“Fabric” vs. “Textiles”

I need to call upon all you experts out there. What is the difference between the terms “textile” and “fabric”?

As I understand it:

Fabric – the stuff off the bolt/roll; fiber or other materials woven, knitted, or otherwise manufactured into sheets that can be manipulated to produce various goods.

Textiles – the stuff off the bolt or roll, and the products made from it. A more all-encompassing term, includes yarn and yarn products, and anything related to fiber.


  1. Anita says:

    I think the term Textiles encompasses fabric and non-fabric materials – like the rubber on tennis shoes – where fabric is more specific to woven, knitted or felted materials

  2. lisa s says:

    i pretty much agree with you. i think textiles also allows for more mixed media – like if you crochet w/ plastic it still could fit under the banner of textiles.

  3. Lil says:

    According to my textile studies textbook:

    Fabric: A planar substance constructed from solutions, fibers, yarns, fabrics, or any combination of these.

    Textile: A term originally only applied to woven fabrics, now generally applied to fibers, yarns, fabrics, or products made of these.

  4. Good question! I rarely make a distinction, but I prefer the word “textiles”- it’s a little more polished sounding to me.

  5. Vanessa says:

    I love this blog! – I have just come across it and already addicted. Textiles encompasses materials – not just fabric. And fabric is a woven cloth on a bolt as far as I know…:) – cheers, Vanessa, Retro Age Vintage Fabrics

  6. Deepali says:

    To me fabric means a piece of cloth, and textile covers not only fabric, but also the “making of” technology and process. Nevertheless I find that quite many people use these two words interchangeably. So it does not really matter unless you are using them in strictly academic propose.

  7. sheffali says:

    i think that the term fabric includes just the piece of cloth while the term includes the whole process of making fabric