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AMMCo – FABRIC GLOSSARY
Appliqué - (pronounced a-plee-kay): Material that is cut out and sewn or embroidered and fastened to a fabric. Appliqué comes from the French appliquer, which means to "put on."
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.
Acrylic - A manufactured fiber, its major properties include a soft, wool-like hand, machine washable and dryable and excellent color retention.
Angora - The hair of the Angora goat. Also known as Angora mohair. Angora may also apply to the fur of the Angora rabbit.
Baby Terry - A blanket-soft blend of cotton and polyester. The perfect companion for beach strolls, busy days and cuddling with kids.
Bamboo - Bamboo fiber is a revolutionary new fabric that has unparalleled advantages, including strength, versatility and luxurious softness. In a relatively short time, clothing made from bamboo fiber has made it to the top ranks of eco-friendly choices
Blended Yarn - A term applied to a yarn or a fabric that is made up of more than one fiber. In blended yarns, two or more different types of staple fibers are twisted or spun together to form the yarn. Examples of a typical blended yarn or fabric is polyester/cotton.
Burnout - (also known as devoré: pronounced dee-voor-ray) The process of printing a design with chemicals on fabric woven of paired yarns of two different fibers. One kind of yarn from the printed design is burned out or destroyed. This process is frequently applied to velvet.
Brushed – Napped, knit or woven fabrics, made of wool, cotton or synthetics. Different from pile, which is formed by adding extra yarn?
Cashmere - Crafted from the finest, two-ply yarns from Inner Mongolia, the world’s premier source for cashmere. It has a lightweight yet dense feeling, resists pilling and is soft to the touch.
Cellulose - A material derived from the cell walls of certain plants. Cellulose is used in the production of many vegetable fibers, as well as being the major raw material component used in the production of the manufactured fibers of acetate, rayon, and triacetate.
Cotton – A natural fiber harvested from the seedpod of the cotton plant. The fibers are dried, cleaned and pressed into bales for spinning. The quality of cotton is determined by the staple length, or length of the fiber. Longer fibers create more lustrous, silky, absorbent and soft cotton.
Crinkle Cotton - Cotton that is given a crinkled, lightly wrinkled or pleated appearance through chemical treatment or mechanical means. The treatment gives added texture to the garment.
Egyptian Cotton - Regarded as the finest cotton in the world. The extra-long fiber creates a super soft hand feel, luxurious shine and excellent absorbency.
Mercerized Cotton - Any type of cotton that has gone through a chemical process that permanently swells the fiber. The resulting fabric or yarn has a lovely shine, takes dye well and is very strong.
Pima Cotton - A medium staple-length variety of American-bred Egyptian cotton. It’s known for its high quality and is particularly soft and lustrous.
Cotton Gauze - A sheer, open, plain-weave fabric, very lightweight and comfortable.
Camel's Hair - A natural fiber obtained from the under-hair of the camel. It is relatively close to cashmere. Appropriate for coats and jackets. Very soft hand.
Cashmere - A natural fiber obtained from the soft fleecy undergrowth of the Kashmir goat. Most commonly used in sweaters, shawls, suits, coats, and dresses. A luxury fiber with a very soft hand.
Chiffon - Lightweight, extremely sheer and airy fabric, containing highly twisted fibers. Suitable for full pants, loose tops or dresses.
Crocking - The rubbing-off of dye from a fabric. Crocking can be the result of lack of penetration of the dyeing agent, the use of incorrect dyes or dyeing procedures, or the lack of proper washing procedures and finishing treatments after the dyeing process.
Colorfastness - A term used to describe a dyed fabric's ability to resist fading due to washing, exposure to sunlight, and other environmental conditions.
Combing - The combing process is an additional step to make the yarn softer. In this process the fibers are arranged in a highly parallel form, and additional short fibers are removed, producing high quality yarns with excellent strength, fineness, and uniformity.
Double Knit - A weft knit fabric in which two layers of loops are formed that cannot be separated. A double knit machine, which has two complete sets of needles, is required for this construction.
Durability - The ability of a fabric to resist wear through continual use.
Embroidery - Needlework has been a popular diversion for women since medieval times. The first needle was a bone and the first thread was either straw or grass. Gold embroidery was first used by the Assyrians and later copied by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. The craft has come a long way since then, and although hand embroidery remains an established craft, most commercially produced embroideries are done by machine.
