Interesting Facts About Brocade Fabric


Interesting Facts About Brocade Fabric

Brocade fabric is a shuttle-woven fabric with an intricate pattern or design. It is often made with colored silk and sometimes with gold and/or silver threads. The name “brocade” comes from the Italian word, “broccato,” which means “embossed cloth.” It has the same word origin as “broccoli,” which is from the Latin word, “broccus,” meaning “pointed.”

The term “brocade” is sometimes used interchangeably with “damask.” However, damask and brocade fabrics are two different things although they share a similarity. Like brocade fabric, the design on damask fabric is also woven into the cloth. However, damask fabrics have reversible designs while brocade fabrics do not. Also, the damask fabric is usually more expensive because it has a higher thread count than brocade fabric.

The design on brocade fabric appears to be embroidered on, but it is not. The patterns are woven into the cloth using a supplementary weft technique on a draw loom. Weft threads are the threads running across the loom. The warp threads are threads that run vertical. Aside from the standard weft threads that hold the warp threads together, supplemental weft threads are woven in to create the design.

Modern brocade fabrics are usually woven using the Jacquard technique. The original Jacquard loom uses punch cards to make it easier for the weaver to control the loom. Interestingly, the Jacquard loom is the first machine to make use of punch cards in controlling a sequence of operations and its invention is historically significant in the development of computer programming. Today, Jacquard looms are controlled by modern computers instead of punched cards.

Brocade fabrics were made in Byzantium, Greece, China, Japan and Korea. They were a luxury that was only available to nobility because they were very expensive. In those times, brocade fabrics were made with real gold and silver threads. They were sometimes adorned with precious stones, small medallions and appliques. They were either made into clothing or wall hangings.

In the western world, brocade fabrics were originally made of linen and wool. However, with the introduction of sericulture, silk became the preferred material for making brocade fabrics. In Italy, brocade fabrics were important during the Renaissance. The motifs were Indian, Chinese and Persian in origin, reflecting commerce between Italy and the Far East.

Today, brocade fabrics are used for draperies and upholstery. They are also used for formal and ceremonial clothing, including religious vestments and state robes. In India, they are used for saris, tops and skirts. Sequins and beads have replaced the precious stones that used to adorn the brocade fabrics in the olden times. Though still typically made from silk, modern brocade fabrics may also be made from cotton and rayon. Metallic threads are used in place of real silver and gold.

Once exclusive to nobility in the Middle Ages, brocade fabrics can now be found in many stores at affordable prices. The price of brocade fabrics depend on the materials used to create the fabric and how intricate the designs are.

Brocade Fabric Tips


Brocade Fabric Tips: Proper Handling and Care

A brocade fabric is a piece of cloth with intricate designs woven in it. Brocade fabrics are often lovely and elegant and they have a timeless appeal. However, they are delicate and care must be taken when handling, sewing and washing them.

Sewing Tips for Brocade Fabrics

Sewing a dress made of brocade fabric begins with choosing the right pattern and the right type of cloth. The best patterns have clean lines. Silk brocade is perfect for sewing A-line dresses, pants and jackets. For evening wear, you can use a brocade fabric with metallic patterns. If you want to achieve the opulent look, you can add beads, lame, fringes and trims later on.

Use a sharp needle on your sewing machine. A sharp needle will produce a smoother seam and keep the decorative threads from shredding. Use a size eight needle while sewing. A fine needle will prevent the needle from picking up the threads in the brocade fabric. Use cotton or polyester thread.

Cut brocade fabrics with sharp scissors. Sharp scissors produce smooth edges and help keep the fabric stay intact.

Fraying is a common problem with brocade fabrics. To prevent this, serge the edges of the brocade fabric using a serger machine. Alternatively, you can serge by hand-sewing the fabric using a whip stitch. This prevents the brocade from unraveling. If the fabric can be melted, you can melt the edges with candle flame to keep them from fraying. You can also use a fell seam to enclose the raw edges.

