With the introduction of laminates into primary loaded structures, it has become apparent that the delamination failure mode has the potential for being the major life-limiting failure mechanism. Delamination resistance has previously been increased using a number of techniques, including interleafing, rubber-toughened resin systems and stitching. However, all the methods proposed to date have attendant disadvantages, severely limiting their use in practical applications. This paper presents a novel solution-a 2.5-dimensional (2.5D) fabric-which has none of the aforementioned problems. The fabric is manufactured by cutting a simple three-dimensional weave, consisting of two two-dimensional (2D) fabrics connected by interwoven pile threads, to form a 'hairy' fabric. These 2.5D fabrics are impregnated with epoxy resin in the normal way, laminated and cured in an autoclave. Results are presented here for Mode I double cantilever beam and Mode II end toad split tests performed on the plain 2D glass fabric and the 2.5D fabrics with glass piles. The fabrics were tested in different orientations (0 degrees, i.e., parallel to the pile fibre weave direction, 90 degrees and 45 degrees), and a variety of pile lengths and pile densities were investigated. The presence of the short piles in the matrix-rich region between laminate plies is shown to increase the fracture toughness of the 2.5D composite over the conventional 2D fabric composite by virtue of the energy-absorbing effect produced by the piles in a similar manner to that produced during fibre bridging.