Cutting through the jargon
This glossary is a resource aimed at helping share and simplify both generic and industry specific information, expertise and knowledge. This service is provided as a committment to visitors to our site and the industry as whole. Although we aim to ensure that all the content is correct, please bear in mind that some areas of the industry move fast and terminology and its application can change.
A general name applied to coarse fabrics used chiefly for the making of bags or sacks. They are often made of jute, hemp, flax or polyolefin, and the number of threads per centimetre may vary from 2 to over 12.
Originally a tightly woven cotton or linen canvas used in the manufacture of ship and yacht sails. It is now more common for these fabrics to be manufactured from nylon for spinnakers, and polyester or aramid for foresails and mainsails. Newer developments include laminated constructions which give greater dimensional stability.
A finishing process that brings the fabric in contact with sandpaper or another abrasive material. This may be done to raise surface fiber, impart a peached or sueded hand or to create a surface effect.
A finishing process in which the fabric is washed with sand or another abrasive material to produce a soft, sueded hand and a faded appearance.
A trademarked finishing process which compresses the fabric to reduce its residual shrinkage to not more than 1 percent.
In the 60s and 70s of the 17th century a broad, loosely knotted sash was often worn around the hips over the coat by men. Usually made of silk and the edges decorated with tassled fringes.
A smooth, strong, lustrous satin weave fabric made with cotton or other spun yarns . In a warp face satin, the most common, the filling yarns cross over one and under several warp yarns, thus mainly the warp yarns are visible on the face. In a filling face satin, the filling yarns cross under one and over several warp yarns thus the mainly the filling yarns are visible on the face.
A smooth strong, lustrous satin weave fabric made with silk or manufactured filament yarns . In a warp face satin, the most common, the filling yarns cross over one and under several warp yarns, thus mainly the warp yarns are visible on the face. In a filling face satin, the filling yarns cross under one and over several warp yarns thus the mainly the filling yarns are visible on the face . Some satins have a filament yarn face and spun yarn back.
Stripes in a fabric formed by a satin weave, often alternating with sheer plain weave stripes.
A high-quality fabric, made of wool of 60s quality or finer, spun on the woollen system.
High grade soft wollen cloth often used for making University school and college scarves.
The external margins of cuticular scales. The distance between scale margins is described as close, near, distant, or a combination of these such as near to distant.
The pattern formed by the scale margins. Most scale patterns are waved, although not all to the same extent. Patterns may described as regular, irregular or streaked. A regular waved pattern is one in which the waves are of almost equal wavelength and equal amplitude; an irregular wave pattern is one in which the waves are of unequal wavelength and amplitude. A streaked wave is one in which the waves are interrupted by steeply inclined scale margins. The term waved is frequently used in conjunction with another adjective e.g., waved crenate margins. Other scale-patterns are:- chevron. A waved pattern. In single chevron either the troughs or crests are narrow and v-shaped. In double chevron both the trough and crests are v-shaped. Crenate. Margins which are 'notched', i.e. Have fairly shallow indentations but sharp peaks. Mosaic. A pattern composed of a number of units; this type is divided into regular in which the units are approximately the same size and irregular in which the units of the mosaic are of different sizes. Pectinate comb-like margins. This type is subdivided into coarse pectinate, which the 'teeth' are large and wide , and lanceolate in which the 'teeth' are long and narrow. Petal. Patterns in which the scales have the appearance of over-lapping flower petal. This type is divided into irregular petal and diamond petal. Rippled. Margins having indentations, the troughs and peaks being deeper but more rounded than in the crenate type.
Originally, yarn spun from fibre degummed by schapping, but nowadays the term increasingly used as a generic alternative to spun silk. Note: the change in meaning reflects the greatly decreased use of fermentation processes for degumming.
A water repellent and oil repellent finish trademarked by 3M company.
