Below is a compiled list of common terms and fabric types used within the industry. We hope this will provide you with a great resource for any fabric terms you may have questions regarding.
ACETATE - Purified cellulose from wood pulp or cotton linters mixed with glacial acetic acid, acetic anhydride and a catalyst. Aged 20 hours (partial hydrolysis occurs). Precipitated as acid-resin flakes; flakes dissolved in acetone. Solution is filtered. Spinning solution extruded in column of warm air. Solvent recovered. Filaments are stretched and wound onto beams, cones or bobbins and are ready for use. Can be used for items such as blouses, dresses, upholstery, diapers and cigarette filters. Resistant to mold, mildew, shrinking and stretching. Can usually be washed or dry-cleaned.
ACRYLIC - A synthetic polymer fiber that is supple, comfortable and similar to wool. It is lightweight and dries quickly; very sensitive to heat.
ALPACA - A lustrous and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly and hypoallergenic. Its glossiness makes it somewhat similar to hair; it is used to make items like coats and blankets.
ANTIQUE SATIN – An old fabric construction that has been used as a drapery fabric for many years. Generally it has a slub or random raised horizontal thread on the face side and a satin like finish on the back. Usually considered more formal but makes great drapes. Some of the more current antique satins are printed.
APPLIQUE - A decorative technique in which a smaller ornament or device is applied to another surface. A separate piece of décor added to the primary piece in order to add magnitude and consistency to a fabric.
BARK CLOTH (or Barkcloth) - A soft, thick, slightly textured fabric so named because it has a rough surface like that of a tree bark. It is usually made of densely woven cotton fibers. Historically, the fabric has been used in home furnishings, such as curtains, drapery, upholstery and slipcovers. It is often associated with 1950s and 1960s home fashions.
BATIK – An Indonesian fabric-dyeing technique in which wax is applied to cloth before being dipped in dye. It is common for people to use a mixture of beeswax and paraffin wax. The beeswax will hold to the fabric and the paraffin wax will allow cracking, which is a characteristic of batik. Indonesian batiks used for clothing normally have an intricate pattern. Also made sometimes in India and on all cotton fabric. Mostly used in garments and crafts. Much of it is still hand made in an ancient process involving coating the fabric with wax during the dying process. It usually comes in rich deep colors.
BATISTE - A balanced, plain weave that is the softest of the lightweight opaque fabrics. It is made of cotton, wool, polyester or a blend. Lightweight opaque fabrics are very thin and light but not as transparent as sheer fabrics. The distinction between the two is not always pronounced. End uses include apparel (such as lingerie and dresses) and furnishings.
BATTING - A layer of insulation used in quilting between a top layer of patchwork and a bottom layer of backing material. It is usually made of cotton, polyester and/or wool.
BENGALINE - A fabric with a crosswise, ribbed effect that once was made of silk, wool or synthetic fibers. It is now usually made from acetate and polyester. It is similar in nature to faille but generally heavier.
BOILED WOOL - A special type of fabric primarily used in berets, scarves, vests, cardigans, coats, jackets and even stuffed animals. It is created using a mechanical knitting process which involves a set pattern that is then shrunk.
BOUCLE - A fabric made of yarn with a length of loops of similar size which can range from tiny circlets to large curls. These loops produce a cross-grained, knobby appearance on woven or knitted fabrics.
BROADCLOTH – Widely used in garments specifically blouses. Also an excellent lining and can be all cotton or a blend.
BROCADE - A class of richly decorative, shuttle-woven fabrics, often made in colored silks (rayon, nylon, cotton and satin can also be used) and with or without gold and silver threads. Commonly used for draperies, upholstery and handbags.
