A TO Z
OF FABRICS

Abaca

More commonly known as manila hemp.

Acetate

One of the first manufactured fibers. It has the lustrous appearance of silk. Acetate is not a strong fiber, as its resistance to abrasion is poor. Resists shrinkage, moths and mildew, and does not absorb moisture readily. Its yarns are pliable and supple and will always spring back to their original shape. Fast-drying and when heated becomes more pliable. Used in clothing, uniforms, lingerie, carpets, bathing suits, draperies, automobile upholstery, fillings for pillows, interlinings.

Acrylic

Acrylic is a durable fiber with a soft, woolly feel. It has an uneven surface, making it different from most manufactured fibers. It comes in a variety of colors, and can be dyed easily. It is resistant to sun and chemicals. Often used as a replacement for wool.

Agneline

A black woolen fabric with a very long nape, and is coarse and heavy. When stretched the fibers tighten and become water resistant.

Albert Cloth

A double layer of wool (double cloth); reversible. Faces and backs may vary in color and pattern. Provides additional warmth and body. Used for outer wraps, coats and jackets.

Alginate

Alginate was first produced from seaweed in 1940. It is a product of a neutralizing reaction between alginic acid and caustic soda. Nonflammable. When combined with other fibers, it takes on a sheer appearance. Used for accent pieces, camouflage and netting.

Alpaca

True alpaca is hair from the Alpaca animal, a member of the llama family. Fine, silk-like, soft, lightweight and warm. It is very rich and silky with considerable luster and resembles mohair; it’s also strong and durable. Often combined with other fibers or imitated by other fibers. Used for men’s and women’s suits, coats and sportswear, linings and sweaters. Some fine alpaca used for women’s dresses. Also in pile or napped fabric for coating.

Angora

The clipped fiber from angora goats is called mohair. (Angora wool comes from angora rabbits.) Scoured mohair appears smooth and white. It varies in fineness and is highly resilient, very strong and has high luster. Mohair is very warm, and can be combined with other fabrics, such as cotton. It is used in winter accessories, sweaters and coats, as well as in home decor.

Angora wool is long, very fine, lightweight, extremely warm and fluffy. Used mostly in knitwear—gloves, scarves, sweaters, etc. Also comes blended with wool.

Astrakhan

Made from wool to resemble Persian lamb fur. Used for coats, cloaks, trimmings and accessories. Durable and warm.

Baize

A thick, bright green or red cloth that looks like felt. Used to cover billiard tables, or as pads under objects to prevent scratching. Also known as Bayeta.

Banana Silk

In many Asian countries, the stalk of the banana plant is processed to make fabric. Different layers of the banana stem yield fibers for different uses: The outer layer produces fibers used for tablecloths; the next layer yields fibers used for obi and ties; and the third layer is used for kimono and saris.

Barathea

Worsted, silk, rayon or silk or rayon warp combined with cotton or wool; usually features a twilled hopsack weave. Has a fine textured, slightly pebbled surface. and often appears to be cut off-grain. English in origin and originally made as a mourning cloth. Still often dyed black. Used for women’s suits and coats, men’s evening wear, dress goods in light fibers. Also used in silk for cravat cloth and eveningwear.

Batik

A method, originating in Java, of resist dyeing which employs wax as the resist. The pattern is covered with wax and the fabric is then dyed, producing a white design on a dyed ground. The waxed patterns will not take the dye, and the wax is removed after dyeing. The process is repeated to obtain multicolored designs. The effect is sometimes imitated in machine prints.

Batiste

Plain-weave cotton, also rayon and wool. Named after Jean Batiste, a French linen weaver. Lightweight, soft, semi-sheer fabric. It belongs to the lawn family and is almost transparent. It is made of tightly twisted, combed yarns and has a mercerized finish. Can be printed or embroidered. In a heavier weight, it is used for foundation garments and linings.

Bayadere

Silk fabric with brightly colored stripes in the filling direction. Often black warp. Mostly produced in India. Name derived from the Bajadere dancing girl of India, dedicated from birth to a dancing life. The Bayadere costume includes the striped garment, a flimsy scarf or shawl, jeweled trousers, spangles, sequins, anklets. Used for blouses, dresses, eveningwear.

Beaver Cloth

A double-faced wool made to simulate beaver fur. Thick and very warm. Length of nap varies with the cloth and its uses. Has a luxurious look and the longest nap of all the napped fabrics; usually somewhat silky. Often light colored fibers added to nap to increase shine. Mostly used for warm coats. Cotton beaver is used for caps, shoe linings, work cloths, maritime clothes and sports clothes.

Bedford Cord

Features a lengthwise rib; sometimes the ribs are emphasized by stuffing. Firmly constructed and extremely durable. Comes in various weights. Used for suiting, coatings, riding breeches, uniforms and upholstery. Originated in New Bedford, Mass.

Bengaline

A corded fabric like a faille but with heavier cords. First made of silk in Bengal, India. Ribs are round and raised. Often has wool or cotton drilling in the ribs which doesn’t show. Difficult to make bound buttonholes in it. Comes in silk, wool, rayon, synthetics, cotton. Used for coats, suits, millinery, trims, dresses, draperies. “Cotele” is a French term for bengaline made from a silk or rayon warp and worsted filling.

Birdseye Piqué

Has small diamond-shaped figures with a dot in the center of each. Pattern suggests the eye of a bird. Cotton and cotton blends; very soft, lightweight, and absorbent. Used for childrenswear, summer dresses and tops.

Blanket Cloth

Soft, raised finish or nap obtained by passing the fabric over a series of rollers covered with fine wire or teasels. Made in wool, worsted, cotton, blends, synthetics. Heavily napped on both sides. Named in honor of Thomas Blanket (Blanquette), a Flemish weaver who lived in Bristol, England in the XIV century, and was the first to use this material for sleeping to keep warm. Used for bed covering, overcoats, robes.

Bombazine

Corded like a faille or bengaline, with a silk or rayon warp and worsted filling. Also comes in cotton. Name comes from Latin “bombycinum” which means a silk in texture. It is one of the oldest materials known and was originally all silk. Used for coats, suits, millinery, trims, dresses, draperies.

Bouclé

Yarn with loops, which produces a woven or knitted fabric with tightly looped appearance. Made in a variety of weights. Boucle yarns are usually in both the filling and the warp. Comes in wool, also in rayon, silk, cotton, linen, blends, hair fibers. Classic Chanel jackets are often made from boucle or tweed. Used for coats, suits, dresses, sportswear.

Broadcloth

Cotton, silk or rayon, with a plain weave and a very fine crosswise rib weave. Very closely woven and in cotton, made from either carded or combed yarns. It is finer than poplin when made with a crosswise rib and it is lustrous and soft with a good texture. Thread count ranges from high quality 144 x 6 count to 80 x 60. Has a smooth finish. May be bleached, dyed, or printed; also is often mercerized. Wears very well. Finest quality made from Egyptian or combed pima cotton, also Sea Island. Used for shirts, dresses, blouses, and summer wear of all kinds.

Brocade

Silk, rayon, cotton, and many other types of fabrics with a rich, heavy, elaborate design effect. Often features colored or metallic threads which can make the design pop against a satin weave background. The pattern may be satin on a twill ground or twill on a satin ground. Can be reversible. Motifs may be of flowers, foliage, scrollwork, pastoral scenes, or other designs. Generally reputed to have been developed from the Latin name “brocade” which means to figure. Used for dresses, jackets, skirts, eveningwear and home decor.

Brocatelle

Similar to brocade but heavier in weight. Comes in silk, rayon, cotton, and synthetics.True brocatelle is a double weave made of silk and linen warp and a silk and linen filling. Features an embossed pattern in the tight, compact woven warp-effect. Used for draperies, furniture, coverings and general decorating purposes, as well as all kinds of eveningwear.

Buckram

A utilitarian fabric used for interlinings and all kinds of stiffening in clothes, bookbinding, and for millinery (because it can be moistened and shaped). Made from cotton, linen, hemp, and some synthetics. Features a plain loose weave, is very heavily sized and stiff. Can also be made from two fabrics glued together; one is open weave and the other much finer. Softens with heat; can be shaped while warm.

Burlap

Burlap (or jute) is most  often used in textiles for interiors. Natural jute has a yellow to brown or gray color, with a silky luster. It consists of bundles of fiber held together by gummy substances that are pertinacious in character. It is difficult to bleach completely, so many fabrics are bright, dark, or natural brown in color. Jute reacts to chemicals in the same way as do cotton and flax. It is widely used in the manufacture of linoleum and carpets for backing or base fabric.

Burn-out

A process whereby a chemical (often sulfuric acid, mixed into a print paste) is printed on the fabric, instead of color. The chemical eats away the fiber and creates a hole in the fabric in the printed design. Can be used to simulate eyelet effects, where the fabric is then over-printed with a simulated embroidery stitch. Burn-out effects can also be created on velvets made of blended fibers, in which the ground fabric is of one fiber-like polyester, and the pile may be of a cellulose fiber like rayon or acetate. In this case, when the chemical is printed, it destroys the pile in those areas where the chemical comes in contact with the fabric, but leaves the base fabric untouched.

Butcher linen

It was originally made with linen but is now created with cotton or manufactured fibers. It launders well, sheds dirt, and is exceptionally durable.

Calendering

A process for finishing fabrics that produces high luster, glazed, embossed and moiré effects.

Calico

A printed cotton cloth, similar to percale. Often features a small floral print. Originated in Calicut, India, and is one of the oldest cottons. Historic use as housedresses, aprons and patchwork quilts. Calicoes were first imported into Europe from India during the Renaissance and have since been manufactured in both Europe and the United States. Calico was especially popular in America during the 19th century. In the U.K., calico is the term for a white or unbleached plain cotton cloth.

Cambric

Soft cotton or linen, closely woven, lightweight. Either bleached or piece dyed; highly mercerized, lint free. Calendered on the right side with a slight gloss. Lower qualities have a smooth bright finish. Similar to batiste but is stiffer and has fewer slubs. Launders very well, has good body, sews and finishes well. Originally made in Cambria, France, of linen and used for church embroidery and table linens. Today cambric is used for handkerchiefs, underwear, slips, nightgowns, children’s dresses, aprons, shirts and blouses.

Candlewick Fabric

An unbleached muslin bed sheeting used as a base fabric on which a chenille effect is formed by application of candlewick (heavy plied yarn) loops, which are then cut to give a fuzzy effect and cut yarn appearance of true chenille yarn. May be uncut also. (True chenille is a cotton, wool, silk, or rayon yarn, which has a pile protruding all around at slight angles and stimulates a caterpillar. Chenille is the French word for caterpillar). Used for bedspreads, drapes, beach wear.

Canton Flannel

A cotton flannel. The filling yarn is a very loosely twisted and soft, and later brushed to produced a soft nap on the back. The warp is medium in size; the face is a twill. Heavy, warm, strong and absorbent. Named for Canton, China, where it was first made. Comes bleached, unbleached, dyed, and some are printed. Used for interlinings, pajamas, linings, coverings, work gloves.

Canvas

Plain weave cotton or linen. A mostly rugged, heavy material made from plied yarns, with body and strength. Almost the same as duck in heavier weights. Has an even weave. Used for rugged applications like tents, sails, mail bags, sacks, covers, etc., as well as for many home decor applications. Finer types used for embroidery and paintings. Hair canvas is an interfacing material in various weights.

Carding

The process of preparing fibers, such as wool, cotton, etc., for spinning.

Cashmere

A most luxurious fabric from the Kashmir goat, a hair fiber found in Kashmir India, Tibet, Iran, Iraq, China, Persia, Turkestan and Outer Mongolia. Often mixed with wool or synthetics to cut costs and improve the wear. Fiber is cylindrical, soft and silken, more like wool than any other hair fiber. Has a very soft silky finish; very lightweight. Natural fiber is white, black, brown or gray but can be died a variety of shades. Comes in different weights. As a wool fabric, used for coats, jackets, suits and more. As a knit, it’s used as sweaters, scarves, robes and other luxury apparel and accessories.

Cavalry twill

Woolen or worsted, with a double twill weave. A strong rugged cloth.  Used forriding habits, ski wear, sportswear, and uniform fabrics.

Cellulose

Cellulose is the basic substance for the three cellulosic fibers—acetate, rayon, and triacetate—and comes from purified wood pulp.

Challis

A soft, plain weave wool. Comes from the Anglo-Indian word “Shallee,” meaning soft (and is also pronounced “shallee). Also made in cotton, hair fiber, rayon. Lightweight. May be dyed or printed with a delicate floral pattern, paisleys, or geometric patterns. Originated in Norwich, England, in 1832. Used for women’s and children’s dresses and blouses, comforters, kimonos, neckties, and sportswear.

Chambray

Features a dyed warp and a white or unbleached filling. Both carded and combed yarns used, and has a white selvedge. Some woven with alternating white and colored warp. Has a lighweight, faded denim look, with very soft coloring. Some chambrays have stripes, checks or are embroidered. Smooth, strong, closely woven, soft and has a slight luster. Wears very well, easy to sew, and launders well. Originated in Cobrai, France, where it was first made for sunbonnets. Used for shirts, tops, dresses, sportswear, childrenswear and more.

Chamois cloth

Fabric is napped, sheared, and dyed to simulate chamois leather. Thicker, softer and more durable than flannelette. Used for men’s shirts, cleaning, interlining, and storage bags for articles to prevent scratching.

Charmeuse

A beautiful satin fabric made of silk or manmade fibers. Recognized for its supreme luster and drapability. Has a satin face and a matte face. Comes in a wide variety of solids and prints. Used for blouses, dresses, linings, and lingerie.

Charvet

A soft, silky fiber with high luster and a warp face. Herringbone weave. Originated as a silk fiber but is now made of manufactured fibers. Used for ties, scarves and robes.

Cheesecloth

Originally used as a wrapping material for pressing cheese. Loosely woven cotton, thin, light in weight, open in construction, and soft. Carded yarns are always used. It is also called gauze weave. When woven in 36″ widths it is called tobacco cloth. When an applied finish is added, it is called buckram, crinoline, or bunting. Finished cloth is used for curtains, bandages, dust cloths, cheap bunting, hat lining, surgical gauze, fly nets, food wrapping, e.g. meat and cheese, costumes and basket tops.

Chenille Fabric

Mostly plain weave cotton and blends. Filling of chenille yarns—has a pile protruding all around at right angles. (The word is French for caterpillar and fabric looks fuzzy.) Used for millinery, rugs, decorative fabrics, trimmings, upholstery.

Chevron

Broken twill or herringbone weave giving a chevron effect, creating a design of wide Vs across the width of the fabric. Also known as herringbone.

