Our Inspiration: Jacquard Fabrics

Of the many new prints and patterns we’ve introduced for Fall ’13, we are particularly pleased with our offering of unique jacquard fabrics. Hailing from a weaving tradition that dates back to 1801, these fabrics are incredibly customizable and thus are made with the utmost control and precision.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, “jacquard” denotes a specific weaving process that streamlines the production of intricate woven-in designs such as herringbone, matelassé, and even brocade.

The beauty of jacquard fabrics lies in their versatility. Fabric designers have complete control over textures, colors, and patterns through this process. The technology was first developed and introduced by French inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard as a modification to existing looms. Essentially, this supplementary mechanism is able to manipulate individual threads during the weaving process in order to create a given pattern in the fabric.

The process is relatively straightforward. It all starts with a fabric design, which is mapped out in a grid system not unlike cross-stitching patterns. Once the design is finalized, it is transferred line by line to a series of punch cards, which are linked together and fed into the jacquard attachment Acting like stencils during the weaving process, these cards only allow the loom to select individual warp threads that are left accessible through the punched holes. Conversely, the threads that lie behind the bulk of the card are omitted. This selective weaving process thus creates a pattern that can be repeated seamlessly and efficiently throughout a given fabric.

Jacquard loom – notice the chain of patterned punch cards above the threads and the intricate brocade pattern it produces in the fabric below.

The possibilities of jacquard patterns are literally endless – especially given the advances in modern technology. Thus, textile designers can fully explore contrasts in texture and color without having to adjust each thread manually. This seasons, we were particularly inspired by jacquards of the more subtle variety for an updated take on a traditional look:

Be sure to check out our current line-up of jacquard patterns available both in-store and online.

– Contributed by Jake Eshelman of Procured Design