Fabrics Dictionary

Fabrics ABC

Our Fabrics A to Z provides a detailed description of all types of fabrics & finishes – from laces, brocades & silks.

Acetate
A manufactured fiber formed by compound of cellulose, refined from cotton linters and/or wood pulp, and acidic acid that has been extruded through a spinneret and then hardened.

Acrylic
A manufactured fiber derived from polyacrylonitrile. Its major properties include a soft, wool-like hand, machine washable and dryable, excellent color retention. Solution-dyed versions have excellent resistance to sunlight and chlorine degradation.

Alpaca
A natural hair fiber obtained from the Alpaca sheep, a domesticated member of the llama family. The fiber is most commonly used in fabrics made into dresses, suits, coats, and sweaters.

Angora
The hair of the Angora goat. Also known as Angora mohair. Angora may also apply to the fur of the Angora rabbit. However, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, any apparel containing Angora rabbit hair must be labeled as “Angora rabbit hair” on the garment. Applique – decorative technique where fabric shapes are sewn or embroidered onto a base fabric.

Broadcloth
A plain weave tightly woven fabric, characterized by a slight ridge effect in one direction, usually the filling. The most common broadcloth is made from cotton or cotton/polyester blends.

Brocade
A multi-use formal, jacquard woven fabric with intricate raised woven designs resembling embroidery. It is often made with variety of thread colors depicting complex

Broderie Anglaise
Literally – English embroidery. The name is given to a type of cotton fabric embroidered with a design to form a buttonhole stitch outline which is then cut away. Broderie Anglaise is embroidered with white cotton threads. If a coloured thread is used this is often called eyelet work

Burn-out
A brocade-like pattern effect created on the fabric through the application of a chemical, instead of color, during the burn-out printing process. (Sulfuric acid, mixed into a colorless print paste, is the most common chemical used.) Many simulated eyelet effects can be created using this method. In these instances, the chemical destroys the fiber and creates a hole in the fabric in a specific design, where the chemical comes in contact with the fabric. The fabric is then over-printed with a simulated embroidery stitch to create the eyelet effect. However, burn-out effects can also be created on velvets made of blended fibers, in which the ground fabric is of one fiber like a polyester, and the pile may be of a cellulosic fiber like rayon or acetate. In this case, when the chemical is printed in a certain pattern, it destroys the pile in those areas where the chemical comes in contact with the fabric, but leave the ground fabric unharmed.

Calico
Similar to broadcloth, made of cotton or cotton/polyester and usually printed in small “country” design all-over with multi-colored floral patterns.

Cashmere
A luxury fiber obtained from the soft fleecy undergrowth of the Kashmir goat of Tibet, Mongolia, China, Iran, Iraq, and India. Most commonly used in sweaters, shawls, suits, coats, and dresse

Canvas
Medium to heavy weight cotton fabric woven closely in plain or twill with relatively large threads. Available in variety of colors, stripes and few printed designs. It is also referred as “duck” or “sailcloth”. It has many uses.

Challis
A lightweight, soft plain weave fabric with a slightly brushed surface. The fabric is often printed, usually in a floral paisley or abstract pattern. Challis is most often seen in fabrics made of cotton, wool, or rayon.

Chantilly lace
French elaborate floral lace on hexagonal mesh ground outlined in heavy silk thread. Usually made with black threads and in strips which are later stitched together with an ‘invisible’ stitch called racroc to give the illusion of a large, continuous piece of lace. Originated in Chantilly, France in the 17th century.

Chambray
A plain woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns.

Charmeuse
Satin silk weave with a crepe back.

Chevron
A regular and repeated zigzag pattern formed by reversing the twill weave. It is also known as herringbone.

