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Adire – A cotton fabric that has been resist-dyed using indigo. The textile takes on a look similar to batik or shibori fabrics. (read more about Adire fabric)
Aloe Vera Fabric – A fabric infused with thousands of aloe vera “capsules.” These capsules are microscopic, airtight and waterproof. They open to release the gel only when the fabric is touched or rubbed. Essentially, every time an infused garment is worn, the aloe is applied to the skin. It is naturally anti-bacterial and combats body odor. (read more about aloe vera fabric)
Ayurvastra Fabrics – Natural, organic yarns are dyed by hand using plants that contain medicinal properties. The dye bath infuses the fibers with the lovely natural colors of these plants, along with their healing components. The yarns are then woven into fabric, and made into clothing or bedding. (read more about ayurvastra fabrics)
Banana Fabric – A beautiful, animal-free textile that mimics real silk, and acts as a great vegan alternative. The fiber material comes from the stalk of the banana plant. (read more about Banana Fabric)
Barathea – A closely woven fabric made of silk, rayon, cotton, or wool, having a pebbled surface. Barathea is mainly used for dresses, neckties, trimmings and suits.
Barkcloth – Originally, the term referred to a fabric found throughout the South Pacific and is made from the inner bark of certain trees. The bark is beaten into a paper-like fabric, then dyed or otherwise colored. Tapa cloth is one of the best known types of true barkcloth. Barkcloth is a term that also refers to a fabric, often cotton or rayon, with a somewhat crepe-like feel that is designed to resemble true barkcloth. This fabric is used extensively for draperies, slipcovers, and other home furnishings.
Batik – Batik describes a special technique of resist dyeing which was first used in Indonesia. Before dyeing the fabric is pile-spread with wax. The waxed areas remain in the original color while the rest of the fabric adopts the dyeing color. To get the typical veined effect to the design the wax is cracked. Today, it is largely produced in an industrial way. (read more about batik)
Basket Weave – A variation of the plain weave construction, formed by treating two or more warp yarns and/or two or more filling yarns as one unit in the weaving process. Yarns in a basket weave are laid into the woven construction flat, and maintain a parallel relationship. Both balanced and unbalanced basket weave fabrics can be produced. Examples of basket weave construction includes monk cloth and oxford cloth.
Batiste – A medium-weight, plain weave fabric, usually made of cotton or cotton blends. End-uses include blouses and dresses.
Batting – Traditionally the middle layer, or stuffing, of a quilt. Batting can be made from cotton, polyester, silk, wool or a blend of these. Different types of batting vary in size and fiber content. Batting also helps conserve warmth.
Beaded – This refers to any style of fabric that has beads embroidered into the design. Beading can be done at the time the fabric is made or can be re-embroidered after the fabric is made.
Bedford Cord – A cord cotton-like fabric with raised ridges in the lengthwise direction. Since the fabric has a high strength and a high durability, it is often used for upholstery and work clothes.
Bengaline – A ribbed fabric similar to faille, but heavier and with a coarser rib in the filling direction. lt can be made of silk, wool, acetate, or rayon warp, with wool or cotton filling. The fabric was first made in Bengal, India, and is used for dresses, coats, trimmings, and draperies.
Berber Fleece – Berber fleece is made when the yarn is knitted into fabric, which is brushed with wire brushes to pull the material together and to fluff it up. The resulting material has a looped, soft pile, with large air pockets, which improve the insulating properties of the fabric. The pile is sheared to create an even length. Synthetic materials such as polyester are most frequently used to create Berber fleece, which tends to be strong, stretchy, and colorfast. In addition to being warm, Berber fleece is also designed to wick moisture away from the surface of the wearer. It will also not absorb moisture as readily as some natural fibers, since synthetics are water resistant. Berber fleece is a fabric that is very lightweight, warm, and soft. It is often compared to fur, because of the incredibly soft texture it has.
Bio Lycra – This new version of Lycra, Bio Lycra, is ideal for sustainable and eco-conscious designers, as the raw material and production process are both much better for the environment. Rather than man-made material, this new fabric is made from sugars derived from corn. (read more about bio lycra)
Birdseye – Fabric with a woven-in dobby design. The pattern has a center dot and resembles the eye of a bird. It is used in cotton diapers, pique, and wool sharkskin.
Boiled Wool – This is a felted knitted wool that it offers the flexibility of a knit with great warmth. Create your own by washing double the needed amount of 100% wool jersey in hot water and drying in a hot dryer. Expect 50% shrinkage. Appropriate for jackets, vests and stuffed animals.
Bonded – A fabric composed of 2 or more layers joined together with an adhesive, resin, foam, or fusible membrane.
Boucle – A knit or woven fabric made from a rough, curly, knotted boucle yarn. The fabric has a looped, knotted surface and is often used in sportswear and coats
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 heavy, exquisite jacquard type fabric with an all-over raised pattern or floral design. Common end-uses include such formal applications as upholstery, draperies, and eveningwear.
Brushed – A finishing process for knit or woven fabrics in which brushes or other abrading devices are used on a loosely constructed fabric to permit the fibers in the yarns to be raised to create a nap on fabrics or create a novelty surface texture.
Buckram – Mainly cotton and sometimes synthetic. A cheap, low-textured, loose weave, very heavily sized and stiff fabric. Also, 2 fabrics are glued together; one is open weave and the other much finer. Some is also made in linen in a single fabric. Also called crinoline book muslin or book binding. Buckram softens with heat and can be shaped while warm. Used for interlinings and all kinds of stiffening in clothes, book binding, and for millinery (because it can be moistened and shaped). Used to give stiffness to leather garments not as stiff and often colored is called “tarlatan”. Buckram is originally from Bukhara a city in west Asia from whence the cloth was exported.
Bull Denim – A twill weave cotton denim fabric that is soft but tough as nails. Bull Denim is durable and heavier than regular denim. It takes dye well with very good results. Not stiff like canvas.
Bunting – Bunting is a loosely woven cloth traditionally made of wool, but now often made with polyester. Bunting is mainly used for flags and festive decorations. It is also known as banner cloth.
Burlap – A loosely constructed, heavy weight, plain weave fabric used as a carpet backing, and as inexpensive packaging for sacks of grain or rice. Also, as fashion dictates, burlap may also appear as a drapery fabric.
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 – A tightly-woven cotton type fabric with an all-over print, usually a small floral pattern on a contrasting background color. Common end-uses include dresses, aprons, and quilts.
Canton Flannel – Four harness warp-faced twill weave. Characteristics 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 is printed. Used in Interlinings, sleeping garments, linings, coverings, work gloves.