BURLAP – A coarse woven fabric usually made from jute fibers and allied vegetable fibers. It is often used to make sacks and bags to ship goods like coffee beans. It is breathable and thus resists condensation and associated spoilage of the contents. Due to its coarse texture, it is not commonly used in modern apparel, but it can be used to make things like draperies and other decorative items.Your grandmother used to call it gunny sack. Most burlap comes from India. It is a loosely woven natural fiber (jute). Recently burlap has become more sophisticated and is used extensively in home decorating. Today’s burlap is softer and when finished properly can be used as drapery. Believe it or not, it now comes in a beautiful array of colors and even prints.
BURNOUT VELVET - Conceived from two different fibers, the velvet is extracted with chemicals in a pattern, leaving the backing fabric sound. Used for more unconstructed and loose-fitting garments.
CALICO - A plain-woven cotton textile, often used to make quilts. The fabric is less coarse and thick than canvas or denim, and almost always machine washable.
CAMBRIC - A lightweight cotton cloth used as fabric for lace and needlework. It is firm and closely woven and treated to product glossiness on one side.
CAMEL'S HAIR - The soft, fine natural fiber attained from the underhair of the camel. Used for Oriental rugs, painter’s brushes and coats.
CANVAS – A plain woven fabric that can be solid or print and can weigh from 7 to 14 ounces. It is a popular decorative fabric and can be used for drapery and even slipcover in the heavier weights. It is usually 100% Cotton and can be solid or printed. Artists also use the heavier weights (12-14 ounces) for painting.
CASEMENT – A course open weave drapery fabric that is loosely opaque when drawn closed.
CASHMERE - A fiber obtained from the Cashmere goat. It is fine in texture and it is also strong, light and soft; when it is made into garments, they are extremely warm to wear, much warmer than the equivalent weight in sheep’s wool.
CHALLIS - A type of plain-weave fabric, usually made from cotton, wool or rayon, often printed with a design, often floral. Used to make dresses, skirts and other articles of clothing.
CHAMBRAY - A fine, lightweight fabric that is woven with white threads across a colored warp. It tends to have a frosted appearance. Heavier chambrays are typically used for work clothes, while lighter chambrays are used for dresses and children’s clothing.
CHARMEUSE - A lightweight fabric woven with a satin weave, where the warp threads cross over three or more of the backing (weft) threads. The front side of the fabric has a satin finish - lustrous and reflective - whereas the back has a dull finish. It can be made of silk, or a synthetic lookalike such as polyester. It differs from plain satin in that charmeuse is softer and lighter in weight. The luster and delicate hand make charmeuse suited to lingerie, flowing evening gowns and draped blouses. Bridal gowns sometimes use charmeuse, however, the fabric does not hold a shape well, so it is not used for full, flared skirts; the charmeuse tends to cling and hang against the body. It is best suited to a more fluid, slinky cut, and is too fragile and flimsy for more tailored clothing. It is not used in menswear, with the exception of underwear, such as charmeuse boxer shorts.
CHENILLE – Is a tightly woven "pile" fabric giving it softness and a velvety look. It is made by wrapping short lengths of fabric, called “piles,” around a tightly wound core of yarn. The edges of these piles then stand at right angles from the yarn’s core, giving chenille both its softness and its characteristic look. Chenille can appear iridescent without actually using iridescent fibers. It is often used for upholstery because of its weight. Chenille can be made from cotton, acrylic, silk or rayon. It is one of the most popular upholstery fabrics on the market today.
CHIFFON - A lightweight, balanced, plain-woven, sheer fabric woven of alternate S- and Z-twist crepe (high-twist) yarns. The twist in the crepe yarns puckers the fabric slightly in both directions after weaving, giving it some stretch and a slightly rough feel. Chiffon can be made from cotton, silk or synthetic fibers, but is usually associated with silk or nylon. Chiffon can be dyed to almost any shade desired, however, if made from polyester, it is difficult to dye. Chiffon is most commonly used in evening wear, especially as an overlay, giving an elegant and floating appearance to the gown. It is also a popular fabric used in blouses, ribbons, scarves and lingerie. Like other crepe fabrics, chiffon can be difficult to work with because of its light and slippery textures. It should only be hand-washed.
