Fabric Glossary & Textile Definitions

 

The Spruce Fabric Glossary & Textile Definitions

A
B
Batik
Resist 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.
Batiste
Fine, soft,plain weave fabric traditionally made from linen, now often made with other fibres, especially cotton.
Blend
Combination 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 yarn
Fancy yarn showing an irregular pattern of curls or loops.
Buckram
Plain weave fabric, generally of linen or cotton, which is stiffened during finishing with fillers and starches. Uses include interlinings and bookbinding fabrics.
C
Calico
General 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.
Cambric
Lightweight, closely woven, plain weave fabric, usually made from cotton or linen.
Canvas
Strong, firm, relatively heavy and rigid, generally plain woven cloth traditionally made from cotton, linen, hemp or jute.
Cavalry twill
Firm woven fabric with a steep twill showing double twill lines, traditionally used for riding breeches and jodphurs.
Cheesecloth
Open, lightweight, plain weave fabric with a slightly crêpey appearance, usually made from carded cotton yarns with higher than average twist.
Chiffon
Originally a very lightweight, sheer, plain weave fabric made from silk. Now can also be used to describe a similar fabric using other fibres.
Chintz
Closely woven, lustrous, plain weave cotton fabric, printed or plain, that has been friction calendered or glazed. Much used for curtainings and upholstery.
Colourway
One of several combinations of colours used for a particular fabric.
Corduroy
Wove, 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).
Crepe
Fabric characterised by a crincled or puckered surface, which can be produced by a number of methods.
  1. woven fabric where short, irregular floats in warp and weft are arranged to give an all-over, random pattern within the weave repeat.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 chine
Lightweight, 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 yarn
Spun or filament yarns that are very highly S or Z twisted used for the production of crepe fabrics.
D
Delaine
Lightweight, 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.
Drill
Woven twill fabric with a similar structure to denim, but usually piece-dyed.
F
Flannel, flannelette, and cotton flannel can be woven in either a twill weave or plain weave. The weave is often hidden by napping on one or both sides. After weaving, it is napped once, then bleached, dyed, or otherwise treated, and then napped a second time
G
Gauze
Lightweight, open-textured fabric made in plain weave a simple leno weave
Georgette
Fine, lightweight, plain weave, crêpe fabric, usually having two highly twisted S and two highly twisted Z yarns alternately in both warp and weft.
H
Hopsack
Variation on plain weave, where two or more ends and picks weave as one. Sometimes called basket weave.
I
Interlining
Fabric 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.
J
Jacquard fabric
  1. A fabric woven on a jacquard loom, where the patterning mechanism allows individual control on any interlacing of up to several hundred warp threads
  2. 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.
Jersey
General term used for any knitted fabric.
Jute
  1. Natural vegetable bast fibre
  2. The plant from which the bast jute fibre is obtained.
L
Lawn
Fine, plain weave fabric, traditionally of cotton on linen.
Linen
Natural vegetable bast fibre obtained from the flax plant.
M
Merino Wool
Wool from the merino sheep, which produces the shortest and finest wool fibres.
Mousseline
General term for very fine, semi-opaque fabrics, finer than muslins, made of silk, wool or cotton.
Muslin
Lightweight, open, plain or simple leno weave fabric, usually made of cotton.
N
Natural Fibre
A textile fibre occuring in nature, which is animal, vegetable or mineral in origin.
New wool
Fibre from a sheep or lamb that has not previously been used. Alternative name for virgin wool.
Nylon
Man made synthetic polymer fibre. Alternative name for polyamide.
O
Organdie
Lightweight, plain weave transparent fabric, with a permanently stiff finish.
Organza
A 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.
P
Polyester
Man made synthetic polymer fibre.
Pure Silk
Silk in which there is no metallic or other weighting of any kind, except that which is an essential part of dyeing.
R
Raw Silk
Continuous filaments containing no twist, drawn off or reeled from cocoons. The filaments are unbleached, undyed and not degummed.
S
Sateen
Woven structure where the maximum amount of weft shows on the face. The smooth effect is enhanced by using filament yarns and/or lustrous fibres.
Satin
Woven structure where the maximum amount of warp shows on the face. The smooth effect is enhanced by using filament yarns and/or lustrous fibres.
Silk
Natural animal protein fibre obtained from the cocoons produced by silkworms.
Silk Noil
Very 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 yarn
Fancy yarn characterised by areas of thicker, loosely twisted yarn alternating with thinner, harder twisted areas.
Spun silk
Staple fibre silk yarn produced from silk waster which has been largely degummed.
Synthetic
Describes a substance which has been manufactured by building up a complex structure from simpler chemical substances.
T
Taffeta
Plain weave, closely woven, smooth, crisp fabric with a slight weftways rib, originally made from continuous filament silk yarns. Now often made using other fibres.
Twill
A textile weave in which the filling threads pass over one and under two or more warp threads to give an appearance of diagonal lines
V
Velour
Cut pile weft or warp knitted fabric.
Velvet
Cut 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.
Viscose
Man made natural polymer regenerated cellulose fibre.
Voile
Plain weave, semi-sheer, lightweight fabric made with fine, fairly highly twisted yarns. Originally made from cotton, now other fibres are sometimes used.
W
Wadding
Lofty sheet of fibres used for padding, stuffing or packing.
Many thanks to Whalleys in Bradford for the glossary
Worsted
Worsted /ˈwʊstɨd/ is a type of yarn, the fabric made from this yarn, and a yarn weight category. 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.[1][2]  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.[3]  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.

Textile Abbreviations

AB    Abaca
AC    Acetate
AF    Other fibres
AG    Alginate
AL    Alfa
AR    Aramid
AS    Asbestos
CA    True hemp
CC    Coir
CL    Chlorofibre
CO    Cotton
CU    Cupro
EA    Elastane
EL    Elastodiene
FL    Flourofibre
GI    Broom
GL   Glass fibre
HA   Hair
HE   Henequen
HL   Cotton linen / pure cotton warp - pure flax
HR   Cattle hair
HS    Horsehair
HZ    Common goat hair
JU     Jute
KE    Kenaf
KP    Kapoc
LI     Flax / linen
LY    Lyocell
MA   Modacrylic
MD   Modal
ME   Metal fibre
MG   Maguey
PA    Polyamide / Nylon®
PB    Polycarbamide
PC    Acrylic
PE    Polyethylene
PI     Paper Yarn
PL    Polyester
PM   Polyimide
PP    Polypropylene
PR    Protein
PU    Polyurethane
RA    Ramie
SE     Silk
SI      Sisal
SN     Sunn
TA     Triacetate
TR     Mixed fibres / unspecified textile composition
TV     Trivinyl
VI      Viscose
VY     Vinylal
WA    Angora
WB    Beaver
WC    Cashgora
WG    Vicuna
WK    Camel
WL    Llama
WM   Mohair
WO    Wool
WP    Alpaca
WS    Cashmere
WT    Otter
WU    Guanaco
WV    Fleece wool / virgin wool
WY    Yak