Fabric Glossary

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
A
  • Absorbency

    The ability of a fabric to take in moisture.

  • Acetate

    A manufactured fiber formed by compound of cellulose, refined from cotton linters and/or wood pulp, and acedic 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.

  • Acrylic

    A manufactured fiber that has a soft, wool-like feel, and uneven finish, and its fibers create a strong weave that is machine washable, dryable, resists shrinkage, mildew-resistant and has a high resistance to sunlight.

  • Alpaca

    A natural hair fiber obtained from the Alpaca sheep, a domesticated member of the llama family. It is lustrous, shiny and similar to mohair.

  • Angora

    Soft yarn made from the under hair of Angora goat or rabbit. The fur fibers are usually blended with other fibers such as wool, silk, rayon or nylon and then spun. The hair of the Angora goat. Also known as Angora mohair. Angora may also apply to the fur of the Angora rabbit.

  • Antique Satin

    A reversible satin-weave fabric with satin floats on the technical face and surface slubs on the technical back created by using slub-filling yarns. It is usually used with the technical back as the right side for drapery fabrics and often made of a blend of fibers.

  • Argyle

    A design featuring interlinking diamond shapes of varying colors, in a diagonal checkerboard pattern.

B
  • Bamboo Fabric

    Bamboo fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of the bamboo grass. It is more sustainable than most textile fibers & the strong bamboo fibers lends excellent durability to bamboo fabrics. Bamboo fabric is light and strong, has excellent wicking properties, and is to some extent antibacterial & odor resistant.

  • Bark Cloth

    A textured woven, usually printed cotton fabric that was popular in the 30s-40s and 50s as an interiors fabric. The prints were often large vines, leaves and florals.

  • Basket Weave

    A relatively simple weave involving two or more warp ends woven parallel to each other, resulting in a thatched texture.

  • Batik

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

  • Batiste

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

  • Bedford Cord

    A cord cotton-like fabric with raised ridges in the lengthwise direction. Since the fabric has a high strength and a high durability, it is often used for upholstery and work clothes.

  • Bengaline

    A fabric with a crosswise rib made from textile fibers (as rayon, nylon, cotton, or wool) often in combination.

  • Blend

    A combination of two or more fibers within the same yarn. Fabrics are often made from blended yarns to increase durability, stretch, stain resistance and cost efficiency.

  • Broadcloth

    A dense woolen cloth with a plain weave that is tightly woven and usually made from cotton or a cotton blend. It is heavier, lustrous, and soft, and made with a crosswise rib.

  • Brocade

    A thick, heavy fabric made with a Jacquard loom and a satin weave, most often featuring a raised floral pattern. Brocade is typically made from silk, rayon or nylon, and has a very Oriental look

  • Burlap

    Loosely constructed, plain woven fabric made of Jute or other minor bast fibers. Originally considered a utility fabric for bags and sacks.

C
  • Calender

    A process to flatten fabric involving alternating smooth metal and cloth-wrapped rollers, similar to ironing. The process can also be used to apply different finishes to pre-treated textiles, as well as to coat fabrics with plastics or rubber.

  • Calico

    A plain weave cotton material that is unbleached and still retains some of the natural vegetable matter normally extracted in the manufacturing process.

  • Cambric

    A lightweight plain weave cotton or linen cloth, slightly heavier than muslin, that is closely woven and calendered to give a slight sheen on one side

  • Camel Hair

    A premium luxury soft material, similar in look and feel to cashmere, made from the under wool of the camel.

  • Camel's Hair

    A pattern designed with different color diamond shapes knit into a fabric.

  • Canvas

    A durable heavy-duty, plain weave fabric.

  • Cashmere

    An extremely soft luxurious fabric made from the hair of the cashmere goat, native to Kashmir in northwestern India, Tibet, Turkestan, Iran, Iraq, and China

  • Chaurmeuse

    A luxurious, supple silky fabric with a shiny satin face and a dull back.

  • Cheesecloth

    A soft, sheer, woven cloth, often porous. Cheesecloth is often bleached white or naturally off-white

  • Chenille

    Fabric made with fuzzy core yarns. Soft wool, silk, cotton, or rayon yarn with protruding pile.

