Embroidery vs. Jacquard

Embroidery vs. Jacquard - What's the difference?

Written by Melissa Wolck

For those of us that work with fabric on a regular basis, whether you're a weaver, designer, upholsterer, or a jobber like Greenhouse Fabrics, you're probably familiar with the difference between embroidered fabrics and jacquard fabrics, but let's not assume that all of our customers are.

After working in the fabric industry for the past few years, I have heard many people refer to jacquards as embroideries, and I think it is because of the intricate weave of the pattern.

Let's take a closer look at embroideries and jacquards, because they are in fact, very different.

The geometric pattern on the far left is stitched with a teal thread onto a linen base cloth creating a raised design. The same thing goes for the floral pattern on the far right. In fact, it may be easier to see what I am referring to on the floral design since the outline of the pattern is stitched using a rope embroidery. Notice how the pattern is created by the stitched thread ON TOP of the woven ground cloth? These are both embroideries.

Now, the two in the center are woven on a jacquard loom which uses an intricate method of weaving. The pattern is actually woven INTO the fabric by the warp and weft threads. Jacquard looms can weave pretty much any pattern you can think of including florals, geometrics, medallions, and stripes. 

Let's take a closer look in the image below.

The floral on the left is stitched on top of a faux silk ground, while the floral pattern on the right is woven all the way across the fabric, from selvedge to selvedge. The weave creates the design. 

Because the thread used to create an embroiderery is stitched onto a fabric, we typically, don't recommend using these for upholstery projects or on furniture that gets a lot of use. The threads are just not protected well enough and can become fragile. With a lot of wear and tear, they are apt to break and unravel. Jacquards on the other hand are a great option for upholstery. They are much more durable and can withstand heavy traffic with no problem.


I hope this gives you a better understanding without getting into the technical details and will be a helpful resource for explaining the differences between embroideries and jacquards to your own customers. 

We have tons and tons of beautiful fabrics available at Greenhouse Fabrics, so contact your customer service & fabric specialist today to order your free memo samples.