April 4, 2024

The World of Texture

“I want something with texture.” Is a request we have often heard, but what does that mean? A subtle herringbone or a distinguished tweed?

People’s perception of texture varies and the range of examples is immense! The fiber, yarn, weave, and finishing treatment all influence the final feel and look.

Ways to Describe Texture

A few basic adjectives used when talking about textiles are smooth, shiny, matte, stiff, fuzzy, crisp, soft, rough, coarse, fine, or a combination of them. Fabrics can have “no texture”, slight, medium, or heavy texture. It can also be achieved in more of a visual way with weave or pattern, a distinct hand feel that is fuzzy and soft or one that is stiff and dry, or heavily raised.

Fiber, Yarn type, & Weight

Each step that goes into making the textile can be utilized in providing texture. The weight of the yarn or thread can also be a factor. A thicker yarn, or a mix of thinner and thicker weights, will give the fabric depth. Tweed and bouclé are two notable examples that show yarn weight can change the look immediately and dramatically.

The fiber also changes the look and feel of the fabric. Wools can change drastically based on the length of fiber used to make the yarn. Most wools fall into two main categories: worsted and woolen. Worsted is the longer fiber that will make the fabric smoother and softer, while woolen fabrics are from the shorter hair fiber and will feel rougher or fuzzier to the touch.

The same idea applies to silk, the traditional idea of silk is smooth and lustrous which is from unbroken cocoons, so the fiber remains as long as possible and gives you the most shine. There is another type of silk called dupioni, also known as raw silk, it is made of shorter fibers from broken cocoons. Resulting in a distinct look with small slubs in the fabric and slightly less shine than its counterpart.

Flax is a unique fiber that when woven has a very specific dry and stiff texture, known as linen.


After fiber is spun into yarn, it can be woven in a way that changes the resulting fabric and can manipulate how it feels. Weaves give the fabric depth and the affects range from subtle to bold. Some that can give slight texture are jacquards, herringbone, crepe, and pique. Sections of the thread are raised ever so slightly to provide pattern and visual interest. Seersucker is more pronounced and provides an interesting, relaxed appearance. Well-known bolder weaves include velvets, corduroy, and brocades.


Weaves are not always where the process stops, it is not as common in suiting but finishing treatments can also affect the fabric. They are used after the fabric is woven to change the texture or in some cases give it new properties. Brushing, etching, and embossing are just a few. Brushing uses a fine metal comb to raise the fibers and give a soft feel - often utilized with cotton fabrics to create a softer touch.

Etching is when a laser is used to burn away (not through) parts of fabric to leave a design that won’t easily fade like prints using pigment. Denim brands use etching to create the whiskers on jeans that provide a lived-in appearance.

Embossing is when the fabric is moved between two rollers to press-in a pattern. Each treatment has a different way to provide both a unique hand and look.

There are endless combinations of variables that give fabrics their distinct look and feel, as well as the characteristics and performance benefits. It can take place at the start from the type of fiber, or at the end when given a treatment. The many roads exploring texture can lead you may be confusing at first, but we are here to guide you to the fabric you want!

Other Post

Refresh your look

Custom garments designed by you.

Book Appointment