"One of the most important aspects of fashion is to know and understand the fabric that is in your hand"

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The ability of a fabric to take in moisture. Absorbency is a very important property, which affects many other characteristics such as skin comfort, static build-up, shrinkage, stain removal, water repellence, and wrinkle recovery.


A manufactured fiber formed by compound of cellulose, refined from cotton linters and/or wood pulp, and acidic acid that has been extruded through a spinneret and then hardened. It resists shrinkage, moths and mildew, but is not a strong fabric as it breaks easily and has poor resistance to abrasion. It has a soft crisp feel and a lustrous face, which are its signature characteristics.


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

Alencon Lace

An ornate needle lace fabric with a floral design on a sheer net background, originating from the French town of Alencon in the 16th century.


One of the finest fur fibers made. Angora comes from the natural hair of the Angora rabbit – long, silky, fine and fluffy but sheds and mats over time.


A cutout fabric decoration attached to a larger piece of fabric, in order to add depth, designs or contrasting colours. Some appliqués are the same colour tone as the base fabric.


A design featuring interlinking diamond shapes of varying colours, in a diagonal checkerboard pattern. Thought to have been derived from the tartan of Clan Campbell, of Argyll, Scotland.


Baize is a loose woollen fabric, with finely cut nap on both sides. This heavily felted material is traditionally dyed either red or green and is used for simple clothing, as well as drawer linings and tablecloths. Derived from the French baie, the Spanish name for baize is bayetta.


Bamboo is a natural fiber which is bacteria and odour resistant, as well as absorbent and breatheable. Bamboo’s strength lends excellent durability to a fabric. Some clothing labels use bamboo fibers to roll out ecological friendly lines.


Batik is a fabric dyeing technique originating from Indonesia, which uses wax resistance moulds to create designs. The wax is poured on a cotton fabric and allowed to harden in the shape of the desired design. The cloth is then dyed and the wax removed, with the remaining design in the original cloth colour. This process can be repeated for intricate design work and the characteristic veined look of the Batik is achieved when some dye leaks through cracks in the wax.


An extremely fine, semi-sheer, lightweight, plain weave fabric. It is almost transparent and is usually made of cotton or cotton blends.


A fabric with a crosswise rib, traditionally made from silk, cotton or wool, but now predominantly made from acetate or polyester. Bengaline is similar to faille but heavier in weight.


A term applied to 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 are polyester/cotton.


From the French word meaning curled, boucle is a knit or woven fabric with loops that create an uneven, textured surface at intervals. Because of the fabric’s looped, knotted surface, it has a very supple, bouncy hand.


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.

Burn-out Velvet

The burn-out look is created when fiber-eating chemicals are printed on the fabric instead of color. The desired pattern is left imprinted in the velvet leaving the backing untouched.


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


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.


A lightweight plain weave cotton or linen cloth, slightly heavier than muslin, which is closely woven and calendared to give a slight sheen on one side. The material was originally a linen fabric woven in Cambrai in northern France.

Camel Hair

A premium luxury material, similar in look and feel to cashmere, made from the under wool of the camel. Extremely soft, camel hair is typically found in dressy jackets and overcoats.


An extremely heavy-duty, plain weave fabric. Made from plied yarns and has an even weave.


The process of opening, disentangling, cleaning and then separating fibers to produce a continuous strand which is then spun into a yarn. Performed on a machine called a card.


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


A plain woven fabric, typically made from cotton or synthetic fibers, that is often woven in checkered or striped patterns and has a frosted appearance. Usually made from blue and white yarns and used to make shirts, dresses and children’s clothing, the fabric originated in the town of Cambrai in northern France.

Chantilly Lace

A lace featuring a netted background with ornate, often dense embroidered floral patterns with outlines made from heavier threads. Originated in Chantilly, France in the 17th century.


A luxurious, supple, silky fabric with an extremely shiny face and a dull back, similar to satin but lighter in weight. Usually made from rayon or cotton, but premium varieties are made from silk.


