Fabric Care Dictionary

Fabric Care Dictionary

Fabric Care Dictionary

Fabric Care Dictionary

Acetate

One of the first manufactured fibers. It is soft and has a crisp feel with the lustrous appearance of silk, and excellent appearance when draped. It is not a strong fiber, as its resistance to abrasion is poor, it 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. It is fast drying and when heated becomes more pliable. Acetone and alcohol dissolve the fibers. Special dyes are required if it is to be colored.


Acrylic

Acrylic is a generic name for synthetic fibers derived from 85% polyacrylonitrile. Used for base layers or insulating fabrics. Properties include a soft, wooly hand, wash-and-wear performance, colorfastness, and wrinkle resistance. Acrylic is used in socks and in blends with cotton for fleece apparel.


Alpaca

True alpaca is hair from the Alpaca animal, a member of the llama family of the South American Andes Mountains. Also imitated in wool, wool and alpaca, rayon, mohair and rayon or cotton, a cotton warp and alpaca filling, or synthetics such as orlon. it comes in various weaves, knits, and weights. Characteristically it has a fine, silk-like, soft, light weight and is warm. It is very rich and silky with considerable luster and resembles mohair. If guard hairs are used, it is inclined to be stiff. It is strong and durable. Alpaca is found in white, black, fawn or gray. The fibers are less coarse than those of the llama but are higher in tensile strength. It is most commonly used in 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 Goat

The clipped fiber of the living animal is called mohair. It has various weaves and knits. Scoured mohair appears smooth and white. It varies in fineness and is highly resilient, very strong and has high luster. Its value is determined by its luster and not its softness. It is used extensively in industries such as carpet, upholstery, curtain and automobile cloth.


Angora Rabbit

Hair from the angora rabbit. It is indigenous to Asia Minor and Turkey. Often blended and mixed with wool to lower the price of the finished article or to obtain fancy or novelty effects. It has various weaves and knits. It is long, very fine, light weight, extremely warm and fluffy. Angora has a tendency to shed and mat with time. Must be designated as angora rabbit’s hair. This fur fiber is one of the finest. It is used mostly in knit wear – gloves, scarves, sweaters, etc. for children and women. Also blended with wool in dress goods and suits to give a softer feel.


Argyle

A “version” of the tartan of the Scottish clan Argyle, also known as Bias Plaid. It is comprised using a Diamond-shaped knit design that appears to be inlaid into the fabric, usually in three colors, but two color combinations are also used. Originally hand knitted, Argyle is now machine-made throughout the world using the intarsia method. Tartan socks featuring the argyle pattern are worn with a kilt, particularly by military regiments in Scotland.


Ballistics Cloth

A thick nylon weave fabric used as reinforcement in clothing, packs, and luggage. Named for its durable similarity to bulletproof material.


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.


Boucle

Made from wool, and is also in rayon, silk, cotton, linen, blends, hair fibers. It is found in any weave or knit. Normally is it seen as yarn with loops, which produces a woven or knitted fabric with rough appearance. A drawn out or ringed, looped yarn is used to give it a kinky appearance at intervals. Made in a variety of weights. Boucle yarns are usually in both the filling and the warp. Fabrics are usually springy to handle on account of the highly twisted yarns used to achieve the boucle effect. Often ravels easily. It is used in coats, suits, dresses, and sportswear.


Brocade

Found as Silk, rayon, cotton, and all others. The weave is jacquard and dobby. It creates a 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. It is used in all types of evening wear, church vestments, interior furnishings, and state robes.


Burlap

Also known as Jute, is used in textiles for interiors, especially for wall hangings and a group of bright, homespun-effect draperies and wall coverings. Natural burlap 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. Burlap reacts to chemicals in the same way as do cotton and flax. It has a good resistance to micro-organisms and insects. Moisture increases the speed of deterioration but dry burlap will last for a very long time. It 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.


