Fabric Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y

A

Abrasion Resistance
Typically measured in "double rubs", the degree by which a fabric is able to withstand loss of appearance through surface wear, rubbing, chafing, and other friction.

Acetate
A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is cellulose acetate. Acetate fabrics are fast-drying, wrinkle and shrinkage resistant, crisp or soft in hand depending upon the end use, and luxurious in appearance.

Acrylic
A man-made fiber known for its soft, wool-like hand. Solution-dyed versions such as Sunbrella feature excellent resistance to sunlight and chlorine.

Aesthetics
In textiles, properties perceived by touch and sight, such as hand, color, luster, drape and texture of fabrics or garments.

Angora
The fleece of the Angora goat takes it name from the city of Ankara in Turkey. Since at least the Middle Ages, the farmers near Ankara specialized in raising these long-haired goats for their silky fleece, which they exported all over the world. Today, mills in England, Holland, Belgium and the U.S. weave genuine mohair fabrics. Mohair has a lustrous appearance, dyes especially well, and is known for its very long fiber and great strength.

Anti-Bacterial (Anti-Microbial)
A fabric or a fiber that incorporates an anti-bacterial chemical agent into the fiber formula, making the finished fiber or fabric resistant to, or inhibiting the growth of micro-organisms. Useful in outdoor, healthcare and hospitality applications.

B

Backing
A knit or woven backing material used to provide strength and tear-resistance to fabrics in order to make them suitable for additional applications such as wallcovering or upholstery.

Bargello
A modified zigzag or flamelike design, or any pattern like this. Originated as a needlepoint stitch.

Barre
An imperfection, characterized by a ridge or mark running in the crosswise or lengthwise directions of the fabric. Barrés can be caused by tension variations in the knitting process, poor quality yarns and problems during the finishing process.

Bartack
To reinforce a seam with a bar of stitches that provides a more durable seam end (commonly used at points of strain).

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.

Blackout Lining
A thick, plain fabric, usually white or off-white in color, used in conjunction with drapery fabric. Blackout is used to prevent light from passing through drapery.

Bleaching
A process of whitening fibers, yarns, or fabrics by removing the natural and artificial impurities to obtain clear whites for finished fabric, or in preparation for dyeing and finishing. The materials may be treated with chemicals or exposed to sun, air, and moisture.

Blend
A yarn or a fabric that is made up of more than one fiber. In blended yarns, two or more different types of staple fibers are twisted or spun together to form the yarn. Examples of a typical blended yarn or fabric is polyester/cotton.

Boston Fire Code BFD-IX 1
The purpose of this test is to limit the flammability of decorations, including not only decorative materials, i.e. curtains and draperies, but also upholstery materials and surface coverings applied over a building\'s interior finish. A stricter test than the UFAC Class 1.

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 as well as decorative fabrics.

Boucle yarn
A novelty yarn with loops which give fabrics a rough appearance. Some boucle yarns have cotton cores with other fibers wound around them. Boucle yarns may be made from wool, cotton, silk, linen, man-made fibers, or combinations of fibers.

Breathability
The movement of water or water vapor from one side of the fabric to the other, caused by capillary action, wicking, chemical, or electrostatic action. Also known as moisture transport.

Bright
The term applied to fibers whose luster has not been reduced by physical or chemical means; the opposite of dull or matte.

Brocade
A heavy, exquisite jacquard type fabric with an all-over raised pattern or floral design. Often gives an embossed appearance by contrasting surface colors and gold or silver yarns.

Brocatelle
A fabric similar to brocade with a satin or twill figure in high relief on a plain or satin background.

Brushing
A finishing process for fabrics in which brushes or other abrading devices are used to permit the fibers in the yarns to be raised to create a nap on fabrics or create a novelty surface texture. Creates a softer-handed fabric.

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. 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. Burn-out effects can also be created on velvets made of blended fibers. When the chemical is printed in a certain pattern, it destroys the pile in some areas where the chemical comes in contact with the fabric, but leaves the other parts unharmed.

Back To Top

C

Calendering
A process for finishing fabrics in which such special effects as high luster, glazing, embossing, and moiré are produced.

Calfskin
Skin from a young bovine, male or female.

Calico
A tightly-woven cotton type fabric with an all-over print, usually a small floral pattern on a contrasting background color. Typically used in apparel and quilting.