Chiffon

A diaphanous fabric of silk, rayon, cotton, synthetics. Lightweight, sheer, transparent. Made with very fine, tightly twisted yarns. The tightly twisted yarns can be either in the filling or the warp, or both. It is very strong, despite its filmy look. Used for tops, dresses, evening wear, lingerie, scarves and as overlay fabrics.

Cheviot

A wool originally and mostly made from the Cheviot sheep but today also made of blends, spun synthetics, crossbred and reused wools. Resembles serge but is much more rugged and coarse and will not shine because of the rough surface. Also sold as a tweed. Used for coats, suits, and sportswear.

China Silk

A silk that is soft and extremely lightweight but fairly strong. Irregularities of threads caused by the extreme lightness and softness are characteristic of the fabric. Used for linings and underlinings, blouses.

Chinchilla Fabric

Made from cotton or wool, and also some manmade and synthetic fabrics. Does not resemble real chinchilla fur. Has small nubs on the surface of the fabric which are made by the chinchilla machine. Cotton warp is often used because it cannot show from either side. Comes in medium and heavy weights. A very warm and cozy fabric. Takes its name from Chinchilla, Spain, where it was invented. Used for baby blankets.

Chino

Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Twill (left hand)

A cotton twill with a combined two-ply warp and filling, and a subtle sheen. Fabric was purchased in China (thus the name) by the U.S. Army for uniforms; originally used for army cloth in England many years before and dyed olive-drab. Washes and wears extremely well with a minimum of care.

Uses: Army uniforms, summer suits and dresses, sportswear.

Chintz

Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Has bright gay figures, large flower designs, birds and other designs. Also comes in plain colors. Several types of glaze. The wax and starch glaze produced by friction or glazing calendars will wash out. The resin glaze finish will not wash out and withstand dry cleaning. Also comes semi-glazed. Unglazed chintz is called cretonne. Named from the Indian word “Chint” meaning “broad, gaudily printed fabric”.

Uses: Draperies, slipcovers, dresses, sportswear.

Chite

Fiber: linen

Characteristics: Originally from Chitta (India), where the trend of painted linens was started in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Cisele Velvet

A velvet with a pattern formed by contrast in cut and uncut loops.

Coir

Characteristics: This seed fiber is obtained from the husk of the coconut.

Uses: Brush-making, door mats, fish nets, cordage.

Coney

Characteristics: Wild rabbits have brownish or gray colors. Tame ones range in color from white to black. Uses Coats and trimmings.

Cordoban Leather

Characteristics: Goat skin, simply-tanned. The art of preparing this leather came from Cordoba where the craftsmen who were allowed to use it for shoes in the Middle ages were called cordwainers.

Corduroy

Fiber: Cotton, rayon, and other textile fibers.

Weave: Filling Pile with both plain and twill back.

Characteristics: Made with an extra filling yarn. In the velvet family of fabrics. Has narrow medium and wide Wales, also thick and thin or checkerboard patterns. Wales have different widths and depths. Has to be cut all one way with pile running up. Most of it is washable and wears very well. Has a soft luster.

Uses: Children’s clothes of all kinds, dresses, jackets, skirts, suits, slacks, sportswear, men’s trousers, jackets, bedspreads, draperies, and upholstery.

Cotton

A natural vegetable fiber of great economic importance as a raw material for cloth. Its widespread use is largely due to the ease with which its fibers are spun into yarns. Cotton’s strength, absorbency, and capacity to be washed and dyed also make it adaptable to a considerable variety of textile products. It is one of the world’s major textile fibers.

It is obtained from bushy plants. The immature flower bud, called a square, blooms and develops into an oval fruit called a boll that splits open at maturity, revealing a mass of long white hairs, called lint, that cover the numerous brown or black seeds. There are four main types of cotton: American Upland, Egyptian, Sea Island and Asiatic. The flowers from which these differenttypes of cotton are obtained vary in color and texture, thus providing each type of cotton with varying characteristics. Cotton, in general, is very elastic. It can withstand high temperatures, has high wash ability and is very susceptible to dyes.

Cotton Brocade

Fiber: Cotton brocade often has the ground of cotton and the pattern of rayon and silk. Pattern is in low relief.

Weave: Jacquard and dobby

Characteristics: Rich, heavy, elaborate design effect. Sometimes with colored or metallic threads making the design usually against a satin weave background. This makes the figures stand out. the figures in brocade are rather loose, while in damask the figure threads are actually bound into the material. The pattern may be satin on a twill ground or twill on a satin ground. Often reversible. The motifs may be of flowers, foliage, scrollwork, pastoral scenes, or other designs. The price range is wide. Generally reputed to have been developed from the Latin name “brocade” which means to figure.

Uses: All types of evening wear, church vestments, and interior furnishings.

Cotton Canvas

Fiber: Cotton. Originally made in linen.

Weave: Plain, but also crosswise rib.

Characteristics: Also called duck. Name originated in 18th Century when canvas sails from Britain bare the trademark symbol – a duck. Very closely woven and heavy. it is the most durable fabric made. There are many kinds of duck but the heavier weighs are called canvas. It may be unbleached, white, dyed, printed or painted. Washable, many are water-proof and wind proof. Made in various weights.

Uses: Utility clothing in lighter weights, such as trousers, jackets, aprons. Also for awnings, sails, slipcovers, draperies, sportswear, tents, and many industrial uses.

Coutil

Coutil (or Coutille) is a tightly woven twill cloth with a herringbone pattern. It looks sleek with a smooth finish. It has been created specifically for making corsets. It is woven tightly to inhibit penetration of bones/stays and resist to stretching. Coutil can be made in plain, satin or brocade and generally colored black, white or flesh. Coutil can be soft, stiff or medium and this characteristic is determined by the starch finishing. This dense, strong material is also used in the manufacture of medical corsets, i.e. Lumbo-Sacral and French “Drill”

Covert

Fiber: Woolen or worsted, also cotton and spun rayon.

Weave: Twill

Characteristics: Made with two shades of color e.g. (Medium and light brown). The warp is 2 ply (1 light; 1 dark) and filling 1 ply (dark or same as warp). Very rugged and closely woven. Has a mottled or speckled effect. First used as a hunting fabric. Has a clear finish and hard texture. Wears exceptionally well and has a smart appearance. Light in weight.

Uses: For over coating for both men and women. It is also made waterproof and used a great deal in rainwater.

Crash

Fiber: Linen.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: It is very rugged and substantial in feel. Come in white or natural shades or could be dyed, printed, striped, or checked. The yarn is strong, irregular in diameter but smooth. Has a fairly good texture.

Uses: Toweling, suitings, dresses, coats.

Crépe

Fiber: Woolen, worsted cotton, silk, man-made synthetics.

Weave: Mostly plain, but various weaves.

Characteristics: A fine often gauzelike fabric with a wrinkled surface. Has a crinkled, puckered surface or soft mossy finish. Comes in different weights and degrees of sheerness. Dull with a harsh dry feel. Woolen Crépes are softer than worsted. If it is fine, it drapes well. Has very good wearing qualities. Has a very slimming effect.

Uses: Depending on weight, it is used for dresses of all types, including long dinner dresses, suits, and coats.

French via Old French crespe ‘curled’ from Latin crispus

Crépe De Chine

Silk warp and Crépe twist silk filling 25 x 22. More ends than picks per inch. Has a soft hand and considerable luster. Made of raw silk or rayon. It is easy to manipulate and handle. Very long wearing. Most of it launders well. It is fairly sheer. Could be piece dyed or printed. Has a slight rippled texture. Heavy Crépe de chine is called “Canton Crépe” which is slightly ribbed and now mostly made in rayon.

Crépe Back Satin

Satin weave on the face and a Crépe effect on the back obtained with twisted Crépe yarns in the filling – 2 or 3 times as many ends as picks per inch. It is a soft fabric which is reversible. It is usually piece dyed. Very interesting effects can be obtained in a garment by using both sides, in different parts. e.g. the Crépe side for the body and trim or binding with the satin part up.

Uses: Dresses, blouses, linings, after 5 wear.

Crepon

Crépe effect appears in direction of the warp and achieved by alternate S and Z, or slack, tension, or different degrees of twist. Originally a wool Crépe but now made of silk and rayon. It is much stouter and more rugged than the average Crépe. Has a wavy texture with the “waves” running in a lengthwise direction. Mostly used for prints.

Uses: Dresses and ensembles.

Cretonne

Fiber: Cotton, linen, rayon.

Weave: Plain or twill.

Characteristics: Finished in widths from 30 to 50 inches. Quality and price vary a great deal. The warp counts are finer than the filling counts which are spun rather loose. Strong substantial and gives good wear. Printed cretonne often has very bright colors and patterns. The fabric has no luster (when glazed, it is called chintz). Some are warp printed and if they are, they are usually completely reversible. Designs run from the conservative to very wild and often completely cover the surface.

Uses: Bedspreads, chairs, draperies, pillows, slipcovers, coverings of all kinds, beachwear, sportswear.

Crewel

Chain stitch embroidery made with a fine, loosely twisted, two-ply worsted yarn on a plain weave fabric. Done by hand, for the most part, in the Kashmir Province of India and in England.

Crinoline

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: It is a very loosely woven fiber with high rigidity. It is smooth, stiff, and has excellent strength. It comes in a variety of shades from white to black.

Uses: Stiffening, making interlining for hat shapes.

Crocking

Rubbing off of color from woven or printed fabrics.

Damask
Fiber: Linen, silk, rayon, cotton, synthetics, wool, worsteds.

Weave: Figured on Jacquard loom.

Characteristics: Originally made of silk, that came to us from China via Damascus. In the XIII Century, Marco Polo gave an interesting tale about it. It is one of the oldest and most popular cloths to be found today. Very elaborate designs are possible. Cloth is beetled, calendared and the better qualities are gross-bleached. Very durable. reversible fabric. Sheds dirt. The firmer the texture, the better the quality. Launders well and holds a high luster – particularly in linen. – Price range varies a great deal. There are two types of damask table cloths: 1) Single damask table cloths: construction. Thread count is usually around 200. 2) Double damask has an 8 shaft satin construction with usually twice as many filling yarns as warp yarns. This gives a much greater distinctness to the pattern. Thread count ranges from 165 to 400.- The quality of both depends on the yarn used and the thread count. – If the same quality and thread count are used, single is better than double because the shorter floats are more serviceable and the yarns hold more firmly. Double damask with less than 180 thread count is no good for home use.

Degummed Silk
By boiling the silk in hot water, the gum (sericin) is removed from the yarn/fabric. By doing this, the luster of the silk is enhanced. It is very lightweight.

Denim
Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Twill – right hand – may be L2/1 or L3/1.

Characteristics: Originally had dark blue, brown or dark gray warp with a white or gray filling giving a mottled look and used only for work clothes. now woven in bright and pastel colors with stripes as well as plain. Long wearing, it resists snags and tears. Comes in heavy and lighter weights.

Uses: Work clothes, overalls, caps, uniforms, bedspreads, slipcovers, draperies, upholstery, sportswear, of all kinds, dresses and has even been used for evening wear.

From serge de Nim ‘serge of Némes’, a city in S. France

Dimity
Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Plain weave with a crosswise or lengthwise spaced rib or crossbar effect.

Characteristics: A thin sheer with corded spaced stripes that could be single, double or triple grouping. Made of combed yarn and is 36″ wide. Has a crisp texture which remains fairly well after washing. Resembles lawn in the white state. It is easy to sew and manipulate and launders well. Creases unless crease-resistant. May be bleached, dyed, or printed and often printed with a small rose-bud design. It is mercerized and has a soft luster.

Uses: Children’s dresses, women’s dresses, and blouses, infant’s wear, collar and cuff sets, bassinets, bedspreads, curtains, underwear. Has a very young look. Uncertain, possibly from the greek word dismitos meaning double thread, or after the city of Damieta in northern Egypt.

Direct Print
Pattern and ground color printed on fabric in the colors desired, as opposed to extract printing done on a dyed cloth. Cretonne is an example of a direct print

Dobby Fabric
With geometric figures woven in a set pattern. Similar to, but more limited, more quickly woven, and cheaper than jacquards, which require elaborate procedures to form patterns.

Dobby Loom
A type of loom on which small, geometric figures can be woven in as a regular pattern. Originally this type of loom needed a dobby boy who sat on the top of the loom and drew up warp threads to term a pattern. Now the weaving is done entirely by machine. This loom differs from a plain loom in that it may have up to thirty-two harnesses and a pattern chain and it’s expensive weaving.

Doeskin
Fiber: Wool and also rayon.

Weave: A 5 or 8 harness satin weave. Rayon: Twill weave and napped on one side, or a small satin-weave.

Characteristics: Very smooth, lustrous surface made with a slight short nap very close and compact weave to look like fine leather. Weave not visible because of napping. Very high quality wool used. Needs care in handling. Medium weight.

Uses: Women’s suits and coats, and also in a lighter weight for dresses. Sportswear and riding habits for both men and women. Trousers and waistcoats for men.

Domett Flannel
Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Plain and twill

Characteristics: Also spelled domet. Generally made in white. Has a longer nap than on flannelette. Soft filling yarns of medium or light weight are used to obtain the nap. The term domett is interchangeable with “outing flannel” but it is only made in a plain weave. Both are soft and fleecy and won’t irritate the skin. Any sizing or starching must be removed before using. Outing flannel is also piece-dyed and some printed and produced in a spun rayon also.

Uses: Mostly used for infants wear, interlinings, polished cloths.

Donegal
Fiber: Wool – also in rayons and cottons.

Weave: Mostly plain but some in twill.

Characteristics: Originally a homespun woven by the peasants in Donegal, Ireland. A rough and ready fabric that stands much hard wear. Yarns are coarse with thick slubs and colored nubs. Now made in other places as well – particularly England.

Uses: Coats, heavy suits, sportswear. Has a tailored, sporty look.

Dotted Swiss
Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Plain weave for ground with a swivel, lappet or flocked dot.

Characteristics: Dots could be a single color or multicolored. Placed regularly or irregularly on a semi-sheer usually crisp fabric which may or may not be permanent. First made on hand looms in Switzerland and some still is. It is made in 32″ widths. The lappet is the most permanent. When hand woven with a swivel attachment the dots are tied in by hand on the back of the cloth. The ground fabric is usually a Voilé or a lawn.

Uses: Children’s and women’s summer dresses and blouses, aprons, curtains, bedspreads. It is a young looking fabric.

Double-faced Satin
Yarn woven with two warps and one filling, to simulate a double satin construction. Has satin on both sides. Cotton filling is often used in cheaper qualities.