CHINTZ – A shiny polished fabric usually lighter weight that looks elegant either solid or printed. It’s great for drapery and in the heavier weights work well as upholstery.
COLORWAY – Sounds fancy but is really what you would call color scheme or combination of colors in a particular setting.
CORDUROY - A textile composed of twisted fibers that, when woven, lie parallel (similar to twill) to one another to form the cloth’s distinct “cord” pattern. Modern corduroy is most commonly composed of tufted cords, sometimes exhibiting a channel (bare to the base fabric) between the tufts. Corduroy is, in essence, a ridged form of velvet.
COTTON - A soft, staple fiber that grows in a form known as a boll around the seeds of the cotton plant. The fiber most often is spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile, which is the most widely used natural-fiber cloth in clothing today. It is of medium strength and dyes well.
CREPE - A silk fabric of a gauzy texture, having a peculiar crisp or crimpy appearance. It is woven of hard-spun silk yarn in the gum or natural condition. There are two distinct varieties of the textile: soft, Canton or Oriental crape, and hard or crisped crepe. It can be used to create clothing such as blouses, suits and dresses. Polyester crepe is machine-washable, while rayon and silk crepes need to be dry-cleaned.
CREPE DE CHINE - Crepe de Chine is thinner and comes in three different weights: two-ply, used for lingerie and blouses; three-ply, used for dresses, fuller pants and dresses; and four-ply, the nicest of the three, used for coats and trousers.
CREWEL - A decorative form of surface embroidery using wool and a variety of different embroidery stitches to follow a design outline applied to the fabric. Usually it involves hand embroidery in which fine yarn is stitched on cotton cloth. Imperfections are prevalent in this technique and are characteristic of genuine crewel.
DAMASK - A figured fabric of silk, wool, linen, cotton or synthetic fibers, with a pattern formed by weaving. Made with one warp and one weft in which, generally, warp satin and weft sateen weaves interchange. Twill or other binding weaves are sometimes integrated. Damask weaves in linen, cotton, synthetic or blended fibers are currently most commonly found in table linens. The highlights in these cloths are obtained by long floats of warp and weft, and as these are set at right angles, they reflect the light differently according to the angle of the rays of light; the effect changes also with the position of the observer. Subdued effects are produced by shorter floats of yarn and sometimes by special weaves.
DENIM - A rugged, cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two or more warp fibers. This produces the familiar diagonal ribbing identifiable on the reverse of the fabric. It is typically used for jeans and jackets, but can be combined with Lyra to add stretch.
DOESKIN - A firm, woolen cloth with a smooth, velvety surface often used for menswear; also, a densely napped finish for particular wool fabrics, such as flannel.
DUCK CLOTH – A heavy woven usually cotton fabric a lot like canvas. Originally used in apparel and commercial projects but in recent years has become a mainstay of decorative fabrics.
DUPIONI SILK - Produced from two silkworms that spin a cocoon together, thus making a strong double-thread silk. It has an advantage over some other types of silks because it usually resists wrinkles, which assists in the usability of the finished fabric. It works well for flowing jackets, blouses, skirts, dresses and bridal gowns. For home decorating, it can be used as drapery panels or other types of window treatments, table runners and cloths, doilies for accent on tables and sofa backs and arms.
EMBROIDERY - The art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with designs stitched in strands of thread or yarn using a needle. Embroidery may also use other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills and sequins. Sewing machines can be used to create machine embroidery.
EYELET - A lightweight fabric perforated by small holes finished with stitching or embroidery around the edges to prevent unraveling, usually created in flowerlike designs.
FAILLE - A glossy, ribbed, woven fabric of silk, rayon, cotton or polyester; it is soft and lightweight.
FELT - A nonwoven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibers. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any color and made into any shape or size.
