Definitions

brocade

brocade

[broh-keyd]
brocade, fabric, originally silk, generally reputed to have been developed to a high state of perfection in the 16th and 17th cent. in France, Italy, and Spain. In China the weaving of silk, which dates from the Shang dynasty, developed into complex patterns including moiré, damask, and brocade. Brocade is characterized by a compact warp-effect background with one or more fillings used in the construction to make the motif or figure. The filling threads, often of gold or silver in the original fabrics of this name, float in embossed or embroidered effects in the figures. Motifs may be of flowers, foliage, scrollwork, pastoral scenes, or other design. Its uses include curtaining, hangings, pillows, portieres, evening wraps, and church vestments. Similar techniques are used in the manufacture of brocades made of cotton and synthetic fibers.

Detail of handwoven Italian silk brocaded on silk with floral motif, c. 1730–50.

Woven fabric having a raised floral or figured design that is introduced during the weaving process. The design, appearing only on the fabric face, is usually made in a satin or twill weave (see weaving). The background may be twill, satin, or plain weave. The rich, fairly heavy fabric is frequently used for evening dresses, draperies, and upholstery.

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Brocade is a class of richly decorative shuttle-woven fabrics, often made in colored silks and with or without gold and silver threads. The name, related to the same root as the word "broccoli" comes from Italian broccato meaning "embossed cloth," originally past participle of the verb broccare "to stud, set with nails," from brocco, "small nail," from Latin broccus, "projecting, pointed.

Brocade is typically woven on a draw loom. It is a supplementary weft technique, that is, the ornamental brocading is produced by a supplementary, non-structural, weft in addition to the standard weft that holds the warp threads together. The purpose of this is to give the appearance that the weave actually was embroidered on.

Ornamental features in brocade are emphasized and wrought as additions to the main fabric, sometimes stiffening it, though more frequently producing on its face the effect of low relief. In some, but not all, brocades, these additions present a distinctive appearance on the back of the material where the supplementary weft or floating threads of the brocaded or broached parts hang in loose groups or are clipped away. When the weft is floating on the back, this is known as a continuous brocade; the supplementary weft runs from selvage to selvage. The yarns are cut away in cutwork and broché. Also, a discontinuous brocade is where the supplementary yarn is only woven in the patterned areas.

See also

References

  • Etymology online
  • Brocade paper (fragment), originally belonging to a sample book of J.M. Munck, Augsburg 1751 treasure 5 National Library of The Netherlands
  • Marypaul Yates. Fabrics A Guide for Interior Designers and Architects. W. W. Norton & Co.

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