What is Pique Fabric? Characteristics, Types, Uses [A to Z]

When I say pique, if you are a soccer fan, your mind must go directly to the Soccer Star Gerard Pique, but that’s certainly not what we are talking about.

Well, there is some sporty connection. Grab onto your polo shirt and look at the texture inside and outside. There is a unique waffle texture on the outside, while on the inside, we have a satisfying smooth texture. This is the texture of a pique knit fabric.

What Is Pique Fabric

So, what exactly is pique fabric? Usually, It is a unique double-knit textured fabric which was originated in Lancashire, England. Although it’s pretty stiff, it is comfortable and highly breathable, thanks to the cotton fiber which makes up the fabric.

The fabric depth comes from the complex knitting where there are twice the threads on the right side than the wrong side. A bit unclear, right? Why don’t we dig into the details now?

What is Pique Fabric?

In the textured fabric of pique, the side on the top of the right side comes with a waffle-like pattern where the knits look like a honeycomb; on the other hand, the bottom of the wrong side is smooth with a plain pattern.

The French word for a quilt is piquer, which is from where the name pique comes from. Since the fabric texture is similar to that of the hand-stitched patterns on the quilts made in Marseille, the texture of the fabric is known as pique. It is a name given by textile manufacturers.

Pique Fabric

The other names by which the fabric is well known are polo fabric, Marcella, and Lacoste fabric. So, where does the polo shirt come from? In 1926, Jean Rene Lacoste, a famous French tennis player, used the distinct pique knit fabric to make a white collared, short-sleeve shirt. Since he was not a big fan of the stiff tennis uniform that was traditionally worn back then, he looked for a more comfortable fabric which was none other than the pique fabric. And those kinds of shirts are today’s polo shirts.

Traditionally, the pique uses cotton blends or cotton threads. For higher quality, silk blends or silk threads make pique shirts, ties, or even dresses. If you want to go for a cheaper pique, then polyester pique knit fabrics are produced on a mass scale with lower quality.

Do not worry about the double-layer texture because the knit pattern is made so that it is breathable. There is space between the layers that let through the air providing top-notch comfy and ventilation to the fabric.

What is Pique Made of?

Out of the most widely known fabric types, like, cotton, silk, and polyester, pique seems to not even belong to the list. Some people are not even aware that it is a knit fabric. It is called a double weave, the usual threads being cotton or cotton blends.

What is Pique fabric Made of

What makes it stand apart are the geometric patterns and the upright parallel cords in the fabric. So, that sums up the conclusion that pique is instead a traditional woven style of fabric with a waffle-patterned structure than being a completely new material.

Now, the texture of pique can be different based on the different styles of manufacturing the fabric. Generally, the manufacturers use two superimposed warp threads, which are knitted lengthwise in a loom. Separate wefts are given to each thread; weft indicates the threads placed across the warp threads. The individual threads of each warm are weaved into one another. This creates two different sides for the fabric, the right side using twice as much finer yarns per centimeter and the wrong side called the lining.

Although pique is generally a denser textile fabric due to the way it is made, the quality can be different based on the different manufacturing methods. The three different manufacturing process that creates distinctly textured fabric are-

  • 2 warps and 2 weft threads to make the original pique fabric. 
  • 2 warps and 1 weft thread to create a semi-pique fabric.
  • 1 warp and 1 weft thread that creates the ‘fake’ pique fabric 

What is Pique Used for?

Due to their versatility in the manufacturing process, pique knit fabrics can be used for several purposes. Let’s see.

What is Pique Used for

The cotton content of the canvas allows pique to be the most suitable and popular choice for polo shirts. Combining the high texture and the cotton threads makes the fabric extremely breathable, keeping the polo shirts comfy without revealing sweat marks. The lower side of the fabric absorbs the moisture, and the loose weaves wick away the moisture, evaporating it.

Pique knit is a versatile fabric used for almost everything starting from garments and household textile items. They can be used for sleeping dresses, bathrobes, waffle knit pajamas, or even elegant formal shirts, dresses, and ties.