Chenille
A specialty yarn, characterized by a pile protruding on all sides, resembling a caterpillar. The yarn is produced by first weaving a fabric with a cotton or linen warp and a silk, wool, rayon, or cotton filling. The warp yarns are taped in groups of tightly woven filling yarns, which have been beaten in very closely. After weaving, the fabric is cut into strips between the yarn groups. Each cutting produces a continuous chenille yarn, which is then twisted, creating the chenille yarn, and giving the pile appearance on all sides of the yarn. The chenille yarn is used mainly for decorative fabrics, embroidery, tassels, and rugs.

Cheviot
A soft, fine wool heavier than serge.

Chiffon
A plain/printed woven lightweight, extremely sheer, airy, and soft silk fabric, containing highly twisted filament yarns. The fabric, used mainly in evening dresses and scarves, can also be made from rayon and other manufactured fibers

Chintz
A plain-weave fabric, which has been glazed to produce a polished look. Usually made of cotton, this fabric is most commonly used in blouses, dresses, draperies, and slipcovers.

Cloqué
A compound or double fabric with a figured blister effect, produced by using yarns of different character or twist which respond in different ways to finishing treatments.

Crepe
A light soft thin fabric with a crinkled surface. It is made from silk, cotton, wool, or another fiber either in plain or satin weave.

Crepe de Chine
Woven of hard spun silk yarn in the natural condition. The fabric has a somewhat crimpy or crepe surface created by the highly twisted fibers.

Colorfastness
A term used to describe a dyed fabric’s ability to resist fading due to washing, exposure to sunlight, and other environmental conditions.

Converter
A person or a company which buys grey goods and sells them as finished fabrics. A converter organizes and manages the process of finishing the fabric to a buyers’ specifications, particularly the bleaching, dyeing, printing, etc.

Corduroy
A fabric, usually made of cotton, utilizing a cut-pile weave construction. Extra sets of filling yarns are woven into the fabric to form ridges of yarn on the surface. The ridges are built so that clear lines can be seen when the pile is cut.

Cotton
A unicellular, natural fiber that grows in the seed pod of the cotton plant. Fibers are typically 1/2 inch to 2 inches long. The longest staple fibers, longer than 1 1/2 inch, including the Pima and Egyptian varieties, produce the highest quality cotton fabrics.

Count of Cloth
The number of warp ends and picks per inch in a woven fabric. If a cloth is 68 X 72, it means there are 68 ends and 72 picks per inch in a woven fabric. A cloth that has the same number of ends and picks per inch in woven goods is called a square cloth. 80-square percale, for example, has 80 warp ends and 80 picks per inch.

Crepe-back Satin
A satin fabric in which highly twisted yarns are used in the filling direction. The floating yarns are made with low twist and may be of either high or low luster. If the crepe effect is the right side of the fabric, the fabric is called satin-back crepe.

Crinoline
A lightweight, plain weave, stiffened fabric with a low yarn count (few yarns to the inch in each direction). Often used to structure under garments

Damask
A formal satin base Jacquard fabric of linen, cotton, silk, or wool with reversible patterns. It is medium weight with variety in colors and patterns. Used in decorative fabric situation.

Denier
A system of measuring the weight of a continuous filament fiber. In the United States, this measurement is used to number all manufactured fibers (both filament and staple), and silk, but excluding glass fiber. The lower the number, the finer the fiber; the higher the number, the heavier the fiber. Numerically, a denier is the equivalent to the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of continuous filament fiber.

Denim
A coarse twilled cloth, usually of cotton or cotton/polyester which is practical and sturdy. Navy colored is used as jeans fabric and cream or white is used as Drill.

Devore
A process whereby certain chemicals are printed onto specially made cloths and which produce sheer areas in the fabric. For example, an animal fibre cloth can be embroidered with vegetable fibres. The wool is then burnt out with caustic soda or the cotton with sulphuric acid which leaves a very lacy structure.

Doeskin
Generally applied to a type of fabric finish in which a low nap is brushed in one direction to create a soft suede-like hand on the fabric surface. End-uses include billiard table surfaces and men’s’ sportswear.