Canvas – Cotton, linen, or synthetic fabric made with a basic plain weave in heavy and firm weight yarns for industrial or heavy duty purposes. Also referred to as “duck”, although the term “canvas” usually relates to the heavier coarser constructions.
Challis – A lightweight, soft plain weave fabric with a slightly brushed surface. The fabric is often printed, usually in a floral pattern. Challis is most often seen in fabrics made of cotton, wool, or rayon.
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. (read more about chambray fabric)
Chantilly Lace – One of the most popular of bridal laces often used for the trimming on bridal veils. It is made by the bobbin method and has designs outlined by thick cords.
Chamois –Chamois cloth is woven to imitate the leather, usually has a slightly napped surface, and is usually yellow, as is the goat skin. It is used for gloves and as a cloth for washing autos. It is also used in clothing.
Charmeuse – Charmeuse is an opaque, shiny fabric that is similar to satin but lighter weight. Charmeuse also has a softer hand and a clingier look. Silk, polyester and rayon fabrics are commonly given a charmeuse finish. Charmeuse is often used for blouses and intimate apparel.
Cheesecloth – A lightweight, sheer, plain-woven fabric with a very soft texture. It may be natural colored, bleached, or dyed. It usually has a very low yarn count. When dyed it may be called bunting and could be used for flags or banners.
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.
Chiffon – A plain 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.
China Silk – A plain weave silk of various weights. This silk is the “hand” or touch that many people identify as silk. There are various weights of China silk from light, used for linings and many “washable silks” with the wrinkled look, to heavy for shirts and dresses.
China Twill – A lightweight cotton twill fabric. China Twill is 6-7 ounces per yard and is typically used for blouses, shirts and light weight skirts. See Twill.
Chintz – Glazed plain weave cotton fabric with a tightly spun fine warp and a coarser slack twist filling, often printed with brightly colored flowers or stripes. Named from Hindu word meaning spotted. Several types of glazes are used in the finishing process. Some glazes wash out in laundering, but others such as resin finishes are permanent. Unglazed chintz is called cretonne. Chintz end-uses include draperies, slipcovers, skirts, and summer dresses, and shirts.
Chromosonic Fabric – Referred to as the “Chamelon fabric”, it’s able to sense its surroundings such as temperature and sound, Chromosonic changes color based on this information, and can even blend itself into the background. (read more about Chromosonic Fabric)
Cire – A finishing process that produces a high gloss on the surface on the fabric by passing it through heavy rollers (calendering). Fabrics made of thermoplastic fibers like nylon or polyester are cired by calendering with heat and pressure alone. Other fabrics like rayons or silks are calendered with wax or other compounds. Cire fabrics have a much higher shine than glazed fabrics and are usually somewhat slippery.
Clips – A fabric decorated with small woven spots of extra warp or filling yarn-the floating threads between the spots being clipped or sheared in finishing. Also known as clip-spot fabric.
Cloque – Term used to describe a fabric with a raised effect Jacquard, usually knitted from two colors, and often used interchangeably with matelasse and blister. Cotton cloque is frequently popular for summer dress and jacket or coat costumes.
Coated – Fabrics that have been coated with a lacquer, varnish, rubber, plastic resin of polyvinyl chloride or polyethylene, or other substance to make them longer lasting or impervious to water or other liquids.
Coating – A term used to describe a fabric suitable for outerwear, such as coats, as in coating fabric. Also, something applied to a finished fiber or fabric, such as a rubber coating to make a fabric impervious to water. Coating suggests a thicker layer of the substance than does the word finish. A rubber-coated fabric is probably more resistant to water than one that has been treated with a water-resistant finish.
Cocona Fabric – Made from recycled coconut shells. Activated carbon is taken from these shells and incorporated into yarns and fibers. It’s fast drying, highly durable, wrinkle resistant, and provides sun protection. (read more about cocona fabric)
Coolcore – A performance fabric that wicks away moisture and keeps the wearer cool during strenuous activity. The textile is able to reduce its surface temperature by up to 30 percent. While many performance fabrics use added substances such as polymer crystal treatments to aid in their cooling properties, Coolcore is completely chemical-free. (read more about Coolcore)
CoolMax – CoolMax is the brand name of a series of high-performance fabrics designed and marketed mainly for sportswear that are designed to wick moisture away from the skin. CoolMax was created using four channel polyester fibers that are woven together in cross sections to allow air to flow through the fabric. The fabrics employ specially-engineered polyester fibers to improve “breathability” compared to natural fibers like cotton. It’s a lightweight, durable fabric that is temperature regulating and keeps the skin dry and warm.
Coolmax EcoTech – This ultimate performance fabric delivers the same high-performance, quick-dry benefits and comfort as the original Coolmax fabric, but has the added benefit of being made from recycled resources. The process for making Coolmax EcoTech fiber begins with post-consumer bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET.
Corduroy – A fabric with a pile that is usually in rows that are parallel to the selvedge. The pile is formed by weaving the fabric with two types of picks – binder picks that ‘hold the fabric together’, and pile picks that go over an number of warps on the face side of the fabric. The pile picks are sliced open after weaving in a process known as cutting. The ridges are built so that clear lines can be seen when the pile is cut. The fabric is then desized and bleached, and then brushed to develop the pile into uniform races that are known as wales. Corduroy is classified by the number of wales or cords to the inch. The foundation of the fabric can be either a plain or twill weave. It is traditionally made of cotton but may be cotton blends or other fibers as well. Of all cotton fabrics, corduroy is the warmest because its wales form an insulated cushion of air. It is common in men’s women’s and children’s apparel especially trousers.
Coutil – Coutil (or Coutille) is woven cloth created specifically for making corsets. It is woven tightly to inhibit penetration of the corset’s bones and resist stretching. Coutil has a high cotton content. Cotton has good dimensional stability, or a resistance to stretching, which makes it a good choice for such a stressed garment. Coutil may be plain (similar to 100% cotton facing), satin, or brocade. It is also common for coutil to have a herringbone texture, or a similar woven texture.
Covert – 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. Used for over coating for both men and women. It is also made waterproof and used a great deal in rain water.
Crash – Typically made of Linen. 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. Used for toweling, suitings, dresses, coats.
Crepe – A lightweight fabric of silk, rayon, cotton, wool, man-made, or blended fibers, and characterized by a crinkled surface. This surface is obtained through the use of crepe yarns (yarns that have such a high twist that the yarn kinks), and by chemical treatment with caustic soda, embossing, or weaving (usually with thicker warp yarns and thinner filling yarns). Although crepe is traditionally woven, crepe yarns are now used to produce knit crepes.