Considering household textiles, tea towels, dish clothes, and furniture upholstery are also made from pique knit fabric. Due to the denser texture of piles, the fabric is more durable and hence suitable for such household and kitchen textiles. Besides, another reason for using them for household items is that they are easy to take care of and wash. 

Read Next: You Can Read About Modal Fabric

Is Pique Soft?

As you already know, pique is what is used to manufacture polo shirts. The complex knitted weave of the fabric gives off a texture that looks patterned and raised. The outer surface of these fabrics is a bit coarse and patterned.

However, the inside of the fabrics gives off a very comfy, breathable, and soft texture. No wonder why manufacturers would use this fabric for polo shirts that you would have to wear through sports events throughout the day.

Thanks to ‘Lacoste,’ we have polo shirts for playing sports, being all comfortable and relaxed.

Is Pique Stretchy?

Now, let’s not mix up jersey fabric with pique fabric. However, both fabrics are pretty famous for their use in polo shirts. When it comes to the stretchy part, Jersey is wrinkle-resistant and more stretchy.

However, pique isn’t that bad with wrinkling, and it holds up pretty well even with a lot of movement and absorbs more sweat, the perfect combo for wearing on outdoor sports days or for carrying out other outdoor activities.

Is Pique Suitable for Summer?

As you know, pique fabric comes from the family of cotton or cotton blends. They can also be made from cotton-polyester blends, which results in making them typically medium-weight. The dobby loom attachment and the knitted weave of the fabric create a unique pattern that makes the weave airy and gives off more scope for additional ventilation. Polo shirts made with such fabric are undoubtedly a great choice to wear in the warm months of the summer.

Besides, they can also make dresses or even casual shirts with enough breathability, all ideal for wearing on a summer day!

Does Pique Shrink?

Since pique has a uniquely patterned knit weave, it also has spaces between the knit. So, when you wash it for the first time, there is a possibility of the pique fabric shrinking just a little bit. The shrinking is because of the loose weave, and the shrinking occurs more lengthwise than widthwise. Putting the fabric into a dryer may also cause it to shrink.

So, when you order or purchase a pique fabric shirt, don’t hesitate to go for a size larger if you want a perfect fit after the first wash.

Read Next: Does 100% Polyester fabric shrink

Pique Fabric Characteristics 

The pique-knit fabric features a patterned texture that looks like a cord, waffle, honeycomb, and even bird’s eye structure. But besides the unique texture, there’s more to the fabric. Let’s check out the features.

Pique Fabric Characteristics
  • The fabric needs a nap layout
  • Excellent in giving comfort
  • Highly breathable 
  • Weaker to fabrics without ribs
  • Absorbs more heat and body sweat
  • In some cases, stitching may give off bad creeps.
  • They need to be pressed lightly or not because the thin fabric can get damaged due to pressing.
  • A perfect choice for outdoor events and sports, especially in the summer season
  • The smaller the threads, the smoother feel of the fabric it gives off.
  • Very easy to care for 
  • Considering the medium weight of the fabric, it’s easy to clean as well.

Pique Fabric Types 

Looking at the traditional types of pique fabric, there are three kinds of it, which I’ll list below right away for you so that when you go to purchase pique, you buy what you need!

Pique Fabric Types

Knitted pique:

The knitted pique is the original french pique fabric. This fabric is initially used in manufacturing polo shirts that give them their distinct pattern and features.

Baby Pique:

The baby pique is the cotton version of the fabric knitted more compactly with a very subtle pile. It is warmer compared to the traditional style. Baby pique fabric is used in the production of the finest bedspreads and most intricately made sleeping linen. With the most cotton threads used, it becomes the most comfortable, breathable, lightweight, and expensive.

Pique of Bozmey:

It is the so-called pique of fabric manufactured with a denser pile on the seamy side of the fabric. Since this is a bit coarser and heavier, it is ideal for upholstering furniture, tailoring, warm bedspreads, rugs, mats, etc.