California Technical Bulletin 117 Section E
To meet the requirements of this test, a fabric must meet UFAC Class 1. However, of all the flammability test procedures, this test is probably the most minimal.

California Technical Bulletin 133
This test applies to the entire piece of furniture, including fabric, foam and frame. Because the test requires a fully made piece of furniture to be tested, no fabric by itself can be said to meet this specification.

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.

Carding
A process which eliminates fibers too short for inclusion in the spun yarn. The process also removes dirt and foreign matter still remaining in the fiber mass, and arranges the fibers into a very thin layer.

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

Cellulose
A carbohydrate which is the chief component of the cell walls of plants. Cellulose is found in wood and in cotton, linen, jute, hemp, and all of the bast, leaf and stem fibers. It is the basic raw material in the manufacture of rayon, acetate, and triacetate fibers.

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

Chenille
A specialty yarn, characterized by a pile protruding on all sides, resembling a caterpillar. Chenille yarn is used mainly for decorative fabrics, embroidery, tassels, and rugs, and creates a plush, typically soft, yet durable fabric.

Chevron
A herringbone weave or print in zig-zag stripes.

Chinoiserie
A pattern derived from Chinese floral or pastoral designs. Typically used in printed fabrics, it can also be seen in jacquard wovens.

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

Cleaning Code
Furniture and textile manufacturers have adopted a voluntary uniform standard for fabric cleanability. Each fabric is marked with a code which indicates the appropriate cleaning method or methods. These typically include W - for water-based cleaning agents, S - for solvent-based cleaning agents, W/S - where either may be used, and X - for vacuum or light brushing only. Please note that these are general guidelines for care. Prior to making any attempt at cleaning, we recommend that you contact your fabric supplier for appropriate cleaning instructions or contact a fabric cleaning professional.

Coated Fabrics
Fabrics that have been coated with a lacquer, varnish, rubber, plastic resin of polyvinyl chloride (PVC Vinyl) or polyethylene, polyurethane, or other substance to make them longer lasting, improve cleanability or make them impervious to water or other liquids.

Cold Crack
"Cold Crack" refers to the point at which a vinyl-coated fabric will lose it pliability and crack due to long exposure to extreme cold. This performance characteristic is an important factor to consider in choosing a vinyl fabric for outdoor (snowmobile, motorcycle, playset, etc.) use.

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

Combing
The combing process is an additional step beyond carding. In this process the fibers are arranged in a highly parallel form, and additional short fibers are removed, producing high quality yarns with excellent strength, fineness, and uniformity.

Commercial Moisture Regain
An arbitrary value adopted as the moisture regain to be used in calculating the commercial or legal weight of a fiber shipment.

Commercial Weight
1. In natural fibers, the dry weight of fibers or yarns plus the commercial moisture regain. 2. In man-made fibers, the dry weight of staple spun yarns, or filament yarns after scouring, by prescribed methods, plus the commercial moisture regain.

Contemporary Fabric
Refers to fabrics with a modern look. Often characterized by geometric or abstract designs.

Contract Fabric
Heavy duty wearing material, made to certain specifications; for example particular, flammability codes or abrasion resistance. The end use is normally hospitality or public places. For contract use, a fabric must meet a minimum abrasion resistance of 30,000 double rubs.

Converter
An individual or organization which buys greige fabrics and sells them as a finished product to cutters, wholesalers, retailers, and others. The converter arranges for the finishing of the fabric, namely bleaching, mercerizing, dyeing, printing, etc., to the buyers' specifications.

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

Cotton
A natural fiber that grows in the seed pod of the cotton plant. The most widely used natural fiber, cotton has a high strength and softness, which gives it great versatility.

Cotton Fiber
A unicellular, natural fiber composed of almost pure cellulose. As taken from plants, the fiber is found in lengths of 3/8 to 2 inches. For marketing, the fibers are graded and classed for length, strength, and color.

Cotton Count
The yarn numbering system based on length and weight originally used for cotton yarns and now employed for most staple yarns spun on the cotton, or short-staple, system. It is based on a unit length of 840 yards, and the count of the yarn is equal to the number of 840-yard skeins required to weigh 1 pound. Under this system, the higher the number, the finer the yarn. (Also see Yarn Number.)

