Today we no longer know the vocabulary of textiles, shapes and sewing techniques.

We are lovers of perfumes, wines, gastronomy and flowers. But we have forgotten everything about textiles and its immense universe.

What is poplin? Why is it considered more luxurious than a canvas? What is English seam? Why is this a guarantee of durable and stronger clothing? What is the difference between a bodice, a blouse, a blouse, a shirt etc...?

In short, all this was lost at the same time as disposable, fast, poor quality fashion swept into our lives. Which ultimately costs us dearly in terms of environmental impact and costs us dearly because we buy astronomical quantities of disposable clothing that fits poorly, deforms or bleeds.

This is why we created this glossary, which we continually update to allow you to better understand fashion.



Alcantara : Made from a sheet of very fine polyester fibers bonded together by the hot deposition of a polyurethane resin. It is classified among “nonwovens”. Its “peach skin” appearance is due to different operations including dyeing but also polishing.

It is often used in leather goods lining.

Amazon : Fine twill "sheet" type fabric in wool (weft forming diagonal lines), with combed wool threads in warp (vertical direction) and wool framed in weft (horizontal direction), which has undergone light felting then a slight scratching called "wooling" on the right side. This fabric is used for dresses and coats.


Bolero : Small sleeveless jacket generally worn over a dress or bodice stopping at the waist.


Canezou : Body of dress (with or without sleeves).

Capeline : Women's hat with very wide brims, often made of straw or horsehair. It's a false friend: Not to be confused with a mantilla or small cape.

Camisole : Nowadays we use the term camisole to designate a sleeveless nightie but at the time the camisole was a kind of long-sleeved bodice that was worn over a gathered skirt.

Shoulder covering : Strip of canvas, fabric, ribbon, sewn to the part of the garment which covers the top of the shoulder.


Lace : Openwork fabric with different patterns. It is generally made from nylon, silk or even linen threads. Lace is often linked to finesse, femininity and lightness. It was adopted by different French cities who adapted it to their style (Lille, Valencienne, Calais, Bayeux, Puy-en-Velay...) For example, Calais lace is known for its flowery and rounded patterns.


Engageante : Women's cuff in lingerie or lace fashionable especially in the 17th and 18th century. Removable piece placed under a bodice or jacket and which allowed the style to be changed.

Participate in textilepedia!!

A term, a definition that you would like to complete? A word, an expression that you would like to add to the lexicon? Write to us below, mentioning the word “LEXIQUE” in the subject line.