Dotted Swiss
A lightweight, sheer cotton or cotton blend fabric with a small dot flock-like pattern either printed on the surface of the fabric, or woven into the fabric. End-uses for this fabric include blouses, dresses, baby clothes, and curtains.

Double Cloth
A fabric construction, in which two fabrics are woven on the loom at the same time, one on top of the other. In the weaving process, the two layers of woven fabric are held together using binder threads. The woven patterns in each layer of fabric can be similar or completely different.

Double Knit
A weft knit fabric in which two layers of loops are formed that cannot be separated. A double knit machine, which has two complete sets of needles, is required for this construction.

Double Weave
A woven fabric construction made by interlacing two or more sets of warp yarns with two or more sets of filling yarns. The most common double weave fabrics are made using a total of either four or five sets of yarn.

Drill
A strong twilled cotton fabric often used for trousers.

Duchess Satin
Also sometimes called silk satin, Duchess satin is shiny on one side, luxurious, and heavy because of its high thread count. It is frequently made of silk fibers, though it can contain silk plus polyester, rayon, or acetate filler, or be made entirely of polyester, and holds its shape well.

Dye (Piece)
Dyeing of the fabric into solid colors after weaving or knitting.

Dye (Yarn)
Dyeing of the yarn into solid colors before weaving or knitting.

Elastane
A man-made fiber containing at least 85% polyurethane which is capable of high stretch followed by rapid and substantial recovery to its unstretched length. (See also elastomer; elastomeric yarn.)

Embossing
A calendering process in which fabrics are engraved with the use of heated rollers under pressure to produce a raised design on the fabric surface.

Embroidery
A surface ornamentation made with a thread or set of threads sewn onto a fabric.

Face
The right side or the better-looking side of the fabric.

Facing
A piece of fabric that is sewn to the collar, front opening, cuffs, or arms eye of a garment to create a finished look.

Faille
A glossy, soft, finely-ribbed silk-like woven fabric made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers.

Felt
A non-woven fabric made from wool, hair, or fur, and sometimes in combination with certain manufactured fibers, where the fibers are locked together in a process utilizing heat, moisture, and pressure to form a compact material.

Fiber
The basic entity, either natural or manufactured, which is twisted into yarns, and then used in the production of a fabric.

Fil’Coupe
A small jacquard pattern on a light weight fabric, usually silk, in which the threads connecting each design are cut, creating a frayed look.

Filling
In a woven fabric, the yarns that run cross the fabric from selvage to selvage, and which run perpendicular to the warp or lengthwise yarns. Also referred to as the weft.

Finish
A substance or the mixture of substances added to textile materials to impart the desired properties.

Flannel
A fabric woven and then brushed to achieve a soft nap. It is made of wool or a blend of wool and cotton or synthetics.

Flannelette
A medium-weight, plain weave fabric with a soft hand, usually made from cotton. The fabric is usually brushed only on one side, and is lighter weight than flannel. End-uses include shirts and pajamas.

Flax
The plant from which cellulosic linen fiber is obtained. Linen is used in apparel, accessories, draperies, upholstery, tablecloths, and towels.

Flock
A material obtained by cutting or grinding textile fibers to fragments. There are two types of flock, precision cut flock, all fiber lengths are approximately equal and random cut flock, the fibers are ground or chopped to produce a broad range of lengths.

Flocking
A method of ornamenting cloth with adhesive printed or coated on a fabric. Finely chopped fibers are applied by dusting, air-blasting or electrostatic attraction. The fibers adhere to the printed areas and it is removed manually from the unprinted areas.

Foulard
A lightweight twill-weave fabric, made from filament yarns like silk, acetate, polyester, with a small all-over print pattern on a solid background. The fabric is often used in men’s ties.

Four-way Stretch
A fabric that stretches both on the crosswise and lengthwise grains of the fabric. It is the same as two-way stretch.

Gaberdine
A tightly woven, twilled, worsted fabric with a slight diagonal line on the right side. Wool gabardine is known as a year-round fabric for business suiting. Polyester, cotton, rayon, and various blends are also used in making gabardine.