Doubleknit
Fiber: Cotton, wool, worsted, silk, rayon, and synthetics

Weave: Circular or flat-needle bar type

Characteristics: A two faced cloth, either face may be utilized as the right side. The fabric originated in Milan and Florence. Can be stabilized for shrinkage control and dry cleans satisfactorily.

Dupioni
Silk yarns made from the cocoon of two silk worms that have nested together. In spinning, the double strand is not separated so the yarn is uneven and irregular with a large diameter in places. Fabric is of silk made in a plain weave. The fabric is very irregular and shows many slubs – seems to be made in a hit and miss manner. It is imitated in rayon and some synthetics, and one such fabric is called “Cupioni”. Dupion yarns also used in shantung, pongee. Tailors very well.

Drill
Fiber: Cotton or Linen.

Weave: Twill. Left-hand twill. From top left to lower right. L2/1 or L3/1.

Characteristics: a coarse twilled cotton or linen fabric. Closer, flatter Wales that ganardine. Medium weight and course yarns are used. Also made in some other weights. Some left in the gray but can be bleached or dyed. When dyed a khaki color it is known by that name.

Uses: Uniforms, work clothes, slip covers, sportswear, and many industrial uses. Earlier drilling via German Drillich from Latin trilix -licis, from tri- ‘three’ + licium ‘thread’

Duchesse
Weave: Satin.

Characteristics: This form of satin has a wonderful luster and a smooth feel. Its thread count is very high. An 8-12 shaft satin. Very fine yarns are used, particularly in the warp with more ends/inch than picks. The material is strong, has a high luster, and texture, and it is firm. Usually 91.5cm (36″) wide. Characterized by grainy twill on back.

Uses: Women’s wear.

Duvetyn(e)
Fiber: Good quality wool. If made in cotton, is usually called suede cloth.

Weave: Satin, 7 or 8 shaft.

Characteristics: Close weave, brushed, singed, and sheared to conceal the weave. Has a smooth plush appearance resembling a compact velvet. Similar to wool broadcloth but heavier and thicker. Has a good draping quality, soft and wears well if looked after. Spots easily and care must be taken when handling it. Back is often slightly napped also. Name derived from the French word “duvet” meaning “down”.

Uses: Women’s coats, suits, and dresses, depending on the weight. Used a great deal in the millinery trade.

Dyeing
The coloring of greige (gray) goods or fibers with either natural or synthetic dyes. This may be done in many different ways depending on the type of fabric (or fiber), the type of dye and the desired result Some of the more common methods are:

Continuous Dyeing – Fabric is continuously dyed. Dye lots may run to 30.000 yards/color.

Jet Dyeing – Used for dyeing Polyester. Pressure kettles are used to reach extremely high temperatures and force the dye into the fiber.

Milliken Dyeing – Developed by Milliken & Company for continuous pattern dyeing.

Piece Dyeing – Fabric is passed through the dye solution for a specified length of time.

Printing – A term referring to methods of applying designs to greige goods. Some types of printing are roller printing, screen printing, and handblocked printing.

Solution Dyeing – A solution of dye is added to the liquid synthetic before spinning it into a yarn.

Vat Dyeing – An insoluble dye that has been made soluble is put on the fiber and then oxidized to the original insoluble form. Average dye lot 700 yards.

Yarn Dyeing – Yarn is dyed before it is woven into fabric.

Cationic Dyeing – A dye technique that allows certain fibers (like nylon, or polyester)to take deep and brilliant colors. When catonic fiber is fixed with conventional fiber, various multicolors and cross-dye effects can be achieved from a single dye bath.Middle English dien.

Elastomer

Characteristics: It is a synthetic rubber that can be stretched to at least three times its original length. Once the exerted pull force is released, this fiber returns to its original length.

Eolienne

Characteristics: its name comes from the term Eolus, which is Greek for God of Winds. This airy fiber has a low thread count and is very delicate. It is lightweight and is very lustrous.

Eponge

Fiber: Wool, also rayon and silk.

Weave: any weave – usually a novelty – plain warp, novelty filling or reverse.

Characteristics: Derived from the French term eponge for “spongy”. Very soft and sponge-like in a variety of novelty effects with loose weave of about 20 x 20. Also known as ratine in cotton. Rayon and silk is soft, loose, and spongy, something like terry cloth. Does not have surface loops. Many stores now call eponge “boucle”.

Uses: Suits, dresses, coats, sportswear, and summer suits.

Eskimo Cloth

Weave: Satin or Twill

Characteristics: It is an over-coating with a thick nap. It is usually dyed so as to create wide stripes.

Uses: Over-coating.

Etamine

Weave: Twill

Characteristics: It was originally made of wool, cotton or linen and used for sifting. It is now a worsted fabric with a very short nap and light in weight.

Uses: Clothing.

Faconne
Fiber: Silk or rayon.

Weave: Figured weave or “burnt-out” finish.

Characteristics: Faconne in French, means fancy weave. Has small designs all over the fabric. Fairly light in weight, and could be slightly Créped. Background is much more sheer than the designs, therefore the designs seem to stand out. Very effective when worn over a different color. Drapes, handle, and wears well.

Uses: Dresses, blouses, scarves, after 5, dressy afternoon and bridal wear.

Faconne Velvet
Patterned velvet made by burnt-out print process. The design is of velvet with background plain.

Faille
Fiber: Silk, rayon.

Weave: Crosswise rib.

Characteristics: A soft transversely ribbed silk or rayon fabric. Has a definite crosswise rib effect. Very soft material that drapes well. Finer than grosgrain but in that family – ribs are also flatter than in grosgrain. Some belongs to the Crépe family. It is rather difficult to launder. Will give good wear if handled properly. Has a lustrous finish.

Uses: Dresses, blouses, soft evening purses, some dressy coats.

French

Faille Taffeta
Made with a crosswise rib weave. Has a distinct rib effect and is usually quite heavy and firm.

Felt
Fiber: Wool, reprocessed wool, reused wool, scrap fiber, can be mixed with other fibers, cotton, rayon.

Weave: Not woven but felted.

Characteristics: A very compact fabric in various weights and thicknesses. Has grain so can be cut anyway. Needs no hemming or finishing, because it does not fray.

Uses: Many industrial uses, such as: piano hammers and in the printing industry. Many novelties, such as: pennants, slippers, lining of many kinds, insoles, and toys. Hats and felt skirts.

Fiber
Any tough substance, natural or manmade, composed of thread-like tissue capable of being made into yarn.

Fiber Base
Most man-made fibers are formed by forcing a syrupy substance (about the consistency of honey) through the tiny holes of a device called a spinneret.

Fiberglass
Fibers and yarns produced from glass and woven into flexible fabrics. Noted for its fireproof qualities.

Fill
The threads running widthwise across a piece of fabric.

Finished Goods
Fabric that has been processed by dyeing, printing, applying of special resins and finishes, and is ready for market.

Finishing
The process of dyeing, printing, etc. of greige goods.

Flannel
Fiber: Wool, worsted, cotton, rayon. 1 a kind of woven woolen fabric, usu. without a nap. b (in pl.) flannel garments, esp. trousers. 2 Brit. a small usu. toweling cloth, used for washing oneself. Perhaps from Welsh gwlanen, from gwl’n ‘wool’

Flannelette
Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Plain and twill.

Characteristics: A napped cotton fabric imitating flannel. A heavy, soft material with a napped finish, usually only on one side. In cheaper qualities the nap comes off. Launders well, easy to manipulate and is warm to wear. There are many types on the market. It may be bleached, dyed, printed, or woven in colored stripes.

Uses: Infants and children’s wear, men’s, women’s and children’s sleeping wear, pocket linings, quilts, shirtings.

Flat Crépe
Also called French Crépe or Lingerie Crépe but not exactly the same. It is the flattest of all the Crépes with only a very slight pebbled or Crépe effect hard twist alternating 25 x 22 in filling; warp has ordinary twist. It is very soft and pliable, which makes it good for draping. It is very light weight – 2 times as many ends as picks. It may be white, colored, or printed. Most of it launders well.

Uses: Accessories, blouses, dress goods, negligees, pajamas and other pieces of lingerie and linings.

Flax
This fiber is taken from the stalk of the Linum usitatissimum plant. It is a long, smooth fiber and is cylindrical in shape. its length varies from 6 to 40 inches but on average is between 15 and 25 inches. its color is usually off-white or tan and due to its natural wax content, flax has excellent luster. It is considered to be the strongest of the vegetable fibers and is highly absorbent, allowing moisture to evaporate with speed. It conducts heat well and can be readily boiled. It’s wash ability is great, however, it has poor elasticity and does not easily return to its original shape after creasing.

Uses: Apparel fabric. When processed into fabric it is called linen. It is also used for tablecloths, napkins, doilies, twine, aprons, fishing tackle, and nets.

Fleece
Fiber: Wool, specialty hair fibers, cotton.

Weave: Plain, twill, pile or knitted.

Characteristics: Has a deep, soft nap or pile, obtained by heavily napping with wire brushes or with a pile weave. This provides air space giving good insulating properties without too much weight. The interlacings are well covered by the nap. The nap wears out in time, but good quality cloth gives good wear. Range from cheap to expensive clothes. Material is often cumbersome and bulky, therefore it may be difficult to manipulate. Also, the name for the entire coat of wool taken from a sheep at shearing time.

Uses: Mostly used for coats for men, women, and children.

Flock
1. A lock or tuft of wool, cotton, etc. 2. A (also in pl.; often attrib.) material for quilting and stuffing made of wool refuse or torn-up cloth (a flock pillow). b powdered wool or cloth.

Middle English via Old French floc from Latin floccus.

Foulard
Fiber: Silk, rayon, very fine cotton, very fine worsted.

Weave: Twill, 2 up 2 down.

Characteristics: Very soft, light fabric. Noted for its soft finish and feel. It is usually printed with small figures on a dark or light background. Similar to Surah and Tie Silk, but finer. Was originally imported from India.

Uses: Dresses, robes, scarves, and neckwear of all kinds. First made for the handkerchief trade.

Fox
Characteristics: color varies from black to red, silver, silver-gray and white.

Uses: Scarves, muffs, jackets, coats, trimmings, also to provide softness in wool blends for textile industry.

Frise
Fiber: Rayon most popular, also mohair and silk and synthetics. The ground or backing yarns are usually made of cotton. Sometimes jute or hemp are combined with the cotton.

Weave: Pile (looped).

Characteristics: Made usually with uncut loops in all-over pattern. It is sometimes patterned by shearing the loops at different lengths. Some made with both cut and uncut loops in the form of a pattern.

Uses: Upholstery, also used widely as transportation fabric by railroads, buses, and airplanes. Frise is also spelled Frieze but frieze really refers to a rough, fuzzy, rizzy, boardy woolen over coating fabric which originated in Friesland Holland. Often used for over coating material for soldiers. Much adulteration is given the cloth. Irish frieze is quite popular and more reliable and is called “cotha more”

Fustian
Fiber: cotton or cotton with linen or flax.

Weave: cross woven when a mix.

Characteristics: Was used for undergarments and linings. Originally made in Fustat near Cairo, hence its name.

Gabardine

Fiber: Worsted cotton, rayon, or mixtures.

Weave: Steep twill (63 degrees).

Characteristics: A smooth durable twill-woven cloth esp. of worsted, spun rayon or cotton. Clear finish, tightly woven, firm, durable, rather lustrous. Can be given a dull finish. Has single diagonal lines on the face, raised twill. Wears extremely well. Also comes in various weights. Inclined to shine with wear. Hard to press properly.

Uses: Men’s and women’s tailored suits, coats, raincoats, uniforms, and men’s shirts.

Old French gauvardine, perhaps from Middle High German wallevart ‘pilgrimage’

Gattar

Weave: Satin

Characteristics: It is made with a cotton filling and a silk warp. It is only found in solid colors and is known for its elegant luster and excellent drapability.

Uses: Elegant evening wraps.

Georgette

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: A thin silk or crépe dress material. Usually done in silk but can also be found in manufactured fibers. It is characterized by its crispness, body and outstanding durability. It is sheer and has a dull face.

Named after Georgette de la Plante (c.. 1900), French dressmaker

Georgette Crépe

Lightweight, heavy, sheer fabric. Has quite a bit of stiffness and body. gives excellent wear. Has a dull, crinkled surface. Achieved by alternating S and Z yarns in a high twist in both warp and filling directions. Georgette has a harder, duller, more crinkled feel and appearance than Crépe de chine.

Uses: After 5 wear and dressy afternoon and weddings, lingerie, scarves, etc. Same uses as Crépe de chine.

Gingham

Fiber: Cotton, man-made, and synthetics.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: Yarn-dyed plain weave cotton fabric, usually striped or checked. Medium or fine yarns of varying quality are used to obtain the checks, plaids, stripes, and plain effects. The cloth is yarn dyed or printed. The warp and the filling are usually balanced and if checks of two colors, usually same sequence in both the warp and the filling. It is strong, substantial, and serviceable. It launders will but low textured, cheap fabric may shrink considerably unless pre-shrunk. Has a soft, dull luster surface. Wrinkles unless wrinkle-resistant. Tissue or zephyr ginghams are sheer being woven with finer yarns and a higher thread count.

Uses: Dresses, blouses, for both women and children, trimmings, kerchiefs, aprons, beach wear, curtains, bedspreads, pajamas.

From Malay ginggang Lit. striped.

Glazed

Cotton fabrics such as chintz or tarlatan treated with starch, glue, paraffin, or shellac and run through a hot friction roller to give a high polish. These types are not durable in washing. Newer, more durable methods use synthetic resins that withstand laundering.

Glove Silk

Fiber: Silk, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Knit – two bar double knit tricot.

Characteristics: Made on a warp knitted frame. Very finely knit but very strong. Now called nylon Simplex.

Uses: Gloves and underwear. Similar to chamoisette (cotton).

Granada

Weave: Twill

Characteristics: Its name is derived from the Latin word Granum, which refers to the grainy quality of the textile. This granular quality is achieved by a broken twill weave. It is made of a cotton warp and alpaca or mohair filling. This fiber is exceptionally fine.

Greige

French for fabrics in unbleached, undyed state before finishing.

Grenadine

Weave: Leno

Characteristics: This fine fiber originated in Italy. It can be made in various fibers such as cotton, wool, silk or manufactured fibers. It is well known for its stiffness.

Uses: Women’s clothing

Grosgrain

Heavy, corded, silk or rayon ribbon or fabric. Plain weave with horizontal ribs.

French: grosgrain large grain.

