Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Liseré and Lampas

Kyoto Costume Institute
I'm guessing Lisere?
 It doesn't say for sure.

Liseré - Term which refers to a specific type of fabric construction involving a supplementary warp. This supplementary warp, usually multi-colored, can be used to add color and detail in selected areas on the face of the fabric. Where the liseré effect is not seen on the face of the fabric, it is hidden along the back as loosely tacked "floats." Liseré effects are in some ways similar to a tissue pick, however liseré occurs in the warp direction. Most classic liseré designs are stripes, frequently used on wing-back chairs or in formal settings. (quoted from Regal Fabrics Inc)

Lampas - a type of luxury fabric with a background weft (a "ground weave") typically in taffeta with supplementary wefts (the "pattern wefts") laid on top and forming a design, sometimes also with a "brocading weft". (quoted from Wikipedia)

Brocade - Brocade was originally an elegant, heavy silk fabric with a floral or figured pattern woven with gold or silver thread, produced in China and Japan. Currently, any of the major textile fibers may be used in a wide range of quality and price. Brocades are typically ornate, jacquard-woven fabrics. The pattern is usually emphasized by contrasting surfaces and colors, and appears on the face of the fabric, which is distinguished easily from the back. Uses include apparel, draperies, upholstery, and other decorative purposes. (quoted from Regal Fabrics Inc)

From Weaver and Loom

So basically, Lisere is brocaded fabric that has the embellishment threads along the warp, or longways, whereas Lampas is brocaded with the embellishment threads on the weft, much like a railroaded design. 

Ooo it's just so rich looking! I love it. I'm day dreaming of making a sacque from something like this one day!

Example of Lampas
Scalamandre "Melograno"
Reproduction c. 1760-70

Brunschwig & Fils "Antoinette"

This gives a good view of the supplementary
wefts on the backside of the fabric.

Restoration Fabrics

Another example of Lisere, not in a stripe,
as it is commonly seen.
Scalamandre "Strawberry"

A dress made of the same fabric,
as seen in Marie Antoinette (2006)
Images via
The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes

...and Valmont (1989)...

...and Dangerous Liasons (1988)!

And a tip when looking for reproduction brocades: browse eBay. Most of these fabrics are available only to decorators and they are very, very expensive, but there are often remnants and yardage for sale on eBay and you can get some at a discounted price. Yay!


  1. These fabrics make me droooooool!

  2. Oh, so that's what liseré is! I'm ashamed to admit that I never quite got it in my Textiles class. I think I thought it was something to do with a twisting back-and-forth ribbon pattern.

    1. Hi - i stumbled onto your page while looking for something else but Regal Fabrics is really not what you should be looking at to figure out fabric types. A lot of their definitions are wrong and totally misleading. Let me clarify a few things:

      A lot of these fabric names are given by the CIETA in Lyon in the 20th century- for the most part, all these fabrics were called figured silk fabrics and referred to by their traditional names in their respective countries during the height of princely rules.

      Also just fyi- these names are not really fabric types as they are about methodology of patterning utilized.

      Brocade: People refer to any patterned fabric with gold/silver as being brocade - no one knows whether this is right or wrong but is generally colloquial. However, technically speaking when you insert the weft (yarns that interlace horizontally into the vertical yarns) discontinuously only in areas that are patterning the motif, it is called brocading. So in a true brocaded fabric if you flip it over and look between motifs, you should not see those colored yarns. A cheaper method of "brocading" by industry is basically running the yarn from one end to the other and it only shows where ever it needs to on the face of the fabric. Though it gives a similar look, the texture changes because there are loose yarn floats in the back between the patterned motifs. Sometimes to fool customers, many traders chop off those floats once the fabric is woven but you still see the rough edges of chopped off yarns.

      Ok now moving into Lampas-
      In every fabric, you will see a warp (yarns running vertically) and a weft (horizontal yarns). In a lampas fabric, you see more 2 warps. This allows you to see 2 weave structures in the same textile and segregates them- you can see a satin weave for a background and then a twill leave that is only in the pattern area-
      The main weft (called ground weft) interlaces with the main warp in whatever weave (either plain, satin or twill) and then the 2nd warp (called the binding warp) interlaces with both the ground weft and the additional wefts (supplementary wefts) that are ONLY used to pattern the motifs in either a plain weave of a twill weave or whatever weave- these wefts are called supplementary wefts because they are supplementary to the main weft which interlaces with the main warp for your ground weave. The supplementary wefts show on the face of the fabric when needed and hide behind when not needed. Lampas patterned fabrics tend to be heavier for this reason- if a Lampas textile has 4 colors- then all those 4 colors have to be put in one after another to pattern during the first horizontal weft insertion.

      Additionally, you could brocade a lampas fabric by adding discontinuous wefts anywhere you need. So then it would be a brocaded lampas.

      Thats why these names are not good to be used by people other than technical textile people because theyre very misleading - i think the best way to use these names is if you want to find out how heavy a fabric is- weight is important in all textiles.

      So to wrap up- a brocaded fabric can also be patterned in ways more than just brocading and weight too can change depending on whether real silver yarns have been used or artificial silver- real silver tends to be very heavy- and if you pattern in a lampas way, you will get a much heavier fabric.

      Hope this was helpful- good luck on your blog!

    2. And i completely forgot to write - Lisere means when you use the main or ground weft to create on the face- This main weft also creates your ground or background weave ie satin or twill or plain weave and only those areas where pattern needs to be are covered by this ground weft. If you used 2 different wefts for these purposes ie. one for the main background weave and other for the pattern - then the wefts used in the pattern would be called supplementary wefts and would not be patterned by "lisere" because lisere only utilizes the main weft for creating pattern! Hope this helps !

  3. Hello: Beautiful blog I stumbled upon while looking up the word "lisere." Do you know if the green stripe w/ floral pattern in between stripes is available anywhere? I would like to reupholster my great aunt's chairs and I believe the material is "lisere."