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Glossary

Are you befuddled by a fabric term we used? Here you will find a glossary of expressions we often use in relation to our fabrics. Please contact us if you can elaborate/improve/correct any of the entries.

  • Acetate

    Man made natural polymer cellulose ester fibre.

    A breathable, hypo-allergenic and anti-static man-made fibre often used in linings and textured fabrics like Cloqué. It has a shiny appearance and good drapability. In our experience acetate fabrics are rarely washable. Not to be confused with triacetate which is more stable – and the main fibre in our fabulous Venezia lining.
    Abr. CA

  • Acrylic

    Man-made synthetic polymer fibre.

    Acrylic is used to mimic other fibres like wool or cotton. It is lightweight, soft, and warm but doesn’t breathe like a natural fibres and isn’t as warm as wool when it is wet. Some acrylic fabrics may fuzz or pill, though there are low-pilling variants. Acrylic holds colour well, is washable, and is hypoallergenic.

    Abr. PC

  • Alpaca

    Natural animal hair fibre from the alpaca. It is softer and more luxurious than sheep’s wool, and is often described as a hard wearing cashmere.
    Abr. WP

  • Angora

    Natural animal hair fibre from the angora rabbit. It is exceptionally soft, possesses high heat retention and moisture-wicking properties. Angora is fine and fragile in it’s pure form so is usually blended with other wools to increase warmth and enhance softness.
    Abr. WA

  • Bias

    45˚ to the warp and weft yarns

  • Brocade

    Figured woven jacquard fabric, usually multicoloured. See also: Jacquard, Cloqué.

  • Calico

    General term for unbleached plain cotton fabric that comes in a variety of weights, mainly used for making toiles

  • Camel hair

    Natural animal hair fibre from the Bactrian camel. It has excellent thermal properties making it both breathable and warm, it is usually used in high grade coatings.
    Abr. WK

  • Canvas

    Strong, firm and rigid plain woven cloth. Usually cotton.

  • Cashmere

    Natural animal hair fibre from the cashmere goat. Cashmere is a luxury fibre known for its extreme softness, warmth and lustrous quality.
    Abr. WS

  • Challis

    Lightweight plain weave worsted spun fabric with a soft handle and good drape. Usually made of wool. See also Varuna.

  • Chambray

    Lightweight plain weave cotton with a dyed warp and a white weft.

  • Chiffon

    Sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric -usually silk, polyester or viscose.

  • Cloqué

    1. Woven double cloth where two sets of warp and weft yarns have very different shrinkage pottentials resulting in a blistered effect.
    2. Weft knitted double jersey showing a three dimensional puckered figure in relief. Also known as blister fabric and relief fabric.

  • Corduroy

    Woven cut weft pile fabric in vertical cords (known as wales). Can be very fine known as needlecord or baby cord, up to very broad, known as elephant cord.

  • Cotton

    Natural vegetable seed fibre from the cotton plant. A highly versatile fibre that has a comfortable soft handle, good absorbency, good colour retention, can be machine washed and/or dry cleaned, strong, durable, and drapes well.
    Abr. CO

  • Crepe

    Crinkled or puckered fabric achieved by highly twisted yarns resulting in a fabric with good drape and elasticity.

  • Crepe de Chine

    Lightweight fabric made with highly twisted yarns resulting in a slinky fabric with good drape and elasticity. The crepe effect is relatively unpronounced.

  • Cupro

    Man made natural polymer regenerated cellulose fibre. Made from wood pulp is breathes like cotton, drapes beautifully and feels like silk on the skin.
    Abr. CU

  • Damask

    Figured fabric usually in a single colour where the figure and the ground are in contrasting weaves, generally satin and sateen.

  • Denim

    Hardwearing cotton twill with dyed warp and unbleached/dyed coarser weft yarn.