Cotton Print
Fabric designs printed on a cotton base cloth.

Country of Origin
Country of Origin refers to the source of the finished textile, that is, where it was woven. Component yarns making the fabric may have been manufactured in other locations around the world, but a fabric's origin is where it has been woven into its finished state.

Crocking
The rubbing-off of dye from a fabric.

C.O.M.
C.O.M. stands for "Customer's Own Material".

Cross Section
The shape of an individual filament when cut at right angles to its axis. Normal shapes for man-made fibers vary, e.g., round, serrated or crenular and bean shaped. The shapes of man-made fibers may be modified by changing the shape of the holes in the spinneret. Cross sectional variants are produced intentionally in a wide variety of shapes for different physical effects such as change in luster or hand, improved resistance to soiling, etc. Examples are trilobal and other multilobal shapes.

Crypton
Crypton is a patented textile-finishing process applied to textiles which meet a strict series of criteria, creating textiles that are stain, water, and bacteria resistant. Typically used in hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, health care, and other heavy traffic applications, Crypton provides a softer, better-looking alternative to other moisture resistant materials such as vinyl and hard surfaces. Crypton can also be used in the home for care-free, long-lasting freedom from spills, odors and stains.

Cut Length
Cut length is the length of fabric after allowances have been made for headings and hems.

Cut Pile
Cut pile is a fabric in which the pile is cut rather than looped, creating a velvet effect.

Cut Velvet
Velvet with a cut-out pile that creates a pattern or design.

Cut Width
Cut width is the width of fabric after allowances have been made for headings and hems.

Cut Yardage
Cut yardage is a fabric or trimming ordered to a specific measurement, as opposed to purchasing by the piece or bolt.

Back To Top

D

Damask
Damask was originally a rich silk fabric with woven floral designs made in China and introduced to Europe through Damascus, from which it derived its name. Typically, damasks are woven with a single beam (warp) with one or two weft colors. Fancy damasks reveal a smooth warp satin in the background with a low luster, reverse satin in the motif. In two color damasks, the colors reverse on both sides. Single damask is made with a five-harness satin weave; the true, or double (or reverse) damask, is woven with an eight-harness satin weave and has a firm hand. Today, a damask is typically a glossy, jacquard fabric, usually made from linen, cotton, rayon, silk, or blends. A glossy jacquard fabric, usually made from linen, cotton, rayon, silk, or blends. Damask patterns are flat and reversible. The fabric is often used in traditional settings.

Denier
A weight-per-unit-length measure of any linear material.

Yarn Denier
The denier of a filament yarn. It is the product of the denier per filament and the number of filaments in the yarn.

Denim
True denim is a twill weave cotton fabric made with different colored yarns in the warp and the weft. Due to the twill construction, one color predominates on the fabric surface.

Ditzy
A term used to refer to any small scaled patterns which may include checks, dots, fans, diamonds and more. A decorative weave, characterized by small figures, usually geometric, that are woven into the fabric. Standard dobby fabrics are usually flat and have relatively simple designs, as opposed to jacquard-woven fabrics.

Drawing
The hot or cold stretching of continuous filament yarn or tow to align and arrange the crystalline structure of the molecules in order to achieve improved tensile properties.

Duck
A tightly woven, heavy, plain-weave, fabric with a hard, durable finish. Duck is a broad term for a wide range of plain weave fabrics. Duck is usually made of cotton, although sometimes linen is used. The terms‚ "canvas" and "duck" are often interchangeable, but canvas is often used to refer to heavier constructions. The term duck had its origins before the mid-19th century when all canvas for sails was imported. The light flax sail fabrics imported mostly from England and Scotland bore the trademark stencil of a raven, while the weights bore the trademark of a duck. The word duck became associated with a heavy fabric and was applied to cotton canvas when it was first manufactured in the U.S.

Dull
A term applied to man-made fibers that have been chemically or physically modified to reduce their normal luster. Matte; opposite to bright; low in luster.

Durability
The ability of a fabric to resist wear through continual use. May refer to abrasion resistance, tear strength, lightfastness or seam strength, among other characteristics.

Dyeing
A process of coloring fibers, yarn, or fabrics with either natural or synthetic dyes. Some of the major dyeing processes are described below.