  • Chevron

    Very similar to a flame stitch, but found mostly in multi-purpose weight prints. The chevron is not an embroidered flame stitch, but is composed of zigzag lines that are printed onto the fabric.

  • Chintz

    Not a print or fabric

  • Combed Yard

    The process following carding, combing straightens fibers into parallel strands and removed any remaining impurities or short pieces, in order to further soften cotton yarns.

  • Corduroy

    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.

  • Cotton

    Soft white vegetable fiber which comes from the fluffy boll of the cotton plant, grown in Egypt, India, China, and southern U.S. Cotton. It is one of the strongest and most washable fabrics and makes removing stains easier. 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.

  • Crepe

    A fine, almost gauzelike fabric made of synthetic or natural fibers that are twisted to give a slightly crinkled texture.

D
  • Denim

    A strong, durable twill weave cotton fabric, originating in Nimes, France, made with different colored yarns in the warp and the weft. The weft passes under two or more warp fibers, which produces a diagonal ribbing found on the reverse of the fabric. The twill construction causes one color (blue is most common) to dominate the fabric's surface.

  • 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 heavier fabric in which two layers of looped fabric are woven together and cannot be separated.

  • Duck Fabric

    Duck fabric, or duck cloth, is a heavy-duty plain weave fabric, resistant to the elements and used for outdoor coverings and tarps.

E
  • Elasticity

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

  • Embroidery

    A type of needlework that involves sewing thread into a base fabric to create designs. Embroidery can be done by hand or by machine, and can use threads of varying thicknesses.

  • Eyelet

    Fabric with patterned cut-outs, edged with embroidered stitches as part of a design.

F
  • Felt

    A non-woven fabric where the fibers are pressed, matted, and condensed together to form a compact material. It comes in varying weights and thicknesses, and because of its grain, felt can be cut any direction, and does not fray.

  • Fibers

    A class of materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread.

  • Flannel

    A soft twill weave, usually made from cotton or wool fabric that has been brushed or has a slightly napped surface.

  • Flax

    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.

  • Fleece

    An all-natural, all-wool or synthetic knit fabric with a deep soft pile. It provides good insulation without the too much weight or bulk.

  • Foil

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

G
  • GSM

    Grams per square meter

  • Gabardine

    A tough, tight, twill weave that is wrinkle resistant and features diagonal ribbing.

  • Gauze

    A thin, sheer fabric with a loose open weave that is usually made from cotton or silk.

  • Gingham

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

  • Greasy Wool

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

H
  • Hemp

    A tough fiber of a tall Asiatic plant of the nettle family. Resistant to insects but damaged by mildew.

  • Herringbone

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

I
  • Interlining

    An insulation, padding, or stiffening fabric, either sewn to the wrong side of the lining or the inner side of the outer shell fabric.

J
  • Jersey

    A knitted textile usually made from synthetics, wool, cotton or silk. It is crease-resistant, very resilient, and has the flexibility and stretch of knit.

  • Jute

    A long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. Jute is one of the cheapest natural fibres and is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses

K
  • Khaki

    A tan or dusty colored warp face twill, softer and finer than drill. Fabric made of cotton, linen, wool, worsted, or manmade fibers and blends.

  • 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.

  • Knitting

    The process of interlocking loops of yarn to form a fabric. Warp knitting loops yarn across a fabric, while weft knitting loops several yarns down the length of a fabric.

L
  • La Coste

    A double knit fabric made with a combination of knit and tuck stitches to create a mesh like appearance. It is often a cotton or cotton/polyester blend.

  • Lace

    An openwork fabric with yarns that are twisted around each other to form complex patterns of figures. Lace may be hand or machine made by a variety of fabrication methods including weaving, knitting, crocheting, and knotting.

  • Lambswool

    The first clippings of young sheep, about seven or eight months old, are mostly used in high grade fabrics. They are woven to create a warm, durable wool that is elastic, soft, and resilient.

  • Lame

    A woven fabric using flat silver or gold metal threads to create either the design or the background in the fabric.

  • Lawn

    A fine, somewhat porous fabric made from cotton or linen, originating in Laon, France. Lawn is more crisp than voile, but less than organdy, and is often found in summery blouses and dresses.