Georgette
A sheer lightweight fabric, often made of silk or from such manufactured fibers as polyester, with a crepe surface. End-uses include dresses and blouses.

Gimp
A thicker thread used to outline designs in bobbin lace

Greige Goods
An unfinished fabric, just removed from a knitting machine or a loom. Also called grey goods.

Grosgrain
A firm, closely woven ribbed fabric. Often used for ribbons.

Guipure Lace
A lace without a mesh ground, the pattern in held in place by connecting threads.

Habotai
From the Japanese for “soft as down”, habotai is a lightweight, plain weave silk fabric. Lighter than shantung, it is also referred to as habotai.

Handle
The way the fabric feels when it is touched. Terms like softness, crispness, dryness, silkiness are all terms that describe the hand of the fabric.

Hemp
A coarse, durable bast fiber obtained from the inner bark of the hemp plant. Used primarily in twines and cordages, and most recently apparel.

Herringbone
A regular zigzag pattern fabric with a novelty or complex twill weave. It is woven or printed on light-weight to heavy-weight fabrics.

Houndstooth
A medium to heavy weight woven twill fabric designed with continuous broken checks or four-pointed stars resembling projecting “tooth-like” corners.

Interlining
An insulation, padding, or stiffening fabric, either sewn to the wrong side of the lining or the inner side of the outer shell fabric. The interlining is used primarily to provide warmth in coats, jackets, and outerwear.

Interfacing
Fabrics used to support, reinforce and give shape to fashion fabrics in sewn products. Often placed between the lining and the outer fabric. It can be made from yarns or directly from fibers, and may be either woven, nonwoven, or knitted. Some interfacings are designed to be fused (adhered with heat from an iron), while others are meant to be stitched to the fashion fabric.

Jacquard
Woven fabrics manufactured by using the Jacquard attachment on the loom. This attachment provides versatility in designs and permits individual control of each of the warp yarns. Thus, fabrics of almost any type or complexity can be made. Brocade and damask are types of jacquard woven fabrics.

Jersey Fabric
The consistent interlooping of yarns in the jersey stitch to produces a fabric with a smooth, flat face, and a more textured, but uniform back which will often give or stretch. Jersey fabrics may be produced on either circular or flat weft knitting machines.

Knit Fabrics
Fabrics made from only one set of yarns, all running in the same direction. Some knits have their yarns running along the length of the fabric, while others have their yarns running across the width of the fabric. Knit fabrics are held together by looping the yarns around each other. Knitting creates ridges in the resulting fabric. Wales are the ridges that run lengthwise in the fabric; courses run crosswise.

Lace
Decorative openwork fabric with sensitive use of spaces and solids. Can be achieved with the use of bobbins, crochet, needles or machine.

Lamé
Pronouced “lamay”, lame is a shiny eveningwear fabric made from metallic yarns.

Laminated Fabric
A term used to describe fabrics which have been joined together through the use of a high-strength reinforcing scrim or base fabrics between two plies of flexible thermoplastic film. It can a bonded utilizing either foam itself, or some other material, such as adhesives, heat, or chemical bonding agents.

Lawn
A light, fine cloth made using carded or combed, linen or cotton yarns. The fabric has a crease-resistant, crisp finish. Linen lawn is synonymous with handkerchief linen. Cotton lawn is a similar type of fabric, which can be white, solid colored, or printed.

Linen
A fabric made from linen fibers obtained from inside the woody stem of the flax plant. Linen fibers are much stronger and more lustrous than cotton. Linen fabrics are very cool and absorbent, but wrinkle very easily, unless blended with manufactured fibers. Linen is one of the oldest textile fibers.

Lining
A fabric that is used to cover the inside of a garment to provide a finished look. Generally, the lining is made of a smooth lustrous fabric.