A material derived from the cell walls of certain plants. Cellulose is used in the production of many vegetable fibers, as well as being the major raw material component used in the production of the manufactured fibers of acetate, rayon, and triacetate.


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.


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


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


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.

Compact Yarns

A spinning technology that increases the yarn quality. Compact yarns have better smoothness and uniformity, higher luster, less hairiness which results in less pilling and are stronger than conventional ring spun yarns.


An exceptionally durable fabric, usually made of cotton or a cotton blend, composed of twisted fibers that, when woven, lie parallel to one another to form the cloth’s distinct parallel ribbed pattern, a “cord.” The number of ribs, or wales, per inch of fabric indicates the type of corduroy, with values ranging from a very wide 3 wales to pincords with 21 wales per


A unicellular, natural fiber that grows in the seed pods of the cotton plant. The fibers are spun into yarns to create a comfortable, breathable, machine washable fabrics that are the most widely used natural-fiber materials in the world. Fibers are typically 1/2 inch to 2 inches long. The longest staple fibers, longer than 1 1/2 inch, including the Pima and Egyptian varieties, produce the highest quality cotton fabrics.


A fine, almost gauzelike fabric made of synthetic or natural fibers that are twisted to give a slightly crinkled texture. It can be found in a variety of different weights and levels of sheerness. Crepes are dull with a harsh dry feel.

Crepe-back Satin

A satin fabric in which the wrong side has the crinkled texture of crepe, while the right side has a smooth, shiny satin finish.

Crepe de Chine

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


The waviness or curvature of a fiber or yarn. Can be found naturally, as with wool, or can be mechanically produced.


From the French word meaning hook, crochet is the method of creating fabric from yarn using a crochet hook, a tool with a knobbed end used for pulling loops of yarn through other loops. Similar to knitting, although crochet only involves one active loop at a time.


This is the European cousin of Tencel where the base material is a regenerated cellulose fiber. Cupro has wood pulp or cotton linters as its base material. Cupro fabric breathes like cotton, has a curve hugging beautiful drape and feels exactly like silk.


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.


A system of measuring the weight of a continuous filament fiber.


True denim is a twill weaves cotton-like fabric made with different colour yarns in the warp and the weft. Due to the twill construction, one color predominates on the fabric surface.


A type of weave using for decorations, featuring woven geometric patterns.

Donegal Tweed

A medium to heavy of plain or twill weave fabric in which colourful yarn slubs are woven into the fabric. The name originally applied to a hand-woven woollen tweed fabric made in Donegal, Ireland. End-uses include winter coats and suits.

Double Cloth

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

Double Knit

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

Double Weave

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

Dupioni Silk

The silk yarns are made from the cocoon of two silk worms that have nested together. In spinning, the double strand is not separated, creating uneven yarns that give the fabric a crisp texture with irregular slubs. Also referred to as dupion or doupioni.


The ability of a fabric to resist wears through continual use.

Durable Press

A treatment applied to the fabric in the finishing process in which it maintains a smooth attractive appearance, resists wrinkling, and retains creases or pleats during laundering.


The ability of a fiber or fabric to return to its original length, shape, or size immediately after the removal of stress.


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


An embellishment of a fabric or garment in which colour threads are sewn on to the fabric to create a design. Embroidery may be done either by hand or machine.


A type of fabric which contains patterned cut-outs, around stitching or embroidery may be applied in order to prevent the fabric from ravelling.


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


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


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.


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


A manufactured fiber of indefinite length (continuous), extruded from the spinneret during the fiber production process.


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


Any extra items attached to a garment during the manufacturing process. This can include trims, buttons, hooks, snaps, or embellishments.

Finished Fabric

A fabric that has gone through all the necessary finishing processes, and is ready to be used in the manufacturing of garments.


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.


The natural fiber, grown chiefly in Western and Eastern Europe that is used in the production of linen. Flax seeds are also used as a dietary supplement and are used to make linseed oil.


