with placed graphics. Attractive tablecloths may be made with a length of double width fabric or lightweight cotton cloth. One simply has to make sure the fabric is washable. See the Pierre Frey for Yves Delorme tablecloth range.


From “taftâ”, a Persina (Iran) word meaning “woven”. Refers to a lightweight silk cloth originating from China that has been travelling extensively. Its crisp and clean drape, its forever changing look, the rustling sound that its pleats make are some of its famous trademarks. Silk taffeta curtains have a charm that cannot be compared. Nowadays, less expensive viscose or bemberg taffetas are available, and can be used to make blinds or curtains that play with the light and make it crystal-clear. Among its many versions, two are particularly amusing: “Ring” taffeta is so lightweight and soft it may be passed through a ring, or “chameleon” taffeta, whose appearance is constantly changing. See a product


Refers to both a fine piece of craft made with special looms and used for upholstery purposes, and a handmade embroidery on canvas, that was very popular a past time for chic ladies in the XIXth century. This technique is associated with famous names: Flanders, Savonnerie, Beauvais, Aubusson or Gobelins. Some of them (Aubusson et Gobelins) are still active today. Ancient tapestries can be purchased from antique shops with a bit of luck, as they are not that easy to find. Pierre Frey and Braquenié archives feature many attractive designs that can be re-edited or customized for up to date versions that meet the high standards of know how set by tradition. Check the neverending possibilities with the specialists from the Pierre Frey rugs and carpets department.


Refers to a woven wool fabric with a highly emblematic pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in different colours. Tartans are associated with Scottish clans, and Scottish kilts almost always have Tartan patterns. It became popular for decorative purposes during the Victorina era. Today it is widely used for kids’ rooms, men’s studies. It is perfect to create a very “gentlemanly” atmosphere. See a product


Also known as Scottish check. A very singular checked pattern, usually coming in soft woollen material, which is closely associated with Scottish clans. Each clan has its specific and unique pattern. See a product


A cotton fabric with loops used for bath and beach towels. Its capacity to absorb water depends on the number of piles by square centimeter, which determine its weight. The heavier the cloth, the more water it will absorb. Terrycloth comes in many versions and colours: plain, with ciselé or embroidered patterns, printed, white or very colourful, striped or checked. Discover the Pierre Frey for Yves Delorme bath linen range.


Refers to a variety of mechanical or chemical treatments designed to give specific properties and/or its final appearance to a fabric. The choice of treatments is determined by the extent of the changes required by the fabric, and the fabric’s end uses. There are many different inishings, such as napping, waterproofing, printing, mercerisation, calendaring, size stabilization, dyeing…


A term that may apply to a large range of material, whether fibrous or threadlike, naturel or chemical, used to make textile items. I. Natural: 1-Vegetal: hemp, cotton, jute, linen, kapok, ramie, sisal 2-Animal : wool, silk, various types of hair… II Chemical: 1- Artificial a) regenerated cellulose: cupro-ammoniac, viscose, fibranne b) Cellulose esters: cellulose acetate, cellulose triacetate 2- Synthetic a) acrylic b) polyamide, polyester, polyurethane III Others: glass, metal, rubber…

THE 1940s

See "Style" entry See a product


A strong magnifier and a glass disc, which has a measuring scale engraved in it, are used to measure the number of weft and warp threads within a certain area of fabric (thread count).


Refers to a material that was wven or knitted with previously whitened or dyed threads. See Piece Dyed entry.


A piece of thread is a long and slender and typically cylindrical wisp that serves as a basis for all textile materials. Initially, a piece of thread was necessarily a wisp of linen, but today it may be made of various natural fibres. When weaved, a piece of thread is called a yarn, and may be used as a warp (upright thread) or as a weft (horizontal thread). It is crucial that the straight of grain runs parallel to selvage during the weaving process, to ensure good spreading out of the strain. Novelty yarns produce relief fabrics such as Douppioni. Mouliné thread is used mostly for trimming and lacemaking, as opposed to sewing thread. There are two types of thread. The first type is filament thread, which is made of uncut strands. Silk and all chemical fibres, whether artificial or synthetic, belong to that category. The second type is broken thread, which is made of short fibres. All animal or vegetal fibres, except for silk, along with all chemical fibres whose strand was cut at a certain length, belong to that category. It is important to determine whether chemical fibres are made of uncut or broken strand.