While sewing the brocade fabric, work slowly in small sections. Do not try to run the entire side through the machine all at once. If the fabric you are working on is slippery, use a feeder foot. It has another feeder for the top of the cloth and keeps them fed at the same time.

Sweat, deodorants and lotions could stain the brocade fabric. To prevent this, line the finished garments with soft fabric.

Caring for Brocade Fabrics

Some brocade fabrics may be hand-washed and some should be dry-cleaned. Be sure to read the label for washing instructions. Use a mild detergent. Do not scrub too hard and never wring the fabric. Dry brocade fabrics flat to prevent snags and pulls in the dryer. For badly stained fabrics, professional dry cleaning is your best option.

Before ironing the brocade fabric, test the iron’s temperature on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric. Better yet, find a scrap of the fabric and test it with the iron. For best results, set the iron on low temperature and press the fabric gently. You can use a soft white towel to protect the fabric while you iron. To prevent damaging the design, make it a point to iron on the wrong side of the fabric.

Brocade fabrics are not cheap and silk brocade can be pricey. Unfortunately, they are also delicate. You certainly do not want to ruin the fabric when you sew, wash or iron them. Applying the tips mentioned above will go a long way to prevent damage to these fabrics.

Brocade Fabric


When considering different fabric types for your home it is imperative that you consider brocade fabric and whether it suits your needs. There are many considerations that apply when deciding upon an appropriate choice. These include budget, desired appearance and the intended function.

Firstly, let’s examine the compilation of the fabric. Comprising of a dense warp-effect base with additional fillings the aesthetic appeal is elegant yet not over exorbitant.  Frequently woven with the inclusion of silver and gold threads, the tactile sensations felt when touching this weave are supple yet robust. This is largely due to the fact that brocade is (almost always) used in colored silks. Such applications make necessary the use of various weaving methods.

Common techniques for the weaving of the fabric include the draw loom. The benefit of using this technique is that the brocade fabric will look as though the weave was embroidered, even though it wasn’t! This is an interesting effect that adds a feeling of depth to the already pleasing plane of view.

Long worn by the noble throughout Asia (including China, Korea and Japan), it is easy to see its desirability. It is not too much of a stretch to suggest that the displaying and wearing of the weave conveys wealth. Also appreciated in Europe, and even Byzantium the silk motif has historically been only accessible to the wealthiest and most successful people.

In times of increasing technological capabilities, states like Italy and Greece thrived in the fabric trade. In the time of the Renaissance rapid developments in looms used for the weaving of silk form a logical correlation with the increased complexity and luxurious nature of the brocade fabric. With time technology becomes more and more advanced. Processes become increasingly efficient, using less space and requiring less resources for an increased output. This also applies to weaving methods for the silk motif. The result of advances are even richer, more vibrant pieces that can be afforded many uses. And these uses are not just limited to within the home!

Contemporary uses include upholstery, formal clothing, dinner clothing and imitation tapestries. With the addition of accessories such as beads and sequins (in the absence of the traditionally rare stones) the potential uses become even more numerous and increasingly versatile. The designs of this weave frequently feature a raised floral pattern. This is not exclusive however, and there are a variety of raised themes which are also seen.

By no means should one be under the illusion that this is an abundantly produced silk. Whilst it is indeed a much appreciated possession historically and in contemporary times this has not directly translated to an increased availability for purchases. There is a very small manufacturing base which produces for predominately theatrical purposes. Used as a decorative lining, it is easy to understand that sometimes too much of a good thing can be overwhelming. There is a reason that there is no popular market for commercial brocade clothing – it simply would not suit the intended purpose, to portray a long adorned beauty.

This should give you a better idea as to what this special fabric is, and how it could suit your preferences. Brocade fabric when used appropriately can provide a home with a comfortable luxury that has long been respected and revered, further back than the Middle Ages