An all-wool or synthetic knit fabric with a deep soft pile. It provides good insulation without the too much weight or bulk. Also the term for the complete shaving of a sheep’s wool at one time.


Metal layering that adds shine, color or designs to the underlying fabric. often found on spandex and stretch fabrics.


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.


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.


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.


A measurement most commonly associated with knitting equipment. It can mean the number of needles per inch in a knitting machine. However, in full fashioned hosiery and sweater machines, the number of needles per 1-1/2 inches represents the gauge.


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.


A sheer lightweight fabric, often made of silk or from such manufactured fibers as polyester, with a crepe surface. It is thin and semi-sheer and is characterized by its crispness and exceptional strength. End-uses include dresses and blouses.


A device invented by Eli Whitney that separates the cotton fiber from the cotton seed. Prior to this machine, the separation was done by hand.


A checkered pattern fabric featuring dyed and undyed fibers, most often made from cotton.


An extremely lightweight, sheer, shiny fabric, typically made from silk, similar to gauze.

Greasy Wool

Sheep’s wool that has not been fully scoured, and still retains its natural grease and lanolin.


A heavy, tightly woven ribbed fabric typically made from silk. Used in formal wear and for neckties.


The Guanaco is a prized native South American camelid that produces fibers second only in value and prestige to that of the Vicuna. Its fineness is about 16 – 18 Micron.


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


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


A yarn that is spun using pre-dyed fibers. These fibers are blended together to give a particular look.


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


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


A two-toned pattern featuring broken checks or pointed shapes, originating in Scotland. Popular in 1960′s style jackets, suits and hats. Also referred to as dog’s tooth.

Hydrophilic Fibers

Fibers that absorb water easily, take longer to dry, and require more ironing.

Hydrophobic Fibers

Fibers that lack the ability to absorb water.


A manual weaving style that involves resist dyeing the warp or weft threads before the fabric is created. Originating in Southeast Asia, Ikat fabrics can be extremely ornate and intricate, often featuring detailed designs or larger pictures. The more difficult method of double Ikat involves the dyeing of both the warp and weft threads.


Fabrics used to support, reinforce and give shape to fashion fabrics in sewn products. Often placed between the lining and the outer fabric. It can be made from yarns or directly from fibers, and may be either woven, nonwoven, or knitted.


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


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.


Woven fabrics manufactured by using the weaving method invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard, that involves the Jacquard attachment on the loom. This attachment provides versatility in designs and permits individual control of each of the warp yarns. Thus, intricately woven fabrics of almost any type or complexity can be made, including brocade and damask. Silk, polyester and rayon are commonly used in the Jacquard process.

Jacquard Knit

A weft double knit fabric in which a Jacquard type of mechanism is used. This device individually controls needles or small groups of needles, and allows very complex and highly patterned knits to be created.

Jersey Fabric

The consistent interlooping of yarns in the jersey stitch to produce a fabric with a smooth, flat face, and a more textured, but uniform back. The material has length-wise ribs on the right side, and cross-wise ribs on the wrong side. It is crease-resistant, very resilient, and has the flexibility and stretch of knit. Usually made from wool, cotton or silk, but synthetics are often used as well.

Jersey Stitch

A basic stitch used in weft knitting, in which each loop formed in the knit is identical. The jersey stitch is also called the plain, felt, or stockinet stitch.


A short, lightweight, cotton-like, vegetable fiber found in the seed pods of the Bombocaceae tree, native to Central and South America. The fiber is water resistant and buoyant, and while difficult to spin and weave, is often found as filling in mattresses, pillows, life vests and upholstery.


A yellowish earth tone color, also a rugged twill weave fabric, often in the same dusty brown color. First named and utilized in 1848 by English soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

Kid Mohair

The long, lustrous hair from the Angora goat is renowned for its durability and strength. The best quality is from South Africa. The young goats produce hair fineness of about 24 – 26 Micron.