FLANNEL – A soft woven usually cotton fabric that is brushed until it has a nap. In home decorating it is used as and interlining between the drapery fabric and the drapery lining. It helps add insulation and block out the sun. When using silk and other lighter weight fabrics for drapery it adds and elegance and body that is second to none. Most designers insist on interlining lighter weight draperies.
FLEECE - A soft, bulky fabric with deep pile. It is lightweight, dries quickly and is able to insulate even when wet. Polar fleece is usually made from 100% polyester and is machine-washable.
FUR - A body hair of any nonhuman mammal, also known as the pelage. It may consist of short ground hair, long guard hair and, in some cases, medium awn hair. Some commercially sold fur, however, is artificial and produced from synthetic materials.
GABARDINE - A tough, tightly woven fabric used to make suits, overcoats, trousers and other garments. The fiber used to make the fabric is traditionally worsted wool, but may also be cotton, synthetic or mixed. The fabric is smooth on one side and has a diagonally ribbed surface on the other. It is a form of twill weave.
GAUZE - A thin, translucent fabric with a loose, open weave that is usually made of cotton or silk. It is used to make apparel such as blouses and dresses, home décor items such as curtains, or even medical bandages.
GEORGETTE - A sheer, strong silk or polyester clothing fabric with a dull, crinkled, crepe-like surface. It is typically used to make apparel such as blouses or flowing dresses.
GINGHAM - A fabric made from dyed cotton yarn that forms a checkered pattern with white yarns. Is what grandmother called gingham check. She probably had and apron, blouse or skirt of gingham. It comes in all sizes from one eighth to two inches. It is sometimes used in kitchen curtains.
GRASS CLOTH – Just what it says, made of grass and mostly in wall paper. Today this course looking heavily slubed fabric is made of everything from cotton to rayon. It really can be beautiful when used as drapes. You’ll want to line this fabric, too.
GROSGRAIN - A closely woven fabric which has fine, horizontal ribs. It is generally made of silk or rayon, although cheaper alternatives are available in synthetic fabrics such as polyester, and is always black. It is a popular material for decorative ribbons.
HABUTAI - One of the most basic plain weaves, it is normally a lining silk, but can also be used for T-shirts, lampshades, summer blouses or very light lingerie. It is very lightweight and easy to dye.
HERRINGBONE - A distinctive V-shaped weaving pattern usually found in twill fabric. The pattern is named so because it looks like the skeleton of a herring fish. Herringbone-patterned fabric is usually wool, and is often used for suits and outerwear. Tweed cloth is often woven with a herringbone pattern.
HOUNDSTOOTH - A duotone textile pattern characterized by broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes. The traditional colors are black and white, although sometimes different colors are substituted for black.
HUE – Is simply the color’s name. (Green, blue, red)
INTERLOCK KNIT - Sometimes known as T-shirt knit, it usually has a stretch across the grain. It is most commonly used for lightweight pants, skirts and tops.
JACQUARD - A mechanical loom invented by Joseph Jacquard that simplifies the process of manufacturing textiles with complex patterns such as brocade, damask and matelasse. It is usually applied to silk, rayon and polyester. The product is an intricately woven, shiny fabric with an interwoven, textured and dimensional design.
JERSEY FABRIC - A somewhat elastic, machine-knit dress fabric. Most commonly made of wool or cotton, but can also be made from rayon or synthetic fibers.
KHAKI - A sturdy, twilled fabric that is usually made from cotton, worsted or linen yarns, wool or synthetic fiber blends.
LACE - An openwork fabric, patterned with open holes in the work, made by machine or by hand. The holes can be formed via removal of threads or cloth from a previously woven fabric, but more often, open spaces are created as part of the lace fabric.
LAME - A type of fabric, woven or knit, with thin ribbons of metallic yarns. It is usually gold or silver in color. It is subject to seam or yarn slippage, making it not ideal for garments with frequent usage. It is often used in evening and dress wear, and also in theatrical dance costumes.