The treatment of textile materials in aqueous or other solutions in order to remove natural waxes, proteins and other constituents, as well as dirt, oil and other impurities. Note: the treatment varies with the type of fibre. Cotton and flax goods are normally scoured at the boil or under pressure with sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) or with lime followed by sodium carbonate (soda ash) or with a mixture of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) and sodium carbonate (soda ash); wool goods with aqueous solutions of sodium carbonate (soda ash) or soap or both temperatures not exceeding 50˚c, or substantially neutral liquors containing a synthetic detergent in the presence of an inorganic salt; viscose rayon with soap and sodium carbonate (soda ash) at or below the boil; cellulose ethanoate (acetate) with soap and sodium carbonate (soda ash) liquors of relatively low alkalinity and at temperatures below the boil to prevent alkaline hydrolysis of the ethanoate (acetate);nylon, etc., with soap and sodium carbonate (soda ash) or ammonia below the boil, although special cases neutral or acidic liquors may be used.
A design reproduction process, developed from stencilling, in which print paste is forced through unblocked areas of a mesh, in contact with the substrate. The mesh may be a woven fabric or a fine screen, flat or cylindrical (rotary screen). Pressure is applied to the paste by a squeegee (blade roller), which is moved when the screen is stationary or stationary when the rotary screen is rotating.
A general term, irrespective of structure, for a lightweight basecloth included in a nonwoven fabric.
A design dominated by fanciful curves.
A rustling noise and a characteristic 'dry' handle when a material is compressed by hand. Scroop is usually associated with silk but also produced in certain man-made cellulosic fibres, yarns, or fabrics by suitable finishing treatments. It is probably associated with a high coefficient of static friction relative to the dynamic coefficient.
Sea island cotton
The exceptionally fine, long-staple types of cotton grown in the West Indies.
Is the line which indicates where the seam should be stitched - or it is plainly the stitching line of any garment.
A lightweight fabric with puckered stripes made by weaving with some of the warp yarns tight and some loose . The loose warp threads become crinkled. Frequently made in yarn dye stripes and plaids. Often made of cotton or a cotton blend but can be in a variety of fibers . Used for summer clothing.
Refers to fabric from manufactured yarn that has been delustered to reduce but not completely eliminate the shine.
A term applied to yarn spun from sliver produced by carding and gilling in which the fibres are substantially parallel, the carded sliver not having been condensed or combed. Alternatively, the yarn may be produced from a roving. Note: the above definition is descriptive of processing technique and not of the fibre content.
A small, flat, reflective disk with a hole for attaching to the fabric for decorative purposes. May be of metal plastic or shell.
A smooth faced 2x2 twill weave fabric. Traditionally of wool but may be of other fibers. Used for trousers, suitings.
Smooth faced worsted cloth made with a two and two down twill weave.
(1) a term used to indicate the density of ends or picks or both in a woven fabric, usually expressed as the number of threads per centimetre. The state of the fabric at the time should be described e.g. Loomstate or finished. (2) synonym for count of reed. (3) the term may be used in such phrases as high sett, closely sett etc., where a high end or pick density is indicated.
The process of conferring stability of form upon fibres, yarns, or fabrics, usually by means of successive heating and cooling in moist or dry conditions. Note: the term is sometimes used in conjunction with a description of the particular characteristics to be stabilized (e.g., twist setting, crimp setting) or of the setting medium (e.g., heat setting, steam setting).
Strong, dense and well grown wool with good length and spinning characteristics.
The hair of the tiberian antelope (pantholops hogsoni), locally called chiru. The un list this animal under the convention of international irade in endangered species, appendix 1, i.e. Giving it highest protection. The only way to collect the wool is to kill the antelope.
(1) to cut the fleece from a sheep. (2) to cut a nap or pile to uniform length or height (also called crop). (3) to cut loose fibres or yam from the surface of a fabric after weaving (also called crop).
A finishing process in which the fibers on the surface of the fabric are mechanically trimmed to create an even nap. Often follows brushing of the fabric. Done on fleeces, moleskins, pile fabrics, wools.
A plain weave fabric with even or close to even thread counts in warp and weft . Often of cotton. Carded yarn versions are used for inexpensive apparel, furniture covers and as a base for laminates. Finer yarns and higher counts may be used for bed sheets.
A soft shaggy wool tweed fabric . Originally referred to only wool from the shetland islands in scotland but now refers to any wool fabric with similar characteristics . May be woven or knit . Used for overcoats, sportcoats, sweaters.
Refers to fabric having a surface with a high reflectance of light.
Wool that contains small particles of vegetable matter other than burrs.