A type of yarn texturizing in which a crimped yarn is made by knitting the yarn into a fabric, and then heat-setting the fabric. The yarn is then unravelled from the fabric and used in this permanently crinkled form.

Knit Fabrics

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


A decorative open fabric made through knitting or looping yarns together. Lace also refers to design work on top of a base fabric, resulting in a raised pattern.

Lamb’s Wool

The first clip of wool sheered from lambs up to eight months old. The wool is soft, slippery and resilient. It is used in fine grade woollen fabrics.


Pronounced “lamay”, lame is a woven fabric using flat silver or gold metal threads to create either the design or the background in the fabric.

Laser cut fabric

The process of using a narrow concentrated beam of hot lazer to cut designs into the fabric.


A light, fine cloth made using carded or combed, linen or cotton yarns, originating in Laon, France. 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 coloured, or printed, often found in summery blouses and dresses.


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


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


A machine used for weaving fabrics.


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


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


A manufactured fiber made from wood pulp cellulose, an environmentally-friendly material found in plants cells. It is classified as a sub-category of rayon, with a similar soft hand and drape, but slightly more durable. It has a subtle sheen and is very breathable.


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.


Made from wool fibers, sometimes combined with synthetics, in either a twill or satin weave. A heavyweight, dense, compacted, and tightly woven wool or wool blend fabric used mainly for coats. First used as a hunting cloth, the fabric resembles wool felt.


A process of treating a cotton yarn or fabric developed in 1844 by John Mercer to give a shiny, smooth finish to cotton fabric. The fabric or yarn is first signed, then immersed in a caustic soda solution and later neutralized in acid. The process causes a permanent swelling of the fiber, resulting in an increased lustre on the surface of the fabric, an increased affinity for dyes, and increased strength.


A type of wool that originates from pure-bred Merino sheep. The best Merino wool comes from Italy. Australia also produces Merino wool.


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.


The name given to ultra-fine manufactured fibers and the name given to the technology of developing these fibers. The fabrics made from these extra-fine fibers provide a superior hand, a gentle drape, and incredible softness, while retaining their shape.


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


The long, lustrous hair from the Angora goat is renowned for its durability and strength. The best quality is from South Africa. The adult goats produce hair fineness of 36 Micron.

Moisture Regain

The amount of water a completely dry fiber will absorb from the air at a standard condition of 21.1 degree celsius and a relative humidity of 65%.

Moisture Transport

The movement of water from one side of a fabric to the other, caused by capillary action, wicking, chemical or electrostatic action.


The name refers to the short, silky fur of a mole, but is actually a heavy durable cotton fabric with a short, thick, velvety nap. The surface is smooth and dense, resembling suede.


A single filament of a manufactured fiber, usually made in a denier higher than 14. Monofilaments are usually spun singularly, rather than extruded as a group of filaments through a spinneret and spun into a yarn. End-uses include hosiery and sewing thread.


A sheer, lightweight cotton fabric that is produced mainly in India. This plain-weave material can be used a thin blankets or as a backing for quilts.


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


A lightweight, plain weave, made of silk or manufactured fibers, with an open mesh-like appearance. Since the fabric is made with high twist filament yarns, it has a crisp hand. End uses include eveningwear and curtains.

Nonwoven Fabric

Fabrics made directly from individual fibers that are matted together by forming an interlocking web of fibers either mechanically (tangling together) or chemically (gluing, bonding, or melting together).


Produced in 1938, Nylong was the first completely synthetic fiber developed. Known for its strength, quick drying abilities and being abrasion resistant, Nylon has been used in bags to outerwear. Nylon is also highly flexible when blended with natural fibers.


A manufactured fiber characterized by its light weight, high strength, and abrasion resistance. Olefin is also good at transporting moisture, creating a wicking action.


A stiffened, sheer, lightweight, transparent plain weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count, usually made from tightly twisted cotton or polyester yarns, with a crisp finish. Will withstand repeated launderings and still preserve the crisp texture. End-uses include blouses, dresses, and curtains/draperies.


