de nieuwe snede

the new cut – 16th century material culture in the low countries

Color, Textiles, Notions, etc.
Most of these terms come from All Together Respectably Dressed by Isis Sturtewagen. You can find these lists available in her thesis, which is available for download here. I have added a few definitions myself, as well as cited inventory examples.

Sometimes a color of fabric and a fabric name go hand in hand. I’ve kept those terms here in the color section. There are more colors used in period then I have named here.

  • Baai / Bay – 1) wool fabric with a carded warp and worsted weft, named after its originally chestnut red colored. Also called baize. 2) in the diminutive form baaiken, it is a female garment similar to a keurs or kirtle, named after the fabric bay or baize. Despite its name, different types of textiles other than bay were used, ranging from cloth to various silks. Baaikens were however made exclusively from different shades of red such as carnation or scarlet.
  • blaeuwe / blue 
  • Graue / gray
  • Incarnaat / carnation – a flesh coloured bright pink red. In English contemporary sources both incarnate (flesh coloured) and its derivative carnation appear as colours for garments.
  • Karmozijn / crimson – the name for a crimson coloured fabric, mostly silk, after the dyestuff used to achieve the colour, namely kermes or cochineal.
  • Moreit / Murrey – a very dark, almost black, shade of red named after the colour of morello cherries (prunus cerasus) or mulberries (morus).
  • Persse / Persse is a greyish colour ranging from blue to purple and reddish shades.
  • Root, rood, rhoot, rhood / Red
  • Rowaans / Red motley – The color of a roan horse or cow, mottled red and grey. Has also been mistakenly interpreted in as a textile produced in the city of Rouen.
  • Sanguine / Sanguine – Similar in colour to, as the name implies, blood. Sanguine was one of the possible outcomes of overdyeing a blue (light blue) dyed cloth, often first dyed in the wools, in a red dye bath. The end result of this process would have been darker hues: browns, blacks and purples.
  • Scharlaken / Scarlet – 1) Vivid crimson colour. 2) A luxurious textile dyed kermes. Kermes was obtained from the desiccated bodies of various female shield lice or scale insects from the Coccidae family.
  • Tanneyt, tanete / Tawny – a reddish brown or possibly a blackish purple depending on the source. Zimmerman gives it as blackish purple.
  • Vermilioen / Vermillion – A bright shade of red inclined towards orange.
  • Violet / Violet – Shade of blue purple, named after the color of violets (Viola odorata).
  • Zwart / Black