(1) fibrous material made in the woollen trade by pulling down new or old knitted or loosely woven fabric in rag form. (see also mungo and note the distinction.) (2) droppings from woollen cards consisting of very short fibres that may be heavily charged with oil and dirt.
A treatment applied to a textile material to make it shrink-resistant.
The reduction in length (or width) of a fibre, yam, or fabric. It may be induced by, e.g., wetting, steaming, alkali treatment, wet processing as in laundering, or dry heat.
Dark-shaded profile portrait outline of any garment.
The fibroin fibre forming the cocoons produced by silkworms.
Fibres extracted during silk dressing or combing that are too short for producing spun silk. These fibres are usually spun on the condenser system to produce what are known as 'silk-noil yams'.
The fibres remaining after drawing off, reeling, or throwing nett silk, and fibres obtained from damaged or unreelable cocoons.
A term applied to staple yam produced by dressing or combing and spinning on machinery originally designed for processing waste silk into yam (see spun silk). Note: whenever the term silk-spun is used, it is qualified by the name of the fibre and fibres from which the material is made.
A fabric with a silver colored coating . Used in outerwear.
To remove, by burning against a hot plate, in a flame, or by infra-red radiation, unwanted surface hairs or filaments. The operation is usually performed as a preliminary to bleaching and finishing.
A thread produced by one unit of a spinning machine of a silk reel.
(1) loss of weight in wool cleansing, usually expressed as a percentage. (2) unaccounted or 'invisible' loss of weight in processing, usually expressed as a percentage.
A gelatinous film-forming substance, in solution or dispersion, applied normally to warps sometimes to wefts, generally before weaving. Note 1: the main types are carbohydrates and their derivatives, gelatin, and animal glues, although other substances, such as linseed oil, poly(acrylic acid), and poly(vinyl alcohol) are also used note 2: the objects of sizing prior to weaving are to protect the yarns from abrasion in healds and reed and against each other; to strengthen them; and by the addition of oils and fats, to lubricate them.
Wool removed from the skins of slaughtered sheep . Note: there are three methods of removal. (a) lime-steeping, (b) sweating (by bacterial action), and (c) painting with, for example, sodium sulphide.
(1) the removal of wool different from the main bulk from the edges of a fleece. See also wool classing (2 ) a wool sorting term for stained parts of the fleece such as the legs and the whole edge of the fleece.
Small openings made in a garment, showing the lining. Slashings (crevés, chiquetades) were made in garments, shoes and gloves.
Also sley . That oscillating part of a weaving machine, positioned between the healds and the fell of the cloth, which carries the reed.
An assembly fibres in continuous form without twist.
Loose clothes tunics, smocks, trousers.
A short abnormally thick place in a yarn.
Refers to fabric using yarn with uneven areas, i.e. With a thick and thin appearance occurring at irregular intervals.
The name given, individually or collectively, to relatively thick fibrous strands, and also to strips of web from a condenser card that have been consolidated into a circular cross-section by rubbing.
A process in the manufacture of viscose rayon in which a pulp is dispersed in a solution of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) in the preparation of alkali-cellulose.
Refers to fabric with an even surface with little surface hair or texture.
Having a gentle, pliable, supple, hand.
The application of a chemical agent and/or mechanical process, e.g., calendering, to impart to fabrics a soft handle and frequently a smooth appearance. A number of chemical softening agents also confer a fullness of handle.
Any one of a class of textile finishes that make it possible to remove stains from fabrics by ordinary domestic washing.
Having a single even colour.
A method of making nonwoven fabrics in which a solvent is used to soften the fibre surfaces in a web or batt and hence cause bonding.
Dyeing carried out from a continuous non-aqueous phase.,note. Water may be added to assist the dyeing process.
The treatment of textile materials with reagents, other than dyes, dissolved in organic solvents.
The treatment of fabrics in organic solvent media to remove impurities such as lubricating oils and spin finishes.
To treat textile materials in a bath of dilute acid.
Sections of the yarn are dyed in different colors resulting in a fabric with a multi-color effect.
A fabric that uses a yarn, usually nylon with a high reflectance of light.
A count of the number of unit lengths per unit mass of linear textile material.
Specific stress (formerly mass-stress)
The ratio of force to the linear density. This ratio is equal to the stress per unit density and is expressed as mn/dtex or n/tex.