An extremely crisp, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count. The fabric is used primarily in evening and wedding apparel for women. Organza was traditionally the silk version of organdy, but now there are other versions like polyester organza.


A tightly woven plain weave ribbed fabric with a hard slightly lustred 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.


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.


A tear-drop shaped, fancy printed pattern named for the town of Paisley, Scotland, which was one of the major producers of the fabric in the early to mid-19th century. Used in dresses, blouses, and men’s shirts and ties.

Panné Velvet

A type of lustrous, lightweight velvet fabric, usually made of silk or a manufactured fiber, in which the pile is higher than velvet but shorter than plush and has been flattened in one direction.


Similar to cashmere, pashmina is the soft, fine underhair from a variety of goat found in Central Asia. From the Persian word for woollen.

Peau de Soie

A heavy twill weave drapeable satin fabric, made of silk or a manufactured fiber, and used for bridal gowns and eveningwear.


A medium weight, plain weave, low to medium count cotton-like fabric. End-uses include sheets, blouses, and dresses.

Pile Knit

A type of knit construction which utilizes a special yarn or a sliver that is interlooped into a standard knit base.

Pile Weave

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


A tangled ball of fibers that appears on the surface of a fabric, as a result of wear or continued friction or rubbing on the surface of the fabric.

Pima Cotton

Named after the Pima Indians who cultivated this plant in the Southwestern United States, Pima cotton is similar to Egyptian cotton, as it has exceptionally strong, long, combed fibers, dyes well and has a silky soft hand.


A medium-weight, tightly woven cotton or cotton blend fabric generally recognizable by its waffle weave texture.


Also referred to as tartan cloth, plaid originated in the Scottish Highlands as a way to differentiate the different clans. Once denoting the garment itself, plaid is now used to refer to the specific crisscross designs and can be applied to a wide array of fabrics and uses.

Plain Weave

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

Plied Yarn

A twisting together of two or more single yarns in one operation.


A lightweight, plain weave, fabric, made from cotton, rayon, or acetate, and characterized by a puckered striped effect, usually in the warp direction. End-uses include dresses, shirtings, pajamas, and bedspreads.


A manufactured fiber introduced in the early 1950s, and is second only to cotton in worldwide use. Polyester has high strength, excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fiber to dry quickly.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

A waterproof, rubbery textured man-made fabric often found in outdoor upholstery, costumes and specialty apparel.


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. Usually made from a silk warp with a weft of worsted yarn, but can also be made with wool, cotton, rayon, or any mixture.

Purl Stitch

A basic stitch used in weft knitting, which produces knit fabrics that have the same appearance on both sides.


Velvet with a deep, soft pile, plush is easily found in children’s stuffed animals. From the French word peluche meaning hairy, plush fabric can also be knitted for a bit of stretch.


When two or more threads are twisted together before weaving, increasing yarn density and weight.


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 Knit

A warp knitted fabric in which the resulting knit fabric resembles hand crocheted fabrics, lace fabrics, and nettings. A connecting yarn is interwoven among the vertical knit of the fabric.


A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters, or other vegetable matter. It usually has good drape, soft hand and is highly absorbent.


The ability of a fabric to resist such things as wetting and staining by water, stains, soil, etc.


The ability of a fabric to spring back to its original shape after being twisted, crushed, wrinkled, or distorted in any way.

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. Lightweight sweaters in rib knits provide a close, body-hugging fit.

Rib Weave

One of the plain weave variations, which is formed by using: 1) heavy yarns in the warp or filling direction, or 2) a substantially higher number of yarns per inch in one direction than in the other, or 3) several yarns grouped together as one. Rib fabrics are all characterized by having a slight ridge effect in one direction, usually the filling.

Rip-Stop Nylon

A lightweight, wind and water resistant textile. Double yarns create a box pattern to provide extra strength and resistance to tearing. Commonly used in outdoor clothing and equipment as well as outdoor flags because of its extreme durability.


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).