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.
Crepe De Chine – Traditionally, a very sheer, pebbly, washable silk with the fabric degummed to produce crinkle. Today, it is a sheer, flat crepe in silk or man-made fibers. It is used for lingerie, dresses, and blouses.
Crepon – Crêpe 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 Crêpe but now made of silk and rayon. It is much stouter and more rugged than the average Crêpe. Has a wavy texture with the “waves” running in a lengthwise direction. Mostly used for prints. Used for dresses and blouses.
Crewel – Crewel is a hand embroidery technique in which fine, loosely twisted yarn is chain stitched on cotton cloth. Imperfections, color variations, irregularities, natural black specks, dye marks, and dirt spots are characteristics that identify crewel as genuine. Most crewel designs are outlines of flowers, vines or leaves.
Crinkle – A fabric with an uneven surface, created by use of caustic soda that causes it to shrink unevenly. Plisse is an example of a crinkle crepe fabric. Crinkle crepe and plisse usually have a larger pattern to surface irregularities than crepe.
Crinoline – A lightweight, plain weave, stiffened fabric with a low yarn count (few yarns to the inch in each direction).
Crushed – Any fabric that has been treated so as to have a permanently crinkled, crushed or rumpled appearance.
Crushed Velvet – Any velvet with an irregular pattern of nap going in different directions. The pattern gives the fabric a “crushed or rumpled” appearance.
Damask – A glossy jacquard fabric, usually made from linen, cotton, rayon, silk, or blends. The patterns are flat and reversible. The fabric is often used in napkins, tablecloths, draperies, and upholstery.
Dazzle – A type of polyester fabric that is widely used in making clothes like basketball uniforms, football uniforms, rugby ball uniforms and even casual clothing because it absorbs moisture quickly. It is a lightweight fabric that easily allows the body to receive ventilation during workouts, playing sports and engaging in just about any outside activity. Dazzle fabric is distinguished by the pattern of tiny holes in the weave of the material. To the touch, dazzle is soft and somewhat like silk, although it is far more sturdy than silk. Dazzle is extremely durable due to the tightly woven polyester fibers, which makes it nearly impossible to tear.
Denim – True denim is a twill weave cotton-like fabric made with different colored yarns in the warp and the weft. Due to the twill construction, one color predominates on the fabric surface.
Dobby Weave – A decorative weave, characterized by small figures, usually geometric, that are woven into the fabric structure. Dobbies may be of any weight or compactness, with yarns ranging from very fine to coarse and fluffy. Standard dobby fabrics are usually flat and relatively fine or sheer. However, some heavyweight dobby fabrics are available for home furnishings and for heavy apparel.
Doeskin – Generally used to describe a type of fabric finish in which a low nap is brushed in one direction to create a soft suede-like feel on the fabric surface. End-uses include billiard table surfaces and men’s’ sportswear.
Donegal Tweed – A medium to heavy, plain or twill weave fabric in which colorful yarn slubs are woven into the fabric. The name originally applied to a hand-woven thick woolen tweed fabric made in Donegal, Ireland. End-uses include winter coats and suits.
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 Faced – 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 fabric knitted on a circular knitting machine using interlocking loops and a double stitch on a double needle frame to form a fabric with double thickness. It is the same on both sides. Today, most double knits are made of I5O denier polyester, although many lightweight versions are now being made using finer denier yarns and blends of filament and spun yarns.
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 yarns.
Drill – A heavy, strong, durable twilled fabric of cotton or man-made fibers, similar to denim that has a diagonal 2×1 weave running up to the left selvage. When strength of fabric is essential, drill is suitable for slacks, uniforms, overalls, and work shirts.
Dryflex – Dryflex is a “high performance” knit fabric blended with Lycra. It is a wind resistant and moisture-wicking fabric that is soft and very comfortable. Dryflex will stretch up to 250% without memory loss over a lifetime of wear. Dryflex is the perfect fabric for activewear as it is quick dry and easy to care for.
Duchess Satin – One of the heaviest and richest looking satins. It is usually made of silk. It is important for such formal clothing as wedding gowns.
Duck – A tightly woven, heavy, plain-weave, bottom-weight fabric with a hard, durable finish. The fabric is usually made of cotton, and is widely used in men’s and women’s slacks, and children’s play clothes.
Dupioni – Silk that comes from the fiber formed by two silk worms that spun their cocoons together in an interlocking manner. The yarn is uneven, irregular, and larger than regular filaments. It is used to make shantung and dupioni.
Eco-Leather – Eco-Leather is made up of either flax or cotton fibers that are then mixed with plant oils such as palm, soybean, or corn. Any material used is sustainable to keep the textile’s carbon footprint low. This mixture is then layered together to create a material with a similar look and feel to leather. (read more about eco-leather)
Embossed – 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.
Embroidered – An embellishment of a fabric or garment in which colored threads are sewn on to the fabric to create a design. Embroidery may be done either by hand or machine.
End-On-End – A closely woven fabric with alternating fine colored yarn and a white yarn creating a mini checkered effect with a smooth texture. The weave is commonly found in men’s shirts.
Eyelash – Term used to describe clipped yarns that lie on the surface of a fabric, giving the effect of eyelashes.
Eyelet – A type of fabric which contains patterned cut-outs, around which stitching or embroidery may be applied in order to prevent the fabric from raveling.
F-abric – The fiber content includes hemp and flax from Holland, Belgium and France, as well as modal made from Austrian beech trees. The fabric content, as well as a special weaving process, speeds up the fabric’s decomposition, and is 100% biodegradable. (read more about f-abric)
Faille – A glossy, soft, finely-ribbed silk-like woven fabric made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers
Faux Fur – A slang term for pile fabrics and garments that imitate animal pelts. The most popular fake furs are probably those made from modacrylic fiber.
Faux Leather – A term used for imitation leathers. More correctly, these should be described by their actual construction, such as vinyl-coated fabric.
Faux Suede – A fabric with a short nap and a soft finish that suggests animal suede.
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.
Fishnet – Fishnet is an open, diamond shaped knit fabric.
Flannel – A medium-weight, plain or twill weave fabric that is typically made from cotton, a cotton blend, or wool. The fabric has a very soft hand, brushed on both sides to lift the fiber ends out of the base fabric and create a soft, fuzzy surface. End-uses include shirts and pajamas.
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.
