A Guide to Worldwide Fabric Types All of Which We Can Work With


Velvet is a luxurious fabric known for its soft, plush texture and rich appearance. It has been used in textiles for centuries and comes in various types and styles. The term "velvet" refers to the construction of the fabric, characterized by a dense pile of evenly cut fibers. There are several types of velvet, each with distinct characteristics. Here are some of the most common types and their origins:

  1. Silk Velvet: Silk velvet is one of the most luxurious and highly prized forms of velvet. It is made from silk fibers and is known for its softness, sheen, and rich texture. Silk velvet has a long history and was originally produced in China.

  2. Rayon Velvet: Rayon velvet is a synthetic velvet made from rayon fibers. It is designed to mimic the look and feel of silk velvet and is more affordable. Rayon velvet is used in a wide range of applications.

  3. Cotton Velvet: Cotton velvet is made from cotton fibers and is often used for more casual or practical applications. It has a soft, plush texture and is less shiny than silk velvet.

  4. Velveteen: Velveteen is a cotton fabric designed to imitate velvet. It has a shorter pile and is typically less expensive than true velvet. Velveteen is used for various clothing and upholstery applications.

  5. Crushed Velvet: Crushed velvet is a type of velvet that has been crushed or pressed to create a pattern of irregular, textured lines. It is available in various fiber types, including silk and synthetics.

  6. Panne Velvet: Panne velvet is known for its high-gloss finish, achieved by pressing the fibers in one direction. It has a reflective quality and is often used in eveningwear and costumes.

  7. Devoré or Burnout Velvet: Devoré or burnout velvet is created by chemically dissolving certain fibers in the fabric, leaving behind a semi-transparent pattern. This type of velvet is often used for decorative purposes.

  8. Embossed or Patterned Velvet: Embossed velvet features patterns or designs that are pressed or embossed into the fabric's surface. It adds texture and depth to the material.

  9. Lyocell or Tencel Velvet: Lyocell or Tencel is a sustainable and eco-friendly material often used to make modern velvet fabrics. It offers a soft, smooth texture and is known for its durability.

The production of velvet has a long history that includes various regions, from ancient China, where silk velvet originated, to the Middle East and Europe. Today, velvet is produced worldwide using different fibers and methods. The type of velvet chosen depends on the desired application, style, and budget.


Crewel embroidery is a traditional form of surface embroidery that involves using a loosely twisted two-ply wool thread on a plain woven fabric like linen. It is characterized by its intricate and often Jacobean or floral designs. The term "crewel" is derived from an Old English word "cleow" or "clewe," which means a ball of yarn. Crewelwork has been practiced for centuries and has evolved into various styles and techniques. While there may not be numerous distinct types of crewel, there are various regional styles and historical periods associated with this embroidery technique. Here are some of the notable variations:

  1. Jacobean Crewelwork: Jacobean embroidery is a style that emerged during the reign of King James I (early 17th century) in England. It features intricate, nature-inspired designs with flowing vines, leaves, and flowers.

  2. Colonial American Crewelwork: This style of crewel embroidery was practiced by early American settlers, particularly during the Colonial and Federal periods. It often featured motifs like animals, birds, and colonial-style homes.

  3. Elizabethan Crewelwork: Elizabethan crewelwork was popular during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (late 16th century) and is characterized by ornate, highly stylized designs with animals, figures, and fantastical creatures.

  4. Indian Crewel Embroidery: In India, crewelwork has a long history, with distinct regional variations. It is known for its use of vibrant colors and intricate patterns. Kashmiri crewelwork, in particular, is famous for its exquisite embroidery.

  5. Contemporary Crewelwork: Modern crewelwork continues to evolve, with contemporary embroiderers creating their own designs and incorporating crewel techniques into a wide range of projects, from wall hangings to fashion items.

The specific types and styles of crewel embroidery can vary based on cultural influences, historical periods, and regional traditions. While crewelwork is typically associated with England, it has been adapted and adopted by various cultures around the world, each adding its own unique twist to this timeless embroidery technique.


African lace fabrics come in many styles and designs, and they are especially popular for traditional and formal wear across the African continent. While it's challenging to provide an exhaustive list of all African lace types, I can mention some of the most well-known and widely used varieties of African lace fabrics:

  1. Guipure Lace: Also known as "cord lace" or "chemical lace," Guipure lace is a heavy lace fabric with a raised pattern. It is often used for formal occasions and bridal wear.

  2. Aso-Oke: Aso-Oke is a traditional Yoruba fabric from Nigeria, and it includes intricately woven lace fabrics, often in vibrant colors. It is commonly used for special events like weddings and festivals.

  3. George Fabric: George fabric is often used in Nigeria for special occasions and events. It is a colorful lace fabric, frequently featuring geometric patterns and motifs.

  4. French Lace: French lace is a delicate and finely detailed lace fabric that is popular for bridal gowns and other formal wear in Africa.

  5. Swiss Voile Lace: Swiss voile lace is known for its intricate embroidery and openwork designs. It is favored for celebratory occasions and is widely used in African fashion.

  6. Net Lace: Net lace fabrics feature a netted or mesh-like pattern with intricate embroidery. They come in various colors and are used for elegant dresses and ceremonial wear.

  7. Dry Lace: Dry lace, often used for Nigerian traditional attire, features intricate cutwork and patterns. It is lightweight and suitable for hot climates.

  8. Cotton Lace: Cotton lace fabrics are comfortable and breathable, making them a popular choice for everyday wear and traditional African attire.

  9. Voile Lace: Voile lace is characterized by its soft, lightweight texture and is commonly used in African fashion for casual and formal clothing.

  10. Blouse Lace: Blouse lace is often used to make blouses and tops, especially for traditional African outfits. It comes in various patterns and colors.

  11. Velvet Lace: Velvet lace combines lace with soft velvet fabric, creating a luxurious and textured look. It's suitable for special occasions.

  12. Tulle Lace: Tulle lace is a delicate, fine net lace fabric often used for wedding gowns and special event clothing.