Spun Dyed
A term to describe a man-made fiber (yarn, staple, or tow) which has been colored by the introduction of pigments or insoluble dyes into the polymer melt or spinning solution prior to extrusion. Usually, the colors are fast to most destructive agents.

Yarn Dyeing
The dyeing of yarn before the fabric is woven or knit. Yarn can be dyed in the form of skeins, muffs, packages, cheeses, cakes, chain-warps, and beams.

Basic Dyes
A class of positive-ion carrying dyes known for their brilliant hues. Basic dyes are composed of large-molecule, water-soluble salts which have a direct affinity for wool and silk and can be applied to cotton with a mordant. The fastness of basic dyes on these fibers is very poor. Basic dyes are also used on basic-dyeable acrylics, modacrylics, and polyesters, on which they exhibit reasonably good fastness.

Back To Top

E

Ease-Of-Care
A term used to characterize fabrics that can be restored to their original appearance after laundering with a minimum of ironing or other restoration. An ease-of-care fabric generally wrinkles only slightly upon laundering.

Elasticity
The ability of a strained material to recover its original size and shape immediately after removal of the stress that causes deformation.

Elongation
The deformation in the direction of load caused by a tensile force. Elongation is measured in: (1) units of length (e.g., centimeters, inches), or (2) calculated as a percentage of the original specimen length. Elongation may be measured at any specified load or at the breaking load.

F

FAR 25.853 (B)
This flammability test applies to fabrics used as upholstery coverings in aircraft. One of the more stringent specifications for a fabric to pass.

Filament
A fiber of an indefinite or extreme length such as found naturally in silk. Man-made fibers are extruded into filaments which are converted into filament yarn, staple, or tow.

Filament Yarn
A yarn composed of continuous filaments assembled with or without twist.

Filling
In a woven fabric, the yarn running from selvage to selvage at right angles to the warp. Each crosswise length is called a pick. In the weaving process, the filling yarn is carried by the shuttle or other type of yarn carrier.

Finishing
All the processes through which fabric is passed after bleaching, dyeing, or printing in preparation for the market or use. Finishing includes such operations as heat-setting, napping, embossing, pressing, calendering, and the application of chemicals which change the character of the fabric. The term finishing is also sometimes used to refer collectively to all processing operations above, including bleaching, dyeing, printing, etc.

Finish
A surface application on the leather to color, protect, or mask imperfections. More specifically, all processes administered to leather after it has been tanned.

Flame Resistant
Fabrics treated with special chemical agents or finishes to make them resistant to burning. Today many fabrics achieve this property by using fibers that have this property built directly into the polymer. A fabric is considered flame resistant if it passes federal specifications for specific end-uses. There is no single standard for flame resistance. The level required for your application will be dictated by your local fire marshal.

Flame Retardant
A chemical applied to a fabric, or incorporated into the fiber at the time of production, which significantly reduces a fabric's flammability.

Flame Stitch
Fabric design of a zig-zag that has the appearance of flames. Can be multi-colored or tone-on-tone.

FMVSS-302
A performance criteria and a test method for the flammability of all trim material including upholstery fabrics used inside the passenger compartment of autos sold in the USA.

Back To Top

G

Glazing
A finishing process which produces a smooth, highly polished, or lustrous surface on a fabric such as chintz.

Greige Fabric
A fabric just off the loom or knitting machine, i.e., in an unfinished state.

H

Hand
A qualitative term used in the fabric industry to describe the tactile properties of a fabric, that is, the feel, i.e., the softness or fullness of an upholstery fabric. Literally, the word refers to the feel of a fabric in the hand.

Herringbone
A variation on the twill weave construction in which the twill is reversed, or broken, at regular intervals, producing a zig-zag effect. Also known as chevron.

Hydrophilic
Having strong affinity for or the ability to absorb water.

Hydrophobic
Lacking affinity for or the ability to absorb water.

Back To Top

I

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. Sometimes used to refer to the distinctive geometric patterns utilized in ikat work.

J

Jacquard
A system of weaving which utilizes a highly versatile pattern mechanism to permit the production of large, intricate designs. Woven fabrics manufactured using the Jacquard attachment on a 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.

K

Knife Edge
A knife edge is a seam without a decorative finish.

L

Leatherette
A manufactured product which imitates leather.