Guanaco

Guanaco, common name for a species of wild South American ruminant (cud-chewing mammal). The closely related alpaca and llama are completely domesticated; the related vicuna is also found in South America. The guanaco lives on mountains and plains in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Paraguay. Produces a fleece of the most glorious natural honey beige color. Very soft.

Guipure Lace

A heavy stiff open lace. Design stands in relief. There is no background or net, the patterned areas are joined by threads known as bridges.

From old French word guiper meaning to cover a cord with silk or wool.

Habutai

Fiber: Silk.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: Very lightweight and soft. A little heavier than China Silk, but similar. Sold by weight measure known “momme” (1 momme = 3.75 g). Made from waste silk that can be twisted. It is piece dyed or printed and sized. Has many defects in the cloth which has a “shot-about” appearance but this does not effect the cloth. Comes from Japan – originally woven in the gum on Japanese hand looms. Lighter than shantung but heavier than silk.

Uses: Dresses, coats, shirting, lamp shades, lingerie, curtains.

Hare

Rabbits and Hares, common name for certain small mammals of the Leporidae family. Although the names “rabbit” and “hare” are sometimes used interchangeably, in zoological terms the species called rabbits are characterized by the helplessness of their offspring (which are born naked and blind) and by their gregarious habit of living in colonies in underground burrows. Furthermore, a typical hare is larger than a rabbit, and has longer ears with characteristic black markings. Hair texture is woolly.

Uses: Felting.

Harris Tweed

All are hand woven on the islands off the Northern coast of Scotland (outer Hebrides).

There are two types of Harris Tweed:

  1. Fabric woven from hand-spun yarn.
  2. Fabric woven from machine-spun yarn.

Now very few are woven from hand spun yarns as it takes too much time and labor. It is always stamped to that effect in addition to the label which any Harris Tweed always bears. Much is woven in 27″ and 28″ widths, but also in 54″. When damp, it smells mossy and smoky. From one of the islands where it’s made “Harris”. Trademark.

Heat Transfer Printing

The technique of printing fabrics by transferring a printed design from paper to fabric via heat and pressure. It’s derived from the art of decalcomania, which is the process of transferring pictures or designs from specially prepared paper to other materials such as glass. HTP paper is the starting point for heat transfer printing. Transfer printing is used mainly on fine knit fabrics and lightweight fabrics and is rapidly gaining in importance in textile circles. Also being used by apparel makers on parts of garments to enhance their fashion appeal

Hemp

Common name for an Asian annual herb (Cannabis), and also for its strong, pliable fibers. This species is often called true hemp or Indian hemp. It is cultivated in Eurasia, the United States, and Chile. A hemp plant may be as small as 91 cm (36 in) or as tall as 5 m (15 ft), depending upon the climate and soil type. There are two cultivated strains: the one commonly grown in the north is grown principally for fiber, the one grown mainly in southern regions is grown as a drug plant.

Hemp stems are hollow and have a fibrous inner bark. The fibers from this bark are used to make a great variety of textile products, including coarse fabrics, ropes, sail cloth, and packing cloth. Soft fibers, used for making clothing fabrics in Asia, are obtained from hemp harvested at the time of pollination; strong, coarse fibers are obtained from mature plants. The fibers are removed and processed by methods similar to those used in processing flax. Partly decomposed, the stalks are dried, broken, and shaken to separate the woody stalks from the fibers. The fiber is dark tan or brown and is difficult to bleach, but it can be dyed bright and dark colors. The hemp fibers vary widely in length, depending upon their ultimate use. Industrial fibers may be several inches long, while fibers used for domestic textiles are about 3/4 inch to 1 inch (1.9 to 2.54 cm) long. The elongation (1 to 6 percent) is low and its elasticity poor. The thermal reactions of hemp and the effect of sunlight are the same as for cotton. Hemp is moth resistant, but it is not impervious to mildew. Coarse hemp fibers and yarns are woven into cordage, rope, sacking and heavy-duty tarpaulins. In Italy, fine hemp fibers are used for interior design and apparel fabrics.

Henequen

It is obtained from the leaves of the Agave fourcroydes plant, which is native to Mexico. It is produced by mechanically decorticating the leaves into strands from 4 to 5 feet. Henequen, sisal, and bowstring hemp belong to the family Agavaceae.

Henrietta

Weave: Twill

Characteristics: Originally consisted of worsted filling and silk warp. Today, it can be found in a variety of blends. It has excellent drapability. Its weight and quality vary with fibers, however, when created with silk and wool it is lustrous and soft.

Uses: Dress goods.

Herringbone Twill

Weave: Twill

Characteristics: It was named after the skeleton of the Herring as this is what the fiber pattern resembles. It is usually created in wool and has varying qualities. It is also known as Arrowhead.

Uses: Suitings, top coatings, sportcoats.

Hickory Cloth

Weave: Twill

Characteristics: It is characterized by its excellent durability. It is warp striped and comes in a variety of colors. It usually is created with cotton.

Uses: Work clothes.

Homespun

Fiber: Cotton or wool

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Coarse, rugged yarn is used. Originally an un dyed woolen cloth spun into yarn and woven in the home, by peasants and country folk the world over. Has substantial appearance and serviceable qualities. Made with irregular, slightly twisted uneven yarns. Has a spongy feel with a hand-loomed tweedy appearance. Genuine homespun is produced in a very limited quantity and much powerloom cloth is sold as genuine homespun. Many qualities made – the best is an ideal rough-and-ready type of cloth.

Uses: Coats, suits, separates and sportswear.

Honan

Fiber: Silk, also from man-made synthetics.

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: The best grade of wild silk. Very similar to “pongee” but finer. Made from wild silkworms raised in the Honan area of China. The only wild type that gives even dyeing results. Do not fit too tightly.

Uses: Dresses, ensembles, blouses, lingerie.

Honey Comb

Weave: Float

Characteristics: Its name comes from a French word meaning birds nest. Its patterns are regular and open. Honey Comb is found in many fabrics and is also known as Diamond Weave.

Uses: Draperies, jackets and women’s clothing.

Hong Kong

This is a ribbed fabric usually found in plain colors. It comes in a variety of qualities but the best type is made out of silk.

Hopsacking

Fiber: Wool, worsted, cotton, linen, rayon, silk, hemp, jute.

Weave: Basket. In wool and worsted 2 x 2 basket usually or novelty basket to resemble hopsack cloth.

Characteristics: Made with coarse yarn. Has a rather rough texture and quite durable. Often quite bulky but various weights.

Uses: Men’s and women’s sportswear, coats, suits, draperies. If fine, used for dresses.

Houndstooth

Fiber: most commonly made with wool.

Weave: broken twill weave.

Characteristics: weaved into an irregular check of a four pointed star.

Uses: sport coats, suits.

Huckaback

Fiber: Linen, cotton.

Weave: Dobby or basket.

Characteristics: It is strong. Rough in the surface finish but finer, shinier than cotton huckaback. Has variation in weaves but most have small squares on the surface that stand out from the background. Comes in white, colors, or colored borders. Also stripes. The motif is made from a series of floats, some of them rather long, which gives a loose effect in certain areas. This, if well spaced, acts as a good absorbing agency.

Uses: Mostly used for toweling.

Illusion

Fiber: Silk.

Weave: Gauze or made on bobbinet machine or knotted.

Characteristics: A very fine, all-silk tulle which originated in France. It has a cobweb appearance. Hexagonal open mesh. Made in 52 inch and 72 inch widths.

Uses: Veilings, particularly for weddings, trimmings.

Intarsia

A type of knitting. Usually featuring large diamond checks showing light, dark and halftones in between.

The diamond areas are separated from each other by complete loops, and not loops superimposed on ground loops made from other yarns. Mock intarsia knit gives the same patterning motif using the jacquard mechanism.

Design is most often seen on sweaters, scarves, socks and stockings.

The word intarsia refers to all kinds of ‘inlay’ including marquetry, which is a form of decoration for furniture and architectural panels.

From the Italian word, intarsiare meaning ‘inlay’.

Ixtle

Fiber Linen, cotton.

Weave: Dobby or basket.

Characteristics: It is strong. Rough in the surface finish but finer, shinier than cotton huckaback. Has variation in weaves but most have small squares on the surface that stand out from the background. Comes in white, colors, or colored borders. Also stripes. The motif is made from a series of floats, some of them rather long, which gives a loose effect in certain areas. This, if well spaced, acts as a good absorbing agency.

Jackrabbit

Animal also known as a Hare. Hair texture is woolly.

Uses: Felting.

Jacquard

A woven design made with the aid of a jacquard head (this constitutes a jacquard loom) and may vary from simple, self-colored, spot effects to elaborate, multi colored all-over effects.

The loom operates a bit like the roller on a player piano. But instead of notes, it gives instructions to the machine on how to create the design.

Named after J. M. Jacquard, French inventor of the loom d. 1834

Jersey

Fiber: Wool, worsted, silk, cotton, rayon, and synthetics.

Weave: Knitted on circular, flat-bed or warp knitted methods (later popular as a tricot-knit).

Characteristics: Right side has lengthwise ribs (Wales) and wrong side has crosswise ribs (courses). Very elastic with good draping qualities. Has special crease-resistant qualities due to its construction. Is knitted plain or has many elaborate tweed designs and fancy motifs as well as printed designs. Can look very much like woven fabric. Wears very well and if washable, it washes very well. First made on the Island of Jersey off the English coast and used for fisherman’s clothing. Stretch as you sew.

Uses: Dress goods, sportswear, suits, underwear, coats, gloves, sweaters, hats.

Jusi

Jusi fabric was once made from Abaca or Banana_Silk, but since the 1960’s, it has been replaced by imported Silk Organza. A Barong Tagalog (or simply Barong) is an embroidered formal garment of the Philippines. Most barong are made of Pina_Cloth or Jusi fabric. Jusi is mechanically woven and stronger than the Pina Cloth, which is hand loomed and more delicate. However, pina cloth is more expensive than Jusi and is thus used for very formal events.

Jute

Jute (or Burlap) is used in textiles for interiors, especially for wall hangings and a group of bright, homespun-effect draperies and wall coverings. Natural jute has a yellow to brown or gray color, with a silky luster. It consists of bundles of fiber held together by gummy substances that are pertinacious in character. It is difficult to bleach completely, so many fabrics are bright, dark, or natural brown in color. Jute reacts to chemicals in the same way as do cotton and flax. It has a good resistance to microorganisms and insects. Moisture increases the speed of deterioration but dry jute will last for a very long time. Jute works well for bagging, because it does not extend and is somewhat rough and coarse. This tends to keep stacks of bags in position and resist slippage. It is widely used in the manufacture of linoleum and carpets for backing or base fabric.

Kapok

A seed fiber or floss obtained from the cotton tree. It is used chiefly for stuffing.

Karakul

Also caracul. n. Also called broadtail. A breed of Central Asian sheep having a wide tail and wool that is curled and glossy in the young but wiry and coarse in the adult. Fur made from the pelt of a karakul lamb.

Kasha

Weave: Twill

Characteristics: Originally made of Vicuna. Today the Vicuna is considered an endangered species so Kasha is made from either a blend of cashmere and wool or a very fine wool.

Uses: Clothing.

Kashmir

Fiber: From the Kashmir goat, a hair fiber found in Kashmir India, Tibet, Iran, Iraq, China, Persia, Turkestan and Outer Mongolia. Often mixed with wool or synthetics to cut costs and improve the wear.

Weave: All weaves but mostly plain or twill. All knits.

Characteristics: Fiber is cylindrical, soft and silken. More like wool than any other hair fiber. Has a very soft silky finish; very light in weight. Doesn’t stand up to hard wear on account of extremely soft downy finish. Natural fiber is white, black, brown or gray but can be dyed a variety of shades. Comes in different weights.

Uses: The textile industry is only interested in the soft fibers. Knitted into sweaters for men and women, also women’s dresses. Often combed and sold in tops and noils.

Kenaf

It is a bast fiber that is obtained from the Hibiscus cannabinus plant. The stalk of this plant varies in height from 8 to 12 feet and is about half an inch in diameter. Kenaf is mostly produced in India and Pakistan but also grows in Africa, South East Asia, Indonesia, Russia, Mexico, the Philippines, Cuba and the United States. It is mainly used for cordage, canvas, and sacking. It is sometimes used as a substitute for Jute.

Kersey

Fiber: Wool – poor quality, can also be made of re-used or remanufactured wool.

Weave: Double cloth.

Characteristics: Medium to heavy weight, similar to melton and beaver. Well fulled in the finishing with a rather lustrous nap caused by the use of lustrous crossbred wools. Nap often has direction. Gives good wear and is dressy looking. Blues, browns and blacks are the most popular colors. Originated in Kersey, England in 11th century. Very similar to beaver but it is fulled more, has a shorter nap and a much higher luster.

Uses: Men’s over coating, uniforms, women’s coats, and skirts.

Knitting

Process of making fabric by interlocking series of loops of one or more yarns.

Lamb’s Wool

Elastic, soft, resilient wool fibers obtained from lambs when they are seven or eight months old – the first or virgin clipping from the animal. This lofty stock is used in better grades of fabrics.

Lamé

Fiber: Silk or any textile fiber in which metallic threads are used in the warp or the filling. Lamé is also a trademark for metallic yarns.

Weave: Usually a figured weave but could be any.

Characteristics: A fabric with gold or silver threads interwoven. Often has pattern all over the surface. The shine and glitter of this fabric makes it suitable for dressy wear. The term comes from the French for “worked with gold and silver wire”.

Uses: Principally for evening wear. a fabric with gold or silver threads interwoven

French for “trimmed with leaves of gold or silver”, from Latin lamina

Lampas

A term describing a jacquard fabric, a term interchangeable with a brocade or damask. Can be two-tone or multi color, the difference being that the design has a greater raised effect on the face of the fabric.

Latex

Characteristics: Natural and synthetic fibers are made from this raw material. Natural Latex is a white milky emulsion.

Lawn

Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: A fine linen or cotton fabric used for clothes. Word derived from Laon, a city in France, where linen lawn was manufactured extensively. Lightweight, sheer, soft, washable. It is crispier than Voilé but not as crisp as organdy. Made with fine high count yarns, silky feel. Made with either carded or combed yarns. Comes in white or may be dyed or printed. When made with combed yarns with a soft feel and slight luster it is called nainsook.

Uses: Underwear, dresses, blouses, night wear, curtains, lingerie, collars, cuffs, infant wear, shirtings, handkerchiefs.

