Arms Glossary of Fabric Terms

While I've attempted to list as many different fabric terms as possible, I'm sure you'll encounter some that aren't included. When this occurs, please feel free to email me. I'll do my best to define the term for you, and I would appreciate the opportunity to include the term in future versions of this glossary.


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Abaca
A fiber obtained from the leafstalks of the abaca plant, a member of the banana family of plants. See also manila hemp.
Acetate
A fiber formed from cellulose acetate, obtained by reacting cellulose with acids.
Acrylic
A fiber formed from long-chain synthetic polymers composed of at least 85 percent by weight of acrylonitrile units.
Agave
A fiber obtained from the leaves of any of the members of the agave plant family. See also sisal and sisal hemp.
Alpaca
A fiber obtained from the hair of the alpaca llama.
Angora
A fiber obtained from the hair of the angora goat or angora rabbit.
Ambari
A fiber obtained from the stem of the kenaf plant (Hibiscus cannabinus), which is related to cotton and okra. See also bastard jute, bombay hemp, deccan hemp, java jute, and kenaf.
Animal Fiber
Any of the naturally occurring fibers obtained from animals.
Anidex
A fiber formed from long-chain synthetic polymer composed of at least 50% by weight of one or more esters of a monohydric alcohol and acrylic acid.
Antron
A brand of nylon.
Aramid
A fiber formed from long-chain polymers similar to nylon, but with a greater proportion of molecular bonds.
Argyle
A style of knit characterized by different colors of interlocking symmetrical diamonds and diagonal lines, executed in stockinette.
Azlon
A fiber formed from regenerated proteins.
Barkcloth
A fabric produced by hammering the bark of certain species of trees into a thin sheet.
Basketweave
A weave similar to evenweave, but in which groups of two or more yarns are treated as one.
Bast Fiber
A fiber obtained from the vascular structures found in the stems of plants.
Bastard Jute
A fiber obtained from the stem of the kenaf plant (Hibiscus cannabinus), which is related to cotton and okra. See also ambari, bombay hemp, deccan hemp, java jute, and kenaf.
Batik
A method of resist dyeing which uses melted wax for the resist.
Batiste
A thin, sheer, evenweave fabric.
Battenburg Lace
A type of lace formed by shaping a narrow woven tape into the desired design, and then using needle and thread to sew the tape to itself and to fill in areas between the loops of the tape.
Beaded
Embellished with beads.
Beetling
A process in which a fabric is hammered to produce a lustrous finish; or the finish thus produced.
Bengaline
A rib weave fabric.
Bias
Any angle not in line with the lengthwise or crosswise grain of a fabric.
Bird's-Eye Check
A pattern of allover diamonds with a dot in the center of each diamond.
Bleeding
A process in which dye particles are loosened from a fabric when it becomes wet, running into the water or onto adjacent areas of fabric.
Blend
Any fabric created using two or more fibers.
Block Printing
A method of printing in which a patterned block or series of blocks are positioned and pressed into the fabric, applying color, and repositioned as necessary to form the complete design.
Body
A word used to qualitatively describe how firm a fabric is.
Bombay Hemp
A fiber obtained from the stem of the kenaf plant (Hibiscus cannabinus), which is related to cotton and okra. See also ambari, bastard jute, deccan hemp, java jute, and kenaf.
Bouclé
A plied yarn in which one of the plies periodically forms raised loops; or a fabric formed from such a yarn.
Bobbin Lace
A type of lace formed by twisting multiple pairs of threads over and around each other in complex designs, using pins to hold the lace in place as it's formed. The name derives from bobbins used to hold the threads while they're being worked.
Broadcloth
A plain fabric woven in evenweave or rib-weave.
Brocade
A fabric characterized by highly complex, often multi-colored designs created by using supplemental weft yarns, which intermittently float across the back of the fabric.
Buckram
A loosely woven fabric that has been heavily sized in order to make the fabric stiff, sometimes formed in two or more layers glued together with the sizing. Usually used for millinery.
Burlap
A low threadcount loosely woven evenweave fabric of jute.