Camel Hair

Hair from the camel. Sometimes blended with wool or imitated in wool. Weaves are normally twill or plain. It is of the Bactrian Species of the Chinese and Mongolian deserts. Under hair is best. It is light weight, lustrous and soft. It ranges from a light tan to a brownish-black color. Usually left its natural tones but can be dyed-usually navy and some red. It has quite a long nap and is warm. Better grades are expensive. Sometimes blended with wool to reduce the cost and increase the wear. All wool camel hair is not as lustrous and is spongy. Can have either a rich nap or a flat finish. Wears fairly well, particularly if blended. It is used in coats, women’s suits, sports coats, sweaters, some blankets and put in some very expensive oriental rugs. It is also used in fine over coating, top coating, hosiery and transmission belts which will withstand dampness and moisture.


Canvas

Made of linen or cotton with a plain weave. It is mostly rugged, heavy material made from plied yarns with body and strength. It is usually manufactured in the gray state but some is dyed for different uses. It is almost the same as duck in heavier weights with as an even weave. Ada or Java canvas is used for yarn, needlework, almost like a mesh. It is used in tents, sails, mail bags, sacks, covers, etc. Finer types used for embroidery and paintings. Hair canvas is an interfacing material in various weights.


Cashmere

From the Kashmir goat, a hair fiber found in Kashmir India, Tibet, Iran, Iraq, China, Persia, Turkestan and Outer Mongolia. It is often mixed with wool or synthetics to cut costs and improve the wear. It comes in all weaves but mostly plain or twill, and all knits. The fiber is cylindrical, soft and silken. It is more like wool than any other hair fiber, and has a very soft silky finish; very light in weight. It 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 died a variety of shades. It also comes in different weights. The textile industry is only interested in the soft fibers. It is knitted into sweaters for men and women, also women’s dresses. It is often combed and sold in tops and noils.


Charmeuse

Satin. Originated as a French lightweight silk that was recognized for its supreme luster and drapability. Today it is made out of rayon, cotton and manufactured fibers and has a dull back. It is found in a variety of solids and prints. It is used in pajamas, dresses, and draping gowns.


Cheesecloth

Cotton with a plain weave. Originally used as a wrapping material for pressing cheese. It is loosely woven, 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. In the gray cloth, it is used for covering tobacco plants, tea bags and wiping cloths. Finished cloth is used for curtains, bandages, dust cloths, cheap bunting, hat lining, surgical gauze, fly nets, food wrapping, such as meat and cheese, costumes and basket tops.


Chenille Fabric

Cotton and any of the main textile fibers. It has mostly a plain weave with a warp yarn of any major textile fiber. Filling of chenille yarns has a pile protruding all around at right angles. The word is French for caterpillar and the fabric looks hairy. Do not confuse this with tufted effects obtained without the use of true Chenille filling.


Chiffon

Silk, rayon, cotton, synthetics with a plain weave. A light diaphanous fabric of silk, nylon, that is lightweight, sheer, or transparent. Made with very fine, tightly twisted yarns. The tightly twisted yarns could be either in the filling or the warp or both. It is very strong, despite filmy look and wears very well. It is very difficult to handle when sewing and it is best to baste the pieces over tissue to make it easier. It has slightly bumpy look. It is best suited to shirring, draping, gathering, and tucking, because it is so limp. If made in a straight sheath style, it should be underlined with very firm fabric, such as faille taffeta. It is used in after 5 wear, blouses, scarves.


China Silk

Silk. Originally hand woven in China of silk from the Bonabyx mori. It is very soft and extremely lightweight but fairly strong. Irregularities of threads caused by the extreme lightness and softness are characteristic of the fabric. It is used mostly for linings and under linings, and could be used for blouses.


