Textile lover's diary



Paisley. Designs, printed or woven, which imitate patterns in Paisley shawls.

Paisley Fabric Motif

Persia is credited as being the first country known to have created boteh designs that have since come to be known as paisley motifs. Boteh is an anglicized version of the Hindi word, buta, which means “flower.” These stylistic shapes were incorporated onto the surface of fabrics that originated during the Safavid Dynasty of Persia (1501-1736). Later, the design was quite popular with Iranian weavers during the Qajar Dynasty (1795-1925). Paisleys made a comeback in the 1960s, and most especially, in the 1990s when they were utilized in wallpaper, ties, and other wearing apparel. In earlier times, Kashmiri (paisley) shawls were given as part of a dowry, or for a ceremonial occasion.

Pajama cloth. Barred dimity or nainsook used for pajamas and athletic underwear for men, women and children.
Palm Beach.* Trade named fabric first used at Palm Beach resorts for men's suits. Light weight, cool and durable; cotton warp with mohair filling; yarn-dyed, often striped, white, light or dark color; launders. Uses: men's and women's summer outing suits. Weave—plain, twill or fancy. Width, 36", 56".
Panama. Smooth, firm worsted similar to nun's veiling only closer and heavier; worsted yarns hard twisted; piece-dyed; very durable. Uses: dresses, skirts, suits. Weave— plain. Width, 48", 54".
Panama cloth, (millinery fabric). Closely woven fabric of cotton similar to flexible net, wiry and elastic. Color, usually deep cream, Uses: brims and crowns of hats, Weave— basket.   Width, 40".  See Flexible net.
Panne. (Fr. pr. pan). Light-weight velvet with "laid" or flattened pile.
Paper cambric.  See Cambric (lining).
Paper fabrics. Materials made entirely or in part from twisted paper.   Germany and Japan make paper fabrics.
Peau de Cygne. Obsolete silk fabric.
Peau de Soie . French, skin of silk. Strong, firm, leather-like fabric with dull satiny surface. Woven like grosgrain but with the rib so fine that it produces smooth twill face. Wears well. Uses: drosses, coats, trimmings, facings for men's dress coats. Weave—twill. Width, 21", 36".
Penelope canvas. See cross stitch canvas.
Pepper and Salt. Mixed color effect in woolen and worsted produced with black and white dyes, one or more ply of white is twisted with one or more of black.
Percale. Closely woven, printed cotton fabric, stiff finish, heavier, finer and wider than calico. Service depends on yarn count. Typical counts, 64x60, 72x76, 80x80 in the gray. Count differs after finishing processes. Printed either by direct or discharge method. May be all white. Uses: women's and children's dresses, men's shirts, boys' blouses, aprons.  Weave—plain.  Width, 36".
Percaline. Fine, thin piece-dyed cotton lining material, sized and highly calendered or moired. White or colored. Use: linings.  Weave—plain. Width, 36".
Persian lawn. Fine, white, sheer, cotton fabric similar to India linon only thinner, finer, and with a high polish. Stiffer and firmer than batiste. Not so sheer as organdy. Practically off the market. Uses: waists, neckwear, dresses. Weaver—plain. Width, 32".
Pick. A filling or weft yarn or one throw of the shuttle across the warp.
Pick glass. Small, folding, magnifying glass used for making yarn count. Also called cloth glass and linen glass or tester. (See page 129.).
Picot (pr. pee-co). French for splinter of wood. A small loop on the edge of ribbon or a purl on lace. A picot edge may also be produced by a hemstitching machine.
Piece-dyed. Cloth dyed after weaving.
Pile. Fabric having a surface made of upright ends as in fur. Pile may be made of extra warp yarns as in velvets and plushes or of extra filling yarns as in velveteens and corduroys. Pile may be uncut as Brussels carpet. Warp pile may cause loops on both sides as in terry (Turkish toweling). Cf. Nap.
Pilot cloth. Heavy wool coating having a kersey finish. As the name implies, used for coats for sea-faring men. Weave-twill. Width, 56".
Pima cotton (pr. pee-ma). Grown in southern California and Arizona from Egyptian seed. Long staple fibre, lighter in color than Egyptian.
Pina cloth (pr. pee-nya). Thin and transparent fabric made from pineapple fibre in Philippine Islands.
Pique. Stout cotton fabric usually in white with raised cords or welts running lengthwise. Originally cords were from selvage to selvage. See Bedford cord. Fancy mercerized stripes in figures may be introduced. Durability depends upon closeness of weave. Easily laundered; gives a tailored effect. Uses: infants' coats, carriage robes for summer, cravats, trimmings, skirts, dresses. Weave—fancy. Width, 27", 36".

Plain knit or flat knit. Simplest knit structure as in hose. Distinguished from rib knitting, warp knitting and fancy stitches.
Plain weave. The simplest of the fundamental weaves. Each filling yarr, passes alternately under and over each warp yarn. Examples: muslin, taffeta, voile. Same as tabby.
Plated. Knit goods having face of one kind of yarn as worsted and back of another, usually lower priced, as cotton. The principle is similar to plated silver ware. The more expensive material appears on the surface.


Flat pleats: parallel folds lifted from the surface of the fabric and laid down to the side
Projecting pleats: fold lifted from the surface and arranged so that they stand out from the fabric itself.
Acoordion pleats: made by folding alternately in and out creating projecting pleats. (the kind used for smocking)
Wrinkled pleats: irregular ridges made by securing damp, bunched fabric and leaving it to dry.