Burnout
A type of fabric in which caustic chemicals have been used to dissolve portions of the fabric.
Cable Knit
A patterned knit in which stitches are repositioned to create the effect of twisting ropes or cables.
Calico
Traditionally, a small floral cotton print. Currently, the term encompasses a broader range of cotton prints, especially those intended specifically for quilting, including larger floral prints and geometric prints.
Calendering
A process in which fabric is passed through heated rollers under high pressure to produce a smooth or glossy finish.
Cambric
A thin and tightly woven linen or cotton fabric with a glossy surface achieved through calendering.
Canvas
A firm, heavy evenweave or basketweave fabric.
Cashmere
A variety of wool obtained from goats of Kashmir and Tibet.
Ceiba
A fiber obtained from the seed hairs of the ceiba tree. See also java cotton, kapok, and silk cotton.
Cellulosic
Any of the manufactured fibers derived from modified cellulose.
Challis
A lightweight soft evenweave or twill fabric.
Chambray
A lightweight evenweave fabric formed of colored warp yarns and white weft yarns.
Chamois
A soft suede-finished leather; or a fabric made to imitate this type of leather.
Charmeuse
A fine semilustrous satin crepe.
Cheesecloth
A very lightweight and loosely woven unsized evenweave.
Chenille
Currently, a type of yarn that has a soft pile protruding from its core, or any fabric formed from chenille yarn. Traditionally, a tufted fabric.
Chiffon
A lightweight transparent evenweave fabric.
China Grass
Another name for the ramie plant (Boehmeria nivea), a member of the nettle family of plants, from which ramie fiber is obtained. See also green ramie, ramie, rhea, and white ramie.
China Silk
A lightweight sheer silk evenweave.
Chino
A light to medium weight cotton twill
Chintz
A tightly woven glazed evenweave, usually of cotton.
Ciré
A very shiny "wet-look" finish, or a fabric with such a finish.
Cloth
Any material made from fibers using any of a variety of techniques, including, but not limited to weaving, knitting, and felting. See also fabric and textile.
Coir
A fiber obtained from the husks of coconuts.
Cord
Any of the stripes of pile on corduroy. See also wale.
Cordura
A brand of nylon.
Corduroy
A pile fabric in which the pile has been cut or woven in stripes running the length of the fabric.
Cotton
A fiber obtained from the seed hairs of the cotton plant.
Course
A row of stitches in a knit.
Crash
A coarse, evenweave fabric often of cotton or linen and traditionally used for towels, curtains, etc.
Crepe
A fabric with a crinkled surface texture. This crinkled effect can be achieved by using over-twisted yarns, by weaving with varied tensions, by treating the fabric with caustic soda, or by embossing the fabric.
Crepe Back Satin
A fabric with a satin face and a crepe texture on the reverse.
Crepe de Chine
A fabric with a smoother face than a typical crepe, but still with the crinkled crepe effect.
Crepon
A heavy crepe fabric.
Crinoline
A stiffened loosely woven fabric used for interlinings and millinery.
Crochet
A technique for creating fabric in which a continuous length of yarn is looped around itself using a single hooked tool.
Crocking
A process in which dye particles rub off a fabric.
Cross Dye
To use a variation of vat dyeing in which cloth composed of varying fiber contents is dyed. Because the different fibers accept the dye to different degrees, the fabric doesn't emerge from the dye bath as a solid color, but instead with different colors in the areas of different fiber content.
Crushed Velvet
A style of velvet in which the pile has been pressed flat.
Dacron
A brand of polyester.
Damask
A fabric formed from satin and sateen weaves, used to create reversible figured designs.
Deccan Hemp
A fiber obtained from the stem of the kenaf plant (Hibiscus cannabinus), which is related to cotton and okra. See also ambari, bastard jute, bombay hemp, java jute, and kenaf.
Denim
A medium to heavy weight cotton twill usually woven with a colored warp and a white weft.
Devoré Velvet
A style of velvet in which caustic chemicals have been used to dissolve the pile in selected areas.