Chinchilla

Cotton or wool, and some manmade and synthetics. The weave is sateen or twill construction with extra fillings for long floats. It does not resemble true chinchilla fur. Has small nubs on the surface of the fabric which are made by the chinchilla machine. It attacks the face and causes the long floats to be worked into nubs and balls. Cotton warp is often used because it cannot show from either side. Made in medium and heavy weights and has very warm and cozy fabrics. It takes its name from Chinchilla Spain where it was invented. It is used in cotton, for baby’s blankets and bunting bags.


Chino

Cotton with a twill weave. It is combined of two-ply warp and filling that has a sheen that remains. The 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. The fabric is mercerized and sanforised, and washes and wears extremely well with a minimum of care. It is used in army uniforms, summer suits and dresses, sportswear.


Colorfastness

A fabric’s ability to withstand environmental exposure, dry cleaning and laundering without fading or bleeding. Colorfastness depends on the types of fiber, dye and treatment used to set the color.


Corduroy

Cotton, rayon, and other textile fibers, with filling Pile with both plain and twill back. It is made with an extra filling yarn, and is in the velvet family of fabrics. It has narrow medium and wide Wales, thick and thin or checkerboard patterns and has to be cut all one way with pile running up. Most of it is washable and wears very well. It also has a soft luster. It is used in 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 made 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 different types 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 Duck

Heavy woven cotton canvas treated to be water resistant.


Crepe

Woolen, worsted cotton, silk, and man-made synthetics, with a mostly plain, but various weaves. tt is a fine often gauzelike fabric with a wrinkled surface that has a crinkled, puckered surface or soft mossy finish. It comes in different weights and degrees of sheerness that is dull with a harsh dry feel. Woolen Crepes are softer than worsted. If it is fine, it drapes well. It also has very good wearing qualities with a very slimming effect. Depending on weight, it is used for dresses of all types, including long dinner dresses, suits, and coats.


Crepe de Chine

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


Crepe-Back Satin

Satin weave on the face and a Crepe effect on the back obtained with twisted Crepe yarns in the filling – 2 or 3 times as many ends as picks per inch. It is a soft fabric which is reversible and is usually piece dyed. Very interesting effects can be obtained in a garment by using both sides, in different parts, such as the Crepe side for the body and trim or binding with the satin part up. It is used in dresses, blouses, linings, and after 5 wear.


Crinoline

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. It is used for stiffening and making interlining for hat shapes.


Damask

Linen, silk, rayon, cotton, synthetics, wool, and worsteds that is figured on Jacquard loom. Originally made of silk, that came to us from China via Damascus. In the 13th 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. It is very durable and a reversible fabric that 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.


Denim

Cotton with a twill weave. It 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, it is long wearing, resists snags and tears, and comes in heavy and lighter weights. It is used in work clothes, overalls, caps, uniforms, bedspreads, slipcovers, draperies, upholstery, sportswear, of all kinds, dresses and has even been used for evening wear.


Down

The soft under feathers of geese and ducks. Naturally warm, soft, and lightweight when dry, but useless when wet; used in insulated garments and sleeping bags. Down provides the best insulator compared to weight and is also the most compressible of all insulations.


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.


Elastomer

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.


Felt

Wool, reprocessed wool, reused wool, scrap fiber, that can be mixed with other fibers, cotton, and rayon that is not woven but felted. It is a very compact fabric in various weights and thicknesses that has grain so can be cut any way. It needs no hemming or finishing, because it does not fray. It has 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.


Flax

This fiber is taken from the stalk of the Linum usitaatissimum plant. It is a long, smooth fiber and is cylindrical in shape. Its color is usually off-white or tan and due to its natural wax content, flax has excellent luster. Its wash ability is great, however, it has poor elasticity and does not easily return to its original shape after creasing. It is mainly used as 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

Wool, specialty hair fibers, and cotton with a weave that is plain, twill, pile or knitted. It 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. It ranges from cheap to expensive clothes. The 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. It is mostly used for coats for men, women, and children.


