Brocade is a decorative woven fabric with a raised pattern made to mimic embroidery. It was originally made using silk for rich dress making fabric, as in this bustle dress from 1880’s.

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The Jacquard loom was introduced in 1804 , using a series of punched cards it made it easier to weave the complicated patterns needed for brocade, damask and matelassé fabrics. Brocade type fabric began to be made using heavier cotton making it longer lasting, therefore good for upholstery.

 

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A jacquard loom showing punch cards

There is an excellent blog by Leimomi Oakes ‘the dreamstress’ on the history of the jacquard loom and the weaves it creates. 

 

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Cotton brocade with silky threads from the 1930’s or 40’s – for curtains and throws

Check out my ebay shop for this and other vintage brocade fabric

 

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Heavier tapestry weave brocade for upholstery. the stripes on reverse called brocade variant

 

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Typically the pattern and colour of jacquard brocade is reversed on the back,  satin weave giving a silky shine.

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Damask fabric has a finer weave and the pattern is less raised than other brocades, the design is still reversed on the back.

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