Fleece – A lightweight fabric with a thick, heavy fleece-like surface. It may be a pile or napped fabric, and either woven or knit construction. End uses include coats, jackets, blankets, etc. Fleece fabrics are available in a variety of constuctions: Polarfleece® is the original fleece fabric, developed in 1979, by Malden Mills. It is typically used for non-technical garments, and it is only available at Malden Mills®; Polartec®, also developed by Malden Mills, was created for today’s high-performance technical garments, which provides enhanced durability warmth, wind resistance, breathability and weather protection.
Flocked– A type of raised decoration applied to the surface of a fabric in which an adhesive is printed on the fabric in a specific pattern, and then finely chopped fibers are applied by means of dusting, air-brushing, or electrostatic charges. The fibers adhere only to the areas where the adhesive has been applied, and the excess fibers are removed by mechanical means.
Foil – Foil is a high gloss mylar usually in metallic colors that pulls away from the clear backing. Sometimes it is referred to as foil paper and other times it is referred to as foil sheets. The foil is applied to the fabric using very high heat.
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-Ply Crepe – Four ply crepe is a heavier version of regular crepe made with four ply yarn. A four ply yarn is made from twisting together four individual yarn strands. The resulting fabric is medium to heavy weight, smooth and flat, with a crepe finish and a good deal of lustre. The fabric tailors and drapes beautifully and is a favorite for bridal usage. 4 ply silks are most frequently used for bridal gowns, semi fitted garments, dresses and suits. Fabric sews easily, but shows pin holes and ravels fairly easily.
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.
French Terry – A knit jersey with loops on one side. Sometimes napped to make fleece.
Gabardine – 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.
Gauze – A thin, sheer plain-weave fabric made from cotton, wool, silk, rayon, or other manufactured fibers. End-uses include curtains, apparel, trimmings, and surgical dressings.
Gazar – A silk or wool fabric with crisp hand and flat, smooth texture. Plain weave with high-twist double yarns interlaced as one.
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.
Gingham – A medium weight, plain weave fabric with a plaid or check pattern. End-uses include dresses, shirts, and curtains.
GORE-TEX®– GORE-TEX fabrics are created by laminating GORE-TEX membranes to high-performance textiles, then sealing them with an innovative solution for guaranteed waterproof protection. GORE-TEX is designed to be durably waterproof, windproof, and breathable and maintain its performance for the life of the end product. GORE-TEX is best known for its use in protective, yet breathable, rainwear fabrics.
Gossamer – Gossamer is a very light, sheer, gauze-like fabric, popular for white wedding dresses and decorations.
Greige Goods – The state of a fabric as it comes from the loom or knitting machine (after it has been constructed) but before it has been colored, finished or processed.
Habutai – Soft, lightweight silk dress fabric originally woven in the gum on hand looms in Japan. It is sometimes confused with China silk, which is technically lighter in weight.
Heather – A yarn that is spun using pre-dyed fibers. These fibers are blended together to give a particular look. (For example, black and white may be blended together to create a grey heathered yarn.) The term, heather, may also be used to describe the fabric made from heathered yarns.
Herringbone – A fabric in which the pattern of weave resembles the skeletal structure of the herring. lt is a twill weave in which the wale runs in one direction for a few rows and then re verses, forming a “V” pattern. lt is made with a broken twill weave that produces a balanced, zigzag effect and is used for sportswear, suits, and coats.
Hopsack – Popular suiting fabric made from a 2-and-2 or a 3-and-3 basket weave. Generally appear as small squares. A coarse, open woven fabric which got its name from the plain weave fabric used for sacking in which hops were gathered. The hopsack weave is found in silk, cotton, wool, linen, rayon, hemp, and jute.
Honeybee Silk – A vegan alternative to silk, honeybee silk is a lightweight and highly durable fabric. The main benefit is that the proteins in honeybee silk specifically are much easier to reproduce in a lab than those from other organisms. (read more about honeybee silk)
Houndstooth – A variation on the twill weave construction in which a broken check effect is produced by a variation in the pattern of interlacing yarns, utilizing at least two different colored yarns.
Ikat – a style of weaving that uses a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye on either the warp or weft before the threads are woven to create a pattern or design. A Double Ikat is when both the warp and the weft are tie-dyed before weaving. Through common usage, the word has come to describe both the process and the cloth itself. Ikats have been woven in cultures all over the world. In Central and South America, Ikat is still common in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico. (read more about ikat fabric)
Illusion – A very fine sheer net fabric usually of nylon or silk. Used for veils.
Inego – The dextrose (sugar) that is taken from corn is used as fuel for the creation of the polymer this fiber is made up of. The polymer is formed into Ingeo “pellets” that can be used to make a wide range of products, from electronics to apparel. The fabric is beautiful, soft, and has performance benefits for sportswear. (read more about inego fabric)
Inotek – With Inotek fabric, the fibers close, causing the yarn to “tighten” and keep out any moisture. Instead of a heavy, saturated fabric, Inotek actually becomes 10 percent thinner when wet. (read more about Inotek)
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, non-woven, or knitted.
Interlining – Interlining is a layer of fabric inserted between the face and the lining of a garment, drapery, or quilt. Interlining is similar to batting, a thick layer of fiber designed to provide insulation, loft, and body to quilts, pillow toppers, and heavy winter jackets. Depending on the application, interlining materials can be woven, knitted, or created by fusing fibers together. Silk, wool, and artificial fibers with good insulating qualities are common choices for interlining. Some interlinings are designed to be fused, while others are intended to be sewn to one or both layers of the textile. As an inner lining within textiles, interlining is used in a number of applications. In many cases, interlining serves as an additional layer of insulation. For example, drapes are often interlined with flannel or a similarly thick material to keep rooms warmer in winter and cooler in summer, while many winter coats and pants use a thick layer of interlining to protect the wearer from the elements.
Interlock – The stitch variation of the rib stitch, which resembles two separate 1 x 1 ribbed fabrics that are interknitted. Plain (double knit) interlock stitch fabrics are thicker, heavier, and more stable than single knit constructions.
Ioncell-F – A cellulose fabric created from plant material and ionic liquid. Developed by Scandinavian science and design students. Wood chips are dissolved into a pulp by the fabric’s namesake ionic liquid. The pulp is then processed to create the finished fibers that can be spun into yarn. (read more about Ioncell-F fabric)
Irridescent – Fabric woven with yarns of one color in the warp and another color in the filling so that the fabric seems to change color as the light strikes it. Other names for this type of fabric are changeable and shot.
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 – 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. Jersey fabrics may be produced on either circular or flat weft knitting machines.