Loden
The name comes from the German loda meaning hair cloth. Traditionally woven in the Tyrol region of Austria. It is a sturdy fabric which has been made in the same way for almost 1000 years. It was only made with sheep’s wool but now comprises Australian sheep’s wool, Alpaca, mohair and camel hair. Once the cloth is woven it is shrunk by about one-third of it’s original width. It is then raised, sheared and brushed. Traditional colours are black, red and white although green is now very popular.

Loom
A machine used for weaving fabrics.

Lurex
A brand name of a type of metallic yarn, which is a polyester fiber with a vaporized layer of aluminum applied.

Lycra
The trademark name for DuPont’s brand of Spandex fiber.

Madras
A lightweight plain weave cotton fabric with a striped, plaid, or checked pattern. A true madras will bleed when washed. This type of fabric is usually imported from India. End-uses are men’s and women’s shirts and dresses.

Matelasse’
A heavyweight upholstery textile in Jacquard weave with double sets of warps and wefts. The surface appears to be puffy or cushioned and is also known as double cloth.

Mercerization
A process of treating a cotton yarn or fabric, in which the fabric or yarn is immersed in a caustic soda solution and later neutralized in acid. The process causes a permanent swelling of the fiber, resulting in an increased luster on the surface of the fabric, an increased affinity for dyes, and increased strength.

Melton
A heavyweight, dense, compacted, and tightly woven wool or wool blend fabric used mainly for coats.

Merino
A type of wool that originates from purebred Merino sheep. The best Merino wool comes from Italy.

Mesh
A type of fabric characterized by its net-like open appearance, and the spaces between the yarns. Mesh is available in a variety of constructions including wovens, knits, laces, or crocheted fabrics.

Metallic Fibre
An inorganic fiber made from minerals and metals, blended and extruded to form fibers. The fiber is formed from a flat ribbon of metal, coated with a protective layer of plastic, which reduces tarnishing. Metal used in apparel fabric is purely decorative.

Microfibres
The name given to ultra-fine manufactured fibers and the name given to the technology of developing these fibers. Fibers made using microfiber technology, produce fibers which weigh less than 1.0 denier. The fabrics made from these extra-fine fibers provide a superior hand, a gentle drape, and incredible softness. Comparatively, microfibers are two times finer than silk, three times finer than cotton, eight times finer than wool, and one hundred times finer than a human hair. Currently, there are four types of microfibers being produced. These include acrylic microfibers, nylon microfibers, polyester microfibers, and rayon microfibers.

Micron
A unit of measure that describes the average staple fiber diameter in a lot of wool. Over he past 30 years, the Micron measurement has evolved to become the predominant term used commercially to describe the fineness of a wool fiber. A Micron is determined by the actual measurement when the wool lots are tested for sale during wool processing. Most wool fibers range in the area of 18-40 micron. Merino wool falls into the 18-24 micron range. The 25-32 micron, medium range wool, is usually defined by the word “Shetland”, and is used in such applications as blankets and knitwear apparel. The 33-40 range Micron usually describes the wool most often used in the carpet industry.

Modal
Made from spun Beechwood cellulose, the bio-based fibers create textiles that do not fibrillate, or pill, and are resilient to shrinking and fading.

Mohair
A fabric obtained from yarn made from the silky hair of the Angora goat.

Moiree
A corded fabric, usually made from silk or one of the manufactured fibers, which has a distinctive water-marked wavy pattern on the face of the fabric.

Muslin
An inexpensive, medium weight, plain weave, low count (less than 160 threads per square inch) cotton sheeting fabric. In its unfinished form, it is commonly used in fashion design to make trial garments for preliminary fit.

Nainsook
A lightweight plain weave cotton fabric, usually finished to create a luster and a soft hand. Common end-uses are infants’ wear, blouses, and lingerie.

Nap
A fuzzy, fur-like feel created when fiber ends extend from the basic fabric structure to the fabric surface. The fabric can be napped on either one or both sides.