  • Leather

    A material created through the tanning of animal hides, typically from cattle. Leather can feature course or smooth finishes, and takes dye well

  • Linen

    This fabric is made from the fibers of the flax plant, and when woven, this extremely cool and breathable material is stronger and more lustrous than cotton.

  • Lycra

    A DuPont trademark for its spandex fiber. Any time you see this fiber listed on a label, expect comfort, movement, and shape retention that won't wash away.

  • Lyocell

    A fabric better known from its brand name Tencel. Made from cellulose or wood pulp, may be a mix of hardwood trees. Noted for its durability and strength. 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.

M
  • Madras

    A handmade cotton fabric originating in Madras, India, featuring bright, bold striping and checked patterns.

  • Melton

    Made from wool fibers, sometimes combined with synthetics, in either a twill or satin weave. It is heavy, closely sheared, compacted, and tightly woven.

  • Merino Woool

    Comes from an economically influenced breed of sheep prized for its wool.

  • Mesh

    A type of fabric characterized by its net like open appearance and the spaces between the yarns. Mesh is available in a variety of constructions including wovens, knits, laces, or crocheted fabrics.

  • Microfibers

    An extremely fine synthetic fiber that can be woven into textiles with the texture and drape of natural fiber cloth but with enhanced washability, breathability, and sometimes water repellancy.

  • Modal

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

  • Mohair

    Hair fibers from the Angora goat.

  • Moleskin

    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.

  • Muslin

    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.

N
  • Nap

    The nap of a fabric is the direction in which the sheared pile faces, and can be manipulated with combing or brushing.

  • Natural Fiber

    Any textile fiber manufactured from an animal or vegetable source. Cotton, linen, silk and wool are the foremost examples.

  • Nylon

    A synthetic fiber known for its resistance to abrasion, inherent elasticity and strength which makes it ideal for use in upholstery fabrics.

O
  • OSY

    Ounces per square yard

  • Oil Cloth

    A plain-weave cotton fabric which is treated with a solution of linseed oil (an extract of the flax plant) and a coloring, and then glazed to ensure water-resistance.

  • Oilskin

    A cotton linen, silk, or manmade material treated with linseed oil varnish for waterproofing.

  • Oxford

    A fine, soft, lightweight woven cotton or blended with manufactured fibers in a 2 x 1 basket weave variation of the plain weave construction

P
  • Paisley

    A tear drop shaped, fancy printed pattern. Paisley motifs have been described as a pine cone, mango, pear and teardrop.

  • Peau de Soie

    A heavy twill weave drapeable satin fabric, made of silk or a manufactured fiber. It is used to weave some of the popular quilting fabrics which have a silk like hand.

  • Percale

    A superior quality plain weave cloth of closely set combed and carded long staple cotton.

  • Pile

    From the Latin word for hair, pile is the extra yarn that protrudes from the surface of a fabric. Pile can be shaved and shaped, as with velvet and corduroy, or can be left uncut as with terry cloth.

  • Pique

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

  • Plush

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

  • Ply

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

  • 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. 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.

  • Poplin

    A fabric made using a rib variation of the plain weave. The construction is characterized by having a slight ridge effect in one direction, usually the filling.

Q
  • Quilting

    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.

R
  • Ramie

    A base fiber, similar to flax, taken from the stalk of a plant grown in China.

  • Rayon

    A natural fiber created from wood pulp, it usually has good drape and a soft hand.

  • Ripstop Nylon

    A lightweight, wind resistant, and water resistant fabric.

S
  • Sailcloth

    An extremely heavyweight canvas fabric, resistant to the elements, that is used for ship's sails.

  • Sateen

    A silky, lustrous satin weave fabric predominantly made from cotton. Sateen often has an increased thread count for extra softness and durability.

  • Satin

    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 Weave

    A basic weave where the face of the fabric is almost entirely warp threads on the surface.

  • Seersucker

    A fabric with a woven pucker, this fabric is traditionally cotton, but can be polyester.

  • Selvage

    The edge on either side of a woven or flat knitted fabric, often of different threads and/or weave, so finished to prevent raveling.

  • Sheer

    Any very light weight fabric (e.g. chiffon, georgette, voile, sheer crepe). Usually has an open weave.

