Brocade Fabrics: Art Work And Uses


Brocade Fabrics

Brocade fabrics are a form of decorated shuttle-woven fabric clothing, usually made of colored silk threads with or without gold threads and silver threads. The name which is related to the same root as the word “broccoli”, comes from the Italian word broccoli meaning “embossed cloth”, originated from past participle of the verb broccare which means “to stud, set with nails”, from brocco which means “small nail”, from Latin broccus which means “projecting, pointed”.

The weaving industry of Brocade fabrics clothes reached a peak in the Mughal period due to the patronage of Akbar.

Brocade Fabrics Uses

Brocade fabrics are mostly used for upholstery and draperies. These fabrics are also used for evening wear and formal clothing, for vestments, as well as for costumes. The use of precious or semiprecious stones in the adornment of brocade fabrics is not common.

But it has been replaced with the use of sequins and beading as decoration. Brocades are usually woven on a Jacquard loom because of its ability to create many complex tapestry type of designs using the jacquard technique. Patterns such as brocade, brocatelle, damask, and tapestry type of fabrics are known as jacquard patterns.

Brocade fabric
                                Brocade fabric

Categories of Brocade artwork are as follows:

list of the brocade artwork categories

  • brocading
  • brocade velvet
  • brocatella
  • tapestry

Brocading: It is brocade or other jacquard weaves with the inclusion of gold or silver-colored threads. It is also called Imperial Brocade.


Brocade Velvet: It is patterned velvet that has a raised pile and a woven ground (weaving in the pattern from the start).

velvet brocade

Brocatelle: It is similar to brocade. The patterned areas are more distinct and raised. The fabric is usually heavier.


Tapestry: In modern terminology, ‘tapestry’ means a fabric woven on a jacquard fabric that imitates historical designs.

Tapestry Brocade

The Making of brocade fabric

Brocade is typically woven into a draw fabric in which each thread can be controlled separately. Brocade is then woven using a weft technique. In spite of its intricate weave, the final fabric of Brocade represents an embroidered texture.

weft technique of brocade

Maintenance of brocade fabric

To make the Brocade useful for longer time care should be taken. The fabric instructions must be read carefully as some Brocade fabrics can be hand washed while some are dry clean only. The dryer should not be used as it may pull and crush the fabric. It should be hand dried out away from direct sunlight to ensure longevity.


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