Net/Tulle
An open fabric, which is created by connecting the intersections in a woven, knitted, or crocheted construction to form a mesh-like appearance that won’t ravel. End-uses include veils, skirts

Organdy
A stiffened, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count, often made from cotton. End-uses include blouses, dresses, and curtains/draperies.

Organza
A crisp, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count , made of silk, rayon, nylon, or polyester. The fabric is used primarily in evening and wedding apparel for women.

Ottoman
A tightly woven plain weave ribbed fabric with a hard slightly lustered surface. The ribbed effect is created by weaving a finer silk or manufactured warp yarn with a heavier filler yarn, usually made of cotton, wool, or waste yarn. In the construction, the heavier filler yarn is completely covered by the warp yarn, thus creating the ribbed effect. End uses for this fabric include coats, suits, dresses.

Oxford
A fine, soft, lightweight woven cotton or blended with manufactured fibers in a 2 x 1 basket weave variation of the plain weave construction. The fabric is used primarily in shirtings.

Paisley
A tear-drop shaped, fancy printed pattern, used in dresses, blouses, and men’s ties.

Panne Velvet
A type of lustrous, lightweight velvet fabric, usually made of silk or a manufactured fiber, in which the pile has been flattened in one direction.

Pile Weave
A type of decorative weave in which a pile is formed by additional warp or filling yarns interlaced in such a way that loops are formed on the surface or face of the fabric. The loops may be left uncut, or they may be cut to expose yarn ends and produce cut pile fabric.

Pique
A medium-weight fabric, either knit or woven, with raised dobby designs including cords, wales, waffles, or patterns. Woven versions have cords running lengthwise, or in the warp direction. Knitted versions are double-knit fabric constructions, created on multi-feed circular knitting machines.

Plain Weave
A basic weave, utilizing a simple alternate interlacing of warp and filling yarns. Any type of yarn made from any type of fiber can be manufactured into a plain weave fabric.

Pleats
A portion of the fabric folded over, and secured by stitching or pressing.

Plissee
A lightweight, plain weave, fabric, made from cotton, rayon, or acetate, and characterized by a puckered striped effect, usually in the warp direction. The crinkled effect is created through the application of a caustic soda solution, which shrinks the fabric in the areas of the fabric where it is applied. Plissee is similar in appearance to seersucker. End-uses include dresses, shirtings, pajamas, and bedspreads.

Peau de Soie
A soft and finish silk fabric of satin weave appearance. It is a French term which literally means “skin of silk”.

Plaid
A cloth having a crisscross design. The stripes in warp and weft directions cross at intervals to form different colors in square or rectangular patterns. It may be plain or twill weave.

Polyester /microfiber
A man-made fiber where the forming substance is any synthetic polymer. It has high strength and are resistant to shrinking and stretching. It is also wrinkle resistant.

Polymer
A high molecular weight structure, which makes up the substance from which manufactured fibers are produced. The fiber is created by linking together the chain-like molecular units called monomers.

Pongee
The most common form is a naturally colored lightweight, plain weave, silk-like fabric with a slubbed effect. End-uses include blouses, dresses, etc.

Poplin
A fabric made using a rib variation of the plain weave. The construction is characterized by having a slight ridge effect in one direction, usually the filling. Poplin used to be associated with casual clothing, but as the “world of work” has become more relaxed, this fabric has developed into a staple of men’s wardrobes, being used frequently in casual trousers.

Quilting
A fabric construction in which a layer of down or fiberfill is placed between two layers of fabric, and then held in place by stitching or sealing in a regular, consistent, all-over pattern on the goods.

Ramie
A bast fiber, similar to flax, taken from the stalk of a plant grown in China.

Rayon
A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters, or other vegetable matter. Today, various names for rayon fibers are taken from different manufacturing processes. The two most commonly used production methods for rayon are the ammonium process and the viscose process.

Sailcloth
Any heavy, plain-weave canvas fabric, usually made of cotton, linen, polyester, jute, nylon, etc. that is used for sails and apparel (i.e. bottomweight sportswear).