Diamond Twill
A twill variant in which the floats are arranged to form repeating diamond motifs.
Discharge Printing
A variant of printing in which a discharge agent (such as bleach) is applied to a colored fabric using a printing method, producing a white or light design against a darker background.
Dobby
An attachment for a loom which resembles a jacquard loom, used for weaving small figured motifs over a small number of yarns; or a fabric produced on a loom with such an attachment.
Double Knit
A fabric knitted with two sets of needles, producing a double thickness of fabric, with the layers joined by interlocking stitches.
Double Weave
A fabric woven from two distinct warp and weft sets connected at intervals by the warp or weft of one passing through the other.
Drape
A word used to qualitatively describe how a fabric behaves when allowed to fall against itself or in folds.
Drill
A strong durable cotton twill.
Duck
A strong evenweave or basketweave, usually of cotton.
Dupioni
A large, uneven silk yarn reeled from twin cocoons; or a fabric made from this yarn.
Dye
A substance used to impart color through solution, sometimes with a mordant.
Dyebath
A solution of dye.
Dyestuff
The raw material used to create a dye.
Embossed
Treated with heat or chemicals so as to impress a design into the surface of a fabric.
Embroidered
Embellished with embroidery.
Ends
The yarns running the length of a woven fabric. See also warp.
Evenweave
The most basic weave, in which the weft yarns pass over one warp yarn and under the next. See also plain weave and tabby weave.
Eyelet Lace
A fabric which has been embroidered and had small areas cut away to create a lace-like effect.
Fabric
Any material made from fibers using any of a variety of techniques, including, but not limited to weaving, knitting, and felting. See also cloth and textile.
Fading
A process in which the intensity of a dye's color diminishes over time, due to repeated bleeding or bleaching out of the dye, from exposure to water, sunlight, etc.
Faille
A semilustrous rib weave.
Fake Fur
A fabric created to look like animal fur. Usually produced as a fabric with a knit base and a long pile.
Felt
A fabric composed of irregularly oriented fibers which have been interlocked and formed into a sheet.
Fiber
The building block of all fabrics. Fibers can be naturally occurring or they can be manufactured.
Fiber Content
The fiber or fibers that make up a fabric.
Filament Fiber
A fiber extruded to an indefinite length.
Filament Yarn
A yarn spun from a filament fiber.
Fill
The yarns running across the width of a woven fabric. See also weft, pick, and woof.
Finish
Any sizing or treatment applied to a fabric to affect its visual appearance or texture or to complete its manufacture.
Flannel
A fabric created by brushing the surface of a woven fabric. As the fabric is brushed, fiber ends pull loose from the yarns and form a fuzzy surface.
Flannel Back Satin
A satin woven fabric with the back brushed to create a flannel.
Flax
A plant from which linen is obtained.
Fleece
A fabric created by brushing the surface of a knit fabric. As the fabric is brushed, fiber ends pull loose from the yarns and form a fuzzy surface.
Float
A yarn that passes over several other yarns before passing back under another yarn.
Flock
Loose fibers; or the process of applying flock to a fabric in designs or over large areas.
Floss
A loosely twisted yarn used for embroidery, often formed of multiple strands aligned together but not plied.
Foulard
A lightweight evenweave or twill, traditionally of silk, printed with a small design.
Fray
To come unwoven.
Full
To apply heat and moisture, the same processes as are used to create felt, to a completed fabric until the fibers in the fabric start to lock together.
Fur
Animal skin with the hair intact. While not really a fabric, it can in all other respects still be treated as such.
Gabardine
A durable twill weave fabric with steep diagonal lines that is given a smooth finish.
Gauge
A measure of how many stitches per inch are found in a knit fabric.
Gauze
A lightweight, sheer, loosely woven fabric.
Georgette
A thin sheer crepe woven from over-twisted yarns.
Gingham
An evenweave small check or plaid, usually of cotton.
Glaze
A shinier and more permanent variety of sizing.
Grain
The direction of orientation of the yarns or loops that make up a fabric.