LAWN - Lawn cloth or lawn is 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. The fabric is made using either combed or carded yarns. When lawn is made using combed yarns, with a soft feel and slight luster, it is known as "nainsook". The term lawn is also used in the textile industry to refer to a type of starched crisp finish given to a cloth product. The finish can be applied to a variety of fine fabrics, prints or plain.
LINEN - A textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. It is labor-intensive to make, but its garments are valued for exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather. It is also very absorbent, but wrinkles easily unless blended with manufactured fibers.
LODEN - A water-resistant material for clothing made from sheep's wool and used in heavy coatings.
MELTON - A heavyweight, thickset, compact and tightly woven wool or wool-blend fabric, most commonly used for coats.
MICROFIBERS - A lightweight, synthetic fiber (usually of acrylic, nylon, polyester or rayon) that be can woven into fabrics with a soft, suede-like finish. It is water-repellant, wrinkle-resistant and easy to care for. It is machine-washable.
MOHAIR - A silk-like fabric or yarn made from the hair of the Angora goat. It is notable for its durability, resiliency and high luster.
MOIRE - A fabric finish with a wavy, watered appearance, caused by varying the tension in the warp and weft of the weave. It is often used in dress and decorative fabrics. The finish can be applied to acetate, rayon, cotton and other types of fabric; it should only be dry-cleaned.
MOLESKIN - A heavy cotton fabric that is woven and then sheared to create a short, soft pile on one side. Moleskin clothing is notable for its softness and durability. Some variants of the cloth are so densely woven that they are windproof.
MUSLIN - A finely woven cotton fabric that is most typically unbleached or white cloth, produced from corded cotton yarn. It is often used to make dresses or curtains, but may also be used to complement foam or bench padding. It is a very breathable fabric and is a good choice for hot-weather clothing.
NOVELTY - Novelty fabrics are primarily made of 100% cotton and tend to have decorative designs. They are often used to make quilts, curtains and garments.
NYLON - A strong, elastic synthetic material that is stain-resistant and water-resistant. It is flexible, easily retains color and is also resistant to moths and mildew.
ORGANDY - A balanced, plain weave that is sheer, crisp, stiff and prone to wrinkling. It comes in three types of finishes, one commonly used finish is “Stiff,” but “Semi-stiff” and “Soft” finishes are also available. The latter two finishes are more popular for summer wear and draping apparels, whereas the first one is more popular for loose-fitting apparels, curtains or other home textiles. It can be made of silk, rayon, nylon or polyester.
ORGANZA - A thin, plain-weave, sheer fabric is traditionally made from silk, the continuous filament of silkworms. Nowadays, though many organzas are woven with synthetic filament fibers such as polyester or nylon, the most luxurious organzas are still woven in silk.
OSNABURG - A coarse type of plain-textile fabric. Originally made from flax yarns, it has been made from either flax, tow or jute yarns, sometimes flax or tow warp with mixed or jute weft, and often entirely of jute. It can be used for mattress ticking, slipcovers, work wear, apparel or even less expensive drapery or upholstery.
PAISLEY - A droplet-shaped vegetable motif of Persian and Indian origin, similar to half of the yin and yang symbol. The name comes from Paisley, Scotland, which was one of the primary makers of paisley in the 18th century. Resembling a large comma or twisted teardrop, the kidney-shaped paisley is usually decorated with involved designs and is commonly found on drapery and quilts.
PANNE VELVET - A lightweight, glossy, velvet fabric in which the pile has been flattened in a single direction. Panne velvet has a nice stretch across the grain and is used for apparel such as tops and dresses.
PASTEL – Another word for light colored fabric. (Pastel pink, pastel blue, etc.)
PERCALE - A tightly woven, plain-weave, cotton sheeting is made from carded and combed yarns. The high thread count of percale gives it a comfortable, satiny feel.
PIQUE - A mediumweight, cotton-blend fabric which is characterized by raised parallel cords or fine ribbing that resembles a check. It is used to make vests, coats, the collars of polo shirts, fitted blouses and children’s clothes.