Gabardine

Worsted cotton, rayon, or mixtures with a steep twill. It is a smooth durable twill-woven cloth especially of worsted, spun rayon or cotton. It has a clear finish, tightly woven, firm, durable, that is rather lustrous. It can be given a dull finish. It has single diagonal lines on the face, with raised twill. It wears extremely well and also comes in various weights inclined to shine with wear. It can be hard to press properly. It is used in men’s and women’s tailored suits, coats, raincoats, uniforms, and men’s shirts.


Gingham

Cotton, man-made, and synthetics with a plain weave. The yarn-dyed plain weave cotton fabric is usually striped or checked of medium or fine yarns of varying quality that 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 well but low textured, cheap fabric may shrink considerably unless pre-shrunk. It has a soft, dull luster surface that wrinkles unless wrinkle-resistant. Tissue or zephyr ginghams are sheer being woven with finer yarns and a higher thread count. It is used in dresses, blouses, for both women and children, trimmings, kerchiefs, aprons, beach wear, curtains, bedspreads, and pajamas.


Hemp

Common name for an Asian annual herb (Cannabis), and also for its strong, pliable fibers. 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, sailcloth, 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. The fiber is dark tan or brown and is difficult to bleach, but it can be dyed bright and dark colors. 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.


Herringbone Twill

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. It is used in suitings, top coatings, and sports coats.


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, multicolored 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.


Jersey

Wool, worsted, silk, cotton, rayon, and synthetics. Knitted on circular, flat-bed or warp knitted methods (later popular as a tricot-knit). Right side has lengthwise ribs (Wales) and wrong side has crosswise ribs (courses). It is very elastic with good draping qualities. It has special crease-resistant qualities due to its construction, and is knitted plain or has many elaborate tweed designs and fancy motifs as well as printed designs. It can look very much like woven fabric and wears very well and if washable, it washes very well. First made on the Island on Jersey off the English coast and used for fisherman’s clothing. Stretch as you sew. It is used in dress goods, sportswear, suits, underwear, coats, gloves, sweaters, and hats.


Jute

Or Burlap, is used in textiles for interiors, especially for wall hangings, 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 micro-organisms 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.


Kashmir

From the Kashmir goat, a hair fiber found in Kashmir India, Tibet, Iran, Iraq, China, Persia, Turkestan, and Outer Mongolia. It is often mixed with wool or synthetics to cut costs and improve the wear. It is found in all weaves but mostly plain or twill, and it is found in all knits. The fiber is cylindrical, soft and silken, more like wool than any other hair fiber. It has a very soft silky finish; very light in weight, and doesn’t stand up to hard wear on account of extremely soft downy finish. The natural fiber is white, black, brown or gray but can be died a variety of shades. It also comes in different weights. The textile industry is only interested in the soft fibers. Knitted into sweaters for men and women, also women’s dresses, it is often combed and sold in tops and noils.


Laminate

Fabric made by binding one fabric to a film or to another fabric by way of adhesives or heat. Often used to describe waterproof/breathable fabrics. Laminated fabrics are more durable than coated fabrics.


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.


Lycra

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


Micro-Fiber

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


Microfleece Fabric

Microfleece is velvety soft, loose-fitting and luxuriously comfortable, but it works best when coupled with a lightweight or midweight layer beneath it. Microfleece is often billed as a base layer, but due to its tight plush knit, microfleece doesn’t wick, and in extremely cold weather it’s just too hot to use as a base layer.


Mohair

From the angora goat. Some has cotton warp and mohair filling (sometimes called brilliantine). Imitation mohair is made from wool or a blend with a weave that is plain, twill or knitted. It is 2 1/2 times as strong as wool. The fabric is smooth, glossy, wiry, and has long wavy hair. It is also made in a pile fabric of cut and uncut loops similar to frieze with a cotton, wool back, and mohair pattern. It is also similar to alpaca. It is used in linings, pile fabrics, suitings, upholstery fabrics, braids, dress materials, felt hats, and sweaters.


