This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Faille (Fail). Originally a hood covering the face, worn by French nuns of certain orders. In the 16th century the term was adopted to describe a peculiar heavy silk veiling, worn at first by nuns, but later by women of all classes. The word has had several different meanings from the 13th to the 18th century. At present faille indicates a popular variety of soft, ribbed dress silk distinguished by a prominent grain or cord extending from side to side of the fabric. The cord is not so heavy as that found in ottoman, but about twice as large as that found in grosgrain. It is finished without "dressing," possesses a slight gloss, the fabric generally appearing better in light than dark colors.