Middle English, probably from Laon, a city in France important for linen manufacture

Leather

The skin of an animal tanned or otherwise dressed for use. Full Top Grain, indicating the very best hides available on the world market today. Only the finest hides, those that do not require sanding or buffing to remove defects or imperfections, can be classified as Full top Grain. These premium hides in their natural, unadulterated state retain the superior characteristics of suppleness and tuftability found only in genuine Full Top Grain leather.

Linen

Cloth woven from flax.

Old English lonen from West Germanic: related to obsolete line ‘flax’

Lisere

A jacquard fabric usually made with a taffeta or faille ground. The design is created by colored warp threads brought up on the face of the fabric, leaving loose yarns on the back. These threads are sometimes clipped.

Llama

Common name for a long-eared South American ruminant that is domesticated from the guanaco. The llama stands 0.9 to 1.3 m (3 to 4.3 ft) high at the shoulder and is usually white, blotched with black and brown; sometimes it is pure white or pure black. The long, coarse wool is used in the weaving of textiles, and the skins are tanned for leather. This fiber has impressive luster and warmth and is very light weight.

Loden Cloth

Fiber: Wool or mixed-wool.

Characteristics: It was originally made exclusively from wool but is now found in a combination of wool with alpaca, mohair or camel. It is well known for its thickness, durability and resistance to water.

Uses: Winter clothes and sportswear.

From the German word Loda, which means hair cloth.

Longcloth

It is one of the first fabrics created in especially long strips. Its luster is moderate but its quality is fairly high. This cotton and cotton blend fabric is very soft.

Loom

A machine or apparatus for weaving yarn into fabric. The warp (lengthwise) threads are secured on the loom through the eyes of heddles and attached to the loom beam at the front of the loom. The filling (crosswise) thread darts between the warp threads as they are alternately lifted and lowered. sometimes carried by a shuttle, sometimes propelled by air pressure, or other methods in shuttless looms.

The Plain Weave Consists of one thread over and one thread under. This type is found in sheeting.

The Twill Weave Has each warp thread passing over two or more filling threads, with the interlacing advancing one thread on successive warps. This type, with its “diagonal line”, is found in denims.

The Satin Weave Has few interlacings widely but regularly spaced, resulting in a lustrous “right” side and dull back. This type is found in dress goods.

Jacquard Design A woven design made with the aid of a jacquard head (this constitutes a jacquard loom) and may vary from simple, self-colored, spot effects to elaborate, multicolored, all over effects.

The Major Motions or Actions of looms are shedding, picking, and beating-up. Minor motions on looms are the take-up, let-off, and pattern. The first three motions are linked together as follows:

Shedding Motion The separating of the warp ends into an upper and lower system of threads to permit the shuttle to pass through the space that has been formed. The warp ends are drawn through heddle eyes in the correct manner, and in the turning-over of the crankshaft of the loom, a shed is formed with each turn.

Picking Motion The actual passing of the shuttle through the shed of the loom. The shuttle passes over the lowered ends of the shed and under its raised ends. The shed permits the shuttle to pass through it and thereby makes it possible for the shuttle to deposit the pick or filling yarn.

Beating-Up The actual beating into place of the loose pick that was placed in the shed of the loom in Old English geloma – tool

Luster Fabric

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: It is created using fibers with high luster such as worsted or mohair yarn. Warp threads are used to create this fabric. Cotton is usually the main component, however, sometimes manufactured fibers are used.

Lycra

An elastic polyurethane fiber or fabric used esp. for close-fitting sports clothing.

Lyons Velvet

A stiff, thick pile velvet. Used for hats, coat collars, also for suits, coats and dresses, when thick velvets are fashionable.

Mackinaw

Fiber: Wool. Ordinary grade of wool and often has shoddy re-used or remanufactured wool mixed in. Sometimes a cotton warp is used.

Weave: Twill or double cloth. Weave is concealed.

Characteristics: Very heavily fulled or felted and napped on both sides to conceal the weave. Much of the fabric is in a plaid or large check design or brightly colored, or different colors on each side. Heavy and thick, very similar to melton. Named for MacKinac Island, Michigan. Also called ski cloth or snow cloth.

Uses: Miners, lumbermen, hunters, trappers, fishermen, and cowboys use much of the fabric for jackets, mackinaws and coats. Also used for blankets, shirts, and some heavy sportswear,windbreakers.

Macramé

Weave: knotted lace

Characteristics: Originally made in Arabia but later made in Italy. Used to manufacture shawls and scarves.

Madras

Fiber: Cotton – some in rayon and silk.

Weave: Plain, also dobby or jacquard for designs.

Characteristics: Originated in Madras, India and it is a very old cloth. Much of it has a plain colored background with stripes, plaid, checks, or designs on it. Has a high thread count and fine. Made with combed or carded yarns depending on the quality. Some is mercerized to make it lustrous and durable. Often the dyes are not fast and with each washing, color changes take place.

Uses: Men’s and women’s sportswear of all kinds, dresses, separates, shirts.

Manila Hemp

Also known as Abaca.

This vegetable leaf fiber is derived from the Musa textilis plant. It is mainly grown in the Philippines (where it is a chief export product) but is also found, in smaller amounts, in Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia and Costa Rica. The fiber is obtained from the outer layer of the leaf. Processing occurs when it is separated mechanically decorticated into lengths varying from 1 to 3 meters. Mature plants are processed much the same as flax and hemp. The finer fibers, often 5 m (15 ft) long, are used for weaving cloth. The outer, coarser fibers are used in the manufacture of matting and durable cordage; the latter is widely considered the finest rope made. Abaca is very strong with great luster. It is very resistant to damage from salt water.

Uses: Cordage.

Manufactured Fiber

Characteristics: Its commercial use is still fairly recent. It was only one hundred years ago that Manufacture Fibers were utilized in this fashion, beginning with artificial silk in 1889. It is very flexible and versatile and can be cared for easily. It is wrinkly free, flame resistant and very comfortable.

Marble Cloth

Characteristics: Originally made of silk and wool. Today it is produced with natural and manufactured fibers.

Marocain

Characteristics: It is ribbed with a wavy look, resembling Crépe. It is made of silk, wool and manufactured fibers.

Uses: Suits.

Marquisette

Fiber: Silk, cotton, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Gauze or lino.

Characteristics: Very lightweight, open, sheer, mesh fabric. Wears very well and launders very well. Comes in white, solid colors and novelty effect. Sometimes with a swivel dot or clip spot (marquisette).

Uses: Window curtains, dressy dress wear, such as bridal parties or after 5 wear.

Marseilles

Characteristics: Named after its city of origin in France. It is identified by its raised woven pattern. This double-faced textile has a quilted appearance that is very elegant. usually found in white, but occasionally other colors are used.

Matelasse

French for “cushioned or padded”. Fiber: Figured made on jacquard or dobby loom, in double cloth weave.

Characteristics: The pattern stands out and gives a “pouch” or “quilted” effect to the goods. Crépe yarn in double weave shrinks during finishing causing a blistering effect. in upholstery, coarse yarns cause blistering. Comes in colors, novelty effects, and some with metallic yarns. Gives good wear and drapes well. If washable, it must be laundered with care. It is very attractive and suits quite plain styles.

Uses: Some cotton matelasse used for bedspreads, dresses, suits, ensembles.

Melton

Fiber: Wool, sometimes combined with synthetics.

Weave: Twill or satin weave.

Characteristics: Thick well filled or felted wool with a smooth surface. Napped and very closely sheared. Coarse meltons are similar to mackinaws but made of finer yarns and finished with a smoother, more lustrous surface – used for “under collar cloth” in lighter weights. Very solid cloth due to the finishing processes that completely conceal the weave. It wears very well. Wind resistant. if made in tan or buff color in a coarse quality, it is called “Box cloth”. It is classed with kersey, beaver, and broadcloth. Originated in Melton, Mowbray, England, which is a fox hunting report in England. It was first made as a hunting cloth. Looks like wool felt – pressed flat.

Uses: Mostly used for men in over coating, uniform cloth of all kinds (army, navy, etc., as well as police and firemen), pea jackets, regal livery. Used for heavy outer sports garments and coats for women.

Melwyn

This remarkable fabric, is produced in only one small Cornish village. Known for its durability and attractive if somewhat rugged appearance.

Obscure, possibly Celtic in origin.

Mercerizati

A process whereby cotton is treated with a solution of Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide) to improve its dye affinity and luster. Invented by John Mercer in 1844. Used in the creation of Damask. Named after the inventor: John Mercer.

Messaline

Fiber: Silk

Characteristics: Often believed to be named after the Roman Emperor Claudius’ third wife. It is very soft, lustrous and lightweight. It usually comes in solid colors.

Microfiber

Very fine Nylon or Polyester filaments. Produce light soft and breathable fabrics.

Modacrylic

Characteristics: It is very resilient and soft. It retains its shape and is resistant to chemicals, flames and abrasion.

Mohair

Fiber: From the angora goat. Some has cotton warp and mohair filling (sometimes called brilliantine). Imitation mohair made from wool or a blend.

Weave: Plain or twill or knitted.

Characteristics: Angora goat is one of the oldest animals known to man. It is 2 é times as strong as wool. Goats are raised in South Africa, Western Asia, turkey, and neighboring countries. Some are in the U.S.A. Fabric is smooth, glossy, and wiry. Has long wavy hair. Also made in a pile fabric of cut and uncut loops similar to frieze with a cotton and wool back and mohair pattern. – Similar to alpaca.

Uses: Linings, pile fabrics, suitings, upholstery fabrics, braids, dress materials, felt hats, and sweaters.

Moiré

Fiber: Silk, rayon, cotton.

Weave: Plain or crosswise rib.

Characteristics: Has a watermarked finish. Fairly stiff with body in most cases. It is produced by passing the fabric between engraved cylinders which press the design into the material, causing the crushed and uncrushed parts to reflect the light differently. The pattern is not permanent, except on acetate rayon.

Uses: After 5 wear, formals, dresses and coats, draperies, bedspreads

Monk’s Cloth

Fiber: Wool, cotton, linen, silk, rayon, or synthetics.

Weave: 4 x 4 basket weave.

Characteristics: Quite heavy, due to construction. It is difficult to sew or manipulate as the yarns have a tendency to slide, stretch and fray. May sag in time depending on the compactness of the weave. It can also be made in other basket weaves. Quite rough in texture.

Uses: Draperies, all types of upholstery and house furnishings. Also used for coats and suits for women and sports coats for men.

Montagnac

Weave: Twill.

Characteristics: This luxurious textile is soft and lustrous. It is mainly created with Cashmere or Camel hair.

Uses: Over coating.

Moss Crépe

Mossy Crépe or Sand Crépe (trademark). Has a fine moss effect created by plain weave or small Dobby. Made with a spun-rayon warp and a filament rayon filling. The two-ply warp yarn is very coarse and bulkier than the filling. Mostly made in rayon and synthetics but some in silk.

Mousseline

Fiber: Silk.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: It is silk muslin. Sheer, open, and lightweight. It is something like chiffon but with a crisp finish produced by sizing. It does not wear well and it does not launder.

Uses: Evening wear, and bridal wear. Trimmings. Also used in millinery as a backing.

Muskrat

Characteristics: Mostly found in North America. The thick blue-gray, which resembles the beaver’s, has fibers that are extremely fine.

Uses: Primarily used by the fur industry.

Muslin

A smooth delicately woven cotton fabric, used for dresses and curtains. In the USA coarser cotton fabrics used for shirts and sheeting are also called muslin.

French Mousseline, from Mussolo, Mosul, a city in Iraq (Mesopotamia).

Nacre Velvet

The back is of one color and the pile of another, so that it gives a changeable, pearly appearance.

Nainsook

Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Produced in the finishing processes from the same gray goods as used for batiste, cambric, lawn. Fine and lightweight. Soft and has a slight luster in the better qualities (mercerization). Slightly heavier than batiste. Like lawn but not as crisp. Soft, lacks body. Usually found in white but also comes in pastel colors and some printed.

Uses: tucked or embroidered, blouses, night wear, lingerie, and infant’s wear.

Nap

  1. the raised pile on textiles, esp. velvet.
  2. a soft downy surface.
  3. Austral. colloq. blankets, bedding, swag.

Middle English noppe from Middle Dutch, Middle Low German noppe ‘nap’, noppen ‘trim nap from’

Ninon

Fiber: Rayon. Synthetics.

Weave: Plain, open mesh.

Characteristics: A sheer, fairly crisp fabric, heavier than chiffon. Much like Voilé, but more body. The warp yarns are often grouped in pairs. Washes well, particularly in the synthetics.

Uses: Mostly used for curtains, and some for evening or bridal wear.

Non-crushable linen

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: It is very versatile and has excellent washability and durability. It is treated so as to create a high resistance to wrinkling. This finish provides greater resilience and elasticity.

Nutria

Characteristics: Mainly found in South America. Beautiful, silky, fine belly undergrowth.

Uses: Primarily used by the fur industry but the textile industry often uses fibers in blends emphasizing softness.

Nylon

Characteristics: This manufactured fiber is very strong and is resistant to both abrasion and damage from many chemicals. It is elastic, easy to wash and is quite lustrous. It returns easily to its original shape and is non-absorbent. It is fast drying, resistant to some dyes, and resistant to moths and other insects, water, perspiration and standard dry-cleaning agents.

Uses: Women’s hosiery, knitted or woven lingerie, socks and sweaters, rugs and carpets, tents, sleeping bags, duffle bags, racquet strings, fishing lines, sails, tire cord, machine belting, filter netting, fish nets, laminates, and ropes.

Oilcloth

Characteristics: Originally, textiles such as cotton were coated in oil to create resistance to moisture. Now, resins from plastics are used instead of oil. Olefin is a very versatile fiber with excellent flexibility.

Uses: Waterproof garments, book bags, belts, bibs, pencil cases, luggage, surgical supplies.

Olefin Fiber

Characteristics: It is very lightweight yet strong. It is resistant to abrasion, soil, stains and deterioration from mildew, and damage from chemicals. It is also quick drying and colorfast.

Uses: Various uses such as apparel, interior parts of automobiles, furniture and carpets.

Ombre

A fabric woven with shades of one color from light to dark in the warp, usually creating a striped effect.

Ondule

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Its name is derived from a French word meaning wavy. This wavy effect is created by weaving the warp irregularly. It is created in silk, cotton and manufactured fibers.

Opossum

Characteristics: Can be found in Australia, Southern USA and Argentina. white face and fur that is loose, grayish and white-tipped.

Uses: Pelting used chiefly as trimming for cloth coats.

Organdie

A fine translucent cotton muslin, usually stiffened to form a durable crisp finish. Also US Organdy. French organdi, of unknown origin

Organdy

Fiber: Cotton.