Moire

Silk, rayon, or cotton with a weave that is plain or crosswise rib. It has a watermarked finish that is 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. It is used in after 5 wear, formals, dresses and coats, draperies, bedspreads.


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 muslins.


Napping

A finishing product for fabric that involves raising a nap, or fuzzy layer, on the fabric surface. The fabric passes over a revolving cylinder that’s covered with short, fine wires that stick out. These wires lift up fibers from the surface of the fabric creating a fuzzy appearance.


Nomex

A nylon fabric that has been modified to raise its melting point and increase fire resistance. It is most often used in uniforms for firefighters, race-car drivers, and pilots.


Nylon

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. It is used in 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.


Olefin

Also known as polypropylene, olefin is a propylene/ethylene-based synthetic fiber that’s hydrophobic, quick-drying, colorfast, and has good heat retention. It is also subject to shrinkage and sudden meltdown in hot dryers.


Organza

Silk or rayon with a plain weave. It has a thin stiff transparent silk or synthetic dress fabric that is fine, sheer, lightweight, or crisp fabric. It has a very wiry feel and it crushes or musses fairly easily, but it is easily pressed. It is a dressy type of fabric that sometimes has a silvery sheen. It is used for 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.


Packcloth

A nylon fabric of medium weave with a urethane coating on the back for water repellency.


Pile

Often used to describe single-sided fleeces that are thicker and furrier than the typical two-sided fabrics.


Pilling

Formation of small tangles of fibers when the surface of a material is rubbed against itself or another surface. Looks like small fabric balls on the fabric surface. The tendency to pill is not a desirable quality in a fabric.


Polyester

Any of a group of condensation polymers used to form synthetic fibers such as Terylene or to make resins, or a fabric made from such a polymer. 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. Its uses are many and varied.


Poplin

Cotton, wool, and other textile fibers with a crosswise rib. The filling is cylindrical and it has two or three times as many warp as weft per inch. It is a plain-woven fabric usually of cotton, with a corded surface that has a more pronounced filling effect than broadcloth. It is mercerized and has quite a high luster that 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 are also mildew-proof, fire-retardant, and some are given a suede finish. American cotton broadcloth shirting is known as poplin in Great Britain. It is used in sportswear of all kinds, shirts, boy’s suits, uniforms, draperies, blouses, and dresses.


Ramie

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. 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.


Rayon

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. It is use in clothing, draperies, upholstery, carpets, tablecloths, bedspreads, automobile tires, conveyor belts, and hose.


Sateen

Cotton, some also made in rayon with a 5-harness or filling-face weave. Cotton fabric woven like satin with a glossy surface is lustrous and smooth with the sheen in a filling direction. Carded or combed yarns are also 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, but is difficult to make good bound buttonholes on it as it has a tendency to slip at the seams. It is used in dresses, sportswear, louses, robes, pajamas, linings for draperies, bedspreads, and slip covers.


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. It 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. It is used in slips, evening dresses, coats, capes, and jackets, lining fabrics, millinery, drapes, covers, and pillow trimmings.


Seersucker

Cotton, rayon, synthetics, with a slack tension or plain weave. This fabric is usually striped cotton with alternate stripes crinkled in the weaving to give it a cr�pe-stripe effect. colored stripes are often used on the dull surface. It comes in medium to heavy weights. The woven crinkle is produced by alternating slack and tight yarns in the warp which is permanent. Some may be produced by pressing or chemicals, which is not likely to be permanent – called plisse. It is durable, and gives good service and wear. May be laundered without ironing. Can be bleached, yarn dyed, or printed. Some comes in a check effect. It is used in 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, and slipcovers.


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.


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. Its main uses are athletic wear and foundation garments.