Kenaf – Made from the Kenaf plant, Kenaf textiles are eco-friendly, naturally very absorbent, and even fire-retardant. The hand of the fabric is similar to linen. (read more about Kenaf)
Katazome – Literally translated as “stencil-dyed”. A Japanese method of resist dyeing, similar to Rozome, Mainly used to create repeat patterns on fabric, it gained popularity in Japan as a simple, inexpensive way to mimic the look of woven brocades. (read more about Katazome)
Killer Silk – This textile is more like “protective” silk, as it is meant to defend us from harmful substances. The fabric is dipped into a chlorine substance that is similar to bleach, and left to dry. Once ready, the silk is able to kill a range of bacteria- and very quickly. (read more about Killer Silk)
Lace – A decorated openwork fabric created by looping, interlacing, braiding, or twisting threads. [t is made (either on a background fabric of net or without a background fabric) with a design formed by a net work of threads made by hand or on special lace machines, with bobbins, needles, or hooks. The pattern in lace is usually open and most often floral in design. Machine-made lace is most commonly seen today and many patterns formerly only made by hand, are imitated by machine. Lace is the traditional bridal fabric, but it is also used for other non-formal clothing such as sports clothes. The following entries are some of the major types of lace. (read more about lace)
Lamé – A woven fabric using flat silver or gold metal threads to create either the design or the background in the fabric. Lame is usually gold or silver in color; sometimes copper lamé is seen. Lamé comes in different varieties, depending on the composition of the other threads in the fabric. Common examples are tissue lamé, hologram lamé and pearl lamé. An issue with lamé is that it is subject to seam or yarn slippage, making it less than ideal for garments with frequent usage. Lamé is often used in evening and dress wear; and in theatrical and dance costumes.
Laminated – 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.
Leno – A construction of woven fabrics in which the resulting fabric is very sheer, yet durable. In this weave, two or more warp yarns are twisted around each other as they are interlaced with the filling yarns; thus securing a firm hold on the filling yarn and preventing them from slipping out of position. Also called the gauze weave. Leno weave fabrics are frequently used for window treatments, because their structure gives good durability with almost no yarn slippage, and permits the passage of light and air.
Lenpur A textile that is cellulose-based; the fiber is derived from the bark and branches of white pine trees. (read more about Lenpur Fabric)
Lining – Fabric made in the same shape as the outer fabric, a lining supports and protects the outer fabric and hides seams as well. Linings are found not only in apparel, but also in draperies and occasionally curtains and bedspreads. Items that are lined tend to wear better and last longer than unlined items and the appearance of a lined item is usually better than that of an unlined one.
Liquid Lamé – A slinky, slippery light weight metallic with the feel of silk. Liquid Lamé has a satiny sheen, and a slight stretch.
Loden – Loden is a water-resistant greasy wool used in heavy coatings.
Lotus Flower Fabric – The stems of this famous plant contain a fiber that is used to create a textile. Creating lotus flower fabric is an intensive, but eco-friendly process as it is all done by hand. (read more about the Lotus Flower Fabric)
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.
Marocain – A ribbed fabric with a wavy look, resembling Crêpe. It is made of silk, wool and manufactured fibers. Used mainly for suits and dresses.
Matelassé – A medium to heavyweight luxury fabric made in a double cloth construction to create a blistered or quilted surface. Common end-uses are upholstery, draperies, and evening dresses.
Matka – a heavy weight silk made from very thick yarns. The yarns are obtained from short ends of silk from Mulberry silkworms (Bombyx Mori) and spun by hand without removing the gum (sericin). As such, there are slubs and irregularities that give the fabric a unique character. It looks something like a tweed, but the fibers are all the same color. Matka is good for suits and jackets.
Matte Jersey – Tricot knit with a dull surface made with fine crepe yarn.
Melton – A thick to medium thick tightly woven wool with heavily brushed nap giving the fabric a smooth finish with no warp or weft yarns visible. Wool Melton is used mainly for jackets, coats and blankets.
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 – 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.
Minky – Minky is an incredibly soft and plush “micro-fiber” fabric. Minky is a modern “micro-fiber” fabric that is amazingly soft. It rivals cashmere in softness and resembles real mink in touch. It is quick-drying, highly absorbent, and actually quite strong.
Moiré/Watermarked – 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.
Moleskin – Moleskin is a heavy, strong (usually cotton) fabric woven with coarse, carded yarns that give it a velvety nap. The feel of moleskin is smooth and solid, reminiscent of suede. The reverse has a satiny look and feel. Generally, it will contain 2-4% spandex. Moleskin is great for pants, jackets and heavy shirts.
Monk’s Cloth – A heavy weight cotton fabric utilizing the basket weave variation of the plain weave. Used for draperies and slip covers, monk’s cloth is an example of 4 x 4 basket weave. It has poor dimensional stability and tends to snag.
Moss Crepe – A vegetable fiber obtained from the inside of the woody stalk of the flax plant. It is one of the oldest fabrics known. It is strong, and today’s man-made fibers are often blended with it to improve its wrinkle resistance and give the fabric other desirable qualities. Linen is woven in various weights for different purposes and is occasionally used in knit blends.
Mouseline – The name for a broad category of fabrics, usually fairly sheer and lightweight and made in a variety of fibers, including man-mades, silk, cotton, and wool. Mousseline usually has a crisp hand. The word mousseline is often used today for a fabric resembling de soie.
Mudcloth – Also known as Bògòlanfini or bogolan, it is a handmade, cotton textile that is traditionally dyed with fermented mud. It originates from Mali, West Africa. (read more about mudcloth)
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.
Napped – 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.
Neoprene Fabric – A synthetic, rubbery material used in a wide variety of products from clothing to laptop cases to exercise weights. The material has been very popular in the fashion world in recent years. (read more about neoprene fabric)
Netting – An open mesh fabric of rayon, nylon, cotton, or silk; made in a variety of geometric-shaped meshes of different sizes and weights, matched to various end-uses. The net is made by knotting the intersections of thread or cord to form the mesh.
Nettle Fabric – This strong, lustrous fabric is derived from the nettle plant. The fabric is made from the fibers within the stalks of the plant. (read more about nettle fabric)
Noil – A silk fabric that is sportier in appearance and created by short fibers, often from the innermost part of the cocoon. Has the look of hopsack but much softer. Silk Noil (sometimes incorrectly called raw silk) has a nubby feel and a low sheen. Noil somewhat resembles cotton in surface texture, and sews easily. The nubby texture of noil comes from the use of very short fibers that are used to weave the fabric. When these short fibers are spun into yarns, the resulting yarns have occasional slubs and loose ends. Nubs vary between different weaves. Noil which has not been completely de-gummed (had the natural sericin removed), may easily attract dirt and odors.