Linen
A fabric made from linen fibers obtained from flax plant. These fibers are much stronger and more lustrous than cotton. Linen fabrics are very cool and absorbent, but wrinkle very easily, unless blended with manufactured fibers. Linen is much stronger and more lustrous than cotton.

Lisere
A traditional decorative fabric design characterized by vertical colored bands which encompass a floral motif.

Long Staple
A long fiber. In reference to cotton, long staple indicates a fiber length of not less than 11/8 inches. In reference to wool, the term indicates fiber 3 to 4 inches long suitable for combing.

Loom
A machine for weaving fabric by interlacing a series of vertical, parallel threads (the warp) with the series of horizontal, parallel threads (the filling).

Back To Top

M

Marine Use
Textiles suitable for marine use typically have the following characteristics: Ultraviolet Resistant pigments, which resist fading from frequent exposure to the sun; Mildew-resistant additives and overall water-resistance.

Matelasse
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 some apparel.

Matte Finish
A flat or dull finish.

Metric Count
The number of kilometers per kilogram of yarn.

Microfibers/Microdeniers
The name given to ultra-fine manufactured fibers and the fabrics made from them. Fibers made using microfiber technology, provide a superior hand, a gentle drape, and incredible softness. Microfibers are two times finer than silk, three times finer than cotton, eight times finer than wool, and one hundred times finer than a human hair. Four types of microfibers are made currently. These include acrylic, nylon, polyester, and rayon.

Mohair
Mohair is long, white, lustrous hair obtained from the Angora goat [See "Angora"]. It is stronger and more durable than wool. Mohair, mentioned in the Old Testament, has been a luxury fabric for 3000 years. Mohair plush is a fabric with a cut pile of mohair yarns. Mohair plush is lustrous and extremely long-wearing. Mohair takes dyes excellently, is fireproof, and is specified for premium upholstery, such as concert hall and board room seating.

Muslin
Muslin is a plain weave, strong cotton cloth.

MVSS-302
This specification is for the flammability of all trim material including upholstery fabrics used inside the passenger compartment of passenger vehicles sold in the United States.

N

Nap
A fuzzy, fur-like feel given to the surface of a cloth when fiber ends extend from the basic fabric structure to the fabric surface. The fabric can be napped on either one or both sides. Fabrics typical of having "nap" are suede cloth and velvet.

Natural Fiber
A class name for various genera of fibers (including filaments) of: (1) animal, (2) mineral, (3) vegetable origin. For example: (1) silk, wool and mohair, (2) asbestos, and (3) cotton, flax, jute, hemp and ramie.

Back To Top

O

Olefin
A manufactured fiber characterized by its light weight, high strength, and abrasion resistance.

Ombre
A color effect which is changeable in shade from light to dark, generally produced by using warp yarns of different tones. Ombre effects may also be produced by printing.

Ottoman
A tightly woven plain weave ribbed fabric with a hard slightly lustered surface. The ribbed effect is created by weaving a finer warp yarn with a heavier fill yarn. In the construction, the heavier filler yarn is completely covered by the warp yarn, thus creating the ribbed effect.

Outdoor Fabric
Outdoor fabrics, such as Sunbrella brand fabrics, typically feature solution-dyed yarns. These yarns make them suitable for outdoor use due to their increased stain and mildew resistance, and easy cleanability. Other fabrics suitable for outdoor use include vinyl-coated fabrics, which typically contain mildew-inhibiting and ultraviolet-resistant ingredients which will ensure that you will enjoy them for a long time.

P

Patina
A surface appearance of something grown beautiful, especially with age or use; an appearance or aura that is derived from association, habit, or established character.

Performance Fabrics
Fabrics made for a variety of end-use applications, which provide functional qualities, such as abrasion resistance, moisture management, UV protection, anti-microbial, cleanability, and wind/water resistance.

Pick
A filling yarn that runs crosswise between selveges in woven goods. The pick intersects with the warp (or lengthwise yarn) to form a woven cloth.

Pile
1. A fabric effect formed by introducing tufts, loops, or other erect yarns on all or part of the fabric surface. Types are warp, filling, and knotted pile, or loops produced by weaving an extra set of yarns over wires which are then drawn out of the fabric. 2. In carpets, pile refers to the face yarn, as opposed to backing or support yarn. Pile carpets are produced by either tufting or weaving.

Pile Fabric
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. Velvet, corduroy and suede cloth are examples of pile fabrics.