Suede Cloth

Wool, cotton, rayon, synthetics and blends that have a plain, twill, or knitted weave. It is napped on one side to resemble suede leather. The short, close nap gives it a soft, smooth hand. When made in cotton, it resembles duvetyne, but heavier. It is used in cleaning cloths, gloves, linings, and sports coats.


Synthetic

Manmade fiber or material, as opposed to natural or organic material, which is made from plant or animal products. Examples include cotton, wool and leather.


Taffeta

Silk, rayon, synthetics, with usually a plain, fine cross rib weave. It is a lustrous silk or rayon fabric of plain weave. This cloth is 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 overweighted, the goods will split or crack. It is used in all kinds of after 5 wear, dressy evening wear: suits and coats, slips, ribbons, blouses, and umbrella fabric. It is quite a dressy fabric.


Terry Cloth

Cotton and some linen with a pile weave, also jacquard and dobby combined with pile. It is 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, it may be bleached, dyed, or printed. Better qualities have a close, firm, underweave, with very close loops. It is very absorbent, and the longer the loop, the greater the absorbency. When the pile is only on one side, it is called “Turkish toweling”. It is used in towels, beachwear, bathrobes, all kinds of sportswear, children’s wear, slip covers, and draperies.


Thinsulate

3M’s 35% polyester/65% olefin insulation spun into a low-loft construction. Thinsulate is an efficient insulator in comparison to its thinness. Most often used in outerwear, footwear, and gloves because of its lack of bulk.


Tulle

Silk, nylon, cotton with a weave that is gauze, knotted, leno, or made on a lace machine. It is a soft fine silk net, normally used for veils and dresses. First made by Machine in 1768, it has a hexagonal mesh and is stiff. It is difficult to launder. Comes in white and colors, and is very cool, dressy, and delicate. It is a stately type of fabric when used for formal wear, and weddings. It is also used for ballet costumes and wedding veils.


Tweed

Wool, also cotton, rayon, silk, linen, and synthetics with a weave that is twill, novelty variations, or plain. 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”. It is the 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 effect, there are now a wide range of rough surfaced, sturdy fabrics. There are also some closely woven smoother, softer yarn fabrics, and many monotone tweeds. It may also be plaid, checked, striped, or other patterns and does not hold a crease very well. it is used in a wide range of suits, coats, and sportswear for men, women and children. Lighter weight is used for dresses.


twill

One of the three basic weaves, twills are characterized by diagonal warp and filling lines in the fabric. Most twills are at a 45 degree angle.


Velour

Cotton, wool, or spun rayon, with a thick, plush pile, with a plain or satin ground, or sometimes knitted weave. 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. It is used in hats, dressing gowns, dresses, waist-coats, upholstery. Now most commonly sold as knit velour.


Velvet

Silk, rayon, cotton, synthetics, and a little wool and worsted with a pile weave, made with an extra warp yarn. A closely woven fabric of silk or cotton, 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. It 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. It 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, 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. It is used in all types of evening wear, at home wear, draperies, upholstering.


Velveteen

Cotton, sometimes rayon with a filling pile, that can be very short. It is woven with an extra filling yarn with either a plain or a twill back (twill back is the best). Mercerized with a durable finish, it is strong and takes hard wear. Poor quality rubs off. Some of it can be laundered. It is warm and comes in all colors, gradually piece dyed or printed. It has to be cut all one way and pressed carefully, preferably on a velvet board, or tumbled dry after laundering (no pressing needed). It is used in children’s wear, dresses, coats, draperies, lounge wear, and separates.


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.

Voile

Cotton, also wool and called “Voile de laine,” that is plain or loosely woven. This thin semi-transparent dress material of cotton, wool, or silk that is sheer and very light weight. Usually made with cylindrical combed yarns. To obtain a top quality fabric, very highly twisted yarns are used. Voile 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. “Voile de Laine” is wool Voile. It is used in dresses, blouses, and curtains.
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. It is used in clothing, blankets, and winter wear.

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