Brocade is a rich, elegant and heavy fabric with an elaborate design effect. The fabric has a raised and embossed texture. The raised and embossed texture of the brocade adds an extra layer of warmth. It is widely used in a satin background with metallic threading and embroidery. Often it is reversible. Brocades are dressy formal fabrics. Suits and dresses made of brocade are ideal for all occasion gatherings and eveningwear.
Brocade was originally made of silk but now it is common with rayon, cotton or polyester. It is woven by a compact warp-effect background with either one or more than one fillings of gold or silver thread used to make the motif or figure. Motifs are of flowers, foliage, pastoral scenes, or other such designs. Sometimes, the richness of the fabric is enhanced by weaving verses from the Hindu scriptures of the Koran, making it appropriate for religious ceremonies.
The origin of the word 'Brocade' is disputed. The word has been taken from the Spanish, which again has been taken from an Italian root. It refers to the projecting "tooth" of the figures being embroidered. Brocade is believed to be originated in the Shang Dynasty of China. Making brocade fabrics became an art in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries.
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