PLAID - Cloth made with alternating stripes and bands of color woven into or dyed onto the fabric. This makes blocks of color that repeat vertically and horizontally in a pattern of squares and lines.
PLISSE - A textile finish characterized by a puckered or creased effect, produced by chemical treatment that shrinks part of the fabric. It can be made of acetate, cotton or rayon and often has a striped or spotted design.
POPLIN - A closely woven, mediumweight fabric with somewhat of a ribbed effect. The ribs run across the fabric from selvage to selvage. Poplins are used for dress purposes and for rich upholstery work. They are formed by using coarse filling yarns in a plain weave. Shirts made from this material are easy to iron and do not wrinkle easily.
PRIMARY COLORS – Are the three colors that every other color is made from; red, yellow and blue.
QUILTING FABRIC - Usually either novelty or calico fabric and 100% cotton.
RAILROADED - Refers to the orientation of the pattern on the fabric that usually describes a vertical, sideways or horizontal stripe pattern.
RAYON - A manufactured, regenerated cellulosic fiber. It is produced from naturally occurring polymers, so it is neither a truly synthetic fiber nor a natural fiber; it is a semi-synthetic fiber that usually has a high-luster quality, giving it a bright shine. Some major rayon fiber uses include apparel (e.g. blouses, dresses, jackets, lingerie, linings, scarves, suits, ties, hats, socks), furnishings (e.g. bedspreads, blankets, window treatments, upholstery, slipcovers), industrial uses (e.g. medical surgery products, nonwoven products, tire cord) and other uses (e.g. yarn, feminine hygiene products, diapers).
RIB KNIT - Refers to a pattern in which vertical stripes of stockinette stitch alternate with vertical stripes of reverse stockinette stitch. These two types of stripes may be separated by other stripes in which knit and purl stitches alternate vertically. A 1x1 rib has one rib up and one down. A 2x1 rib has two ribs up and one down, similar to a Poor Boy Knit.
RIP-STOP NYLON - A lightweight, nylon fabric that is woven with coarse, strong warp and filling yarns spaced at intervals so that tears will not spread. It is produced in a range of weights and textures, waterproof, water resistant, fire resistant, zero porosity (will not allow air or water through), lightweight, mediumweight and heavyweight. Textures range from soft and silk-like to crisp or stiff that sounds like a paper bag when they are moved. Rip-stop nylon is often used in yachts for sails and spinnakers, hot air balloons, kites, parachutes, camping equipment, such as lightweight tents and sleeping bags, flags, banners and many other applications which require a strong lightweight fabric. Rip-stop reinforcement can also be incorporated into heavier fabrics which require extreme durability, such as those used in the manufacture of luggage and Nomex-protective clothing.
SATIN - A cloth that typically has a glossy surface and a dull back. It is a warp-dominated weaving technique that forms a minimum number of interlacings in a fabric. If a fabric is formed with a satin weave using filament fibers such as silk, nylon or polyester, the corresponding fabric is termed a “satin.” If the yarns used are short-staple yarns, such as cotton, the fabric formed is considered a sateen. A satin-woven fabric tends to have a high luster due to the high number of “floats” on the fabric. Floats are “missed” interlacings, where the warp yarn lies on top of the weft yarn, or vice versa. The floats tend to make the fabric look glossier, as well as give it a smoother “hand” in most cases.
SECONDARY COLORS – Are so named since they are produced my mixing two or more primary colors. (Purple, orange, pink, etc.)
SEERSUCKER - A thin, all-cotton fabric, commonly striped, used to make clothing for spring and summer wear, usually suits, slacks and children’s clothing.
SEQUINS - Disk-shaped beads used for decorative purposes. They are available in a wide variety of colors and geometrical shapes. Sequins are commonly used on clothing, jewelry, bags and other accessories to add interest.
