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What is Herringbone Fabric – All Things You Need to Know

Herringbone may sound biological correlation, but in reality, the herringbone pattern is ubiquitous in your surroundings. It can be found in the floor arrangements, the tiled pavements on the streets, and the intricate textures on autumn and winter coats. In today’s article, we present to you the fascinating herringbone fabric. If you are eager to comprehend its production, uses, advantages, and more, we invite you to read this comprehensive guide.

What is Herringbone Fabric?

Herringbone fabrics are crafted using a distinctive weaving technique that results in a surface texture resembling a V-shaped pattern. This unique texture is akin to our human identity.

When you observe a fabric with a column-like pattern on its surface, where the diagonal texture of adjacent columns is opposite, arranged meticulously and uniformly, resembling the structure of herringbones, then you’ve identified it as herringbone fabric.

The herringbone pattern imparts depth and visual allure to fabrics, elevating their elegance. It allows for adjustments in the width and spacing of the diagonal lines, enabling the creation of patterns in varying sizes and proportions. 

This unparalleled texture distinguishes herringbone fabric from other printed patterns, making it a beloved choice in the realm of fashion design. Whether worn or utilized for creative endeavors, the timeless charm of herringbone fabric endures.

When was Herringbone Fabric Invented?

The history of herringbone fabric stretches back to ancient times, and the exact date of its invention remains uncertain. However, archaeological discoveries shed some light on its origins. 

In a coal swamp in Northern Ireland, archaeologists unearthed a piece of horsehair fabric featuring a herringbone pattern. It is estimated to be from around 750-600 BC. Additionally, fragments of herringbone fabric were discovered in prehistoric salt mining areas in Austria, dating back to a similar period. These findings provide further evidence that herringbone fabric emerged long before our imaginations could fathom.

The origin of the herringbone pattern is a topic of debate. Some suggest its earliest existence in pottery from the Shang Dynasty and porcelain from the Western Zhou Dynasty. 

However, a widely circulated theory attributes its origin to the ancient Roman Empire around 5000 BC. Romans employed this pattern in road construction for its stability and durability, which eventually found widespread application and gradually extended to the textile industry. Particularly in the British region, traditional herringbone tweed continues to influence British fashion to this day.

How is Herringbone Fabric Made?

Herringbone fabric, also known as broken twill, derives its name from the continuous diagonal lines that create a distinctive zigzag pattern during the weaving process. The herringbone pattern is achieved by deliberately interrupting and shifting the diagonal texture. But how is this effect accomplished in the weaving process?

Like twill weaving, herringbone fabric is produced by interweaving warp and weft yarns in a specific pattern, resulting in a unique design. 

Along the first warp yarns that run parallel to the fabric’s edge, the intersection with the weft yarn is positioned as 2 under, 2 over, 2 under, 1 over. So forth until reaching the end of the warp yarn.

For the second warp yarn,  the intersections with the weft yarn are positioned as 1 over, 2 under, 2 over, and 2 under.

The intersections for the third warp yarn are positioned as 2 over, 2 under, 2 over, and 1 under.

The fourth warp yarn follows the pattern of 1 under, 2 over, 2 under, and 2 over.

By continuing this pattern with subsequent warp and weft yarns, a herringbone fabric with a distinct texture is achieved.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the combinations of warp and weft yarns? No worries! In this era of technology, all you need to understand is that the pattern is formed through the arrangement of these yarns. Let the machines handle the rest!

What is Herringbone Fabric Made of?

Herringbone fabric is not a specific fabric type, but rather a type of weave. It can be crafted from a variety of materials, including natural fibers, synthetic fibers, or blends of fibers. As long as the factory has the necessary materials, you can obtain the desired herringbone fabric. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? 

We’ll introduce you to the most commonly used materials for creating herringbone fabric.

  • Wool: Wool has always been a popular choice for making herringbone fabric, such as tweed fabrics. Wool herringbone provides warmth and enhances the overall texture. You can often find this material in high-end applications like suits and coats.      
  • Cotton: Cotton ensures the fabric’s softness, breathability, and skin-friendliness. Cotton herringbone is a common choice for crafting casual clothing and shirts.
  • Linen: Linen herringbone fabric is cool, breathability, and displays a natural, textured appearance. It is well-suited for summer designs.
  • Silk: Herringbone fabric made from lustrous silk offers unmatched luxury and a comfortable touch. It is typically used in high-end clothing and accessories.
  • Synthetic fibers: Herringbone fabric from common synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon possesses excellent moisture-wicking properties and durability.
  • Blends: Fiber blends are another commonly used material for herringbone fabric. By combining different fibers, their characteristics are merged, resulting in enhanced design presentations.   

What is Herringbone Fabric Used for?