  • Devoré

    Velvet fabric that has been ‘burned out’ in areas to reveal a semi-sheer chiffon backing

  • Dobby

    A textured spotty pattern created by small tufts/irregular weave

  • Donegal Tweed

    Woollen tweed fabric characterised by randomly distributed clumps of brightly coloured fibres in the yarn. True Donegal comes from County Donegal in Ireland.

  • Double Cloth

    Compound woven fabric which can allow for the face and back to be completely different. Some yarns from one fabric interlace with the other to hold them together, or a fine hidden warp interlaces the two.

  • Double Jersey

    General term to describe weft knitted fabrics made on two sets of needles. Includes both rib based and interlock structures.

  • Drill

    Woven twill fabric similar to denim but usually piece dyed.

  • Elastane

    Man made synthetic polymer with very high elasticity. It is often added as a small percentage (3 – 7%) to fabrics to aid recovery and fit.
    Also known as Lycra and Spandex… or “that amazing strtchy stuff that made my dress fit”.
    Abr. EA or EL

  • Elite PBT

    If you want the full name – Polybutylene terephthalate – a texturised polyester with natural stretch similar to spandex.
    Abr. PL

  • Flannel

    Light to medium weight wool fabric with a plain or twill weave, a soft handle and a slightly milled or raised surface.

  • Gaberdine

    Steep twill fabric originally made in worsted wool (now made in various fibres), it’s close weave means it has a firm structure, is hardwearing and weather resistant.

  • Georgette

    A fine lightweight semi-sheer crepe weave fabric. See also Chiffon

  • Gingham

    Lightweight cotton with dyed and white yarns arranged in a pattern of checks.

  • Grosgrain

    Plain weave fabric with pronounced weft ribs.

  • Harris Tweed

    Wool tweed from the Isle of Harris known for it’s narrow looms, subtle colours and relatively harsh handle

  • Hemp

    Natural vegetable bast fibre. Eco fibre that has a superior strength and durability to cotton but can be course, have poor drape and a tendency to crease (all of which will improve with age and washing).
    Abr. HA

  • Herringbone

    Twill fabric where the direction is reversed producing a chevron pattern

  • Horsehair

    Natural animal hair fibre from the mane and tail hair of horses and ponies. Mainly used in horsehair canvas interfacing for tailoring jackets and coats.
    Abr. HS

  • Interfacing

    Fabric used between the inner and outer layers of a garment to improve shape retention, strength, warmth or bulk. Interlinings may be woven , knitted or non-woven and can have a fusible adhesive on one surface.
    Also known as Interlining

  • Interlining

    Fabric used between the inner and outer layers of a garment to improve shape retention, strength, warmth or bulk. Interlinings may be woven , knitted or non-woven and can have a fusible adhesive on one surface.
    Also known as Interfacing

  • Interlock

    Double faced weft knitted fabric made up with two interconnected rib fabrics. Wales of plain knitting show on both sides of the fabric and it does not curl like a single jersey.

  • Jacquard

    Jacquard woven fabric is produced on a special weaving loom fitted with a jacquard patterning mechanism, therefore, woven jacquard fabrics are typically multicoloured, or figured with intricate and textural designs

  • Lawn

    A plain weave textile, originally of linen but now chiefly cotton. Lawn is designed using fine, high count yarns, which results in a silky, untextured feel.

  • Linen

    Natural vegetable bast fibre from the flax plant. A slightly stiff, weighty fabric with aesthetically pleasing slubs. Linen has been valued for centuries for its exceptional coolness in hot weather. Linen is durable and fibres become softer, stronger and brighter over time and laundering.
    Abr. LI

  • Lining

    Fabric used for the inside of a garment where it’s properties do not modify the main fabric but do enhance the performance of the article as a whole. Linings can be made of various things but naturally anti-static linings are generally better which are usually made of Viscose, Acetate, Triacetate and Silk. Sometimes it is possible to use a fine cotton such as Lawn or Voile too.
    See: Venezia Lining, Coat linings, Satin Lining, Silk Lining, Cotton Lining, Cupro Lining, Viscose Twill Lining, Tricot Knit Lining, Stretch Lining.

