Fabric Dictionary: What is Damask ?

spacer 1
Damask fabric, named for the city of Damascus, is a fabric woven out of a single weft thread. It may have a variety of potential colors and patterns, making it ideal for a variety of custom projects. Prized for its ornate patterns and feel, it is a luxurious option that can be used in a variety of settings.

Damask Properties

While historical damask was known as a luxury fabric, modern textile production makes it much easier to source and much less expensive. The weaving technique, which combines a satin weave technique for the design with a plain or twill weave for the background, creates a stunning jacquard pattern on the fabric. The technique uses only a single warp thread and a single weft thread..

It has a number of notable qualities that set it apart from other types of fabric.

The Pattern

Damask fabric is, most notably, known for its pattern, which is created through a specific blend of weaving techniques. It is reversible, with the pattern reflected on both sides. Some types of damask have very clear patterns on both sides of the fabric, while others may have one side with a clear design and one with less overall clarity.


Because damask is woven using the satin weave technique, it has a lustrous or shiny look that adds to its overall luxurious feel.

Thick, Heavy Fabric

Despite the fact that damask is woven using a single warp thread and a single weft thread, it has a heavy, thick weave with multiple layers of threads, which gives you a more solid fabric that often stands up well on its own. Damask does not work well for summer wear or lightweight items.


Damask, with its tight weave, is tough enough to withstand heavy use. It is frequently used for items that see a lot of heavy use because its tight weave allows it to withstand that use. It also tends to be water-resistant and withstand some types of stains. However, when a stain does work its way down into the fabric, it can be difficult to remove due to damask’s multiple lawyers.


Damask fabric often has a stiffer feel than many other fabrics. Its tight weave and multiple layers may mean that it remains stiff over time. That stiffness lends itself well to home goods and formal items, but may, in general, make the fabric less comfortable when you’re considering it for everyday wear.

The History of Damask

Damask was initially used in the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East, where it was one of the five earliest weaving techniques. Historically, damask became very popular as a weaving technique during the Middle Ages, where it was produced primarily around the Middle East. Early damasks were typically hand-woven from silk. As it began to spread throughout the world, damask showed increased popularity. Europeans wove it on Italian draw looms, while modern damasks are made on computerized power looms to allow for more complex designs and easier weaving. In its early incarnations, damask was considered very luxurious and could command a high price due to the complicated weaving techniques. Modern damask, on the other hand, is much less expensive and much more widely available.

The Pros and Cons of Damask

Like other types of fabrics, damask has both its benefits and its drawbacks.

The Pros:

Working with damask fabric has a number of critical benefits.

  • It’s tough and hardy, which makes it ideal for fabrics that may see heavy use.
  • It has a unique appearance that adds a touch of timeless beauty to any piece you might create.
  • It has a tight weave that makes it water repellent, though that property may vary depending on the fiber content you choose for your fabric.
  • Damask is easy to sew and resists fraying and unraveling, which means it is relatively easy to work with.
  • Damask is versatile and has a wide range of potential uses.

The Cons:

While Damask has several clear advantages in a variety of styles and clothing options, it does have some disadvantages that you must take into consideration when working with it.

  • The stiff quality of the fabric can make it uncomfortable in many types of everyday clothing.
  • It may wrinkle easily, which can be inappropriate for use in some types of clothing and other fabric options.
  • When it does absorb stains, they can go deep into the fabric, which means they may prove more difficult to remove.
  • Sometimes, damask can snag more easily than other types of fabric.

When to Use Damask Fabric in Your Brand

Damask fabric has a number of common uses, whether you want to use it as part of a clothing line or other types of fabric.


The heavy, hard-wearing quality of damask makes it ideal for a number of types of accessories, from luggage to purses and wallets. It is commonly featured in products that see a lot of heavy, everyday use, because the fabric is tough enough to stand up to it.

Formal Wear

Damask is generally not used as part of everyday clothing items, becasue its stiff construction makes it generally less comfortable than other types of fabrics. However, it is frequently used in formal wear, including jackets.


Damask is seen most frequently in a variety of home items. Its luxurious design makes it appopriate for all homes, while its water-resistance and durability make it appropriate for heavy use. It is often used for curtains, table linens, bed linens, and even upholstery.

Is Damask the Right Fabric Choice for Your Brand?

Damask has a number of potential uses for your brand, whether you’re designing a line of evening wear or trying to create upholstery that will reflect a sense of style and elegance. Choosing the right right fabric for all your needs is critical. Take a look at the other fabric options you may want to consider for your brand, including tweedflannel, and wool, and how they might help you create the designs you’re looking for.

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.