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I'm looking for the term for this type of fabric - where the contrasting pattern/relief is made from weave differences in a single color, rather than embroidery or the use of different colors of thread.

I know one exists, but I can't recall what it is and it's driving me crazy.

Sample, made with cotton

  • Textured facric ? A textured surface is not smooth, but has a particular texture, for example, it feels rough. collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/textured_1 – user66974 Oct 13 '16 at 21:45
  • Yes, it's a type of textured fabric - but there's a specific word for it. I want to say "jacquard" by analogy with the loom but I don't think that's it. – Arkaaito Oct 13 '16 at 21:48
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    I'm pretty sure it is called damask and, yes, it is woven on a jaquard loom. Damasks can be self-coloured (same coloured weft and warp threads), which is what you have in your picture. – Mick Oct 13 '16 at 22:06
  • @Mick - no, damask has different patterns and usually a heavier fabric as per the pictures from your link. – user66974 Oct 13 '16 at 22:10
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Your fabric is an example of a damask weave, probably in linen. It is difficult to tell from the image whether it is an ordinary (single) damask or a double damask.

The Wikipedia article linked to is not very helpful since it only shows furnishing damasks, which tend to be very heavy. The V&A website has plenty of examples of table linen but the images are not detailed since they are of entire pieces. Thomas Ferguson's website gives a much better impression of modern linen damasks.

Wikipedia: Damask

Victoria & Albert Museum: Linen damask napkin

Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen: Fine Irish linen damask

  • Great minds ;-) – 1006a Oct 14 '16 at 13:54
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I think you're thinking of damask. Your intuition that it's related to jacquard is on-point, since those looms can be used to make a "damask-look" material (see this post on The Dreamstress for a comparison of brocade, jacquard, and damask).

A general definition:

Damask (Arabic: دمسق‎‎) is a reversible figured fabric of silk, wool, linen, cotton, or synthetic fibres, with a pattern formed by weaving. Damasks are woven with one warp yarn and one weft yarn, usually with the pattern in warp-faced satin weave and the ground in weft-faced or sateen weave. (Wikipedia)

And from a textile-themed website article (emphasis mine):

[R]eal damask is actually a type of fabric which uses a variety of weaving techniques (most commonly satin and twill variants) to create areas of different sheen in the cloth. Because the different textures reflect light differently, the patterns show as variations in tone, and sometimes the weave is given even further emphasis by using different colours in the warp and weft. (Julie Gibbons, "History of Surface Design: Damask" PatternObserver.com)

Note that not all damasks are monochrome, and sometimes the term is used to describe patterns typical of some damask fabric (elaborate and scroll-y).

Some examples of damask table linens:

Google Image Search for damask weave linens


(And I just noticed that this has been answered in comments by @Mick while I was composing the answer; I'm going to post it anyway, in case folks want some additional references. I can make it a community wiki if that's the right etiquette.)

  • Well done. You're a lot quicker than me. – Mick Oct 13 '16 at 23:29
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How about dobby?

From Dictionary.com:

dobby: An attachment on a loom, used in weaving small patterns. / Also called dobby weave. A small geometric or floral pattern produced by this attachment. / A fabric having such a pattern.

Also see Wikipedia:

Dobby is a woven fabric produced on the dobby loom, characterised by small geometric patterns and extra texture in the cloth. The warp and weft threads may be the same colour or different. Satin threads are particularly effective in this kind of weave as their texture will highlight the pattern. [emphasis added]

I happen to some white dobby dress shirts, Polo by Ralph Lauren.

  • It would be possible to weave damask on a dobby loom but the patterns would be very small. Orginally, damasks would have been hand-woven. These days, they are made on computerised jacquard looms. – Mick Oct 14 '16 at 6:39
  • @Mick Thanks. Good to know. The patterns here do appear to be on the small side. – Richard Kayser Oct 14 '16 at 12:19

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