Spin stretch ratio
In man-made filament extrusion, the ratio of take-up or haul-off speed to the average speed of the spinning fluid as it leaves the spinneret. Note: the terms draw-down and extrusion ratio are also commonly used. Spinneret; spinnerette (1) (man-made fibres) a nozzle or plate provided with fine holes or slits through which a fibre-forming solution or melt is extruded in the manufacture of man-made fibres. (2) (entomology) the small orifices, on the lower lip of the silkworm and at the rear of the abdomen of the spider, through which thread-forming material is extruded in the formation of a cocoon, web or other filamentous structure.
A process for making textured yarns in which spinning, drawing and texturing stages are integrated sequentially on a single machine.
A process for spinning partially or highly oriented filaments in which most of the orientation is introduced between the first forwarding device and the take-up, i.e., spinning and drawing are integrated sequential stages.
The present participle of the verb 'to spin' used verbally, adjectivally, or as a noun, meaning process or the processes used in the production of yarns or filaments. Note 1: the term may apply to: (i) the drafting and, where appropriate, the insertion of twist in natural or staple man-made fibres to form a yarn; (ii) the extrusion of filaments by spiders or silkworms; or (iii) the production of filaments from glass, metals, fibre-forming polymers or ceramics. Note 2: in the spinning of man-made filaments, fibre-forming substances in the plastic or molten state, or in solution, are forced through the holes of a spinneret or die at a controlled rate. There are five general methods of spinning man-made filaments, but combinations of these methods may be used (see dispersion spinning, dry spinning, melt spinning, reaction spinning, and wet spinning) note3: in the bast and leaf-fibre industries, the terms 'wet spinning' and 'dry spinning' refer to the spinning of fibres into yarns in the wet state and in the dry state respectively.
A coagulating bath into which a solution or dispersion of a fibre-forming polymer is extruded during the processes of wet-spinning or dispersion spinning respectively.
A machine consisting of a number of spinning positions for converting slivers, slubbings, or roving into yarn.
A small pump, usually of the gear-wheel type, used to provide a uniform flow of a spinning solution or molten polymer to a spinning jet.
A solution of fibre-forming polymer as prepared for extrusion through a spinneret. Note: a spinning solution is often referred to as dope, a term historically associated with cellulose ethanoate (cellulose acetate) solutions as varnishes.
A yarn produced by the process of fibrillation.
Having a surface that can be compressed but recovers.
A method of making nonwoven fabrics in which droplets of adhesive are sprayed on to the fibre web or batt.
Application of colorant to a substrate using a spray gun with the object of producing ombre effects.
Color is applied to the fabric by spraying dye on the surface with a compressed air gun. Multiple colors maybe applied by using a different stencil for each color. Ombre or tie dye effects may be achieved.
(1) yarn produced by dressing or combing processes from silk waste that has been 'boiled off' to remove the gum. (2) descriptive of fabrics produced from spun silk.
Commonly used to describe a yarn that consists of staple fibres held together (usually) by twist.
A method of producing nonwoven fabric in a continuous process. Polymer is extruded through a spinneret and the resulting filaments are cooled and laid down in a web along a continuous conveyor belt . The web is then bonded by heat, pressure or adhesives to form the fabric.
A nonwoven fabric made by the extrusion of filaments that are laid down in the form of a web and bonded.
(1) an undesirable local discoloration. (2) in fastness testing of coloured textiles; the transfer of colorant from the test material to adjacent materials.
A lock or tuft of fibres of uniform properties and hence a lock of tuft prepared to demonstrate fibre length. In bulk, a mass of fibres having a certain homogeneity of properties, usually length. Used as a verb, to bring fibres to a certain uniformity of properties, usually length, e.g. By sorting wool or by cutting filaments.
Staple fibre (man-made)
Man-made fibres of predetermined short lengths.
A quantity by which a sample of fibrous raw material is characterized as regards its technically most important fibre length. Note: the staple length of wool is usually taken as the length of the longer fibres in a hand prepared tuft or 'staple' in its naturally crimped and wavy condition (see crimp). With cotton, on the other hand, the staple length corresponds very closely to the modal or most frequent length of the fibres when measured in a straightened condition.