The captivating herringbone pattern enhances the texture and visual appeal of fabrics, making it perpetually attractive in any setting. Whether you’re a designer, fabric enthusiast, or a craft maker, herringbone fabric can excel in your field.

In the world of fashion, it exudes style and elegance, enabling you to create a timeless look. Similarly, in the realm of home furnishings, it seamlessly blends with various styles, leaving an impressive impact. 

The personal decor also benefits from its presence, as the distinctive texture helps showcase individuality. Additionally, for craft enthusiasts, it serves as an ideal canvas, inviting exploration through cutting and sewing in uncharted territories.

Where can you use it:

  • Coats
  • Suits
  • Dresses
  • Sport jackets
  • Curtains
  • Bed covers
  • Sofas
  • Scarves
  • Bags
  • Shoes
  • Quilting
  • Stitching

Advantages and Disadvantages of Herringbone Fabric

The advantages and disadvantages of herringbone fabrics may vary depending on the specific materials used, as they can be made from natural, synthetic, or blended fibers. However, they generally share common advantages and disadvantages due to their unique weaving technique.


  • Aesthetics: The intriguing pattern of herringbone fabrics adds visual pleasure and refinement.
  • Versatility: Herringbone fabrics have a wide range of applications in different contexts, depending on the materials used.
  • Practicality: They possess a timeless appearance and can adapt to various design styles.
  • Durability: The distinctive weaving technique provides excellent abrasion resistance to the fabric, except for delicate materials like silk.


  • Limited stretch: The herringbone weave may restrict stretch and elasticity, affecting its flexibility in certain applications.
  • Higher cost: Compared to other fabrics, the complex weaving technique and use of premium materials can increase the price, impacting affordability.
  • Fabric weight: Some common herringbone materials result in heavier fabrics, making them more suitable for autumn and winter applications. However, lighter materials like silk can be found for summer use.

How to Clean Herringbone Fabric?

To maintain the wonderful quality of your herringbone fabric, the following suggestions are offered to you:

  1. Regardless of the fabric material used for herringbone, please check the fabric care label first.
  2. If you come across any stains on the fabric, it’s important to clean them promptly. Use a clean cloth or sponge along with a mild detergent to gently dab the stained area. Afterward, rinse with water and use a dry cloth to press and absorb any remaining stains or moisture.
  3. When hand washing or machine washing herringbone fabric, remember to turn the fabric inside out before washing. Use cold water and a gentle cycle, while avoiding the use of bleach or harsh chemicals.
  4. For delicate or valuable herringbone fabrics, it’s best to rely on a professional dry cleaner.
  5. When ironing, set the iron to the recommended temperature, typically low or medium heat. It’s advisable to use a pressing cloth to prevent direct contact between the iron and the fabric.

Herringbone Fabric vs Twill Fabric


Herringbone fabric and twill fabric both exhibit unique surface textures that set them apart from other plain weaves, thanks to their distinctive weaving techniques. These fabrics possess aesthetic value, and printing on their textured surfaces can enhance and clarify patterns. 

Additionally, their tight weaves prevent wrinkles and maintain a smooth appearance. Whether you’re working with herringbone or twill fabric, their woven structures ensure durability.


The differences between these two fabrics are also evident in their textural characteristics. Herringbone fabric creates a V-shaped pattern reminiscent of fishbones, while twill fabric showcases continuous diagonal lines in one direction. Furthermore, twill fabric boasts smoother flow and better draping properties. 

Consequently, their applications diverge accordingly. Twill fabric excels in clothing and home furnishings, while herringbone fabric finds greater usage in garments, especially coats and suits.


Is herringbone fabric for summer or winter?

The applicable season for herringbone fabrics depends on the material and thickness of the fabric. For example, herringbone fabric crafted from warmer and heavier materials like wool is ideal for winter garments, such as coats, providing both warmth and style. Conversely, lightweight herringbone fabrics made from materials like silk or linen are perfect for summer.

Does herringbone wrinkle?

In general, herringbone fabric is tightly woven, so it is less prone to wrinkling. However, it’s important to note that certain herringbone fabrics may use materials that are more susceptible to wrinkles or have looser weaves, which can lead to wrinkling. Proper care and ironing can help maintain the aesthetic appeal of your herringbone fabric.

Closing Thoughts

Herringbone fabric embodies a style that is both timeless and fashion-forward, making it a fabric treasure that should be a staple in everyone’s wardrobe. If you’re captivated by its allure, you can begin by adding a delicate accessory, its charm will captivate you completely.

More Resources:

What is Woven Fabric – Source: Sinosilk

What is Twill – Source: Sinosilk 

What is Jacquard Fabric – Source: Sinosilk

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