Remember: It is very important to distinguish between fiber and fabric. The fiber is what the fabric is made of. The fabric is the finished product. This can be confusing. Example of this: The name “Cotton drill” is a fiber type (cotton) plus a fabric type (drill). Both of these words together make a fabric, a cloth, a material, or a textile (all synonymous). However in practice, drill alone is often used to indicate a fabric (cloth, material, textile) type. It’s just an incomplete description of the fabric. Some refer to fabrics by their fiber names alone, such as cotton. That's what you see on clothing tags. But is it cotton corduroy, cotton jersey or cotton piqué? You see what I’m saying? Neither fiber type nor fabric type alone gives you the complete picture. If you are purchasing an item in person, you can check how it feels, what the texture is like, etc., but when purchasing online it helps to be given the full description. Last week we talked about how to determine fiber. This week is all about trying to identify a fabric type. Knowing the fabric type will give you the other part of your 2-part fabric description. I used a "Fabric Looks Like" idea for the Fabric Resource. The inspiration came to me when I was consulting my trusty Roger Tory Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds (#birdnerdalert). In case you don’t know them, the Peterson guides contain drawings of birds (and other natural things) that emphasize distinctive, easily recognizable features. (Here's the Fabric Looks Like page in our FR.) Besides color, what do you see first when you look at this fabric? Diagonal ribs, right? Then, on the Looks Like page, click on Fabrics with clear diagonal ribs and scroll through the fabrics on that page to see which one looks most like yours. This example is a whipcord. There are two fabrics that look somewhat similar under "See also", Cavalry twill and Gabardine. Compare to make sure you are choosing the closest match. All knits (no matter what else might be distinguished about them) are filed under knit fabrics on the Looks Like page. Hint: If your fabric doesn’t seem to have anything particularly pronounced about its look or texture, but you know it's woven not knit, check Light to medium weight fabrics. Another hint: In some cases, a fabric falls into more than one category; try starting with what you think is its most noticeable aspect. If you’ve figured out the fiber of the fabric, that’s very helpful at this point. You can look up fabrics by their fiber type here: Fabric by Fiber. By the same token, you can sometimes find a fiber by figuring out the fabric type. In the example of whipcord above, the FR entry shows you it can be made of wool, cotton, manufactured fibers or blends, so that doesn't narrow it down much. However, the entry states that whipcord was originally wool. I would suspect it to be wool first. (Don't know your warp from your weft? If you need to know what any term means in the FR, you can look it up in Fabrics A-Z. I tried to include many fabric terms, not just the fabric and fiber types. Many of these are linked in definitions so all you have to do is click on the unknown word to be taken to the definition.) Finally, you can try to narrow down the possible choices for your fabric type by searching Fabric by Use. Is it a suit? Look under bottom weight, which includes fabrics most suitable for skirts, trousers, suits, light coats and heavier dresses. These are big categories which overlap somewhat, but it can help narrow your search. Who's got comments or questions?