Jacquard is a popular type of ornamental design woven into a piece of fabric on a specific loom: the Jacquard loom. Normally, the fabrics chosen for these designs are cotton and silk, wool, or synthetic textiles although other materials can also be utilized. 

Jacquard can come in a wide range of designs, such as damasks, florals, or geometric patterns.

Nowadays, you can typically find these decorations in curtains, bedding, and other house pieces although it’s not uncommon to find them in classic clothing such as dresses and skirts, overcoats, or ornamental suits.


What is Jacquard?

Jacquard is a pattern that is woven on fabrics using an intricate loom, which operates by lifting and lowering yarns (warps and wefts) with the guidance of punched cards to create the desired effect.

The Jacquard machine was invented in the 1800s by Joseph Jacquard, a French weaver, who created a mechanism that is adapted to existing looms to create a new type of weaving. 

This invention consisted of a mechanical device that used paper cards with small punctures to create patterns in the fabric. It became so popular that the French government bought the patented product and it swiftly spread worldwide.

Adapting this mechanism to your loom would allow you to create graceful designs quicker and more efficiently than stitching them by hand, which was the previous method used. The invention of this particular loom made Jacquard more affordable and accessible.


How is Jacquard made?

Originally, Jacquard was created using a small machine that would be adapted to other looms to create new patterns through punched cards.

Nowadays, with the invention of computerized looms, it’s possible to simply program the computer to create any pattern and it will be woven into the chosen fabric.

The process of creating these designs was once complex and time-consuming since they were made by hand. With the invention of the specialized loom and subsequently the computerized looms, the Jacquard became simpler and faster to create.


Characteristics of Jacquard

Jacquard cloths are very versatile due to the multiple styles that can be woven into the fabrics. You can have two duvets that look completely different due to the design, colors, and technique. Also, depending on the weight that is entwined in the fiber, it may produce loose or tight designs.

What does the looseness or tightness of the pattern imply? A tighter weaving of lightweight fabric can wrinkle more easily while a looser weaving will likely not wrinkle at all. This will also depend on the piece that is created: a blanket is less likely to wrinkle than a skirt.

Jacquard is also known for its durability. Unlike printed or stamped designs, these decorative patterns are woven which means they won’t wear off easily. Once again, this will heavily depend on the fabric used to create the patterns.

Moreover, this weaving is timeless. There are multiple types of patterns that can be created, a wide range of fibers that can be used, and a variety of pieces that can feature these adornments. 

Types of Jacquard

There is a clear distinction between fabrics utilized to weave Jacquard. As previously mentioned, this style can be patterned in varied fabrics, such as cotton, wool, silk, or synthetic textiles, among others. 

On one hand, cotton fabrics are the cheapest and simplest types of natural textiles to weave Jacquard onto. On the other hand, the most expensive and high-end fabric to weave Jacquard is silk. Silk is used to make intricate brocade patterns.

Wool is known for being resistant to cold, which means that Jacquard woven into wool is usually present in warmer clothing, like sweaters. It’s also common to see synthetic materials used to weave Jacquard because of their low cost, although it’s a non-environmentally friendly and low-quality option.

There are several types of patterns that are common is this weaving technique, such as brocades and brocatelles, damasks, or matelassé. Know more about each of these patterns below!


Brocade and Brocatelle 

Brocade is probably the most woven pattern types of Jacquard. Originating from Ancient China, this pattern features two colors although non-traditional forms can use up to five colors. 

Brocatelle is a pattern comparable to brocade due to their similarities, but more durable and features more complex themes.

The patterns in brocatelle can only be achieved using the proper loom, to create the distinctive raised patterns. 



Damask is another usual woven pattern in Jacquard pieces. This design is easier to weave than brocade or brocatelle since it uses only one warp yarn and one weft yarn. Pieces with Damask themes are reversible which makes them versatile.  



The Jacquard loom simplified the process of producing weaves such as Matelassé. Prior to the invention of this machine, Matelassé was typically stitched by hand, creating raised patterns. This pattern is most frequently found in duvets and pillow covers.


The benefits of Jacquard 

Jacquard is a timeless weaving technique that has been a constant in the fashion world since it was invented. The characteristic decorations make clothing with this pattern stand out even in our days. 

Clothing woven with these beautiful patterns is usually more resistant in comparison to printed or stamped designs. Since the design is woven in the fibers, they don’t fade as rapidly as a print or stamp.

Jacquard pieces can be high-quality and environmentally friendly depending on the fabric used to weave the pattern.

If biodegradable fibers are used – like cotton or silk -, then the clothing will be green. If you look around your house, you’ll surely find one wonderfully woven piece of clothing or house cloth featuring these patterns. 

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