  • Llama

    Natural animal hair from the Llama. A luxury fibre used for it’s lustre, drape and firm texture. The Llama fibre is hollow and so naturally insulating whilst comparatively lightweight .
    Abr. WL

  • Lyocell

    Man-made breathable natural polymer regenerated cellulose fibre. It is a ‘natural’ microfibre derived from wood-pulp. It has soft handle, good drape, breathable, durable, easy-care and biodegradable. It is absorbent and has low warmth. Also known as Tencel
    Abr. CLY

  • Melton Coating

    Heavyweight coating fabric in wool that has a heavily milled raised and cropped pile finish.

  • Mixed Fibres

    What we write when the fibre content is unknown or the list is too long and complicated to be able to fit on one ticket. Also can be written as Cotton Mix, Wool Mix, etc, which suggests the named fibre is the predominant.
    Abr. AF

  • Modacrylic

    Man made synthetic polymer fibre. Modacrylics are quick drying, soft, resilient, and dimensionally stable fabrics usually used in luxury faux furs.

  • Modal

    Man made natural polymer regenerated cellulose fibre specifically made from beech trees. (unlike other generic viscose fibres made from any wood pulp). It is known for it’s superior softness of touch and strength, even when wet, so can be laundered without compromise.

  • Mohair

    Natural animal hair fibre from the angora or mohair goat. A luxury fibre, mohair is warm in winter while remaining cool in summer due to its moisture wicking properties. It is durable and crease resistant.
    Abr. WM

  • Moiré

    Fabric that shows a wavy watermark type pattern.

  • Moss Crepe

    Crepe that has a spongey bubble type texture.

  • Muslin

    Lightweight, sheer, open weave fabric usually made of cotton. Also the american term for a toile.

  • New Wool

    See Virgin Wool
    Abr. WV

  • Nylon

    Man made synthetic polymer fibre. Strong, lightweight and resilient. It can be heat set into pleats, etc. It is often added as a small percentage to fabrics to add strength and resilience.
    Also known as Polyamide.
    Abr. PA

  • One-Way Fabric

    Fabric that appears different when viewed from the top or the bottom. Can be due to pattern, nap, pile, etc. All the pattern pieces will need to be laid in the same direction when cutting out.

  • Organdie

    Usually cotton. A plain weave sheer fabric with a permanently stiff finish.

  • Organza

    A sheer plain weave lightweight fabric with a firm drape and handle. Usually made out of silk or nylon

  • PBT

    See Elite PBT

  • Pile

    Some of the yarns are raised to form a pile, like in velvet, wool melton and faux fur. Care should be taken when cutting out, pressing and storage

  • Piqué

    Woven fabric showing pronounced rounded cords running in the weft direction

  • Polyamide

    Man made synthetic polymer fibre. Strong, lightweight and resilient. It can be heat set into pleats, etc. It is often added as a small percentage to fabrics to add strength and resilience.
    Also known as Nylon.
    Abr. PA

  • Polyester

    Man made synthetic polymer fibre. The ubiquitous easy-care fibre used for it’s good drape, soft handle and durability.
    Abr. PE, PES, PM,

  • Polyurethane or PU

    Man made synthetic polymer fibre usually used to add water repellent qualities.
    Abr. PU

  • Ponte Roma

    An interlock based double jersey. It is stable and not hugely stretchy. Also known as Punto di Roma or Ponte de Roma.

  • Poplin

    Medium weight plain weave fabric traditionally made from cotton. Often used as for shirtings.

  • PVC

    Polyvinyl chloride. Man made synthetic polymer used for faux leathers and water repellency.
    Abr. PVC

  • Ramie

    Natural vegetable bast fibre from the ramie plant. Similar to Linen/Flax with a silkier lustre.
    Abr. RA

  • Raschel

    Patterned knit made on a raschel warp knitting machine. Can range from fine lace and nets to thick outerwear.