Weave: Plain. Some has lappet, swivel, or flocked designs.

Characteristics: Made with tightly twisted yarns. Crispness is due to a finish with starch and calendaring which washes out, or a permanent crispness obtained with chemicals (Heberlein process). Wrinkles badly unless given a wrinkle-free finish (bellmanizing). May be bleached, dyed, printed, frosted, flocked, embroidered, or plisse.

Uses: Fussy children’s wear, trims, collars and cuffs, baby’s wear, bonnets, artificial flowers, dolls clothes, millinery, summer formals, blouses, curtains, bedspreads, aprons.

Organza

Fiber: Silk, rayon.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: A thin stiff transparent silk or synthetic dress fabric. Fine, sheer, lightweight, crisp fabric. It has a very wiry feel. It crushes or musses fairly easily, but it is easily pressed. Dressy type of fabric, sometimes has a silvery sheen.

Uses: All types of after 5 dresses, trimming, neckwear, millinery, and underlinings for delicate, sheer materials, as well as an underlining for other fabrics that require a bit of stiffness without weight. probably from Lorganza (US trade name)

Osnaberg

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Osnaberg is characterized by its strength and durability. It is medium to heavyweight. It is coarse and varies in both color and print. May or may not be treated with a finish. If it is finished, it is also known as Hopsacking or Crash.

Ottoman

Fiber: Silk, rayon, wool or synthetics.

Weave: Crosswise rib.

Characteristics: A heavy silken fabric with a mixture of cotton or wool. Heavy in weight – larger rib than both faille and bengaline. Very pronounced flat ribs in the filling direction. Ribs are made by a cotton, worsted, silk, or rayon filling which does not show on either the face or the back, because the warp covers the filling entirely. Is called Ottoman Cord or Ottoman rib when a warp rib is employed. Fabric is stiff and cannot be gathered or shirred. Like other ribbed fabrics, it has a tendency to slip at the seams and crack, so it cannot be fitted too tightly.

Uses: Evening wraps, formal coats, dressy suits, dressy afternoon wear, and after 5 French ottomane, fem. of ottoman OTTOMAN

Oxford

Fiber: Cotton – some in rayon.

Weave: Plain variations – usually basket 2 x 1.

Characteristics: Warp has two fine yarns which travel as one and one heavier softly-spun bulky filling which gives it a basket-weave look. Better qualities are mercerized. rather heavy. Usually is all white but some has a spaced stripe in the warp direction. Launders very well but soils easily. When made with yarn dyed warp and white weft, it is called oxford chambray. The one remaining commercial shirting material made originally by a Scotch mill which bore the names of four Universities – Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and Yale.

Uses: Men’s shirts mostly. Also used for summer jackets, shirts, skirts,dresses, and sportswear.

Paillette Satin

It is characterized by its changeable color and is available in a variety of different colors. It was originally executed in silk but is now made with manufactured fibers.

Panne

Characteristics: Panne is a French word meaning plush. It resembles velvet but has a much longer pile. It has high luster and is made in silk, silk blends or with manufactured fibers.

Panne Velvet

Has a longer or higher pile than velvet, but shorter than plush. It is pressed flat and has a high luster made possible by a tremendous roller-press treatment given the material in finishing. Now often made as knit fabric.

Paper Taffeta

Plain weave, very light in weight and treated to give a crisp, paper-like finish.

PBI

Characteristics: Highly resistant to flame. When exposed to heat, is prone to low shrinkage. Has exceptional thermal and chemical stability.

Peau De Cynqe

Crépe yarns are woven to create a silk textile with high luster. It has a slightly slubbed texture and a good body.

The name comes from a French phrase that means “swam skin”.

Peau De Peche

The name comes from a French phrase meaning “skin of peach”. This textile has a soft nap that is acquired after a finishing process.

Peau De Soie

Soft, satin-face, good quality cloth. It has a dull luster. Has a grainy appearance, and is a characteristic in the cloth which may have a single or double face construction. Fine close ribs are seen in the filling direction. With the best grades, the fabric can be used on either side. Lower qualities are finished on one side only. Name means “skin of silk”. Some cloth sold as peau de soie is really a de-lustered satin. It doesn’t have the grainy appearance. Because of crosswise rib, fabric difficult to ease. Also sold as “de-lustered satin”.

Pekin

Weave: Novelty

Characteristics: It has a very fine quality. It is characterized by its vertical stripes of identical width that have equal widths between them. It consists of Cotton, wool, silk, or elaborate velvet stripes that are separated by satin.

Percale

Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Medium weight, firm, smooth, with no gloss. Warps and washes very well. Made from both carded and combed yarns. Comes white or can be printed. Percale sheeting is the finest sheeting available, made of combed yarns and has a count of 200 – carded percale sheeting has a count of 180. It has a soft, silk-like feel. The thread count ranges usually from 180-100. First made by Wamsutta Mills.

Uses: Dresses, women’s and children’s, sportswear, aprons, and sheets.

Pilling

Formation of fiber fuzz balls on a fabric surface by wear or friction.

Pin Check

Fiber: Worsted, also made in cotton and rayon.

Weave: Twill.

Characteristics: A minute check effect caused by a combination of weave and color. It has the appearance of tiny white dots appearing in rows, vertically, and horizontally. Holds a sharp crease, tailors and wears exceptionally well. In time, it is inclined to shine with wear.

Uses: Men’s suits, women’s tailored suits and skirts. In cotton, it usually has a white dot on a blue ground and it is used for work clothes.

Pina Cloth

Pina cloth is a fine cloth made from pineapple fibers. A Barong Tagalog (or simply Barong) is an embroidered formal garment of the Philippines. Most barong are made of pina cloth or jusi fabric. Pina cloth is hand loomed and quite delicate. Pina cloth is more expensive than Jusi and is thus used for very formal events.

Pinhead

Fiber: Worsted, also made in cotton and rayon.

Weave: Twill.

Characteristics: A minute check effect caused by a combination of weave and color. It has the appearance of tiny white dots appearing in rows, vertically, and horizontally. Holds a sharp crease, tailors and wears exceptionally well. In time, it is inclined to shine with wear.

Uses: Men’s suits, women’s tailored suits and skirts. In cotton, it usually has a white dot on a blue ground and it is used for work clothes.

Piqué

Fiber: Cotton, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Lengthwise rib, English crosswise rib or cord weave.

Characteristics: A stiff ribbed cotton or other fabric. Originally was a crosswise rib but now mostly a lengthwise rib and the same as Bedford cord. Ribs are often filled to give a more pronounced wale (cord weave). Comes in medium to heavy weights. It is generally made of combed face yarns and carded stuffer yarns. It is durable and launders well. Wrinkles badly unless given a wrinkle-free finish. Various prices. Also comes in different patterns besides Wales. Some of the patterns are birds eye (small diamond), waffle (small squares), honeycomb (like the design on honeycomb honey). When the fabric begins to wear out it wears at the corded areas first.

Uses: Trims, collars, cuffs, millinery, infants wear, coats, and bonnets, women’s and children’s summer dresses, skirts and blouses, shirts, play clothes, and evening French, past part. of piquer: ‘prick, irritate’, from Romanic.

Plisse

Fiber: Cotton, rayon, and others.

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Could be made from any fine material, e.g. organdy, lawn, etc. Treated with a caustic soda solution which shrinks parts of the goods either all over or in stripes giving a blistered effect. Similar to seersucker in appearance. This crinkle may or may not be removed after washing. This depends on the quality of the fabric. It does not need to be ironed, but if a double thickness, such as a hem, needs a little, it should be done after the fabric is thoroughly dry.

Uses: Sleepwear, housecoats, dresses, blouses for women and children, curtains, bedspreads, and bassinets. Often it is called wrinkle Crépe and may be made with a wax/shrink process (the waxed parts remain free of shrinkage and cause the ripples).

Plush

Velvet or velveteen where the pile is 1/8″ thick or more. e.g. Cotton velour, hat velour, plush “fake furs”.

Pocket Weave

A jacquard double-layered fabric with several warps. The design is created with both warps and fillings.

Point D’esprit

Fiber: Cotton – some in silk.

Weave: Leno, gauze, knotted, or mesh.

Characteristics: First made in France in 1834. Dull surfaced net with various sized holes. Has white or colored dots individually spaced or in groups.

Uses: Curtains, bassinets, evening gowns.

Polished Cotton

A plain weave cotton cloth characterized by a sheen ranging from dull to bright. Polish can be achieved either through the weave or the addition of a resin finish. Can be a solid color, usually piece dyed or printed.

Polyester

  1. Any of a group of condensation polymers used to form synthetic fibers such as Terylene or to make resins.
  2. A fabric made from such a polymer.

Characteristics: It is an extremely resilient fiber that is smooth, crisp and particularly springy. Its shape is determined by heat and it is insensitive to moisture. It is lightweight, strong and resistant to creasing, shrinking, stretching, mildew and abrasion. It is readily washable and is not damaged by sunlight or weather and is resistant to moths and mildew.

Uses: Many and varied. Poly- Greek combining form of polys much, many.

Polymerizat

The process of forming a Polymer. A polymer is a compound formed by joining two or more molecules to form a more complex chemical with a higher molecular weight.

Typical examples are polyethylene, Nylon, Rayon, Acrylic and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Greek Polymeres of many parts.

Pompadour

Originally executed in silk. Often has large floral designs in velvet or pile on a Taffeta ground. Occasionally stripes are used instead of flowers. Today it is made with manufactured fibers.

Pongee

Fiber: Silk, cotton, rayon.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: Originally from China and originally woven on hand looms in the home. Light or medium weight. Tan or ecru in color. Woven “in the gum”. Some is dyed, but color is not quite uniform. Some printed. warp is finer and more even than filling. Nubs or irregular cross ribs produced by uneven yarns. It is woven from wild tussah silk and it is a “raw silk”.

Uses: Dresses, ensembles, blouses, summer suits, in a medium weight. It used to be a great deal for drapery linings. Pongee cotton is made of combed yarns and given a variety of finishes.

Poplin

Fiber: Cotton, wool, and other textile fibers.

Weave: Crosswise rib. The filling is cylindrical. Two or three times as many warp as weft per inch.

Characteristics: A plain-woven fabric usually of cotton, with a corded surface. Has a more pronounced filling effect than broadcloth. It is mercerized and has quite a high luster. It may be bleached, or dyed (usually vat dyes are used) or printed. Heavy poplin is given a water-repellent finish for outdoor use. Originally made with silk warp and a heavier wool filling. Some also mildew-proof, fire-retardant, and some given a suede finish. American cotton broadcloth shirting is known as poplin in Great Britain.

Uses: Sportswear of all kinds, shirts, boy’s suits, uniforms, draperies, blouses, dresses.

Obsolete French papeline, perhaps from Italian papalina (fem.)

Protein Based Fibers

Fiber: Cellulose

Characteristics: This cellulose fiber is highly absorbent. Its drapability and dye ability are excellent and it is fairly soft.

Provence

Fiber: Cotton.

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: This is a typed style of printing which characterizes Provence, a French country.

Pyrenees

Fiber: Wool

Weave: Characteristics This fabric is made in France from the wool of Pyrenees sheep. The Pyrenees is a mountain chain between France and Spain. The fabric is well known because it is a high quality fabric which keeps warm.

Uses: Men’s and women’s dressing gowns.

Qiviut

The name comes from an Eskimo word meaning ‘down’. This fiber is obtained from the Arctic Musk Ox. It is lustrous, soft, durable and free of oils.

Rabbit

Characteristics: Wild rabbits have brownish or gray colors. Tame ones range in color from white to black. Uses Coats and trimmings.

Raccoon

Characteristics: Native American. The fur is brown-brown and black.

Uses: Sportswear. Pelt is used for trimmings for cloth and fur coats. Only the woolly fiber is used for textile purposes.

Radium

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Originated in Lyons France. It has high luster and is smooth and soft.

Radium

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Originated in Lyons France. It has high luster and is smooth and soft.

Rajah

Fiber: Silk, rayon.

Weave: Plain – warp yarn is 4 thread organized – filling is heavier.

Characteristics: Made from a tussah silk or certain silk wastes. It belongs to the pongee family of silks. Made from irregular yarns, so has slubs and irregularities but thicker than shantung. it is rather compact and strong. Has a pebble-like feel and appearance. Comes in all colors as well as natural ecru shades, but often warp and filling are different colors (iridescent effect).

Ramie

Ramie is a natural woody fiber resembling flax. Also know as rhea and China grass, it is obtained from a tall shrub grown in South-east Asia. China, Japan, and southern Europe. The fiber is stiff, more brittle than linen, and highly lustrous. It can be bleached to extreme whiteness. Ramie fibers are long and very fine. They are white and lustrous and almost silk-like in appearance. The strength of ramie is excellent and varies from 5.3 to 7.4 grams per denier. Elastic recovery is low and elongation is poor. Ramie lends itself to general processing for textile yarns, but its retting operation is difficult and costly, making the fiber unprofitable for general use. When combed, ramie is half the density of linen, but much stronger, coarser, and more absorbent. It has permanent luster and good affinity for dyes; it is affected little by moisture. Ramie is used as filling yarn in mixed woolen fabrics, as adulteration with silk fibers, and as a substitute for flax. The China-grass cloth use by the Chinese is made of Ramie. This fiber is also useful for rope, twine, and nets.

Ratine

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Originated in Italy. Ratine is a French word that means rough. This fiber has an uneven, pebbled surface. It comes in solid colors and prints and is executed in silk, cotton or wool.

Rayon

Fiber: Cellulose

Characteristics: Any of various textile fibers or fabrics made from viscose. This cellulose fiber is highly absorbent. Its drapability and dye ability are excellent and it is fairly soft. Rayon does have a tendency to shrink but does not melt in high temperatures. It is resistant to moths and is not affected by ordinary household bleaches and chemicals.

Uses: Clothing, draperies, upholstery, carpets, tablecloths, bedspreads, automobile tires, conveyor belts, hose.

Redwood Bark

This fiber is obtained from the bark of the California redwood tree. It is used for insulation and sometimes for blending with other fibers such as wool and cotton.

Repp

Fiber: Wool, worsted, silk, rayon, wool ottoman, cotton or a blend.

Weave: Crosswise rib.

Characteristics: Has a pronounced narrow cylindrical rib in the filling direction – less distinct than bengaline; more distinct than poplin. Sometimes a very distinct rib is alternated with a small rib. It is similar to poplin but heavier in cotton. Can be dyed, printed, or white. Frays badly. Difficult to press (may flatten rib).

Uses: Heavy suits, and coats for men’s and boy’s wear, and also for some women. Also used for upholstery and drapery.