Empire Waist - A line sewn horizontally into a garment that begins immediately below the bust. This high-waisted style became popular in the early nineteenth century. It is flattering to many figure types in that it draws the eye upward and creates an elongating effect through the waist, making one appear taller.
Elasticity - The ability of a fiber or fabric to return to its original length, shape, or size immediately after the removal of stress.
Face - The right side or the better-looking side of the fabric.
Facing - A piece of fabric that is sewn to the collar, front opening, cuffs, or arms eye of a garment to create a finished look.
Fiber - The basic entity, either natural or manufactured, which is twisted into yarns, and then used in the production of a fabric.
Findings - Any extra items attached to a garment during the manufacturing process. This can include trims, buttons, hooks, snaps, or embellishments.
Flax - The plant from which cellulosic linen fiber is obtained. Linen is used in apparel, accessories, draperies, upholstery, tablecloths, and towels.
Flocking - A type of raised decoration applied to the surface of a fabric in which an adhesive is printed on the fabric in a specific pattern, and then finely chopped fibers are applied by means of dusting, air-brushing, or electrostatic charges. The fibers adhere only to the areas where the adhesive has been applied, and the excess fibers are removed by mechanical means.
Fleece - Synthetic knit fabric that stretches across the grain. Suitable for vests, jackets and tops.
Foil - A thin piece of material put under another material to add color or brilliance.
Garment Dyed - Having dyed a complete garment after construction. This imparts more saturated color that will wash down over time.
Gauze - A thin, sheer plain-weave fabric made from cotton, wool, silk, rayon, or other manufactured fibers. End-uses include curtains, apparel, trimmings, and surgical dressings.
Hand Feel - The way the fabric feels when it is touched. Terms like softness, crispness, dryness, and silkiness are all terms that describe the hand of the fabric.
Heather - A yarn that is spun using pre-dyed fibers. These fibers are blended together to give a particular look. (For example, black and white may be blended together to create a grey heather yarn.). Both front and back are identical in appearance.
Interlock – Knit fabric - Also known as T-shirt knit. It usually has stretch across the grain. Great for tops, skirts and lightweight pants.
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. The interlining is used primarily to provide warmth in coats, jackets, and outerwear.
Interfacing - Fabrics used to support, reinforce and give shape to fashion fabrics in sewn products. Often placed between the lining and the outer fabric., it can be made from yarns or directly from fibers, and may be either woven, nonwoven, or knitted. Some interfacings are designed to be fused (adhered with heat from an iron), while others are meant to be stitched to the fashion fabric.
Jersey Fabric - Usually thinner or lighter-weight than Interlock knit with less stretch. Used for both home and apparel consumer products. Recently, American manufacturers have introduced cotton jersey for bed linens.
Jersey Stitch - A basic stitch used in weft knitting, in which each loop formed in the knit is identical. The jersey stitch is also called the plain, felt, or stockinet stitch.
Interlock knit A knit construction made on a two-bed machine with alternating short and long needles. It has a double 1 X 1 rib with a firm texture and elasticity. It does not curl at the edges and is thicker than a plain rib knit or jersey.
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.
Knit flannel - A soft-filled cotton sheeting or twill that is napped on at least one side and generally on both. It is then bleached, dyed or printed, and brushed or run through the napping machine again to revive the surface texture. May also be preshrunk.
Knitted - Formed by interlacing yarn or thread in a series of connected loops with needles.
Lace - An ornamental braid for trimming.
Linen - A fabric made from linen fibers obtained from inside the woody stem of the flax plant. Linen fibers are much stronger and more lustrous than cotton. Linen fabrics are very cool and absorbent, but wrinkle very easily, unless blended with manufactured fibers. Linen is one of the oldest textile fibers.
Lining - A fabric that is used to cover the inside of a garment to provide a finished look. Generally, the lining is made of a smooth lustrous fabric.
Loom - A machine used for weaving fabrics.
Lyocell Fiber - A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose. Lyocell has a similar hand and drape as rayon, but is stronger, more durable, and in many cases machine washable. It has a subtle luster and is rich in color. Lyocell possesses low shrinkage characteristics, as well as good absorbency and wrinkle resistant qualities.
