Ever wondered where the fabulous fabric designs that grace your home come from? Oh, sure, if you have handwoven fabric, it's not hard to figure out the mystery. But what about the modern fabric that features those amazing double-sided complex patterns and bright colors?  While you may have heard of jacquard fabric, you probably don't realize that it could arguably be coined the origin fabric for all other modern woven fabrics. Here's why.

Jacquard Fabric History

Fabric had always been the terrain of the hand-weaver who used a loom to create intricate designs. Even today still, handwoven silks, linens, and cottons are popular in niche markets. However, the process of weaving by hand (even with the aid of a loom) is tedious and the resulting product is quite expensive.

So how do we get beautiful fabrics at affordable prices today? It's all thanks to the invention of the jacquard mechanism or jacquard system by Joseph Marie Jacquard. At the turn of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution saw the creation of mechanized looms, which while they could create woven cloth at speed, could only do so with a single strand of yarn. 

The result was that fabric had to be dyed after the weaving, limiting colors and patterns. Silkscreen printing allowed for more delicate prints to be printed onto the woven fabric, but these would rub off and fade with time.

Joseph Marie Jacquard saw a need in the textile market. With the invention of player pianos, which were pianos that played a predefined piece of music using punch cards (with the piano key positions marked on per song), the punch card system inspired Jacquard to invent a loom that was capable of weaving individually colored yarns to create woven patterned fabrics.

The term jacquard fabric refers not so much to a single pattern or color as it does to a weaving process, which allows manufacturers to produce machine-woven fabric that has intricate patterns and detailed finishing. The fabric is even reversible.

Creating Jacquard Fabric: The Steps for Patterned Fabrics

How does it work to create a jacquard fabric? As with any mechanized loom, the yarns are spun into warp threads that create the structure the fabric is woven onto. Over these warp threads, we find lateral or horizontal threads called weft threads. Often, manufacturers will call the weft threads the "fill" of the fabric, which is what the pattern and coloring is made of.

Loom machines only weave a single yarn. However, a jacquard loom or jacquard system can integrate intricate colors by using multiple yarns. This is accomplished with a punch cards system, where the loom machine is programmed with specific positions for different yarns.

Jacquard fabric can be made of any textile, from silk, rayon, linen, wool, and cotton to polyester. The individual strands can be solution dyed, instead of having to print dyed patterns on the surface. Jacquard fabric is then more environmentally friendly as less dyes are required.

Different Jacquard Fabrics

Depending on the punch pattern used for the jacquard loom, different fabrics can be created. These fabrics each have their own unique properties, making them either suited for clothing textiles or home and decor projects.


While brocade isn't traditionally a decor fabric, its raised surface with detailed threading can create interesting elements in curtains and light-use upholstery fabrics. Brocade can be an ideal fabric to use for your next sewing project to create that special item for your home decor.


If you are looking for a reversible fabric, damask is your best bet. You can choose between similar tones or tone-on-tone (where the same tone is used to create a pattern with different threads) or even multi-tone fabric. Damask makes for excellent curtains and upholstery too.


Paisley patterns require no introduction with their characteristic teardrop design and floral integration. Jacquard-woven paisley remains a staple for many interior decorators, and with the unique ability of tone-on-tone jacquard to create a sheen, the traditional paisley pattern has been given a modern revamp.


Machine quilting has also got its origins in the many humble jacquard looms. With the addition of padding, a quilted effect can be created to emphasize the patterns of simple thread on and through the textile. Jacquard fabrics have advanced to include intricate quilted effects using different tones of the same color in the weaving process.

Matelasse remains a popular choice for curtain fabrics, and the resulting raised pattern offers unique applications for duvet covers, everyday wear, evening wear, and jackets.


Tapestry fabric also has its roots in the jacquard looms of history. Instead of having to painstakingly create tapestry and novelty designs by hand, or worse, printed fabrics, the jacquard attachment to looms allow for a particular pattern to be woven right into the textile. The added benefit of this method is that tapestry fabric has more stretchy qualities and a better texture.

And perhaps the biggest bonus is that you can buy quality jacquard tapestry fabric at a lower price per yard than having to commission or sew your own.

Jacquard Fabric and Different Textiles

While jacquard fabric can be woven into different style fabric, the fiber used can also influence the overall quality and durability of the end result.

Cotton Jacquard Fabrics

Using the highest quality Egyptian cotton fibers, any jacquard fabric can be woven. The benefit of using cotton fibers is that cotton can be dyed any color and offers an easy care, environmentally friendly option.

Silk Jacquard Fabrics

Silk is one of the best choices for a more traditional jacquard look. In addition, the natural sheen of silk matches perfectly to the tone-on-tone method of the jacquard weaving process. Add solution dyed yarns, and the bleed-through effect that so often comes with silk printed fabric is no longer a concern.

Wool Jacquard Fabrics

The application of the jacquard loom extends to knitted jacquard fabric too when wool fibers are used. Create stunningly durable fabric using wool or olefin fibers such as Sunbrella and stretch-resistant drapes.

Polyester Jacquard Fabrics

Polyester is the fiber of the modern era, and the synthetic qualities of the super fine fibers make for a great choice when selecting a jacquard fabric. Polyester jacquard is often chosen for trousers, ribbons, clothing textile, and more. Depending on the type of jacquard chosen, a moderate stretch can be woven into the fabric (#thankyoutights).

Benefits of Choosing Jacquard Fabric for Your Home Decor

So why should you use jacquard fabric for your home decor? There are several benefits that can't be beaten, and we'll always be thankful to Joseph Marie Jacquard for leaving his legacy on the textile industry and allowing us to create stunning fabric that meet the demands of a dynamic textile market. 

The benefits of jacquard fabrics include:

Better Color Than Printed Fabrics

Jacquard fabric allows for a much more intricate pattern and design than a regular printed fabric does. Each strand is individually dyed, allowing for color richness and anti-fade properties that are better than other fabrics.

Richer and More Complex Patterns

With jacquard fabric technology, patterned fabrics have enjoyed a revival in design and richness. With the advances in double-sided fabric, the options for curtains have increased.

Softness of Weave

Jacquard fabric has a dense weave, which builds the structure, creating a softer feel. Jacquard fabrics are also more plush than other fabrics, and given the quality of the dyes, it's easier to wash these patterns and colors without fear of bleaching your colors or fading.

Greater Light Control

With the dense weave of jacquard fabric, curtain fabrics have become denser without needing to add a second layer. When woven over a central core, jacquard fabric can provide great light and climate control.


Chances are you've already got some great jacquard fabric in your home, without even knowing it. Perhaps you even have some in your closet or have been wearing it all season without having even the slightest idea that your wardrobe was all thanks to Joseph Marie Jacquard and his amazing punch cards system.

If you haven't managed to find the best jacquard fabric for your home decor, why not give the amazing fabric catalog a look for thousands of amazing jacquard fabrics and damask options to thrill your heart.

Most Popular Jacquard Fabric

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