Romaine

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: It is a lightweight textile with a low thread count. it is lustrous and has an uneven textural appearance. It was originally made of silk but is found today in rayon, acetate, wool, silk and manufactured fibers.

Ruche

Characteristics: Fluted or crimped lace or gauze, used as a trimming

Sailcloth

Fiber: Cotton, linen, nylon.

Weave: Plain, some made with a crosswise rib.

Characteristics: A strong canvas or duck. The weights vary, but most often the count is around 148 x 60. Able to withstand the elements (rain, wind and snow). Sailcloth for clothing is sold frequently and is much lighter weight than used for sails.

Uses: Sails, awnings, and all kinds of sportswear for men, women, and children.

Sanglier

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Its name is French for wild boar. It was named for its texture which is compact and wiry. It also has a very rough finish. It is usually created with mohair and worsted fibers.

Sateen

Fiber: Cotton, some also made in rayon.

Weave: Sateen, 5-harness, filling-face weave.

Characteristics: Cotton fabric woven like satin with a glossy surface. Lustrous and smooth with the sheen in a filling direction. Carded or combed yarns are used. Better qualities are mercerized to give a higher sheen. Some are only calendared to produce the sheen but this disappears with sashing and is not considered genuine sateen. May be bleached, dyed, or printed. Difficult to make good bound buttonholes on it as it has a tendency to slip at the seams.

Uses: Dresses, sportswear, louses, robes, pajamas, linings for draperies, bedspreads, slip covers, satin, on the pattern of velveteen

Satin

A fabric of silk or various man-made fibers, with a glossy surface on one side produced by a twill weave with the weft-threads almost hidden.

Characteristics: Originated in China (Zaytoun, China – now Canton – a port from which satins were exported during the Middle Ages). Became known in Europe during the 12th, and 13th Centuries in Italy. Became known in England by the 14th Century. It became a favorite of all court life because of its exquisite qualities and feel. Usually has a lustrous surface and a dull back. The luster is produced by running it between hot cylinders. Made in many colors, weights, varieties, qualities, and degrees of stiffness. A low grade silk or a cotton filling is often used in cheaper cloths.

Uses: Slips, evening dresses, coats, capes, and jackets, lining fabrics, millinery, drapes, covers, and pillows, From Latin seta Silk

Satin Faconne

Jacquard figured fabric with an all-satin weave background. Various types of striping effects are obtained. Jacquard figure on a satin ground.

Satin-Back

Satin on one side and anything on the other. e.g. very good velvet ribbon has velvet on one side and satin on the other.

Satin-Back Crépe

A reversible cloth with satin on one side and Crépe on the other

Satinette

a satin-like fabric made partly or wholly of cotton or synthetic fiber

Saxony

a fine woollen yarn for knitting, etc or a cloth made from this yarn. Originally made from the wool of sheep from the district of Saxony in Germany.

Seersucker

Fiber: Cotton, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Plain, slack tension weave.

Characteristics: A fabric usually striped cotton with alternate stripes crinkled in the weaving. Crépe-stripe effect. colored stripes are often used. Dull surface. Comes in medium to heavy weights. The woven crinkle is produced by alternating slack and tight yarns in the warp. This is permanent. Some may be produced by pressing or chemicals, which is not likely to be permanent – called plisse. Durable, gives good service and wear. May be laundered without ironing. Can be bleached, yarn dyed, or printed. Some comes in a check effect.

Uses: Summer suits for men, women, and children, coats, uniforms, trims, nightwear, all kinds of sportswear, dresses, blouses, children’s wear of all kinds, curtains, bedspreads, slipcovers. Hind. Pers, alteration of shir o shakkar Lit Milk and Sugar.

Selvage

Narrow edge of woven fabric (warp direction) usually of stronger yarns or denser construction than body of cloth.

Serge

Weave: Worsted – also unfinished worsted, wool, cotton, silk, rayon, and synthetics. A very distinct twill (2 up 2 down) which shows on both sides of the fabric.

Characteristics: On the face, the distinct diagonal runs from the lower left to the upper right – piece dyed. Has a smooth, hard finish that wears exceptionally well but will shine with use. The shine cannot be removed permanently. It is a good cloth in tailoring as it drapes and clings very well. Made in various weights. Unfinished worsted and wool are not quite as clear on the surface. French Sere is made of very fine soft yarns and has a very fine twill. It is used for dresses or very soft suits.

Uses: Coats, suits and sportswear.

Serpentine Crépe

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Its filling has a twisted thread therefore giving it an effect similar to Crépe. The size of the Crépe thread determines the texture. It is executed in a variety of fibers including manufactured ones.

Shadowy Organdy

Characteristics: It is lightweight, crisp and sheer. The shadowy effect is produced when one color is repeatedly printed on itself.

Shantung

Fiber: Cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: It is a raw silk made from Tussah silk or silk waste, depending on the quality. It is quite similar to pongee, but has a more irregular surface, heavier, and rougher. Most of the slubs are in the filling direction. Wrinkles quite a bit. Underlining helps to prevent this as well as slipping at the seams. Do not fit too tightly, if long wear is expected. Comes in various weights, colors and also printed.

Uses: Dresses, suits, and coats. Shantung, Chinese province, where it was originally made.

Sharkskin

Fiber: Worsted. Some wool. Also made in rayons and synthetics (particularly Arnel) but they are quite different.

Weave: 2 x 2 twill weave (1 white, 1 black up and same down).

Characteristics: The yarns in both the warp and filling are alternately white (or very light yarns) and colored. The combination of weave and color results in colored lines running diagonally to the left opposite to the twill lines in a “step” effect. Has a very sleek, smooth, feel and appearance. Although it is fairly light in weight, it has a very substantial feel. Gives excellent wear and sheds dirt readily. Has many variations.

Uses: Used for men’s and women’s suits, lightweight coats and sportswear.

Shatush

This is one of the finest textiles. It is created from white, silver or gray hair of wild goats. The supply of this hair is very limited so the textile is very rare. It is one of the most expensive fabrics in the world.

Sheer

Fiber: Any fiber.

Weave: Mostly plain but could be various weaves.

Characteristics: Any very light-weight fabric (e.g. chiffon, georgette, Voilé, sheer Crépe). Usually has an open weave, very thin; diaphanous. They mostly feel cool.

Middle English schere, probably via dialect shire ‘pure, clear’ from Old English

Shetland

Fiber: Wool from Shetland sheep in Scotland. Sheep have a coarse outer coat and a very fine undercoat which gives added warmth. The best is the undergrowth. It is not shorn but pulled out by hand in the spring. Other wools sometimes called Shetland if they have a similar appearance.

Weave: Twill, plain, or knitted.

Characteristics: Has a very soft hand and a shaggy finish of protruding fibers. – a pulled wool; the soft undergrowth of the Shetland sheep. Very lightweight and warm. Much is made by hand and comes in distinctive soft coloring. Often the natural colors ranging from off-white, various grays to almost black and brown are used and not dyed. Real Shetland wools are expensive, high quality products. – In the same family group as homespun, tweed and cheviot.

Uses: Coats, suits, and sportswear for both men and women. Fine Shetlands are made into fine shawls, underwear crochet, work and hosiery.

Shot

Woven so as to show different colors at different angles.

Shot Taffeta

Usually plain weave, woven with one color in the warp and another color in the filling, which gives the fabric an iridescent look. If fabric is moved in the light this color changes. Silk version of chambray.

Shuttle

The boat-like device that carries the filling yarn wound on the bobbin, which sees in the shuttle from a shuttle box on one side of the faceplate of the loom through the shed. and into a shuttle box at the other side of the loom. Filling interlaces with the warp yarns to make weaving possible.

Silk

It is obtained from cocoons of certain species of caterpillars. It is soft and has a brilliant sheen. It is one of the finest textiles. It is also very strong and absorbent.

Silk is one of the oldest known textile fibers and, according to Chinese tradition, was used as long ago as the 27th century BC. The silkworm moth was originally a native of China, and for about 30 centuries the gathering and weaving of silk was a secret process, known only to the Chinese.

Simulated Linen Fabrics

Various rayons, cottons, synthetics, and blends are woven with threads of uneven thickness to simulate linen. They lack the cool, firm, yet soft feel of linen. Their irregularities are too even when seen beside real linen.

Sisal

Sisal is one of a group of fibers obtained from the leaves of plants. It is obtained from a plant that belongs to the Agave family and is raised in Mexico, especially in the Yucatan peninsula. The fiber is also cultivated in Africa, Java, and some areas of South America. Sisal can be dyed bright colors, by means of both cotton dyes and acid dyes normally used for wool. It is important in the manufacture of such items as matting, rough handbags, ropes and cordage and carpeting.

Sisal

Sisal is one of a group of fibers obtained from the leaves of plants. It is obtained from a plant that belongs to the Agave family and is raised in Mexico, especially in the Yucatan peninsula. The fiber is also cultivated in Africa, Java, and some areas of South America. Sisal can be dyed bright colors, by means of both cotton dyes and acid dyes normally used for wool. It is important in the manufacture of such items as matting, rough handbags, ropes and cordage and carpeting.

Slipper Satin

Strong, compactly woven with quite a bit of body. It is used chiefly for footwear. Textures are high and the material comes colored, black or white, or richly brocaded effects. – Shiniest satin.

Slub

  1. verb To draw out and twist slightly after carding or silvering, as wool or cotton.
  2. noun The partially twisted wool or the like produced by slubbing.
  3. noun Yarn made with bunches of untwisted fibers at intervals.

Slubbed

See Slub.

Slubs

See Slub.

Soufflé

Fiber: Wool, also rayon and silk.

Weave: any weave – usually a novelty – plain warp, novelty filling or reverse.

Characteristics: Derived from the French term eponge for “spongy”. Very soft and sponge-like in a variety of novelty effects with loose weave of about 20 x 20. Also known as ratine in cotton. Rayon and silk is soft, loose, and spongy, something like terry cloth. Does not have surface loops. Many stores now call eponge “boucle”.

Uses: Suits, dresses, coats, sportswear, and summer suits.

Spandex

It is an elastomeric fiber (a type of polyurethane) that can be stretched up to five times its original length without being damaged. It is lightweight and flexible. It resists deterioration from perspiration, detergent and body oils. It is characterized by its strength and durability.

Uses: Main uses are athletic wear and foundation garments.

Arbitrary formation from EXPAND

Spinning

This final operation in yarn manufacture consists of the drawing, twisting, and the winding of the newly spun yarn onto a device such as a bobbin, spindle, cop, tube, etc. Spinning requires great care by all operatives involved. Mule and ring spinning are the two major methods today, and in addition to being spun on these methods, worsted yard is also spun on the cap and flyer flame methods of producing finished spun yarn.

Spun Rayon

Fiber: Rayon.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: Simulated cotton or wool made with staple fibers in a continuous strand to give this effect. Wears well and is washable. Made in different weights. Comes in plain colors and prints. Has soft, fuzzy surface. Blends well with cotton.

Uses: Dresses, suits, sportswear, men’s shirts.

Suede Cloth

Fiber: Wool, cotton, rayon, synthetics and blends.

Weave: Plain, twill, or knitted.

Characteristics: Napped on one side to resemble suede leather. Short, close nap gives a soft, smooth hand. When made in cotton, it resembles duvetyne, but heavier.

Uses: Cleaning cloths, gloves, linings, sportcoats.

French (gants de) Suéde ‘(gloves of) Sweden’

Suede Leather

  1. Leather, esp. kidskin, with the flesh side rubbed to make a velvety nap.
  2. (also suede-cloth) a woven fabric resembling suede.

French (gants de) Suéde ‘(gloves of) Sweden’

Sulfar

It is a nonconductive fiber that is retardant to flame. It has excellent resistance to a variety of damaging chemicals and severe temperatures. This high-performance fiber retains its supreme strength, even in unfavorable conditions.

Sunn

This bast fiber is obtained from the Crotalaria juncea plant. The fibers grow from 4 to 5 feet long and are retted and prepared like other bast fibers. Sunn contains over 80% cellulose and is highly resistant to moisture and mildew. This fiber is mainly produced in India although small amounts are grown in Uganda. It is mainly used for cordage, rug yarns, and paper. In India it is also used for fish nets and is sometimes used as a substitute for jute in bagging cloths.

Surah

Fiber: Silk, rayon, and synthetics.

Weave: Twill (2 up and 2 down).

Characteristics: Soft and flexible. Lightweight and lustrous. Has a decided twill on the fabric. Wrinkles fairly easily. Underlining helps to prevent this, as well as to prevent slipping at the seams. Some have a tendency to water spot. Very similar to “foulard”, but heavier.

Uses: Dresses, suits, ensembles, dresses and coats, cravats, ties, scarves, blouses, jacket and coat linings.

Taffeta

Fiber: Silk, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Usually plain with a fine cross rib.

Characteristics: Lustrous silk or rayon fabric of plain weave. A cloth supposed to have originated in Iran (Persia) and was called “taftah” (a fine silk fabric) – (in 16th century, became a luxury for women’s wear). It is made in plain colors, fancy prints, watered designs, and changeable effects. It is smooth with a sheen on its surface. The textures vary considerably. They have a crispness and stiffness. Taffeta in silk will not wear, as long as other high quality silks, since weighting is given the fabric to make it stiff. If it is over weighted, the goods will split or crack.

Uses: All kinds of after 5 wear, dressy evening wear: suits and coats, slips, ribbons, blouses, umbrella fabric. It is quite a dressy fabric.

From Persian taftah silken or linen cloth

Tapestry

A heavy jacquard fabric usually multicolored. Warps and filling very tightly woven. The designs vary from traditional to contemporary. Used for upholstery only.

Taslan Toile De Jouy

A floral or scenic design usually printed on cotton or linen. Originally printed in Jouy, France, the fabrics were printed in single colors from engraved copper plates. The designs were characterized by classic motifs beautifully engraved and finely colored. Today, some are multicolored.

Terry Cloth

Fiber: Cotton and some linen.

Weave: Pile, also jacquard and dobby combined with pile.

Characteristics: Either all over loops on both sides of the fabric or patterned loops on both sides. Formed with an extra warp yarn. Long wearing, easy to launder and requires no ironing. May be bleached, dyed, or printed. Better qualities have a close, firm, underweave, with very close loops. Very absorbent, and the longer the loop, the greater the absorbency. When the pile is only on one side, it is called “Turkish toweling”.

Uses: Towels, beach wear, bathrobes, all kinds of sportswear, children’s wear, slip covers, and draperies.

Tiking

Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Usually twill (L2/1 or L3/1), some jacquard, satin, and dobby.