Lycra® spandex Lycra® is a registered trade name owned by DuPont for their specific brand of spandex fibers and fabrics. This resilient spandex is crafted to move when you do. It keeps pace with your day, your life—wherever it takes you.
Microfibers - An extremely fine synthetic fiber that can be woven into textiles with the texture and drape of natural-fiber cloth but with enhanced wash ability, breathability, and water repellency.
Mesh - A woven or knit fabric in nylon or cotton. It’s characterized by tiny holes that give it a "screen" effect that keeps the body cool. The fabric can be solid or printed and used for athletic clothing, sportswear or dressy looks.
Micro fleece - A synthetic knit fabric that has pile on one or both sides. Micro fleece is comprised of microfilament fibers that are even finer than silk and make it exceptionally lightweight and soft.
Merino - A type of wool that originates from pure-bred Merino sheep. The best Merino wool comes from Italy.
Metallic Fiber - An inorganic fiber made from minerals and metals, blended and extruded to form fibers. The fiber is formed from a flat ribbon of metal, coated with a protective layer of plastic, which reduces tarnishing. Metal used in apparel fabric is purely decorative.
Nap - A fuzzy, fur-like feel created when fiber ends extend from the basic fabric structure to the fabric surface. The fabric can be napped on either one or both sides.
Nylon - Produced in 1938, the first completely synthetic fiber developed. Known for its high strength and excellent resilience, nylon has superior abrasion resistance and high flexibility.
Nylon/Spandex - These knits are deliciously light and resilient—designed to move when you do. They eliminate that "clammy" feel next to the skin when damp. Woven pieces are light and wrinkle-resistant and dry easily. They allow for adequate stretch during travel, walking or hiking. Perfect for the workout, or, when mixed with cotton, denim or corduroy, it puts you right at ease.
Pigment-dyed cotton jersey - A cotton jersey fabric that is dyed with a pigment that is then partially washed out of the fabric. The process creates a fabric that is very soft and color that is slightly uneven, giving a vintage, worn and well-loved appearance to the garment.
Pima Cotton - A variety of American Egyptian cotton known for its exceptional quality. This fine cotton may be used for shirts or knits and is particularly soft and lustrous.
Pill - A tangled ball of fibers that appears on the surface of a fabric, as a result of wear or continued friction or rubbing on the surface of the fabric.
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.
Ramie - A bust fiber, similar to flax, taken from the stalk of a plant grown in China.
Rib Knit - A basic stitch used in weft knitting in which the knitting machines require two sets of needles operating at right angles to each other. Rib knits have a very high degree of elasticity in the crosswise direction. This knitted fabric is used for complete garments and for such specialized uses as sleeve bands, neck bands, sweater waistbands, and special types of trims for use with other knit or woven fabrics. Lightweight sweaters in rib knits provide a close, body-hugging fit.
Rayon - A natural fiber created from wood pulp, it usually has good drape and a soft hand. It’s appropriate for tops, shirts, skirts and dresses.
Rip-stop Nylon - A lightweight, wind resistant, and water resistant fabric. Appropriate for outdoor wear and equipment as well as outdoor flags.
Polyester - A manufactured fiber which has high strength, excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fiber to dry quickly.
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.
Ramie - Ramie is a flowering plant which is native to Asia. It is harvested and processed to yield strong fibers.
Rayon - A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters, or other vegetable matter.
Sequin - A small, shiny, iridescent pierced disk in metal or plastic sewn onto garments for decorative effect to cover a portion or entire surface area.
Sheer - Any very light-weight fabric (e.g., chiffon, georgette, voile, sheer crepe). Usually has an open weave. Sheers mostly feel cool.
Smocking - Detailing created by gathering fabric with stitches that cross each other diagonally. Often done with colored embroidery thread, it’s a vintage sewing technique that you may remember from your favorite childhood party dress.
Spandex - A manufactured elastomeric fiber that can be repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking, and will still recover to its original length.
Solution-dyed - A type of fiber dyeing in which colored pigments are injected into the spinning solution prior to the extrusion of the fiber through the spinneret. Fibers and yarns colored in this manner are color-fast to most destructive agents.
Spandex Fiber - A manufactured elastomeric fiber that can be repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking, and will still recover to its original length.
