The History, Creation and How Brocade Fabrics Are Used
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  • Sewing Fabrics
  • Posted October 08, 2015
The History, Creation and How Brocade Fabrics Are Used

Brocade: History, Creation and Usage

Brocade: History, Creation and Usage

Brocade is considered as one of the several shuttle-woven fabrics that come with intricate patterns, which often includes a selection of flowers, plants and other natural images. It is usually woven using a selection of various types of silk that are accented with metallic threads as a means of adding texture and visual interest. More so, this fabric is used in several of different applications, such as formal wear and stage costuming.

Creation of Brocade

Typically, a draw loom is used to create brocade and should be employed with both standard weft and supplemental weft when the weaving process develops to jump-start the details of the pattern. To achieve an appearance that is unlike any piece of embroidered fabrics, the two-fold approach is used. The double weft technique, on the other hand, provides a certain level of stiffness to the design. It also helps to make the material sturdy enough for use in applications that require a heavier fabric.

A beautiful, red brocade fabric.(Picture from

History of Brocade

Brocade originates from Byzantium, where the Byzantine weaved the silk which they traded with China, who jealously guarded their secrets of silk making. Before the dawn of velvet in northern Europe, brocade was the most noble of fabrics due to the primary element, silk, which was hard to come by and its extravagant embroidery using gold and silver thread as well as jewels.

The brocade designs came from the Middle East, where the craftsman were adept at designing textile prints, yet the manufacture was eventually monopolized by Italy, especially once the discovery and breeding of the silkworm became publish knowledge. In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Italy was the most renowned producer of brocade with nobles and royalty from all of Europe paying extraordinary amounts to be cloaked in the fine Italian fabric.

A smooth brocade fabric(Picture from

For the past years, Brocade was the most-loved fabric when it comes to upholstering formal pieces of furniture. Although this practice greatly declined after the middle of the 20th century, it still can be an ideal option in restoring antique sofas, chairs, settees, and chaise lounges.

Brocade’s Typical Usage

Along with its use in upholstery, brocade has remained as a desirable textile for window treatments. Draperies created using this fabric can provide a sense of formality to living space, and are often employed in formal living rooms or as part of the curtains for a canopy bed. Furthermore, it can be used for wall hangings so as to add color and visual interest to a particular room or hallway.

The fabric has also become a popular material for wedding dresses, especially designs that wish to recapture the luxury and opulence of the Victorian era. Brocade may also be used to create cummerbunds for tuxedos. In the entertainment world, it continues to be a desirable option for costuming for stage shows, such as plays or concerts. Essentially, brocade is an ideal fabric option when clothing that is both elegant and sophisticated is desired, and is meant to focus attention on the wearer.


Alvin is a fashion and lifestyle writer who has recently earned interest in sewing his own clothes. Writing for Sewing Ideas gives him another avenue to express his experiences and learning in his sewing journey.

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