The Spruce Fabric Glossary
BatikResist mehod of patterning cloth where wax is used as the resist. Molten wax is applied to the cloth, traditionally by a hand process, in a pattern, and the wax is allowed to harden. The waxed cloth is dyed and the wax removed afterwards. The process can be repeated to build up complext patterns. Sometimes the hardened wax is cracked to produce a characteristic veining.
BatisteFine, soft,plain weave fabric traditionally made from linen, now often made with other fibres, especially cotton.
BlendCombination of two or more different staple fibres within the same yarn. Fibres are blended for one or more reasons, e.g. cost, properties, appearance.
Bouclé yarnFancy yarn showing an irregular pattern of curls or loops.
BuckramPlain weave fabric, generally of linen or cotton, which is stiffened during finishing with fillers and starches. Uses include interlinings and bookbinding fabrics.
CalicoGeneral term used for plain cotton fabrics heavier than muslin. These are usually left unbleached, area made in a variety of weights, and are often used for making toiles.
CambricLightweight, closely woven, plain weave fabric, usually made from cotton or linen.
CanvasStrong, firm, relatively heavy and rigid, generally plain woven cloth traditionally made from cotton, linen, hemp or jute.
Cavalry twillFirm woven fabric with a steep twill showing double twill lines, traditionally used for riding breeches and jodphurs.
CheeseclothOpen, lightweight, plain weave fabric with a slightly crêpey appearance, usually made from carded cotton yarns with higher than average twist.
ChiffonOriginally a very lightweight, sheer, plain weave fabric made from silk. Now can also be used to describe a similar fabric using other fibres.
ChintzClosely woven, lustrous, plain weave cotton fabric, printed or plain, that has been friction calendered or glazed. Much used for curtainings and upholstery.
ColourwayOne of several combinations of colours used for a particular fabric.
CorduroyWove, cut weft-pile fabric where the cut pile runs in vertical cords along the length of the fabric. A number of different types are found, ranging from pincord (very fine cords) to elephant cord (very broad cords).
CrepeFabric characterised by a crincled or puckered surface, which can be produced by a number of methods.
- woven fabric where short, irregular floats in warp and weft are arranged to give an all-over, random pattern within the weave repeat.
- woven or knitted fabric where the crêpe characteristics are achieved mainly by the use of highly twisted yarns, which in finishing develop the crinkled, puckered appearance of a crêpe.
- fabric where the crêpe effect is produced in finishing by treatment with embossing rollers, engraved with a crêpe pattern, which impart a crêpe effect onto the fabric through heat and pressure.
Crêpe de chineLightweight, plain weave crêpe fabric, made with highly twisted continuous filament yarns in the weft, alternating one S and one Z twist, and with normally twisted filament yarns in the warp. The crêpe effect is relatively unpronounced.
Crepe yarnSpun or filament yarns that are very highly S or Z twisted used for the production of crepe fabrics.
DelaineLightweight, printed, all wool plain weave fabric.
Doupion (or Dupion)Silk-breeding term meaning double cocoon, used to describe the irregular, raw rough silk reeled from double cocoons.
GauzeLightweight, open-textured fabric made in plain weave a simple leno weave
GeorgetteFine, lightweight, plain weave, crêpe fabric, usually having two highly twisted S and two highly twisted Z yarns alternately in both warp and weft.
HopsackVariation on plain weave, where two or more ends and picks weave as one. Sometimes called basket weave.
InterliningFabric used between the inner and outer layers of a garment to improce shape retention, strength, warmth or bulk. Interlinings may be woven, knitted or nonwoven, and can be produced with fusible adhesive on one surface.
- A fabric woven on a jacquard loom, where the patterning mechanism allows individual control on any interlacing of up to several hundred warp threads
- A rib-based, double jersey weft-knit structure which shows a figure or design in a different colour or texture. Jacquard fabrics are sub-divided into flat-jacquard and blister fabrics.
JerseyGeneral term used for any knitted fabric.
- Natural vegetable bast fibre
- The plant from which the bast jute fibre is obtained.
LawnFine, plain weave fabric, traditionally of cotton on linen.
LinenNatural vegetable bast fibre obtained from the flax plant.
Merino WoolWool from the merino sheep, which produces the shortest and finest wool fibres.
MousselineGeneral term for very fine, semi-opaque fabrics, finer than muslins, made of silk, wool or cotton.
MuslinLightweight, open, plain or simple leno weave fabric, usually made of cotton.
Natural FibreA textile fibre occuring in nature, which is animal, vegetable or mineral in origin.
New woolFibre from a sheep or lamb that has not previously been used. Alternative name for virgin wool.
NylonMan made synthetic polymer fibre. Alternative name for polyamide.
OrgandieLightweight, plain weave transparent fabric, with a permanently stiff finish.
OrganzaA sheer, lighweight, plain weave fabric, with a relatively firm drape and handle, traditionally made from the continuous filament of silk yarns. Now often made using other fibres.
PolyesterMan made synthetic polymer fibre.
Pure SilkSilk in which there is no metallic or other weighting of any kind, except that which is an essential part of dyeing.
Raw SilkContinuous filaments containing no twist, drawn off or reeled from cocoons. The filaments are unbleached, undyed and not degummed.
SateenWoven structure where the maximum amount of weft shows on the face. The smooth effect is enhanced by using filament yarns and/or lustrous fibres.
SatinWoven structure where the maximum amount of warp shows on the face. The smooth effect is enhanced by using filament yarns and/or lustrous fibres.
SilkNatural animal protein fibre obtained from the cocoons produced by silkworms.
Silk NoilVery short silk fibres extracted during silk combing that are too short for producing spun silk. These fibres are usually spun into silk-noil yarns.
Slub yarnFancy yarn characterised by areas of thicker, loosely twisted yarn alternating with thinner, harder twisted areas.
Spun silkStaple fibre silk yarn produced from silk waster which has been largely degummed.
SyntheticDescribes a substance which has been manufactured by building up a complex structure from simpler chemical substances.
VelourCut pile weft or warp knitted fabric.
VelvetCut warp-pile fabric, in which the cut fibrous ends of the yarns from the surface of the fabric. Many effects are possible, e.g. the pile may be left erect, or it may be laid in one direction during finishing to give a very high lustre.
ViscoseMan made natural polymer regenerated cellulose fibre.
VoilePlain weave, semi-sheer, lightweight fabric made with fine, fairly highly twisted yarns. Originally made from cotton, now other fibres are sometimes used.
WaddingLofty sheet of fibres used for padding, stuffing or packing.
The name derives from Worstead, a village in the English county of Norfolk. This village, together with North Walsham and Aylsham,
became a manufacturing centre for yarn and cloth in the 12th century when pasture enclosure and liming rendered the
East Anglian soil too rich for the older agrarian sheep breeds; and weavers from Flanders moved to Norfolk.
Worsted was made from the long-staple pasture wool from sheep breeds such as Teeswaters, Old Leicester Longwool and Romney Marsh.
Pasture wool was not carded: instead it was washed, gilled and combed using heated long-tooth metal combs, oiled and spun. When woven, worsteds were scoured but not fulled.
Worsted wool fabric is typically used in the making of tailored garments such as suits, as opposed to woollen wool which is used for knitted items such as sweaters.