Fabrics at the heart of fashion creations

Last Updated 23 October 2018, 11:09 IST

Each fabric has its own special properties, texture and character. The following is a list of some of the key fabrics to look for in assembling a fall wardrobe.


Made of the fine hair from the undercoat of the longhaired Kashmir goat; the hair is woven or knitted into soft, luxurious fabrics used for coats, suits, scarves.

Camel Hair

This is fibre from a camel, ranging in colour from beige to brown. Used alone or blended with wool, it is made into woven or knitted material for coats, suits, and sweaters.


Plain or twill-weave fabric of cotton, rayon, polyester or a blend of these fibres, with a cut-pile surface of wide or narrow wales; used for sportswear, jackets, slacks, and coats.

Cavalry Twill

A sturdy worsted cloth with a raised 63 degree, diagonal-ribbed weave. Found in jackets and trousers made for outdoor use.


A worsted fabric with a crinkled or pebbly surface achieved in the weave or with the use of tightly twisted yarns, continues to be one of the most popular wool fabric; long a staple in womenswear, now becoming quite popular in menswear, especially formal wear. Crepe packs and travels very well.


Originally, a coarse woollen fabric woven of fibres from sheep native to the Cheviot Hills, on the Scottish-English border, now a rough herringbone-or twill-weave fabric of wool or a blend of fibres. This is used for suits, outer coats, and sportswear.

Gabardine Twill

This is a fabric of closely woven wool, polyester, rayon, cotton or blended fibres. It is made in solid or iridescent colours for suits, jackets, slacks, and raincoats.

Donegal Tweed

A tweed named for the northernmost country in Ireland. Originally handwoven, the fabric is characterised by thick twists of multicolour yarns woven in at random. Used for sports jackets, blazers, and coats.

Lambs wool

This is made of the soft fibres shorn from lambs up to seven months old. The fibres possess superior spinning qualities.


Tightly woven fabric with a napped surface that conceals the weave; usually of wool, but also available in blends of wool with polyester, rayon, cotton or other fibres. Probably from the Welsh gwlanen, woollen cloth.


Wool soft, fine, fleecy fibre from the merino sheep, which was originally bred in Spain and now thrives in the hot, dry areas of Australia. This exceptional wool has a smooth hand; used in knitwear.


A heavy woolen fabric, with tightly matted fibres that give it a felted hand. Usually nonlustrous in appearance, but various finishes may be applied to alter the fabrics look and feel. Primarily used in men's and women’s coats.

Virgin wool

Wool used in its unprocessed form after being clipped or shorn from the sheep.


Weave with a distinct diagonal rib on the fabric face; also, the name for the fabric woven this way. Popular twills include cavalry, covert, and gabardine.

Worsted Yarn is spun from combed and twisted long wool fibres; also, the closely woven, smooth-surfaced fabric made from this yarn. The name comes from Worsted (now Worstead), in Norfolk; England, where the fabric was first woven. Worsted wools hold their press very well.


This is a rich fabric with a short, thickest pile of silk, cotton or other fibre on a closely woven back of the same or different fibre; used for formal or casual jackets, robes, coats and sportswear.


General term for a hardworking wool fabric with a rough surface and a soft, pliable, yet firm texture. Heathery effects are achieved by adding coloured nubs before spinning. Various weights and patterns are popular in all types of sportswear and outwear.

(Published 23 October 2018, 11:01 IST)

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