SHANTUNG - A mediumweight, plain-weave fabric with an unevenly ribbed surface and a plain texture. It is usually used for dresses and suits, and is similar to Dupioni silk, except with a more refined appearance.
SHEETING - A sturdy, plain-woven cloth usually made of cotton that can be found in mediumweights or heavyweights, suitable for forming into bedsheets.
SILK – An ancient natural fiber made by silk worms. It is luxurious and beautiful. The downside is that it fades and stains easily and should always be lined. Silk draperies look best lined with both drapery lining and flannel interlining. Very few fabrics are more beautiful and elegant than silk draperies. Silk fabric also works well as light upholstery in a more formal setting.
SLINKY KNIT - A fabric with four-way stretch for ideal comfort. It drapes well, washes easily and is not vulnerable to wrinkling.
SLUB – A horizontal raised yarn across the fabric which gives the fabric a slightly uneven texture
SPANDEX - A synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity, strength, durability and resistance to water and oils. It is stronger and more durable than rubber, its major nonsynthetic competitor.
SUEDE - A type of leather with a napped finish. However, it can also refer to a similar napped or brushed finish on many kinds of fabrics. Today, suede fabric is the most common name and use for a fabric that is suede-like. Technology today has given use some gorgeous kinds of suede fabrics. Suede leather is made from the underside of the skin, primarily lamb, although goat, pig, calf and deer are commonly used. Its softness, thinness and pliability make it suitable for clothing and delicate uses. Suede was originally used for women’s gloves. Due to its textured nature and open pores, suede may become dirty and absorb liquids quickly.
TAFFETA - A crisp, smooth-woven fabric made from silk or synthetic fibers. It is considered to be a “high-end” fabric, suitable for use in ball gowns, wedding dresses and in interiors for curtains or wallcoverings. There are two distinct types of silk taffeta: yarn-dyed and piece-dyed. Piece-dyed taffeta is often used in linings and is quite soft. Yarn-dyed taffeta is much stiffer and is often used in evening dresses.
TAPESTRY - A form of textile art. Old and timeless it can be woven in scenes or stories or simply in beautiful patterns. It is woven by hand on a vertical loom. It is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work, unlike cloth weaving where both the warp and the weft threads may be visible. In this way, a colorful pattern or image is created. Most weavers use a naturally based warp thread, such as linen or cotton. The weft threads are usually wool or cotton, but may include silk, gold, silver or other alternatives.
TENCEL - Also known as Lyocell, it is a fiber made from wood pulp cellulose. It is most commonly a mediumweight fabric, and is appropriate for the production of pants, coats and skirts.
TERRY CLOTH - A fabric with loops that can absorb large amounts of water used for home décor, summer apparel, towels, robes or bedlinens. It is easy to wash and does not require ironing.
TICKING - A sturdy, closely woven linen or cotton fabric used in upholstery and as a covering for a mattress or pillow.
TOILE – A version of a fabric design that looks like a drawing or sketch. You will recognize them easily as pastoral scenes of children playing, picnics, or one color designs that are floral design, etc. Toile prints have been around for hundreds of years and today are more popular than ever in home decorating.
TRICOT - A plain, warp-knit fabric that can be created with an array of fibers and fiber blends. It is not unusual for various types of tricot to be manufactured with the use of cotton, wool, silk, rayon or nylon, or any combination of fibers. Because the pattern for tricot fabric is a close-knit design with fibers running lengthwise while employing an interlooped yarn pattern, the texture of tricot is a little different from some other types of material. One side will feature fine ribs running in a lengthwise pattern, while the other side will feature ribs that run in a crosswise direction. The finished look of tricot is that of a sturdy, yet soft, material that can be ideal for a number of applications such as the lining for luggage or jewelry boxes.
TULLE AND NETTING - A lightweight, very fine netting, which is often starched. It can be made of various fibers, including silk, nylon and rayon. Tulle is most commonly used for veils, gowns (particularly wedding gowns) and ballet tutus.