Oil Cloth – 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. Used for waterproof garments, book bags, belts, bibs, pencil cases, luggage, surgical supplies.
Organdy – A stiffened, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count. 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.
Osnaburg – A tough medium to heavyweight coarsely woven plain weave fabric, usually made of a cotton or cotton/poly blend. Lower grades of the unfinished fabric are used for such industrial purposes as bags, sacks, pipe coverings. Higher grades of finished osnaburg can be found in mattress ticking, slipcovers, workwear, and apparel.
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, upholstery, and draperies.
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.
Panné – 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. Panné velvet has a longer or higher pile than regular 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. It is now often made as knit fabric.
Parachute – A compactly woven, lightweight fabric comparable with airplane cloth. It is made of silk, nylon, rayon, cotton, or polyester.
Peachskin – Peachskin is a smooth finish applied to finely woven Micro Fiber fabric. The soft, sueded finish results from sanding or chemical treatment of the fabric. This finish allows suits and dresses to flow with movement and drape beautifully. The feel of peachskin is soft, smooth and moderately wrinkle-resistant. It is a medium weight fabric that has a fuzzy, suede like feel.
Peau de Soie – A medium to heavy weight smooth and silky fabric with a satiny, lustrous finish. Looks like Charmeuse, but Peau de Soie has a moderately stiff drape. Those who cannot pronounce Peau de Soie (French for ‘skin of silk’) call this Duchess Satin. It can be made of silk or manufactured fibers, and used mainly for bridal gowns and eveningwear.
Percale – A medium weight, plain weave, low to medium count (180 to 250 threads per square inch) cotton-like fabric. End-uses include sheets, blouses, and dresses.
Performance – Fabrics made for a variety of end-use applications, which provide functional qualities, such as moisture management, UV protection, anti-microbial, thermo-regulation, and wind/water resistance.
Pile – A fabric in which certain yarns project from a foundation texture and form a pile on the surface. Pile yarns may be cut or uncut in the fabric. Corduroy and velveteen are examples of cut filling pile fabrics.
Piña – The textile is light and airy. It is similar to linen or hemp in that it is cooling and slightly stiff, although piña is a bit softer. The fabric has a natural gloss similar to silk, and is better in quality. This gloss protects the fibers and as a result, piña does not require any treatment with toxic chemicals. (read more about Pina Fabric)
Pincord – Fabric with a very narrow wale or rib. Used in describing piques, corduroys or other ribbed fabrics. Also called baby cord.
Piqué – 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.
Pleather – The term pleather (“plastic leather”) is a slang term for synthetic leather made out of plastic. A portmanteau of plastic and leather, the term is sometimes used derogatorily, implying use as a substitute for genuine animal hide to cut costs. Besides cost, pleather may also be preferred because it is lighter than leather, or as an alternative to real leather citing reasons of animal cruelty. Pleather, being made of plastic, will not decompose as quickly. Not all pleathers are the same. Polyurethane is washable, can be dry-cleaned and allows some air to flow through the garment. PVC pleather in contrast does not “breathe” and is difficult to clean. PVC cannot be dry-cleaned because the cleaning solvents can make the PVC unbearably stiff.
Plissé – 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. Plissé is similar in appearance to seersucker. End-uses include dresses, shirtings, pajamas, and bedspreads.
Plush – A compactly woven fabric with warp pile higher than that of velvet. Plush (from French peluche) is a textile having a cut nap or pile the same as fustian or velvet. Originally the pile of plush consisted of mohair or worsted yarn, but now silk by itself or with a cotton backing is used for plush. Modern plush is commonly manufactured from synthetic fibres such as polyester. Brushed or sheared fabrics are also sometimes referred to as plush. One of the largest uses of this fabric is in the production of toys, with small stuffed animals made from plush fabric, such as teddy bears, known as plushies. The French term for “teddy bear” is ours en peluche. Plush is also one of the main materials for the construction of designer toys.
Point d’Esprit – Mainly cotton, sometimes silk, a leno, gauze, knotted, or mesh woven fabric. Point d’Esprit was first made in France in 1834. as a dull surfaced net with various sized holes. Has white or colored dots individually spaced or in groups. Used for curtains, bassinets, evening gowns.
Pointelle – A Very feminine, delicate-looking, rib-knit fabric made with a pattern of openings. Pointelle is a drop needle knit fabric. It is a textured fabric with holes forming a design in the fabric.
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.
Ponte di Roma – A fabric made in a double knit construction, usually produced in one color rather than color patterns. This plain fabric has an elastic quality with a slight horizontal line. The fabric looks the same on both sides.
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.
Precious Surface Fabrics – A technology which allows the blending of real 24 karat gold with the textile fiber on an atomic level, in a way that is so seamless, the hand of the fabric remains completely unaltered. (read more about Precious Surface Fabrics)
Pucker – The uneven surface caused by differential shrinkage in the two layers of a bonded fabric during processing, dry cleaning, or washing.
Qmilch – Qmilch is an eco-friendly textile made from milk. Made from organic milk that has gone sour, it feels like silk, it’s odorless, and can be washed. (read more about Qmilch)
Quilted – 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.
Raschel – A warp knitted fabric in which the resulting knit fabric resembles hand crocheted fabrics, lace fabrics, and nettings. Raschel warp knits contain inlaid connecting yarns in addition to columns of knit stitches.
Reversible – A fabric that can be used on either side. Generally, the term reversible is applied to two quite different fabrics joined together by such methods as laminating or double cloth construction. Reversible fabrics frequently are used for coats, less frequently for other garments.
Rib Knit – A basic stitch used in weft knitting in which the knitting machines require two sets of needles operating at right angles to each other. Rib knits have a very high degree of elasticity in the crosswise direction. A 1 x 1 rib has one rib up and one down. A 2 x 1 rib has two ribs up and one down. This knitted fabric is used for complete garments and for such specialized uses as sleeve bands, neck bands, sweater waistbands, and special types of trims for use with other knit or woven fabrics. Lightweight sweaters in rib knits provide a close, body-hugging fit.
Ripstop – A lightweight, wind resistant, and water resistant plain weave fabric. Large rib yarns stop tears without adding excess weight to active sportswear apparel and outdoor equipment such as sleeping bags and tents.
Rozome – The Japanese version of the wax-resist process, known elsewhere as batik, the method used to paint silk for kimonos. (read more about Rozome)
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).