Characteristics: Very tightly woven with more warp than filling yarns. Very sturdy and strong, smooth and lustrous. Usually has white and colored stripes, but some patterned (floral). Can be made water-repellent, germ resistant, and feather-proof.

Uses: Pillow covers, mattress coverings, upholstering and some sportswear. “Bohemian ticking” has a plain weave, a very high texture, and is feather-proof. Lighter weight than regular ticking. Patterned with narrow colored striped on a white background or may have a chambray effect by using a white or unbleached warp with a blue or red filling.

Tissue Taffeta

Plain weave, very lightweight and transparent.

Transparent Velvet

Lightweight, very soft, draping velvet made with a silk or rayon back and a rayon pile.

Tricot

Fiber: Silk, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Knit, warp knitted. Vertical Wales on surface and more or less crosswise ribs on the back.

Characteristics: Has a thin texture, made from very fine or single yarns. Glove silk is a double bar tricot (very run-resistant).

Uses: Underwear, sportswear, bathing suits, gloves.

Tricotine

Fiber: Worsted, wool, rayon, blends with synthetics.

Weave: 63 twill, left to right (double).

Characteristics: Has a double twill rib on the face of the cloth. Has a very clear finish. It drapes well, and tailors easily. Medium in weight. Has exceptional wearing qualities. Very much like cavalry twill, but finer. In the same family as whipcords, coverts, and gabardines.

Uses: Men’s and women’s suits and coats. It is also used for ski slacks in a stretch fabric.

Triple Sheer

Heavier and flatter than sheers. Almost opaque. Many are made from “Bemberg”, which wears, drapes, and washes well. Sheers are used extensively for after 5 wear, as well as afternoon dresses in heavier weights, and some coats, lingerie, curtains, trims, etc.

Tropical Worsteds

Fiber: 100% worsted. If just called tropical, it can be made up in any fiber or blends of wool and a synthetic.

Weave: Plain and rather open weaves.

Characteristics: The yarns are very tightly twisted and woven to permit a free circulation of air. It is lightweight and is ideal for summer and tropical wear. It has a clear finish. Wears and tailors very well.

Uses: Both men’s and women’s suits and coats.

Tufting Yarn

Hooked by needle into fabric structure usually at a very high speed developed initially for carpeting. Recently developed for upholstery fabric.

Tulle

Fiber: Silk, nylon, cotton.

Weave: Gauze, knotted, leno, made on a lace machine.

Characteristics: a soft fine silk etc. net for veils and dresses. First made by Machine in 1768. Has a hexagonal mesh and is stiff. It is difficult to launder. Comes is white and colors, and is very cool, dressy, and delicate.

Uses: It is a stately type of fabric when used for formal wear, and weddings. It is also used for ballet costumes and wedding veils.

Tulle, a town in SW France, where it was first made

Tussah

Fiber: Silk.

Weave: Usually plain but also in twill.

Characteristics: Made from wild or uncultivated silkworms. It is coarse, strong, and uneven. Dull luster and rather stiff. Has a rough texture with many slubs, knots, and bumps. It is ecru or tan in color and it is difficult to bleach. It usually doesn’t take an even dye color. Wears well and becomes more rough looking with wear. It wrinkles a little, but not as much as some. Various weights. Appears in filament and staple form.

Uses: In lighter weights, dresses. In heavier weights, coats and suits and ensembles.

Tweed

Fiber: Wool, also cotton, rayon, silk, linen, and synthetics.

Weave: Twill, novelty variations, or plain.

Characteristics: It is the Scotch name for twill and originated along the banks of the Tweed river, which separates England from Scotland. Sometimes known as “tweel”. Sister-cloth of homespun cheviot and Shetland. They are the same in texture, yarn, weight, feel, and use. Originally only made from different colored stock-dyed fibers, producing various color effects. There are a wide range of rough surfaced, sturdy fabrics. There are also some closely woven smoother, softer yarn fabrics, and many monotone tweeds. May also be plaid, checked, striped, or other patterns. Does not hold a crease very well.

Uses: Wide range of suits, coats, and sportswear for men, women and children. Lighter weight, used for dresses.

Twill

A fabric so woven as to have a surface of diagonal parallel ridges. v.tr. (esp. as twilled adj.) weave (fabric) in this way. VV twilled adj. northern English variant of obsolete twilly from Old English twili (from twi- ‘double’), translating Latin bilix (as BI-, licium ‘thread’)

Union Cloth

A plain weave fabric made from two or more different fibers. most often a cotton warp and a linen filling.

Urena

This bast fiber comes from the Urena lobata plant. In its wild state it grows 3 to 7 feet high and when cultivated can grow as tall as 13 feet. The fiber strands are cream colored and have a wonderful luster. This fiber is mainly grown in the Congo area although small amounts are also raised in Brazil, India and the Philippines. Urena has the same uses as jute.

Utrecht Velvet

Originated in Utrecht, Holland where it was made of silk. It was pressed and crimped to produce a raised effect. Today both mohair and silk are used.

Vair

Characteristics: Thought to be the fur of the squirrel, one of the most valuable furs of the middle ages.

Velour

Fiber: Cotton, wool, or spun rayon.

Weave: Thick, plush pile, with a plain or satin ground, or sometimes knitted.

Characteristics: The pile is characterized by uneven lengths (usually two) which gives it a rough look. The two lengths of pile create light and shaded areas on the surface. A rather pebbled effect. This type of velour was invented and made in Lyons, France, in 1844. “Velours” is the French term for velvet. “Cotton velour” is simply cotton velvet.

Uses: Hats, dressing gowns, dresses, waist-coats, upholstery. Now most commonly sold as knit velour.

French velours ‘velvet’ via Old French velour, velous from Latin villosus ‘hairy’, from villus: see VELVET

Velvet

Fiber: Silk, rayon, cotton, synthetics, and a little wool and worsted.

Weave: Pile, made with an extra warp yarn.

Characteristics: A closely woven fabric of silk, cotton, etc., with a thick short pile on one side. Mostly made with a plain back but some with a twill. Some are made with a silk pile and a rayon or cotton back. Comes in many types, qualities, and weights. Good velvet wears fairly well and is inexpensive. The cheaper cloths give little service and look well only a few times before beginning to deteriorate. Better velvet may be crush resistant, water resistant, and drapes well. Has to be handled with care, and pressed on a velvet board. Cut all one way. For the maximum amount of depth in the color, cut with the pile running up. it also wears better when cut this way. Velvet should be cut with very simple lines in the garment, so not to destroy the beauty of the fabric. It has the tendency to add weight to the figure.

Uses: All types of evening wear, at home wear, draperies, upholstery.

Middle English via Old French veluotte from velu ‘velvety’, via medieval Latin villutus from Latin villus ‘tuft, down’

Velvet Satin

A satin weave is used as the base for this luxurious figured silk, made with a cut pile effect.

Velveteen

Fiber: Cotton, sometimes rayon.

Weave: Filling pile, very short.

Characteristics: Woven with a extra filling yarn with either a plain or a twill back (twill back is the best). Warp yarns 80/inch – weft ranges from 175 to 600 depending on the desired density of the pile. Mercerized with a durable finish. Strong and takes hard wear. Poor quality rubs off. Some of it can be laundered. It is warm. Comes in all colors, gradually piece dyed or may be printed. Has to be cut all one way. Press carefully, preferably on a velvet board, or tumble dry after laundering (no pressing needed).

Uses: Children’s wear, dresses, coats, draperies, lounge wear, separates.

Venetian

Fiber: Worsted, wool worsted and wool, cotton.

Weave: 5 shaft satin, some in small repeat twill weaves, in cotton, 8 shaft satin (warp face). 2 ply warp and single filling.

Characteristics: Clear finish. Has a very good luster finish which resembles satin. Some has a slight nap. Wears well – similar cloth has worsted warp and woolen filling.

Uses: In a good quality used for expensive suits for women and sports jackets for men. Also used for fine coatings for both men and women. In cotton, it resembles very heavy sateen and is used mostly for lining.

Vichy

Fiber: Cotton

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: The weave of this fabric is formed of horizontal bands and vertical bands respectively in a light and strong variants of the same color.

Uses: Dress.

Vicuéa

Vicuéa, ruminant mammal belonging to the camel family. The animal is native to the Andes in South America, and is a close relative of the llama. Vicuéas are small, slender animals with orange-red fur. They generally roam in small herds and have never been successfully domesticated. They are much hunted for their hides and for their wool, which is valued for weaving. The term vicuéa is applied to the fabrics manufactured from the wool of the animal, and also to textile fabrics made from the wool of the merino sheep in imitation of natural vicuéa. Such fabrics generally resemble serge in weave but are fuller and softer and have a distinct nap. Textile industry uses the fibers to manufacture the softest coat cloth in the world.

Viscose

Viscose fabrics have a silky to matte luster with an elegant flowing drape. The natural effect of the colors gives them an attractive look. Viscose is supple and has a softness that is comfortable to wear. As they can absorb perspiration quite quickly, making them very skin-friendly, but with poor thermal properties.

Cellulose, usually derived from tree trunks, is converted into a highly viscous state and spun into a fiber by forcing it through spinneret holes.

Late Latin viscosus (as VISCOUS)

Vivyon

This is a non-toxic fiber with a high resistance to chemicals. It softens at low temperatures.

Viyella

Fiber: A blend of 55% wool and 45% cotton.

Weave: Twill.

Characteristics: Has the appearance of very fine flannel. It is soft, fine, and warm. Holds a good pleat. Washable by machine. If made up in a slim skirt for women, should be underlined, as it has not much body.

Uses: Excellent for all kinds of children’s and baby’s wear, sportswear, men’s and women’s tailored shirts and dresses.

Voilé

Fiber: Cotton – also wool and called “Voilé de laine”.

Weave: Plain, loosely woven.

Characteristics: A thin semi-transparent dress material of cotton, wool, or silk. Sheer and very light weight. Usually made with cylindrical combed yarns. To obtain a top quality fabric, very highly twisted yarns are used. Voilé drapes and gathers very well. The clear surface is obtained by singeing away any fuzzy yarns. Has a hard finish and crisp, sometimes wiry hand. “Voilé de Laine” is wool Voilé.

Uses: Dresses, blouses, curtains.

French, VEIL

Wale

  1. A ridge or raised line formed in the weave of cloth.
  2. The texture of a fabric; the kind of weave.

Old English walu weal, ridge.

Warp-print Taffeta

Usually a plain weave, the warp yarns are printed before the filling is inserted. The fabric has a very fuzzy design when design is distorted as fabric is woven.

Weasel

A common name for any of several small, furry, carnivorous mammals that are most abundant in North America and Europe but also occur elsewhere.

Uses: The fur industry uses nearly all the species of the weasel family in making coats, trimmings, capes etc. The textile industry uses large amounts of the fine fibers.

Whipcord

Fiber: Worsted or woolen, also cotton and rayon.

Weave: Twill.

Characteristics: Very much like gabardine, but the yarn is bulkier and much more pronounced. The twill is steep 63 degrees and goes from left to right (except for cotton). It is very durable, rugged and stands hard usage and wear. In time, it shines a bit with wear. Some times back is napped for warmth. So named because it simulates the lash of a whip.

Uses: Topcoats, uniform cloths, suitings, sportswear, riding habits. In cotton, it is also used for automobile seat covers and children’s play suits.

Wool

This fiber is made from the hair of various animals such as sheep, llamas, camels and goats. It is very resilient and resistant to wrinkling. It is renewed by moisture and well known for its warmth.

Uses: Clothing, blankets, winter wear.

Middle English wole

Wool Broadcloth

Fiber: Wool. Also cotton and silk but very different from wool broadcloth.

Weave: Usually a twill with a two up and one down construction. Some also in the plain weave.

Characteristics: Has a napped face, closely sheared and polished, producing a silky gloss – in same group of fabrics as kersey, beaver cloth, melton. One way nap, must be handled like velvet when cutting. It comes in a variety of colors and weights. It is “dressy” fabric and must be handled with care – form fitting and drapes well.

Wool Flannel

Weave: Usually twill, some plain.

Characteristics: Originated in Wales. Soft, with a napped surface that partially cancels the weave. Dull finish. Made in a variety of weights. More loosely woven than worsted_flannel with a higher nap and bulkier hand. Shrinks if not pre-shrunk. Sags with wear, unless underlined. Does not shine or hold a crease. Watch pressing – if pressed too hard, it flattens in the nap. Comes in many colors, weights, and fancy effects. Sometimes has a prickly feel when worn.

Uses: Blazers, dresses, skirts, suits and coats. Boys suits, jackets, and shirts. Shirts and sportswear.

Wool Jersey

Fiber: Wool, worsted, silk, cotton, rayon, and synthetics.

Weave: Knitted on circular, flat-bed or warp knitted methods (later popular as a tricot-knit).

Characteristics: Right side has lengthwise ribs (Wales) and wrong side has crosswise ribs (courses). Very elastic with good draping qualities. Has special crease-resistant qualities due to its construction. Is knitted plain or has many elaborate tweed designs and fancy motifs as well as printed designs. Can look very much like woven fabric. Wears very well and if washable, it washes very well. First made on the Island of Jersey off the English coast and used for fisherman’s clothing. Stretch as you sew.

Uses: Dress goods, sportswear, suits, underwear, coats, gloves, sweaters, hats.

Worsted Flannel

Weave: Twill

Characteristics: Made in a variety of weights. More closely woven and harder than Wool Flannel. Can have a very slight nap on one side. Tailors very well. Presses well and holds a hard crease.

Worsted Wool

  1. Firmly twisted yarn or thread spun from combed long-staple wool, used for weaving, etc.
  2. Wool cloth woven from such yarns, having a hard smooth surface and no nap.

Named after ME Worsted, parish in Norfolk, England.

Oops! There is no X in the Fabrics Dictionary!

Yarns

In order to weave a fabric, the fiber or blend of fibers must first be made into a yarn. Yarns vary in size and shape, both of which have an effect on the appearance of the fabric.

Zephyr

The quality of the textile is airy and can be found today in wool, cotton and manufactured fibers. Its name comes from the ancient God of the Winds Zephrus.

Zibeline

Fiber: Wool from crossbred yarns.

Weave: Satin.

Characteristics: The fabric is napped then steamed and pressed. The nap is long and lies in one direction. It is very lustrous and sleek. It may or may not be given a soft finish and feel. It is usually strong colored and sometimes stripings (removal of color) is noted in the cloth. Named for the “zibeline” a small animal found in Siberia. It belongs to the sable family and has fine black fur.

Uses: Coats, cloaks, capes and winter suits for women.

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