Sandwash
The soft peachskin finish obtained by blasting a fabric with fine sand.

Sateen Fabric
A fabric made from yarns with low luster, such as cotton or other staple length fibers. The fabric has a soft, smooth hand and a gentle, subtle luster. Sateen fabrics are often used for draperies and upholstery.

Satin Fabric
A traditional fabric utilizing a satin weave construction to achieve a lustrous fabric surface.The basic type of weave is up of eight weft threads that are tied down With one floating weft thread. It is light to medium-weight with a glossy face and a dull back. Satin is a traditional fabric for evening and wedding garments. Typical examples of satin weave fabrics include: slipper satin, crepe-back satin, faille satin, duchess satin, moleskin, and antique satin.

Schiffli Embroidery
Originated in Switzerland, the word, Schiffli, means “boat”, identifiable with the boat-shaped shuttle used in the frame. The lace effect is made by embroidering the motifs on a net ground.

Selvage or Selvedge
The thin compressed edge of a woven fabric which runs parallel to the warp yarns and prevents raveling. It is usually woven, utilizing tougher yarns and a tighter construction than the rest of the fabric.

Serge
One of the oldest fabric names, derived from the Latin serica which implies that this was once a silk fabric. Today is implies a hard wearing worsted cloth with a twill weave. Usually has a smooth face although tends to shine with wear due to hard twist and compact weave structure. Holds a crease well. Serge de Sattin – a mohair cloth.

Shantung Dupioni
Originally a spun silk fabric with slubs and forms interesting textures. Today, shantung may be of natural or synthetic fibers.

Sharkskin
A hard-finished, low lustered, medium-weight fabric in a twill-weave construction. It is most commonly found in men’s worsted suitings; however, it can also be found in a plain-weave construction of acetate, triacetate, and rayon for women’s sportswear.

Shot fabric
A cloth with a warp of one colour and weft of another.

Silk
A natural filament fiber produced by the silkworm in the construction of its cocoon. Most silk is collected from cultivated worms; Tussah silk, or wild silk, is a thicker, shorter fiber produced by worms in their natural habitat. All silk comes from Asia, primarily China.

Silk Gazar
Similar in appearance to organza, gazar is somewhat stiffer and has a looser weave. It was developed and popularized by Cristobal Balenciaga, and is favored for its light weight and attractive translucency.

Silk Mikado
This blended, twill weave fabric has a beautiful heavy drape and an elegant luster. It is frequently made into gowns with an architectural stiffness because it holds its shape. Mikado satin is its synthetic cousin.

Solution-dyed
A type of fiber dyeing in which colored pigments are injected into the spinning solution prior to the extrusion of the fiber through the spinneret. Fibers and yarns colored in this manner are color-fast to most destructive agents.

Spandex Fiber
A manufactured elastomeric fiber that can be repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking, and will still recover to its original length.

Surah
A light weight, lustrous twill weave constructed fabric with a silk-like hand. Surah is the fabric of ties, dresses, and furnishings. It is available in silk, polyester, and rayon.

Taffeta
A lustrous, medium weight, plain weave fabric with a slight ribbed appearance in the filling (crosswise) direction. For formal wear, taffeta is a favorite choice. It provides a crisp hand, with lots of body. Silk taffeta gives the ultimate rustle, but other fibers are also good choices.

Tapestry
A heavy, often hand-woven, ribbed fabric, featuring an elaborate design depicting a historical or current pictorial display. The weft-faced fabric design is made by using colored filling yarns, only in areas where needed, that are worked back and forth over spun warp yarns, which are visible on the back. End-uses include wall hangings and upholstery.

Tencel
A fabric made from the cellulose of wood pulp, then processed into a silk-like fabric that is very soft with great drape. It’s usually a medium weight fabric that can be easily dyed and cared for.

Triacetate
A manufactured fiber, which like acetate, is made by modifying cellulose. However, even more acetate groups have been added to create this fiber. Triacetate is less absorbent and less sensitive to high temperatures than acetate. It can be hand or machine washed and tumble dried, with relatively good wrinkle recovery.