Plaid
A pattern consisting of colored bars or stripes which cross each other at right angles, comparable with a Scottish tartan.

Plying
Twisting together two or more single yarns or ply yarns to form, respectively, ply yarn or cord.

Polyester Fiber
A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any long chain synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of an ester of dihydric alcohol and terephthalic acid (FTC definition). Fiber forms produced are filament, staple, and tow. Polymerization is accomplished at a high temperature, using a vacuum. The glycol and ester reaction forms a polymer chain, releasing methanol. The filaments are spun in a melt-spinning process, stretched several times their original length, orients the long chain molecules and gives the fiber strength.
Characteristics: Polyester fibers have high strength and are resistant to shrinking and stretching. Fabrics are quick-drying and tend to have wrinkle resistance and crease retention, wet and dry. Polyester is used alone and in blends.

Polyethylene Fiber
A man-made fiber made of polyethylene, usually in monofilament form; although work has been done on continuous filament yarns and staple. Ethylene is polymerized at high pressures and the resulting polymer is melt-spun and cold drawn. It may also be dry-spun from xylene solution.
Characteristics: Polyethylene fibers have a low specific gravity, extremely low moisture regain, the same tensile strength wet and dry, and are resistant to attack by mildew and insects.

Polymer
A high molecular chain-like structure from which man-made fibers are derived, produced by linking together molecular units called monomers.

Polyester
A manufactured fiber introduced in the early 1950s, and is second only to cotton in worldwide use. Polyester has high strength (although somewhat lower than nylon), excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Often blended with cotton to provide the benefits of both fibers.

Polypropylene
A manufactured fiber characterized by its light weight, high strength, and abrasion resistance.

Print
A fabric with designs applied by means of dyes or pigments used on engraved rollers, blocks, or screens.

Back To Top

R

Raw Fiber
A textile fiber in its natural state, such as silk "in the gum" and cotton as it comes from the bale.

Rayon
A manufactured fiber composed of cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters, or other vegetable matter. Various names for Rayon are used depending on the process used to make it, such as viscose. Rayon yarns are made in a wide range of types in regard to size, physical characteristics, strength, elongation, luster, handle, suppleness, etc. They may be white or solution dyed. Strength is regulated by the process itself and the structure of the yarn. The suppleness of the yarn is controlled by the number of filaments in the yarn, the denier or gauge of the individual filaments or fibers, and the fiber cross-section.

Railroaded
Orientation of a fabric's design where the pattern is turned on its side, top to bottom as if viewed with it coming off a roll.

Repeat
An entire completed pattern for design and texture. Repeats vary in size considerably, depending on the weave, type of material, texture and use of cloth.

Ribbon
Narrow fabric made in several widths and a variety of weaves and used as a trimming.

S

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

Shantung
A medium-weight, plain weave fabric, characterized by a ribbed effect, resulting from slubbed yarns used in the warp or filling direction. Typically made with silk, but also made from synthetics such as polyester.

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

Singles Yarn
The simplest strand of textile material suitable for operations such as weaving and knitting. A single yarn may be formed from fibers with more or less twist; from filaments with or without twist; from narrow strips of material such as paper, cellophane, or metal foil; or from monofilaments. When twist is present, it is all in the same direction.

Spinneret
A metal disc containing numerous minute holes used in yarn extrusion. The spinning solution or melted polymer is forced through the holes to form the yarn filaments.

Spinning
The process or processes used in the production of single yarns.

Spun Yarn
1. A yarn consisting of staple fibers usually bound together by twist. 2. A melt-spun fiber before it is drawn.

Stress-Strain Curve
A graphical representation, showing the relationship between the change in dimension (in the direction of the applied stress) of the specimen from the application of an external stress, and the magnitude of that stress. In tension tests of textile materials, the stress may be expressed either in: (1) units of force per unit cross-sectional area, or in (2) force per unit linear density of the original specimen, and the strain may be expressed either as a fraction or as a percentage of the original specimen length.

Sueding
The process of raising fibers in a fabric to give a velvet nap effect. Also referred to as "napping".

Sunbrella
Sunbrella brand fabrics are made for outdoor and indoor use. Their solution-dyed acrylic yarns inherently resist fading from sunlight, resist mildew and can even be cleaned with a bleach solution to get rid of the toughest stains - without harming the fabric.