The knitted pique is the smoothest and most common, whereas the baby pique is a bit more coarse and the most costly one, and finally, the pique of bozmey is the roughest and warmest.

Read Next: What is Neoprene Fabric: Complete Guide

What is Cotton Piqué Fabric?

Cotton pique fabric is the original, otherwise known as Marcella, originating from the Lancashire cotton industry in the 18th century, as I explained earlier. It is a specific weaving style where a merchandised technique that indicates weaving double cloth with a congested cording weft is used to produce the fabric. 

The distinct features of the fabric are fine ribbing or the raised parallel cords giving the fabric a subtle texture, mostly honeycomb, waffle, or even bird’s eye structure.

What is Micro Pique Fabric?

Micro pique is another form of pique fabric made out of polyester and is soft like traditional pique fabric. It is manufactured with the idea that the fabric will wick away moisture from the skin. The disadvantage of this fabric is that stitching designs on it seem like a no-no since it is a fussy fabric and doesn’t hold stitches very well.

Micro pique is mostly suitable wear for athletic events, especially in manufacturing golf shirts.

What is Pique Knit Fabric?

The double knit textured fabric originated in Lancashire, England, which we know by the pique knit fabric. The manufacturing process that makes it stand apart from typical fabrics is that there are twice more threads on the upper side than the lower side of the fabric, which gives the fabric its unique texture and depth. It is more of a stiff material made out of cotton that is highly eligible for making polo shirts. 

What is Performance Pique Fabric?

Performance pique is a category of pique knit fabric; however, it has distinct features. Firstly, it is a 100% polyester fabric knitted in a diamond-like structure with intricate details using vibrant and bright threads. Due to the material and knitting style, it is a far more durable fabric.

Besides, this pique is also soft, lightweight, comfortable, and stretchy, and wicks away moisture from the body. Hence, it is ideal for making yoga tops, headbands, athletic wear, and tennis uniforms.

What differs from the traditional cotton pique is that the performance pique is resistant to wrinkle and foldable into a small bag. Due to its high durability, and more feasible features, it’s also an excellent choice for wearing at a conference or even fancy places with the designed fabric.

Oh, did I mention that it’s suitable for printing and dyeing as well? Well, this one is an excellent choice for customization.

What is Lightweight Pique Fabric?

The pique knitted fabric somewhat resembles a lightweight Bedford cord with cords that go across the lengthwise or widthwise direction.

The generally manufactured pique with rounded cords in the weft direction with recessed lines in the middle is medium to heavyweight. But, the performance pique or the diamond weave knit is a lightweight pique fabric allowing you to use them casually.

How to Take Care of and Clean Pique Fabric? 

The traditional pique fabric is 100% cotton; hence laundering, maintaining, and washing these fabrics is no big fuss.

  • Since it is all cotton, it can withstand high temperatures and doesn’t damage by heat. So, considering the durability, you can steam it with iron.
  • You can machine-wash and dry the pique knit fabric.
  • The problem is the fabric is more prone to wrinkles so, it’s not as low maintenance as typical materials. However, the remarkable thing is that with just a little ironing, the wrinkles will disappear, unlike fabrics like linen.

Some pique-made polo shirts already go through a wrinkle-resistant treatment that solves your wrinkle problem when they are manufactured.

They are manufactured with a stain-resistant coating, making them easy to wash out stains, sweat, and grease.

Final Words:

The pique knit fabric stands out in the first row when it comes to sportswear and athletic clothing. It has created its spot in the market for such clothing items due to the extensive qualities of the fabric like durability, holding up to movement, absorbing sweat, washability, softness, and smoothness.

Due to the different types of fabric, it is a good choice for formal wear and household textiles. If you’re looking for a versatile fabric to make your dresses, upholstery, or even bathrobes, the pique fabric should be your top choice.

And let’s not forget how classy the fabric makes you look. So, once you start using the fabric and find warmth in it, it’s going to be all you’ll need for clothing!

Leave a Comment