Sateen – A fabric made from yarns with low luster, such as cotton or other staple length fibers. A variation of the satin weave, produced by floating fill yarns over warp yarns. The fabric has a soft, smooth hand and a gentle, subtle luster.
Satin – A basic weave, characterized by long floats of yarn on the face of the fabric. The yarns are interlaced in such a manner that there is no definite, visible pattern of interlacing and, in this manner, a smooth and somewhat shiny surface effect is achieved. The shiny surface effect is further increased through the use of high luster filament fibers in yarns which also have a low amount of twist. A true satin weave fabric always has the warp yarns floating over filling yarns. Typical examples of satin weave fabrics include: slipper satin, crepe-back satin, faille satin, bridal satin, moleskin, and antique satin.
Saxony – Originally a high grade coating fabric made from Saxony merino wool raised in Germany.
SeaCell – An eco-friendly fabric made from seaweed. Developed by Nanonic Inc, a small percentage of the plant is mixed with cellulose, putting it in the same family as lyocell. The type of seaweed used, known as brown algae, is certified organic. (read more about SeaCell)
Seersucker – A woven fabric which incorporates modification of tension control. In the production of seersucker, some of the warp yarns are held under controlled tension at all times during the weaving, while other warp yarns are in a relaxed state and tend to pucker when the filling yarns are placed. The result produces a puckered stripe effect in the fabric. Seersucker is traditionally made into summer sportswear such as shirts, trousers, and informal suits. (read more about seersucker fabric)
Sequinned – Fabric covered with sequins is available by the yard. Sequins are a shiny, usually metallic, decoration or spangle. Sequins are sewn to clothing, especially evening dresses because they shimmer and sparkle in the light. Sequins usually have a single, central hole for fastening to the garment or fabric. Sequins are also known as paillettes.
Serge – A very distinct twill (2 up/2 down) which shows on both sides of the fabric. 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. Used mainly for coats, suits and sportswear.
Shantung – A medium-weight, plain weave fabric, characterized by a ribbed effect, resulting from slubbed yarns used in the warp or filling direction. End-uses include dresses and suits.
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.
Sheer – The opposite of opaque. Sheer fabrics are usually made in an open weave to create fabrics with varying degrees of transparency. Batiste, organdy, and voile are examples of sheer fabrics.
Sheeting – Sheeting is a plain woven cotton cloth made from carded yarns that can be found in medium and heavy weights. Low thread count sheeting is called muslin, while high thread count sheeting with combed yarns is known as percale.
Sherpa – A heavy fabric with clumped pile resembling the fleece of a sheep. The name comes from the group of people who live near or on the Himalayan mountains. Used for outerwear trim and lining.
Shetland – Wool from Shetland sheep in Scotland. These 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. Shetland wools have a very soft hand and a shaggy finish of protruding fibers. It is 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. Used in coats, suits, and sportswear for both men and women. Fine Shetlands are made into fine shawls, underwear crochet, work and hosiery.
Shimmer – A lightweight fabric made of two different colored yarns. The fabric has an iridescent look and a crisp but not stiff hand. Shimmer is typically made of a rayon/polyester blend. Shimmer can also be made with a crushed finish which adds texture and brings out the shine in the fabric. Shimmer is most commonly used for apparel but can also be used to create sophisticated window treatments and pillows.
Slinky – A knit fabric. It drapes well, never wrinkles and washes beautifully. It’s the perfect travel fabric with four-way stretch for ultimate comfort. Suitable for almost any wardrobe item.
Slipper Satin – Slipper satin is a tightly woven satin fabric, usually lighter in weight than duchesse satin, and used for many purposes including evening shoes or slippers.
Soysilk – A Vegan Alternative to silk, and often called vegan cashmere. Like real silk, Soysilk is cool to the touch, has a lovely drape and is very soft. There is a slight sheen to it as well, especially when finished. It is also generally wrinkle-free (unlike real silk which is stubborn with wrinkles), and also has little to no shrinkage when washed. Since it is a natural fiber, it takes dye very easily. (read more about soysilk, or sourcing soy fabric)
Sparkle Organza – An organza woven fabric that uses a yarn, usually nylon with a high reflectance of light that gives the fabric a sparkled look.
Stretch – Rubber or man-made plastic fibers (such as spandex and anidex) that are naturally elastic or man-made fibers, highly twisted, heat-set, and untwisted to leave a strong crimp. Polyester has a certain degree of natural stretch and more can be given to the yarn in the processing or in the finishing of the fabric. Occasionally, polyester woven fabrics are described as stretch fabrics. Usually, stretch implies a degree of visible give in a fiber or fabric that stretches and then returns quickly to its original shape. Stretch fabrics are sometirnes described as elastic.
Suede Cloth – A woven or knitted fabric of cotton, man-made fibers, wool, or blends, finished to resemble suede leather. It is used in sport coats, gloves, linings, and cleaning cloths.
Sueded – Sueded fabrics are brushed, sanded or chemically treated for extra softness. ‘Suede’ yarns are generally thick and plush.
Sugar Nylon – Created by scientists in Singapore, this eco-friendly fabric is an alternative to Nylon. The creators figured out how to create adipic acid, a key component of nylon, from sugar in stead of petroleum-based chemicals. (read more about sugar nylon)
Supplex – Supplex is a state-of-the-art nylon fabric. It was specially engineered by DuPont to provide the soft, supple touch of cotton with the strength, durability and performance advantages of nylon. It has high water and wind resistant properties, high abrasion and is tear resistant. Supplex manages moisture and keeps its vibrant color, wash after wash. Clothes made of Supplex will never fuzz or pill.
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.
Tapa – A flexible cloth made from wood. Traditionally made on the island of Tonga, it is created from the bark of the paper mulberry tree. Rather than being knit or woven from a spun thread, the material begins in its original form as a sheet of wood. (read more about Tapa)
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.
Tartan – A pattern made of intersecting stripes. Each tartan pattern is associated with a certain specific family called a clan. Plaid, a term used for tartan, is actually the name of a shawl made of tartan fabric. The use of plaid has become so general that tartan is almost always limited to authentic clan designs. Some of the most common tartans follow, but there are many others.
Terry Cloth – A typical uncut pile weave fabric. This fabric is formed by using two sets of warp yarns. One set of warp yarns is under very little tension; when the filling yarns are packed into place, these loose yarns are pushed backward along with the filling yarns, and loops are formed. Typical uses include towels, robes, and apparel.