  • Silk

    The fabric is woven using the natural filament fiber produced by the silkworm in the construction of its cocoon. Silk is a naturally strong, lustrous, and fine fiber that produces long-lasting, versatile, and high-quality multi-purpose fabric

  • Sisal

    A strong base fiber that originates from the leaves of the Agave plant, which is found in the West Indies, Central America, and Africa

  • Solid

    An upholstery, multipurpose or drapery weight fabric consisting of no pattern or repeat. The fabric is usually one colorway but can resemble a two tone in some cases.

  • Spandex

    A manufactured elastomeric fiber that can be repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking, and will still recover to its original length.

  • Suede

    Leather with a napped surface.

  • Suedecloth

    Synthetic fabric with a napped surface

  • Suzani

    A heavy and soft upholstery weight textile in a jacquard weave. Surface appears puffy or cushioned. The pattern can vary in size or shape and can have multiple colorways.

  • Synthetic Fabric

    A fiber which has been man-made through the use of chemical combinations. Synthetic fibers often have increased durability, strength and resistance to the elements.

T
  • Taffeta

    With a smooth feel, and a crisp hand, taffeta can be made from a variety of fibers including silk and rayon. It has a subtle horizontal ribbing effect and provides lots of body and an ultimate rustle.

  • Tapestry

    A heavy, often ornately designed textile typically used for wall-hangings and large draperies. From the French tapis meaning carpet.

  • Tencel

    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

    Usually made from cotton, but sometimes made from synthetic fibers this fabric has a moisture-absorbing loop pile that covers surface on one or both sides.

  • Tubular

    A woven, knitted, or braided fabric made in circular seamless form

  • Tulle

    This lightweight, extremely fine, machine-made hexagonal shape netting, is usually made from nylon, silk, or rayon.

  • Tweed

    A medium to heavy weight, roughly textured wool fabric, often featuring a twill weave, houndstooth or herringbone design.

  • Twill

    An incredibly versatile fabric distinguishable by diagonal ribs on its face, and a soft, smooth finish

U
  • Ultrasuede

    An imitation suede fabric composed of polyester microfibers combined with polyurethane foam in a non woven structure. Hand and appearance resemble sheep suede

  • Union Cloth

    A cloth most often used for printing that is woven with blended yarns. The filler is usually twisted linen and cotton and the warp is generally cotton.

V
  • Velour

    Typically produced with a knitted back, velour resembles velvet, but has some stretch and an uneven pile giving it a slightly rougher look.

  • Velvet

    Velvet is one of the most luxurious fabrics because of its evenly cut, thick, soft pile. Traditionally made from silk, velvet comes in a variety of blends like rayon/silk, cotton, or nylon, and some velvets, such as stretch velvet, has some lycra blended in as well.

  • Velveteen

    A lightweight fabric made from cotton with a very short, dense pile.

  • Venice Lace

    This lace often has a high profile, and is made using a needlepoint technique rather than embroidery. A heavier weight lace, the patterns vary from geometric to floral.

  • Vinyl

    A synthetic fabric made from PVC which resembles leather.

  • Viscose

    A man made synthetic fiber, typically referred to as rayon. Viscose has a silken, smooth feel and a terrific drape, and is often used for linings and bridal garments.

W
  • Warp

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

  • Weave

    The manner in which a fabric is produced, utilizing methods of combining the warp and weft threads. The type of weave affects the strength, stretch, sheen and weight of a fabric

  • Weft

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

  • Wool

    This textile is made using the fibers from the hair of animals, such as goats, sheep, camels, or llamas, and it comes in several different forms from crepe, to gabardine, to worsted. Wool is moisture absorbing and known for its warmth, and is also naturally stain and wrinkle resistant.

  • Wool-Merino

    Comes from an economically influenced breed of sheep prized for its wool.

  • Worsted

    A wool fabric woven from firmly twisted yarns, which are spun from combed long-staple wool, creating a solid smooth surface with no nap.

  • Woven

    Woven fabrics are produced from virtually all types of textile fibers and threads. The fabric is produced by weaving the perpendicular threads, the warp and weft. The fabric is very durable and is most commonly found in upholstery weight goods.

Y
  • Yarn

    Also referred to as thread, yarn is the basic component of all fabrics. Yarn can be composed of twisted natural or synthetic fibers, or a longer single fiber.