Tulle
A lightweight, extremely fine, machine-made netting, usually with a hexagon shaped mesh effect. End-uses include dance costumes and veils.

Tweed
A coarse, rugged, and often nubby woolen fabric in plain balanced or variation (originally twill) weave. Used as casual suits and coats.

Twill Weave
A basic weave in which the fabrics are constructed by interlacing warp and filling yarns in a progressive alternation which creates a diagonal effect on the face, or right side, of the fabric. In some twill weave fabrics, the diagonal effect may also be seen clearly on the back side of the fabric.

Twist
A term that applies to the number of turns and the direction that two yarns are turned during the manufacturing process. The yarn twist brings the fibers close together and makes them compact. It helps the fibers adhere to one another, increasing yarn strength. The direction and amount of yarn twist helps determine appearance, performance, durability of both yarns and the subsequent fabric or textile product. Single yarns may be twisted to the right (S twist) or to the left (Z twist). Generally, woolen and worsted yarns are S-twist, while cotton and flax yarns are typically Z-twist. Twist is generally expressed as turns per inch (tpi), turns per meter (tpm), or turns per centimeter (tpc).

Ultrasuede
A synthetic fabric similar to suede, with a micro-fiber structure, that is stain resistant and durable.

Velour
A closely napped fabric with a soft, velvet-like texture, used for clothing and upholstery. It includes some velvet, and all plush-pile surface cloths.

Velvet
A pile woven cotton, silk, and/or rayon fabric with a soft yet sturdy face. Very much like plush but with a shorter pile. The underside is plain.

Velveteen
A cotton cut-pile weave fabric, utilizing extra fill yarn construction, with either a twill or a plain weave back. The fabric is woven with two sets of filling yarns; the extra set creates the pile.
Virgin Wool – New wool that has never been used before, or reclaimed from any spun, woven, knitted, felted, manufactured or used products.

Viscose
The most common type of rayon. It is produced in much greater quantity than cuprammonium rayon, the other commercial type.

Voile
A light, plain-weave, sheer transparent fabric with tightly twisted yarns often having a stiff light finish. Available in novelty effects like pique stripes, printed patterns and plains. It is obtained from cotton, rayon, silk, or wool and used especially for making dresses and curtains.

Warp
In woven fabric, the yarns that run lengthwise and is interwoven with the fill (weft) yarns.

Waterproof
A term applied to fabrics whose pores have been closed, and therefore, will not allow water or air to pass through them.

Water Repellent
A term applied to fabrics that have been treated with a finish which causes them to shed water, but are still air-permeable.

Weft
In woven fabric, the filling yarns that run perpendicular to the warp yarns.

Wool
Usually associated with fiber or fabric made from the fleece of sheep or lamb. However, the term “wool” can also apply to all animal hair fibers, including the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat or the specialty hair fibers of the camel, alpaca, llama, or vicuna.

Worsted Fabric
A tightly woven fabric made by using only long staple, combed wool or wool-blend yarns. The fabric has a hard, smooth surface. Gabardine is an example of a worsted fabric. A common end use is men’s tailored suits.

Woven Fabric
Fabrics composed of two sets of yarns. One set of yarns, the warp, runs along the length of the fabric. The other set of yarns, the fill or weft, is perpendicular to the warp. Woven fabrics are held together by weaving the warp and the fill yarns over and under each other.

Yarn
A continuous strand of textile fibers created when a cluster of individual fibers are twisted together. These long yarns are used to create fabrics, either by knitting or weaving.

Zibeline
Named after the zibeline animal of Siberia, this textile is a satin weave fabric made from the wool of cross-bred worsted yarns. Zibeline is napped, then steamed and pressed. It has a long, one-directional nape and is very sleek and shinywith a lustre finish. Also known as zibaline/mikado,it can also be woven in silk/wool or from pure silk.