Terry Velour – A pile weave cotton fabric with an uncut pile on one side and a cut pile on the reverse side. Terry velour is valued for its soft, luxurious hand. Typical uses include towels, robes, and apparel.
Thermal – An adjective used to describe fabrics which are warmer for their weight than other fabrics. Thermal is usually limited to those fabrics woven in a honeycomb pattern leaving small spaces in which air can be trapped. Thermal fabrics are popular for underwear and blankets.
Thinsulate™ – Thinsulate™ is a trademark of the 3M Corporation, for a type of synthetic fiber thermal insulation used in clothing. Thinsulate™ fibers are about 15 micrometres in diameter, which is thinner than the polyester fibers normally used in insulation for clothing such as gloves or winter jackets. The manufacturer claims that, for a given thickness of material, Thinsulate™ provides 1 to 1.5 times the insulation of duck down, while being much less water-absorbent and much more resistant to crushing. Thinsulate™ insulation works by trapping air molecules between you and the outside. The more air a material traps in a given space, the greater its insulating value. Because the microfibers in Thinsulate™ insulation are far finer than other fibers, they trap more air in less space, which naturally makes it a better insulator. Thinsulate™ is breathable, moisture resistant and machine washable.
Ticking – A broad term for extremely strong woven fabrics which are used as a covering for pillows, mattresses, and box springs, home-furnishings, and for work clothes and sports clothes. Ticking is a heavy, tightly woven carded cotton fabric usually in a pattern of alternately woven stripes in the warp, Jacquard or dobby designs, or printed patterns. lt is usually twill but may be sateen weave. When ticking is used in clothing, striped ticking with narrow woven stripes is usually most popular. Red and white, black and white, and navy and white are the most popular ticking color combinations.
Tie-Dye – A form of resist dyeing. Items to be dyed are tied or knotted so that the folds of the fabric form barriers to the dye to create patterns or designs on the fabric.
Tissue Faille – Made from 100% micro fiber polyester, Tissue Faille (pronounced “file”) is a lightweight fabric with a light faille weave, silky feel and a slight sheen. It has an excellent draping quality. Though lightweight, it is an extremely strong fabric.
Tissue Lamé – See Lamé
Tricot – A warp knit fabric in which the fabric is formed by interlooping adjacent parallel yarns. The warp beam holds thousands of yards of yarns in a parallel arrangement, and these yarns are fed into the knitting area simultaneously. Sufficient yarns to produce the final fabric width and length are on the beam. Tricot knits are frequently used in women’s lingerie items such as slips, bras, panties, and nightgowns.
Tricotine – Tricotine weave has a double twill rib on the face of the cloth. Has a very clear finish. It drapes well, and tailors easily. Tricotine is medium in weight and usually made of wool and wool/rayon blends. Tricotine has exceptional wearing qualities. Very much like cavalry twill, but finer. In the same family as whipcords, coverts, and gabardines. Used mainly for Men’s and women’s suits and coats. It is also used for ski slacks in a stretch fabric
Trigger® – A durable heavy poplin made of blend of polyester and cotton. It is also considered a utility cloth and used for table cloths, chair covers, uniforms, and flags/banners.
Tulle – A lightweight, extremely fine, machine-made netting, usually with a hexagon shaped mesh effect. End-uses include dance costumes and veils. (read more about tulle fabric)
Tussah – Silk fabric woven from silk made by wild, uncultivated silkworms. Tussah is naturally tan in color, cannot be bleached, and has a rougher texture than cultivated silk. Wild silkworms eat leaves other than mulberry leaves which cultivated silkworms eat exclusively. The difference in diet accounts for the different fiber and fabric characteristics. Tussah is also used to describe fabrics designed to imitate this kind of silk.
Tweed – A medium to heavy weight, fluffy, woolen, twill weave fabric containing colored slubbed yarns. Common end-uses include coats and suits. (read more about tweed)
Twill – 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.
Union Cloth – A traditional name for fabric made from two or more different fibers, such as a fabric woven with a wool worsted warp and a cotton filling. The term “union cloth” was used primarily when this fabric was used for underwear, perhaps because a union suit was another name for shoulder-to-ankle, one-piece underwear.
Ultrasuede® – Ultrasuede is world’s first ultra-microfiber. Ultrasuede feels like natural suede, but it is resistant to stains and discoloration; it can be machine-washed; and because it is a non-woven fabric, it cannot pull or fray. It also ages better than real suede, is stain resistant and is animal friendly. The fabric is multifunctional: it is used in fashion, interior decorating, automotive and other vehicle upholstery, and industrial applications, such as protective fabric for electronic equipment.
Velour – A medium weight, closely woven fabric with a thick pile. It can be made using either a plain weave or a satin weave construction. It resembles velvet, but has a lower cut pile. End uses include apparel, upholstery, and drapes.
Velvet – A medium weight cut-pile constructed fabric in which the cut pile stands up very straight. It is woven using two sets of warp yarns; the extra set creates the pile. It is woven on a special loom that weaves two piece of velvet at the same time. The two pieces are then cut apart and the two lengths of fabric are wound on separate take-up rolls. Velvet, a luxurious fabric, is commonly made with a filament fiber for high luster and smooth hand. Velvet is a type of tufted fabric in which the cut threads are very evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it its distinct feel. Velvet can be made from any fiber.
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.
Voile – A crisp, lightweight, plain weave cotton-like fabric, made with high twist yarns in a high yarn count construction. Similar in appearance to organdy and organza. Used in blouses dresses and curtains.
Waffle – A fabric with a characteristic honeycomb weave. When made in cotton it is called waffle pique. It is used for coatings, draperies, dresses, and toweling.
Washed – Refers to fabrics that have been laundered before shipping. This may be done to reduce shrinkage, soften the hand, wash down the color or to give the fabric a used, laundered look.
Waxed Canvas – Canvas that has been treated with wax, the purpose of which is to create a water-resistant textile. (read more about waxed canvas)
Whipcord – A woven fabric with a very steep and compacted twill appearance on the face of the goods. End-uses for the fabric include dress woolens, worsteds, or wool blends, and many types of uniforms.
Worsted – 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.
Worsterlon® – Worsterlon is a polyester flannel fabric that is washable and wrinkle free. It has the look and feel of wool without the maintenance and care. It is ideal for anyone allergic to wool. Proven in climates around the world, this fabric is worn by outdoor enthusiasts and travelers who demand durable clothing.
Xorel – An environmentally conscious alternative to vinyl. It’s woven from polyethylene, is very safe in manufacture, use, and disposal, incredibly durable, and easy to clean. (read more about Xorel)