TWEED - A rough, unfinished, woolen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture that resembles cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is made in either plain or twill weave and may have a check or herringbone pattern. Subdued, interesting color effects (heather mixtures) are obtained by twisting together differently colored woolen strands into a two- or three-ply yarn. Tweeds are desirable for informal outerwear, being moisture-resistant and very durable.
TWILL - A type of fabric woven with a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs. It is made by passing the weft thread over one or more warp threads and then under two or more warp threads and so on, with a “step” or offset between rows to create the characteristic diagonal pattern. Because of this structure, twills generally drape well. Examples of twill fabric are chino, drill, denim, gabardine, tweed and serge.
ULTRASUEDE- A synthetic fabric that feels like natural suede but it is resistant to stains and discoloration; it can be washed in a washing machine. It is a woven fabric, but resists pulling or fraying because it is combined with a polyurethane foam in a nonwoven structure. The fabric is multifunctional: it is used in fashion, interior decorating, automotive and other vehicle upholstery, and industrial applications, such as protective fabric for electronic equipment. It is also a very popular fabric in the manufacture of footbags (also known as hacky sacks).
UP-THE-ROLL - The most prevalent horizontal orientation of fabric patterns; it includes horizontal, right-side-up or vertically running stripes.
VELOUR - A knit fabric, allowing it to stretch. It combines the stretchy properties of knits, such as spandex, with the rich appearance and feel of velvet. It is used in dancewear for the ease of movement it affords, and is also popular for warm, colorful, casual clothing. When used as an upholstery, velour often is substituted for velvet. Plush velour seats are an option on many luxury vehicles. Velour is also widely used in the manufacture of theater drapes and stage curtains.
VELVET - A type of tufted fabric in which the cut threads are very evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it a distinct feel. Velvet can be made from many different kinds of fibers, however, it is ideally made from silk. It is woven on a special loom that weaves two pieces of velvet at the same time; it is difficult to clean and usually has to be dry-cleaned.
VELVETEEN - A cotton cloth made in imitation of velvet. The term is sometimes applied to a mixture of silk and cotton. Some velveteens are a kind of fustian, having a rib of velvet pile alternating with a plain depression. It is lightweight and does not have the sheen and drape of velvet. It is not appropriate for upholstery, but can be used to make skirts, tops and fuller pants.
VINYL – (One brand name is Naugahyde) –A durable, leather-like, synthetic material made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It will endure many conditions and therefore is a preferred upholstery fabric for boat cushions, car interiors and porch furniture. It looks like leather, feels like leather and some of the newer designs and textures are difficult to distinguish from actual leather. Vinyl fabric is easily cleaned with a damp cloth and is water repellent. Marine vinyl is used in most boats today. Primarily used for upholstery, when backed with a cotton fiber, it is extremely durable. It comes in numerous weights, colors and patterns.
VISCOSE - The most prevalent type of refined rayon, it usually has a silky feel and drapes well. It is used for linings of high-quality garments and is absorbent.
VOILE - A lightweight, woven fabric, generally made of 100% cotton or cotton blends, including linen or polyester. Often used to make curtains, blouses and dresses.
WOOL - The fiber derived from the specialized skin cells of sheep, goats, llamas or other mammals. It is crimped, elastic and naturally stain-resistant and wrinkle-resistant. It is very absorbent and comes in many forms, including: crepe, challis, gabardine, merino, melton, jersey and worsted wool suitings.
WOOLEN FABRICS - Complements worsted fabrics, the fibers of woolen fabrics are intentionally tangled to create a tufted surface yarn and fabric. Fabrics produced from woolen yarn are usually thick and fuzzy.
WORSTED FABRICS - Usually made with wool, the fibers of worsted fabric are maintained parallel before spinning, which makes tightly twisted yarns. Worsted fabric has a hard, smooth surface; an example of worsted fabric is gabardine.