Refers to a loop of cloth or cord or a fabric strip, which is tied around a curtain to hold it open on one side. The most common kind of tieback are cords with a 2 centimeter diameter, to be passed through a ring on a hook attached to the wall. It may be made of the same fabric used for the curtain it ties, or braided, or adorned with glass shards or fabric flower garlands. Hempen Cloth tiebacks with white embroidery are very elegant, and so are the ones made of braid or delicate guipure by skilled passementiers. They can also be made of plain or ornate metal.


Fleece curtains will prevent cold draughts. Floor sweeping table-cloths will elegantly cover up ordinary trestles. Ask your upholsterer to save scraps of fabric, which may be used to cover a draft stopper, or made into a cushion or a lamp shade. A piece of terry velvet or tapestry may be turned into a proper needle- point rug with just a braided seam. A Boussac Bahia O7722 trim will spice up your bedspread thanks to its fleece reverse available in 25 colours. Wall hangings provide quality heat insulation and soundproofing. Hung or gathered curtains will dress up kitchen cupboards in a contemporary or traditional style, depending on your choice of fabric. Many fabrics in the Pierre Frey range, such as Trevira, are so easy to wash and care that they can be used in many different ways. Our skilled upholsterers and decorators can help you choose from our range the fabrics that are best suited to your budget and needs, click on “Store locator” to find them.


Refers to the lengthwise, edge to edge folding of a piece of fabric so the end width is exactly half of the initial one.

TO HANG (Curtains)

There are many ways to hang a curtain: one may use rings, hooks or eyelets to do so, all of which will adjust to a varied range of curtain rods (see Rod). Rings may be made with solid or lacquered or dark wood, golden brass, grey metal or synthetic resin. A Traverse Rod is equipped with hooks set into a rail to be pulled with a cord or a translucent rod that causes them to slide in. Curtains may be draped in various fashions : pleat, eyelet, node… Ask our Pierre Frey retail specialists.


Refers to a sewing technique similar to quilting. Topstitchings allows seams to follow closely the details of a pattern, thereby giving the fabric relief and extra-softness. Topstitching is typically used for bed spreads, but also does wonders with curtains, sofa covers, table mats and seat cushions, and even headboards, for extra-comfort.


Refers to the highly subjective feeling one feels when feeling with one’s hands a piece a fabric, in regards to the texture and consistency.


See “style” entry.


Patterns are inspired by ethnic patterns and folk cultures from all around the world: Latin America, Japan, Africa, Russia. See a product See a selection


This discreet and convenient item is very useful around the house, and also plays not so minor a part in achieving an harmonious-looking decor. Pierre Frey has long been using its emblematic patterns to create colourful or understated or contemporary-looking trays. Perfect as small gifts, they are available in small or large sizes. To discover the Pierre range tray range, click on Accessories.


A synthetic fibre and a registered trademark. It increases both the easycare quality and the fire resistance of the textile that is made from it. See Fireproof and Nonflammable entries. See a product


Just like paintings often imitate marble, leather, malachite, snakeskin or cloudy skies, upholstery fabrics also mimic many real-life materials. Upholstery fabrics may also create illusions, for instance deceivingly plain looking fabrics that are in reality discreetly and intricately printed or patterned, for a most becoming visual twist to your seats, wall hangings and curtains. Example: Sky. See a product


Upholstery finishing technique for seats, sofas, armchairs or footstools: the tuft yarns form a regular array of “dots” or “buttons”. Such a technique is altogether easier and less expensive than padding.


Refers to a lightweight, very fine cotton netting, with round or diamond knit. It takes its name from the city of Tulle, in southern France. It first appeared in France by the end of the XVIIIth century, and was manufactured in Cambrai, then in Calais in the early XIXth century. It is used for making mosquito net or curtains. When coloured, Tulle netting is also very popular for festive table cloths.


Refers to a carded woollen fabric with typical flecks of colour, which takes its name from the river that is a natural border between England and Scotland. It is available in a wide range of weights and colours. In the English-speaking world, it is also called Donegal.


Twill weave is one of the three basic weaves. It is characterized by ribs and ridges running across the selvages. See weave. See a product


Refers to two or more plain threads that have been twisted together as one, and by extension, a fabric made with such threads. Hard-wearing fabrics are usually woven with both twisted weft and warp threads. Warp threads only may be twisted, in order not to exceed a set budget.