Back To Top

T

Tapestry
A heavy, ribbed fabric, typically featuring an elaborate design or pictorial display. The 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.

Tenacity
The tensile stress when expressed as force per unit linear density of the unstrained specimen (e.g., grams per tex or grams per denier.)

Tex
1. A unit for expressing linear density, equal to the weight in grams of 1 kilometer of yarn, filament, fiber, or other textile strand. 2. The system of yarn numbering based on the use of tex units.

Textured
An adjective used to describe continuous filament man-made yarns (and woven and knit fabrics made therefrom) which have been crimped or have had random loops imparted, or which have been otherwise modified to create a different surface texture.

Texturing
The process of crimping, imparting random loops, or otherwise modifying continuous filament yarn to increase cover, resilience, abrasion resistance, warmth, insulation, and moisture absorption or to provide a different surface texture. Texturing methods can be placed roughly into six groups.

Thread
A slender, strong strand or cord, especially one designed for sewing or other needlework. Most threads are made by plying and twisting yarns. A wide variety of thread types is in use today, e.g., spun cotton and spun polyester, core-spun cotton with a polyester filament core, polyester or nylon filaments (often bonded), and monofilament threads. A general term for yarns used in weaving and knitting, as in "thread count" and "warp threads."

Toile
A fabric, typically a printed fabric, with scenic designs printed in one color usually depicting pastoral scenes.

Transitional
A hybrid of design elements borrowed multiple eras or styles of design; quite often traditional design blended with contemporary.

Tweed
A medium to heavy weight, fluffy, woolen, twill weave fabric containing colored slubbed yarns.

Back To Top

U

UFAC Class 1
The basic test method designed to determine the flammability performance level of upholstery fabric in contact with polyurethane foam, specifically with respect to cigarette ignition resistance.

UFAC Class 2
Textiles which do not meet the flammability criteria of UFAC Class I for upholstered furniture are considered UFAC Class II. To meet the UFAC Flammability specifications, these textiles should be used in conjunction with a flame-retardant lining material between the textile cover and the upholstery foam.

V

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. Velvet is commonly made with a filament fiber for high luster and smooth hand.

Velour
Generally, a soft, closely woven fabric with a short, thick pile, weighing about 10 to 20 ounces per yard and made in a plain or satin weave. Velour is usually made of cotton or wool, or with a cotton warp in wool, silk, or mohair velour. It is also made in blends of spun man-made fiber and wool. Velours are used for coats, draperies, upholstery, powder puffs, and other pile items. A felt with velvet-like texture used for men's and women's hats.

Velvet Fabric
A warp-pile woven fabric with short, dense cut pile which produces a rich fabric appearance and soft texture. Two methods are used for weaving velvets. In the double-cloth method, two fabrics are woven face to face with the pile ends interlocking each. A reciprocating knife cuts through these pile ends to produce two separate pieces of velvet. In the second method, pile ends are lifted over cutting wires which are inserted with the filling and which are withdrawn to cut the pile. Velvet is produced in a wide range of constructions and types. It was originally made of silk but now also of cotton or man-made fiber; the latter are sometimes washable.

Viscose Rayon
One type of rayon. It is produced in far greater quantity than cuprammonium rayon, the other commercial type. (Also see rayon fiber.)

W

Warp
1. The set of yarn in all woven fabrics, that runs lengthwise and parallel to the selvage and is interwoven with the filling (weft) yarns. 2. The sheet of yarns wound together on a bean for the purpose of weaving or warp knitting

Weft
In woven fabric, the filling yarns that run perpendicular to the warp yarns, or side-to-side across the roll.

Weaving
The method or process of interlacing two yarns of similar materials so that they cross each other at right angles to produce woven fabric. The warp yarns, or ends, run lengthwise in the fabric, and the filling threads (weft), or picks, run from side to side. Weaving may be done on a power or hand loom or by several hand methods. (Also see LOOM and WOVEN FABRIC.)

Webbing
Strong, narrow fabric, closely woven in a variety of weaves and principally used for belts and straps which will have to withstand strain (e.g., automobile seat belts, reinforcement of upholstery, suspenders, etc.). Elastic webbing is made with spandex or rubber yarns in part of the warp or filling, or both

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

Y

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

Back To Top