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I like the look of patterns that are created using different colors of thread rather than printed on top of the fabric, but I've had some difficulty searching for such fabric online.

Here are some examples of what I'm looking for from my closet.

Woven Plaid Dot pattern on right side, dashed lines on wrong side Every weft thread is a different color

I've done some research and found several possible search terms

  • Jacquard fabric: Describes weaving process. Is a little too specific as a jacquard loom wouldn't be used for plaids for example
  • Homespun fabric: "Homespun is a lightweight fabric of fine cotton yarns, produced by using traditional colornial techniques of hand dying, warping, weaving and washing" Def. from Miller Home Goods Is a little too general since it includes dyed fabric

Is there a general term to describe woven patterns? Or what more specific terms would apply to the fabric samples above?

  • Again not right but might help someone to think about the right one: Damast weaves, which are often one colour only but can be in different colours. – Willeke Apr 8 '18 at 9:40
  • Try textile pattern or woven design and see if those give you the result you're looking for. – Little Girl Jun 12 '18 at 0:33
  • The bottom one is a Tabby weave with a multi coloured warp – SAM A Jun 21 '18 at 23:30
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Another term that is relevant is yarn dyed. A plaid can be "dyed in the wool" ie the yarn or thread is dyed before weaving or a plaid design can be printed.

There are lots of interesting patterns that can be created in the weaving process and many ethnic traditions. Ikat or tie dying the thread before weaving is another technique used to create pattern that has been used around the world. Weaving is pretty complicated, you might like checking out some books on different techniques and loom types or the history of weaving. "Hand weaving" might also be a good search term if you are interested in ethnic traditions.

  • I love the connection to the well known saying. I'm not so interested in researching weaving techniques as I am in buying woven fabric for sewing projects. So far, my most successful searches are for specific weaving traditions rather than a general overarching term, so this is still a good answer. – Cecilia Jun 13 '18 at 22:53
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I can't find any definitive information, but having looked every reference to woven patterns just refers to them as...woven patterns - likewise, printed patterns are referred to as printed patterns or 'prints'.

Regarding the (really rather small) pictures you've included:

  • The left picture shows what appears to be what is probably some form of tartan or plaid overlying a herringbone weave.
  • The middle picture shows a couple of different types of pinstripes
  • The right hand picture shows another set of stripes

If you can update your post with bigger pictures, I (or someone else) might be able to give a better answer.

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    The image size is specified by the letter at the end of the url. If you remove the 's', you'll get the full size image, which I thought was too large for the post. For example, i.stack.imgur.com/n1720s.jpg changes to i.stack.imgur.com/n1720.jpg – Cecilia Apr 17 '18 at 11:20
  • Thanks, I didn't know that. I think an image showing more of the cloth (rather than the same piece at higher resolution) might still be helpful too. – walrus Apr 17 '18 at 12:10
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    I edited the images so the thumbnails show in the post (your instinct to include the small was good!) but if you click it takes you to the full version. – Erica Apr 18 '18 at 13:06

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