An open-width fabric-finishing machine in which the selvedges of a textile fabric are held by a pair of endless travelling chains maintaining weft tension. Note 1: attachment may be by pins (pin stenter) or clips (clip stenter). Note 2.. Such machines are used for: (a) drying, (b) heat-setting of thermoplastic material, (c) fixation of chemical finishes.
Stitch holding (shaping)
A method of shaping a knitted product by changing the number of loops in individual wales by continuing to knit on certain needles whilst knitting is stopped and the stitches held on other needles for a given number of courses. It is possible to start to knit again and join the held stitches into a continuation of the fabric.
A garment shaped wholly or partially by change of stitch length, or structure, or both.
A method of shaping a garment panel on a flat knitting machine by transferring selvedge loops from one needle bed to the other in a sequence designed to increase or decrease the width of the fabric over a given number of courses. Shetland (1) original usage: a yarn spun by hand in the shetland islands from the wool of sheep bred and reared in these islands. (2) common usage: a yam, spun on the woollen system from 100% new wool, of a quality capable of imparting to a fabric the handle attributed to the products formerly made exclusively from the shetland breed of sheep. (3) current trade usage: (as recognised by the international wool textile organisation) where the term shetland is qualified by the adjective 'genuine', 'pure', 'real', or any similar description, implies that the wool actually originated in the shetland islands.
A method of shaping a garment panel on a flat knitting machine by transferring selvedge loops from one needle bed to the other in a sequence designed to increase or decrease the width of the fabric over a given number of courses.
Refers to the dyeing of staple fiber before it is spun into yarn. A common method for woolen fabrics.
A process of washing the fabric with pebbles to alter the hand and produce fading of the color.
(1) a single two-fold or multi-fold yarn used as a component of a folded or cabled construction. (2) linear textile material generally.
A fabric characterized by a capacity for stretch and recovery from stretch. Note: the term is used for materials with greater extension and recovery properties than traditional woven or knitted structures from conventional yarns and implies the use of stretch yarns, elastomeric threads, or finishing treatments. Such fabrics may have different degrees of extensibility and recovery specified for particular uses.
Stretch in warp
Refers to a woven fabric with elastic properties in the warp direction only, usually the result of using spandex yarn in the warp.
Stretch in weft
Refers to a woven fabric with elastic properties in the weft ( filling) direction only, usually the result of using spandex yarn in the weft.
A process of spinning whereby the filaments are substantially stretched at some stage between spinning (extrusion) and collection. The term is applied specifically to a process involving substantial stretch in order to provide high-tenacity yam.
Yarn capable of a pronounced degree of stretch and recovery from stretch.
A small bunch of flax straws of scutched flax, or hackled flax, of a size that can be held in the hand. Note: in the jute section of the textile industry, the corresponding term is strike which refers to a bunch of jute similar to a 'head' but smaller, usually 1 to 2 kg.
A design dominated by lines or bands of contrasting colour or texture.
Destroying or removing dye or finish from a fibre.
A crimping device consisting of a confined space into which a tow, a converted tow, a sliver, a yarn or a similar assembly of filaments or fibres is injected by feed rollers or other means such as a fluid jet and in which the fibre assembly is packed and compressed so that the individual filaments or fibres buckle and fold.
A form of transfer printing employing dyes that sublime readily and have substantivity for the substrate to which they are applied.
A general term for the best and finest quality of wool with a diameter of 15-18 microns.
Having a soft, flexible, luxurious hand.
Ornamenting the surface of a fabric or garment (e.g. Embroidery etc.)
An agent, soluble or dispersible in a liquid, which reduces the surface tension of the liquid. (a contraction of 'surface-active agent'.)
Swatch; sample swatch
Fabric for display, test, or record purposes, in the form of a single sample or an assembly of small samples, the latter being sometimes called a bunch.
(1) migration of dye into the angles of folds and creases during fabric drying. (2) partial transfer of colour, dirt or grease into the surrounding fabric, caused by unsatisfactory removal of stains by hand from a fabric when using an aqueous or solvent treatment.
A substance that causes the total liquid imbibition of a fibre to increase. Note: a swelling agent may be used in a dyebath or a printing paste to promote coloration by accelerating the diffusion of dyes into a fibre.
A man-made fibre produced from a polymer built up by man from chemical elements or compounds, in contrast to fibres made by man from naturally occurring fibre-forming polymers.
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