A patented process to pre-shrink fabric, developed by Sanford Pruett in the 1930s. Fabrics treated with this process should never shrink more than 1%.

Sateen Fabric

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

Satin Fabric

A smooth lustrous, shiny fabric with a dull back that has a superb drape and sheen. It is characterized by a weaving technique that forms a minimum number of interlacings in a fabric. Satin differs from sateen in that it is woven using filament fibers such as silk or nylon whereas sateens are woven using short-staple fibers like cotton. Satin is a traditional fabric for evening and wedding garments.

Satin Weave

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.


A woven fabric which incorporates modification of tension control. The result produces a puckered stripe effect in the fabric. Seersucker is traditionally made into summer sportswear such as shirts, trousers, and informal suits.


An overcasting technique done on the cut edge of a fabric to prevent ravelling.


Small metal or plastic discs that are sewn or otherwise affixed to a fabric to add depth, texture or decoration.


A smooth, crisp, non-pattern fabric where the yarns in both the warp and filling are alternately light and colour creating a subtle two-tone appearance.


A medium-weight, plain weave fabric, characterized by a ribbed effect, resulting from slubbed yarns used in the warp or filling direction similar to Dupioni silk, but with a more sophisticated and polished appearance. End-uses include dresses and suits.

Sheer Fabric

A semi-transparent fabric that can be treated to have varying levels of crispness or body. Sheer fabrics are often used as volumizers underneath other fabrics, as draperies, or as sleeves for evening wear.


A natural filament fiber produced by the silkworm in the construction of its cocoon. Most silk is collected from cultivated worms. All silk comes from Asia, primarily China. Silk is a naturally strong, lustrous, and fine fiber that produces long-lasting, versatile, and high-quality multi-purpose fabrics.


A form of embroidery in which fabric is gathered and folded to provide increased stretch and comfort. Developed in the Middle Ages, smocking requires soft, lightweight, durable fabric, often batiste, voile or lawn, and is typically used for collars, cuffs and bodices. Smocking often reduces the fabric’s original width by up to two thirds.


Made with elastic fibers that can be stretched up to five times its original length without damage. When blended with natural fibers, it creates a lightweight and flexible fabric with great shape retention.


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


A metal nozzle type device with very fine holes used in the spinning process of manufactured fibers. The spinning solution is forced or extruded through the small holes to form continuous filament fibers.

Spot Weave

A woven construction in which patterns are built in at spaced intervals through the use of extra warp and/or extra fill yarns are placed in selected areas. These yarns are woven into the fabric by means of a dobby or Jacquard attachment.

Spun Yarn

A yarn made by taking a group of short staple fibers, which have been cut from the longer continuous filament fibers, and then twisting these short staple fibers together to form a single yarn, which is then used for weaving or knitting fabrics.

Staple Fibers

Short fibers, typically ranging from 1/2 inch up to 18 inches long. Wool, cotton, and flax exist only as staple fibers. Manufactured staple fibers are cut to a specific length from the continuous filament fiber. A group of staple fibers are twisted together to form a yarn, which is then woven or knit into fabrics.

Stone Wash

A method of creating a peached or distressed surface on a fabric by means of rubbing or grating with sand or pebbles. Often used on denim to create a “worn” look.


Leather that has been given a velvety nap.


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.


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


A heavy, often hand-woven, ribbed fabric, featuring an elaborate design depicting a historical or current pictorial display.


The traditional name for Scottish plaid cloth, originally made from wool with a twill weave. From the French tiretaine meaning “linsey-woolsey”. The sett, or number of threads of each color in each warp and weft stripe, of each style of tartan cloth is recorded and maintained by The Scottish Tartan Society.

Tension Control Weave

A type of decorative weave, characterized by a puckered effect which occurs because the tension in the warp yarns is intentionally varied before the filling yarns are placed in the fabric.


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

Terry Cloth

A typical uncut pile weave fabric. This fabric is formed by using two sets of warp yarns. Typical uses include towels, robes, and apparel.


