Piqué (weaving)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1830s white cotton marcella skirt

Piqué, or marcella, refers to a weaving style, normally used with cotton yarn, which is characterized by raised parallel cords or geometric designs in the fabric.[1] Piqué fabrics vary from semi-sheer dimity to heavy weight waffle cloth.[1] Twilled cotton and corded cotton are close relatives.

The weave is closely associated with white tie, and some accounts[which?] even say the fabric was invented specifically for this use. It holds more starch than plain fabric, so produces a stiffer shirt front. Marcella shirts then replaced earlier plain fronts, which remain a valid alternative. Marcella use then spread to other parts of the dress code and it is now the most common fabric used in the tie and waistcoat of white tie. A knit fabric with a similar texture is used in polo shirts.

Marcella weaving was developed by the Lancashire cotton industry in the late 18th century as a mechanised technique of weaving double cloth with an enclosed heavy cording weft.[2] It was originally used to make imitations of the corded Provençal quilts made in Marseille, the manufacture of which became an important industry for Lancashire from the late 18th to the early 20th century.[2] The term "marcella" is one of a number of variations on the word "Marseille".[3]

Piqué fabrics are a type of dobby construction. Piqués may be constructed in various patterns such as cord, waffle, honeycomb and birdseye piqués. These fabrics require the addition of extra yarns, called stuffer yarns. These stuffer yarns are incorporated into the back of the fabric to give texture and added depth to the fabric design. Some piqués may be made using the Jacquard attachment on the loom. Although made of 100% cotton today, cotton-silk blends and even pure silk versions were made in the past and in a variety of weaves. [4]


  1. ^ a b Nielson, Karla J. (2007-07-10). Interior Textiles: Fabrics, Application, and Historic Style. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780471606406.
  2. ^ a b Quilting - see, trapunto, Quilting in the North Country, Needlework through the Ages, retrieved 2010-05-02
  3. ^ Atkins, Jacqueline M. (2001), "From lap to loom: The transition of Marseilles white work from hand to machine", The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, Inc, retrieved 2010-05-02
  4. ^ Davis, Rebecca; Tuntland, Carol (1996). The Textiles Handbook. Plycon Press. ISBN 9780916434113.