Plisse (pr. plee-say). French for plaited. Puckered or crinkled effect given to fine cotton goods in the finishing process. See Plisse crepe.
Plush. Cut or uncut pile fabric having a pile of greater depth than
Poiret twill (pr. pwa-ray).   Fine, worsted dress fabric named
for the well known French dress designer,  Paul Poiret.
Fabric is similar to gabardine only finer and smoother;
beautiful texture.   Soon wears shiny.   Uses:  dresses, suits.
Weave—twill. Width, 54".
 Polka dot. Round printed, woven or embroidered dots of any
size forming a surface pattern.
 Polo cloth.* Trade named fabric of camel's hair in natural
color or dyed;   napped imitations of polo cloth* sold by
other names.   Uses:   sports wear for men and women.
Weave—twill. Width, 54".
 Pompadour. Dainty floral pattern, printed or woven. Usually
in silk.  Named for Madame Pompadour.
 Pongee.   Corruption of two Chinese words which signify
"native color'' because applied to silks which were not supposed to take the dye easily.
I. Fabric made of wild silk in the natural, tan color. Originated in China. Now made mostly in Shantung province on hand looms. Name Shantung applied loosely to a grade of pongee and to machine made cotton and silk combination and cotton imitations of pongee. Chinese pongee usually has rough yarns making an interesting texture. The practice of finishing with rice powder, which gives a dull effect, has been carried to excess resulting in adulteration of the silk; this fault of Chinese pongee has made it less salable than the1 Japanese product. Tussah, a Hindu word for a species of worm native to India, also refers to a variety of silk worms in China. Term is used loosely as a fabric name for a grade of pongee.
Japanese pongee is rapidly replacing Chinese pongee in this country because of its standard quality and freedom from rice powder finish. The grade is indicated by momme weight. Bolts are 5° yards in length. Pongee is washable but loses much of its beauty after repeated washing which brings out a lustre. It should be dry when ironed to prevent stiffness which is not natural to the fabric. Pongee may be dyed certain colors but will fade in the sun.  Name incorrectly applied to many and varied materials. Uses: curtains, shirts, bloomers, slips, linings, dresses, art needlework and hand dyeing. Weave—-plain.  Width, 27", 32".

2. Cotton pongee imitates genuine pongee, made of wild silk. The fabric may be all cotton or have spun silk or rayon filling. It may have a smooth texture or rough, uneven yarns when it is usually called Shantung. May be highly mercerized. See Soiesette. Uses: same as above.

Poplin. Named from "papeline" a 15th century fabric woven
at Avignon, France, in compliment to the reigning pope.
Originally made in silk for church vestments and hangings.
1.         Pine, cotton ribbed fabric, usually mercerized. Launders and wears well unless weave is loose which causes "slipping" of yarns. White and piece-dyed. Fades except in fast color fabric. Uses: dresses, children's suits, uniforms, hangings. Weave—plain. Width, 27", 32", 36".
2.         Ribbed silk fabric having cords or filling of worsted, silk rayon or cotton. Worsted is commonly used, cotton filled poplin is inferior for service and beauty. Yarn or piece-dyed. Some silk poplins have the fault of "slipping". Otherwise very durable. Does not wrinkle or gather dust. Uses: dresses, coats, suits, trimmings. Weave—plain (corded). Width, 40".
3.         Worsted fabric similar to panama except for corded effect; excellent wearing quality. Uses: dresses, suits Weave—plain. Width, 44", 48", 54".
Priestley.  Well known English manufacturer whose worsted
fabrics are sold by that name.
 Print.  General term for a printed cotton fabric.
 Prints.   Small printed patterns on cotton cloth often called Grandmsther prints.
 Puritan prints, a trade name. Drapery
fabrics as cretonne and chintz with printed designs are
often called "prints".
 Printed linen drapery fabrics. Originally hand block printed,
now mostly machine printed.  Cost, largely determined by
design and color. Weave—plain. Width, 30", 32", 36", 50".
Printing. Stamping a pattern with dye on warp or fabric with
wood block  (hand  method)  or  engraved  copper rollers
(machine method).
1.         Direct printing. The same principle as in paper printing. Separate engraved roller is required for each color.
2.         Discharge or extract. Method used for dark prints having white or light designs. Cloth is piece-dyed, color is discharged or bleached in spots leaving white design. Ex.: blue calico with white dots. Dots tend to drop out after wear if the cloth has been weakened by chemicals.
3. Resist. Principle used in batik dyeing (a hand process). Substances which will resist the dye are applied to cloth in designs.  Then cloth is dipped in dye.   "Resists,"  as wax or certain clays, are then removed. May be repeated for many-color   effect.   A  combination of   the  above methods may be used.   The resist process is somewhat used commercially.
 Prunella.  Strong, smooth finished worsted cloth; yam-dyed. Plain or striped.  Uses:  dress goods, scholastic and ecclesiastical gowns;   heavy grade formerly for women's shoe tops.  Weave—twill or satin.  Width, 42", 54".
Pulled wool. Taken from pelts of dead animals by chemical means.  Inferior to sheared wool.
Pure dye. An unweighted dyed silk.
Pussy Willow.*   See Radium.


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