More and more people are buying their fabrics from an online store. It often takes a while to find the right fabric. Fortunately, most online fabric stores have good search filters, such as color, design, fabric type, stretchable or non-stretchable, thickness and, last but not least: the price category.
Designs, prints or motif
An important filter is the design of the fabric. There used to be a subdivision into plain or non-plain, nowadays there are many 'motifs', 'prints' or 'designs' per fabric. Most designs speak for themselves: hearts, dots, diamonds, flowers or stripes. Everyone understands that!
But what about, for example, 'chains', 'ornaments', 'garland' or 'chevron'? Many different terms are mentioned. To save you some time, we have made a list below of designs that are increasingly used with certain terms.
Can't find the right design? Do not panic! Here we have an overview!
Paisley is an ornament-like print that is mainly based on the teardrop shape. The drop is always round at the top and tapering to the bottom. The paisley print comes in many shapes, colors and directions. The thread direction is therefore often less important, depending on the fabric type (cotton, jacquard, tweed or jersey).
Note: 'paisley' design is sometimes categorized in the retro or ornaments filters.
An ornament (Latin ornare en ornamentum) means: to decorate and adornment, and is a composition or decorative elements to decorate objects. Think curls of buildings, arches, circles and everything 'barok'.
The shape of ornaments on fabrics is always symmetrical, beautifully curled, styled and repeated continuously.
In contrast to 'Paisley', ornamented fabric often has a clear top and bottom, or direction of the fabric.
Ornaments are often based on emblems, family crests, French lilies and architectural shapes.
Herringbone is a design characterized by rows of stripes that go up and down at an angle of about 30 degrees. The pattern is best known in the tweed fabrics, where it was really created by a certain weaving technique.
But herringbone can also be found as designs on jersey, cotton and demin fabrics. Be careful with the thread direction with this fabric, if you are going to use the fabric for a sewing pattern!
Herringbone is also sometimes called 'chevron' or 'zigzag'. In Dutch is it called: 'visgraat'.
Pied-de-Poule or Houndstooth
Pied de poule, means chicken legs. Also called: houndstooth, or: dog teeth. There are a lot of terms for this symmetrical pattern. The pattern is usually in black and white but can come in many other color combinations as well. Always two-colored and characterized by broken squares in an abstract pointed shape. Absolutely symmetrical from large patterns to very small checks.
The design is very recognizable and is widely used for woolen fabrics, cotton and jersey. In a rare case, the design falls under 'chef's or baker's fabric', because the uniform (the trousers) of a cook is often made in this black and white pattern.
'Vichy checks' is also a two-tone check, but ordinary squares. It is often used to make custom patterns because the checks often have standard sizes and there is a good explanation on the patterns about how you can make the sewing pattern completely your own size. The squares are working here as an extra help with the sizes.
Vichy checks is mainly seen in cotton fabrics and soft chambray.
Animal or animal fur
Fabric designs 'animal motifs' cannot be compared to 'animal fur'. Animal fur is always the well-known tiger print, zebra stripe or the pattern of the skin of giraffes.
Sometimes the categories 'camouflage', 'safari' or 'army' fall under the same filter or category. The design animal fur is mainly found in colorful fabrics, from fake fur to real fur ...
Animal motifs can be anything, as long as an animal is recognizable.
Garland is used in multiple senses. On the one hand, 'garland' means nothing more than a flower garland. Wherever designs are flower garlands, this fabric is therefore called 'garland'.
But it also applies to slightly 'vintage'-style designs with the atmosphere of flowers depicted in soft colors and a romantic atmosphere.
Finally, 'garland' often coincides with 'Christmas fabrics'. This is mainly because Christmas is often associated with lights, garlands of flowers and lamps. The atmosphere is therefore also called 'garland'. Garland is therefore a broad concept and is used for several types of designs for fabrics.
Geometric designs have everything to do with circles, triangles, squares, pentagons, honeycomb, rectangles, triangles, etc. The designs are always symmetrical and usually multicolored. Sometimes there is a kind of 3D effect, the fabrics seem to give depth as soon as you look at them or the fabric moves.
Retro designs mainly remind us of the sixties and seventies. Bright colors, lots of orange, green, brown, pink and yellow. Round shapes, psychedelic or imaginative. Any letters are convex and open and are usually outlined.
Retro designs can also be adapted to this modern time. It is then a combination of the shapes and slightly more modern colors. Or the reverse: the typical, strong colors of the flower power era, cast in a slightly more modern design. Especially with dark blue, retro can be a very good combination. They are often ideal, cheerful designs for summery cotton fabrics.
In some cases 'Batik' also is known as retro design. Batik is the design of dyed fabric in the typical round shapes and colors that blend into each other.
Vintage designs for fabrics are often pale in color and look 'fragile' and old. They have beautiful floral motifs, old photos or just a combination of old-looking colors. You often see vintage designs on canvas or gobelin. They are timeless fabrics that always remain beautiful.
'Nature' also often falls under 'vintage'. These are often the fabrics with botanical drawings of flowers, leaves, birds, gardens and animals. The colors are never harsh, glaring or bright.
Last but not least:
The name says it all: the design is based on chains, watches, belts, horse bits and fringes which are print on the fabric. The 'chain' motifs have a chic look that is a bit 'Hèrmes' style.
In a few cases the design also falls under 'Chanel-like fabrics' because of the golden chain that symbolizes the classic famous 2.55 bag.
Fabric designs come in many colors, patterns and variations. From beautiful symmetry to an image that can be purchased in 'panels'. This means that the fabric is cut per image, which is for example 1.25 meters. The 'panel' is then not interrupted if it is sold from the roll. You do not buy the fabric per meter but per panel.
More and more search filters are being used to find the right fabric online at fabric stores. That is of course a good thing. We would like to keep you informed of new terms.
If you know a category / term that is not self-evident and is not listed here ...? Please let us know and we will gladly add to our list.