A process of resist dyeing, where parts of a cloth are tied, knotted or folded as to avoid penetration of a particular dye.

Tricot Knit

A warp knit fabric in which the fabric is formed by interlooping adjacent parallel yarns. Tricot knits are frequently used in women’s lingerie items such as slips, bras, panties, and nightgowns.


A lightweight, extremely fine, machine-made netting, usually with a hexagon shaped mesh effect. Usually made from nylon, silk, cotton or rayon. End-uses include theater costumes, veils or wedding gowns.


A medium to heavy weight, fluffy, woollen, twill weave fabric containing colour slubbed yarns, often featuring a twill weave, houndstooth or herringbone design. A classically English look accompanies this durable fabric. Common end-uses include coats and suits.


An incredibly versatile fabric distinguishable by diagonal ribs on its face, and a soft, smooth finish. Gabardine, serge, and denim are all examples of till fabrics.

Twill Weave

A basic weave in which the fabrics are constructed by interlacing warp and filling yarns in a progressive alternation which creates a diagonal effect on the face, or right side, of the fabric.


A term that applies to the number of turns and the direction that two yarns are turned during the manufacturing process. The yarn twist brings the fibers close together and makes them compact. It helps the fibers adhere to one another, increasing yarn strength. The direction and amount of yarn twist helps determine appearance, performance, durability of both yarns and the subsequent fabric or textile product.


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


The practice of covering furniture with fabric. Upholstery fabric need to be durable and resistant to stains and wear, and are often made from heavy cotton, leather or synthetic fabrics.


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.


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, a luxurious fabric, is commonly made with a filament fiber for high lustre and smooth hand.


A lightweight fabric made from cotton with a very short, dense pile. Developed in Manchester, England in the 18th century, velveteen lacks the sheen and drape of velvet, is woven with an extra filling yarn, and can have a plain or a twill back.


Fabric made from this rare and protected species of Vicuna Ilama is highly valued as it produces the world’s finest and rarest natural fiber from its fleecy undercoat. The micron has a fineness of 10 – 13 micron and about only 20 – 25 mm in length.


A synthetic fabric made from PVC which resembles leather.


A man made synthetic fiber – the most common type of rayon. It is produced in much greater quantity than cuprammonium rayon, the other commercial type. Viscose has a silken, smooth feel and a terrific drape, and is often used for linings and bridal garments.


A crisp, lightweight, plain weave cotton-like fabric, made with high twist yarns in a high yarn count construction. It is thin, semi-transparent, and very lightweight Similar in appearance to organdy and organza. Used in blouses dresses and curtains. Swiss cotton Voile is considered the finest in the world.


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

Warp Knit

A type of knitted fabric construction in which the yarns are formed into stitches in a lengthwise manner. Warp knits are generally less elastic than weft knits. Common examples of warp knits are tricot knits and raschel knits.


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

Water Repellent

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


The horizontal threads in a particular fabric or on a loom.


The ability of a fiber or a fabric to disperse moisture and allow it to pass through to the surface of the fabric, so that evaporation can take place.


Usually associated with fiber or fabric made from the fleece of sheep or lamb. However, the term “wool” can also apply to all animal hair fibers, including the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat or the specialty hair fibers. The finest wool is from the Merino sheep from Australia.

Wool-Double Crepe

A finely woven wool crepe with two layers bonded together to generate lighter-weight wool fabric.


A high quality, fine wool yarn produced from the short, strong, and durable fleece of the Merino sheep. It is extremely soft and versatile.

Worsted Fabric

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

Woven Fabric

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

Wrinkle Recovery

Similar to resiliency. It is the ability of a fabric to bounce back after it has been twisted, wrinkled, or distorted in any way.


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.


Named after the Zibeline animal of Siberia, this textile is a satin weave fabric made from the wool of cross-bred worsted yarns. Zibeline is napped, then steamed and pressed. It has a long, one-directional nape and is very sleek and shiny. Also known as zibaline.