  • Armozijn / ormesine – a type of silk, similar to taffeta, that was originally produced in the East. The term might be Persian in origin, taking its name from the town of Ormuz. Later also made in Italy (Lucca and Venice) and France (Lyon).
  • Bokraan / Buckram – stiff tightly woven linen fabric, used especially for doublets and doublet linings, bodices and reinforcing collars as well as for summer clothes. Buckram was woven in the Bruges countryside, while the dying of the fabrics in many colours was one of the specialist trades in the city itself.
  • Bombazijn  / Bombazine – a mixed fabric made of a combination of cotton, with either linen, wool, or silk.
  • Bourat / Boratto – fabric with a loose silk warp and a worsted weft. Because of its dull surface often used for mourning clothes. It could be woven in tabby or twill, and could even be patterned. It had originally been a textile from French Flanders and Hainault, but by the mid 1580s it was also produced in Antwerp.
  • Brokaat / Brocade – silk patterned and interwoven with gold and/or silver threads.
  • Caffa / Caffa – patterned silk velvet currently known by the name of cisele velvet. The floral or geometric patterns were formed by alternating cut pile and uncut pile areas with areas where the satin or ormesin ground weave was not covered by pile. Caffa could be both of a single colour or multi-coloured for patterns in which higher contrasts were desirable.
  • Camelot / Camlet – a warp faced fabric with a distinctive glossy finish that originally came from the Levant, and was woven from mohair, the hair of the angora goat. From the fifteenth century onwards also produced in Italy (Venice, Milan, Florence, Naples, and Lucca) as well as the Low Countries (e.g. Lille) usually from a combination of worsted wool and silk. That this fabric was made from camel hair is a common misconception. ‘Watered camlet’ was patterned with moire, achieved by wetting and then pressing the fabric.
  • Camerrijcx / Cambric – a fine white linen fabric in plain weave. Named after the town of Cambray.
  • Cammecaets / Camoca – brocaded silk.
  • Cannefas / Canvas – a very densely woven and strong coarse linen fabric.
  • Changeant / Changeable – changeable fabric made of differently coloured warp and weft thread. Changeants  could be made from silk as well as wool. Silk changeants are also called shot silk.
  • Damast / damask – a figured fabric of silk or linen, usually in one color, whose patterns are formed by the use of alternating weave structures. Typically woven with a weft-facing satin binding for the ornaments and a warp-facing satin for the background.
  • Fluweel  / velvet – a silk or woolen fabric with a short dense pile, which could be cut or left uncut. Velvet could be plain or patterned. Although floral motifs were very popular, velvet with geometric patterns were also made. See Caffa.
  • Fustein / fustian – a cotton-linen or cotton-hemp fabric that was originally imported into the Low Countries from the Augsburg and Ulm region in southern Germany, as well as from Lombardy in northern Italy. From the early sixteenth century onward it was also woven locally in Bruges and Tournai. Fustian did not only exist in different weights and weave structures, but was also available in different colors: grey, white, black, red, and blue striped fustian.
  • Grofgrein / grogram – 1) a warp faced fabric similar to camlet, made in the Levant from mohair and sometimes mixed with silk. 2) a warp faced silk or silk and worsted wool fabric produced in Italy. 3) a woolen warp faced fabric woven in Lille.
  • Karsaai / Kersey ― A long and narrow English woolen fabric, thin and relatively coarse. Woven in a twill weave
  • Laken / cloth – very fine quality, densely fulled and shorn woolen fabric.
  • Lijnwaat, Linnen / Linen – Textile made from the fiber of the flax plant (and also hemp for coarser qualities).
  • Osset / Ostade – a twill woven worsted woolen fabric produced mainly in Lille. The difference between osset and half osset or ostade and demi ostade  is not clear.
  • Pielaken – A relatively cheap quality of grey, undyed wool cloth, named after its application for making monk’s cowls (pijen).
  • Saai / Say  1) A thin woolen stuff , saerge, or twill.
  • Saerge / Serge – A loosely woven twilled fabric with a worsted warp and a woolen weft, better quality than karsaai, in many different kinds and qualities.
  • Satijn / Satin – 1) Weave structure, in which one thread system, usually the warp, prevails on the front of the fabric, resulting in a glossy front surface and a dull back. 2) Fabric woven in satin-binding, which could be made of silk, a combination of silk and linen or wool, or only wool. Bruges and Valenciennes (and later also Antwerp) were specialized in the production of half-silk satin.
  • Stamet / Stammel – A medium quality woolen cloth similar to say. Often dyed, but also available in a wide variety of other colors.
  • Taft / Taffeta – Taffetas was the collective name applied to all tabby weave bindings in silk fabrics.
  • Tierentijn / Tirentaine – A coarse linsey-woolsey (a combination of linen and wool), or all wool fabric.
  • Trijp / Tripp – Plain or figured imitation velvet, woven with a pile of fine wool and a chain of linen, produced in the Low Countries.
  • Weerschijn / Changeant – Plain weave fabric with the warp in one color and the weft in another.
  • Zacklaken / Sackcloth – A coarse quality of linen fabric.
  • Wol – wool
  • Zijde – silk

Notions, tools, and Treatments

  • Frynghen / Fringe – a type of passementerie with an ornamental border of threads left loose or formed into tassels, used to edge clothing or material.
  • Ghepyckeert / pinked – the decoration of garments achieved by slashing and cutting the surface of the fabric in geometrical patterns which showed the contrasting colour of the lining underneath. Sharp blades of various sizes were used to cut the fabric.
  • Lobbenstock / Setting Stick – heated steel setting sticks used to bring ruffs and cuffs into shape.
  • Lubbekens / Picadils – Lubbekens was a tricky word to track down, but according to a Dutch etymological dictionary it is similar to lobben or lubben. The French word is poignet. At first I thought lubbekens could perhaps be gathered cuffs but I found another use of the word that indicates lubbekens could be the decoration on the cuff of the sleeve.
  • Passementerie – collective noun for a wide variety of narrow woven wares such as velvet and satin ribbons, bands and belts, as well as braided cords and strings.
  • Nasteling / Aiglet – aiglets are the sometimes very decorative pointy metal caps which covered the ends of laces, much like the modern plasticized ends of shoelaces.
  • Ploi – pleat
  • platte plooi – knife pleat
  • Stolpplooi – box pleat
  • Quispel / Tassel – A tuft of loosely hanging threads xed at one end, often by a decorative know, and attached for decoration to home furnishings, clothing, and jewellery
  • Spigilje / Cord – Spigilje was a kind of braided cord, used to close mantles or to decorate clothes. The name spigilje derives from the Spanish espiguilla, which means ‘herringbone’, referring to the braided texture of this type of passementerie.
  • Teecken – Could refer to a charm (in various shapes including crucifixes, coins, Mary figurines, animals, …) as part of an item of jewelry or to the separator beads in paternosters


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