  • Repp

    Plain weave fabric with pronounced weftways rib

  • Reversible

    Describes fabric that has pattern and/or finish on both sides, either of which can be used as the face side

  • Rib

    Weft knitted fabric with wales looped interchangeably to the front and back creating a ribbed/striped knit with a greater elasticity

  • Sateen

    A smooth woven fabric where the maximum amount of weft shows on the face. The smooth effect is enhanced by using filament and/or lustrous yarns. Sateen is less shiny than satin.

  • Satin

    A smooth woven fabric where the maximum amount of warp shows on the face. The shiny effect is enhanced by using filament and/or lustrous yarns. Satin is usually made of silk, polyester or viscose and can come in a variety of weights.

  • Seersucker

    Fabric characterised by puckered and relatively flat areas, often in stripes.

  • Selvedge

    The finished edge on the edge of the fabric that runs

  • Shetland Tweed

    Wool tweed in the Harris tweed style but usually with a lighter and softer handle. Also may refer to a tweed in the shetland tweed style but made outside of the Shetland Isles.

  • Shot

    Effect where the fabric can appear two different colours or a combination of both according to the angle it is looked at due to dyeing the warp and weft two different colours. Also known as changeant effect, or two-tone.

  • Silk

    Natural animal protein fibre obtained from the cocoons produced by silkworms. Super strong, lightweight and lustrous fibre that can be woven into extremely fine threads. It takes dye brilliantly and has excellent insulation properties (warm in the cold, cool in the heat). It is fragile when wet so wash with caution.
    Abr. SE

  • Spandex

    See Elastane.
    Abr. EA or EL

  • Stretch

    Fabric showing greater than usual extensibility and recovery.

  • Tencel

    Man-made breathable natural polymer regenerated cellulose fibre. It is a ‘natural’ microfibre derived from wood-pulp. It has soft handle, good drape, breathable, durable, easy-care and biodegradable. It is absorbent and has low warmth. Brand name for Lyocell
    Abr. CLY

  • Toile

    A mock garment usually made up in calico to fine tune any fitting or shape issues.

  • Triacetate

    Man made natural polymer cellulose ester fibre. More stable than Acetate. Used in the fabulous Venezia lining.
    Abr CTA

  • Tricot

    Lightweight knitted fabric used to line jersey garments

  • Twill

    A woven fabric where diagonal lines show on the surface of the fabric

  • Velour

    A jersey fabric with a velvet like cut warp pile surface. Usually polyester and elastane.

  • Velvet

    Cut warp-pile fabric in which the cut fibrous ends form the surface of the fabric. Pile may be left erect or laid in one direction for a very high lustre. Usually made from pure cotton (quite stiff), silk and viscose (very drapey) or acetate and viscose (somewhat stiff and drapey). Care must be taken not to mark the fabric when pressing and constructing.

  • Virgin Wool

    Natural animal fibre obtained from the fibrous covering of the sheep. Excellent insulating fibre that is trans-seasonal, breathable, crease resistant and naturally elastic. Virgin wool has never been used or reclaimed from any spun, woven, knitted, felted, manufactured or used product. Also known as New Wool
    Abr. WV

  • Viscose

    Man made natural polymer regenerated cellulose fibre. Made from wood pulp, this breathable, drapey and lustrous fabric is strong and versatile. It is important to preshrink as untreated it can easily shrink 10%. Various derivatives include Modal, Tencel/Lyocell, Cupro and Rayon.
    Abr. VI

  • Wadding

    Lofty sheet of fibres used for padding and stuffing.

  • Wale

    The columns of loops (cut or uncut) in a fabric that run along the length of a fabric, like in corduroy.

  • Warp

    Yarns that run up and down the length of the fabric parallel with the selvedge

  • Weft

    Yarns that run left and right across the width of the fabric perpendicular with the selvedge

  • Wool

    Natural animal fibre obtained from the fibrous covering of the sheep. Excellent insulating fibre that is trans-seasonal, breathable, crease resistant and naturally elastic.
    Abr. WO