Stretch Baby Terry - A soft, luxurious blend of cotton and either Lycra® or spandex. It has a smooth face and a looped back that is soft, comfortable and definitely not as hot as a sweatshirt.
Spun Yarn - A yarn made by taking a group of short staple fibers, which have been cut from the longer continuous filament fibers, and then twisting these short staple fibers together to form a single yarn, which is then used for weaving or knitting fabrics.
Staple Fibers - Short fibers, typically ranging from 1/2 inch up to 18 inches long. Wool, cotton, and flax exist only as staple fibers. Manufactured staple fibers are cut to a specific length from the continuous filament fiber. Usually the staple fiber is cut in lengths ranging from 1-1/2 inches to 8 inches long. A group of staple fibers are twisted together to form a yarn, which is then woven or knit into fabrics.
Tencel® - A sustainable fiber made from tree cellulose. The fiber is economical in its use of energy and natural resources, and is fully biodegradable. It’s woven to have a soft, silky hand. It has a fluid drape and is a versatile choice for pants, skirts and jackets. It is a natural fiber that is breathable, absorbent and comfortable. Tencel is also shrink-resistant, durable and easy to care for. Tencel may be machine washed unless otherwise noted.
Terry - A woven fabric, usually cotton, with loop pile on one or both sides.
Terry Cloth - A typical uncut pile weave fabric. This fabric is formed by using two sets of warp yarns. One set of warp yarns is under very little tension; when the filling yarns are packed into place, these loose yarns are pushed backward along with the filling yarns, and loops are formed. Typical uses include towels, robes, and apparel.
Terry Velour - A pile weave cotton fabric with an uncut pile on one side and a cut pile on the reverse side. Terry velour is valued for its soft, luxurious hand. Typical uses include towels, robes, and apparel.
Velour - Derived from the French word velour’s, meaning "velvet." It is a medium-weight, closely woven fabric with a thick pile that is laid in one direction. It resembles velvet, but has a lower-cut pile and an equally soft hand. It was originally made from wool and is now made in a variety of other fibers and yarns.
Velvet - A pile weave fabric (or fabric with an extra set of yarns) that is created by looping an extra set of yarns with a special rod during the weaving process. The loops are then cut, resulting in its characteristic soft texture. Perhaps the most striking feature of velvet is the way it takes color. The interplay between light and shadow created by the rich pile results in remarkably intense hues.
Velveteen - A fabric similar to velvet. It has a short, close pile that’s cut to resemble velvet, but is made of cotton or a cotton blend. Velveteen differs from velvet not only in the fiber used but also in the construction employed: true velvet is made with a warp pile and velveteen is made with a filling pile. Filling yarns are combed and soft-spun and usually made from long-staple cotton. The pile on velvet is usually higher, too.
Voile - A crisp, lightweight, plain weave cotton-like fabric, similar in appearance to organdy and organza. It is appropriate for curtains as well as blouses and dresses.
Viscose The most common type of rayon fiber, created from purified tree cellulose. The process creates a soft, comfortable fabric that drapes nicely.
Waffle Knit - A technique employed in knit goods to produce a series of square, waffle-like designs.
Wash - After sewing, some jeans are put through a "wash" to create a desired look. Denim comes in a host of different washes: stone wash, sand wash, acid wash, indigo wash, tinted rinse wash, antique wash and dirty wash. All are specifically designed to distress, fade or darken color or soften the fabric. In combination with blasting and abrasion, a wash helps to create a unique look in a pair of jeans.
Water Resistant - This type of fabric will act as a shell and keep light moisture at bay. It differs from waterproof because it cannot withstand total immersion.
Waterproof - A term applied to fabrics whose pores have been closed, and therefore, will not allow water or air to pass through them.
Water Repellent - A term applied to fabrics that have been treated with a finish which causes them to shed water, but is still air-permeable.
Woven Fabric - Fabrics composed of two sets of yarns. One set of yarns, the warp, runs along the length of the fabric. The other set of yarns, the fill or weft, is perpendicular to the warp. Woven fabrics are held together by weaving the warp and the fill yarns over and under each other.
Wrinkle Recovery - Similar to resiliency. It is the ability of a fabric to bounce back after it has been twisted, wrinkled, or distorted in any way.
Yarn - A continuous strand of textile fibers created when a cluster of individual fibers are twisted together. These long yarns are used to create fabrics, either by knitting or weaving.