Chenille Fabric

Chenille Fabric

What is Chenille Fabric?

Chenille may refer to either a type of yarn or fabric made from it. Chenille is the French word for caterpillar whose fur the yarn is supposed to resemble.


  • According to textile historians, chenille-type yarn is a recent invention, dating to the 18th century and believed to have originated in France. The original technique involved weaving a "leno" fabric and then cutting the fabric into strips to make the chenille yarn.
  • Alexander Buchanan, a foreman in a Paisley fabric mill, is credited with introducing chenille fabric to Scotland in the 1830s. Here he developed a way to weave fuzzy shawls.
  • Tufts of coloured wool were woven together into a blanket that was then cut into strips. They were treated by heating rollers in order to create the frizz. This resulted in a very soft, fuzzy fabric named chenille. Another Paisley shawl manufacturer went on to further develop the technique.
  • James Templeton and William Quiglay worked to refine this process while working on imitation oriental rugs. The intricate patterns used to be difficult to reproduce by automation, but this technique solved that issue. These men patented the process but Quiglay soon sold out his interest.
  • Templeton then went on to open a successful carpet company (James Templeton & Co) that became a leading carpet manufacturer throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

What makes it stand out?

  • Fuzzy and soft. Chenille is a fuzzy fabric and yarn as a result of the short piles of material on each strand.
  • Nice drape. Chenille has a beautiful soft drape, which has led to its popularity in garments in recent years.
  • Durable. Chenille fabric is extremely durable.
  • Iridescent.

Application and uses

  • Carpets and rugs. Making rugs and carpets is one of the primary uses for chenille.
  • Blankets and throws. The soft, fuzzy material is perfect for warm bedspreads or accent throws on couches and chairs.
  • Home decor.
  • Shawls and other similar clothing.

Care instructions

  • Wash the chenille throw in a washing machine. Chenille has a tendency to shed if it is subjected to a lot of friction.
  • Wash the chenille throw by hand. If you feel that the washing machine might be too rough on your blanket, hand-wash it in cold water with a mild detergent.
  • Dry the throw

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