Green Ramie
A variety of ramie plant (Boehmeria nivea tenacissima), a member of the nettle family of plants, from which ramie fiber is obtained. See also china grass, ramie, rhea, and white ramie.
Grosgrain
A fabric, usually woven as a ribbon, with prominent crosswise ribs.
Guanaco
A fiber obtained from the hair of the guanaco, a wild animal related to the camel and llama.
Hemp
A fiber obtained from the stem of the hemp plant.
Henequen
A fiber obtained from the leaves of the henequen plant, a member of the agave family of plants.
Herringbone Twill
A twill variant in which the floats are arranged to form zig-zag lines.
Houndstooth
A twill variant in which the floats and stripes of color in the warp and weft are arranged to form an allover design of barbed or broken squares.
Ikat
A technique in which warp yarns are painted and/or resist dyed before the weft yarns are woven in; or the fabric produced with this technique.
Interlock
A double-knit fabric.
Jacquard
A fabric woven on a jacquard loom, which differs from standard looms in that rather than controlling the warp yarns in groups, each warp yarn is individually controlled, allowing a much greater capacity for complex designs. Commonly misused to refer to monochromatic brocade.
Java Cotton
A fiber obtained from the seed hairs of the ceiba tree. See also ceiba, kapok, and silk cotton.
Java Jute
A fiber obtained from the stem of the kenaf plant (Hibiscus cannabinus), which is related to cotton and okra. See also ambari, bastard jute, bombay hemp, deccan hemp, and kenaf.
Jersey
A stockinette fabric knit in a tube.
Jute
A fiber obtained from the stem of the jute plant (any of the plants of the genus Corchorus).
Kapok
A fiber obtained from the seed hairs of the ceiba tree. See also ceiba, java cotton, and silk cotton.
Kenaf
A fiber obtained from the stem of the kenaf plant (Hibiscus cannabinus), which is related to cotton and okra. See also ambari, bastard jute, bombay hemp, deccan hemp, and java jute.
Kevlar
A brand of aramid.
Knit
A fabric created by looping a yarn through itself.
Lace
A fine openwork fabric of figured designs, produced through a variety of methods.
Lamb's Wool
Softer wool from the first shearing of a young sheep.
Lamé
A fabric with narrow strips of metal or metallicized plastic for the weft.
Lawn
A sheer evenweave fabric given a variety of finishes.
Leather
Animal skin with any hair removed, but with the skin surface intact. While not really a fabric, it can in all other respects still be treated as such.
Leno Weave
A variety of weave in which pairs of warp yarns cross over each other, locking the weft yarn in place.
Linen
A fiber obtained from the stem of the flax plant.
Lycra
A brand of spandex.
Lyocell
A fiber formed from cellulose modified without synthetic replacement.
Macramé
A method of creating fabric by knotting yarns together in complex patterns.
Madras
A fine evenweave fabric with small woven-in designs.
Manila Hemp
A fiber obtained from the leafstalks of the abaca plant, a member of the banana family of plants. See also abaca.
Manufactured Fiber
Any of the fibers not occurring in nature.
Marquisette
A sheer leno weave.
Matelasse
A double-weave fabric with raised designs that is woven on a jacquard loom.
Mercerizing
A treatment for cotton yarns or cloth in which the fibers are exposed to caustic soda while under tension. This treatment causes the cotton to develop luster, strength, and an increased receptiveness to dyes.
Merino
A variety of wool obtained from the hair of the Merino sheep.
Metallic
A fabric containing metallic or metallicized plastic yarns, or with a finish that mimics the effect of metal.
Micro-Fiber
A term used to describe the newer, very fine diameter synthetics.
Modacrylic
A fiber formed from long-chain synthetic polymers composed of 35 to 85 percent by weight of acrylonitrile units.
Mohair
A fiber obtained from the hair of the Angora goat.
Moiré
A fabric that has been woven, colored, or treated to exhibit a moiré (wood grain) pattern.
Moleskin
A heavy cotton twill based pile fabric.
Monk's Cloth
A heavyweight basketweave fabric.
Mordant
A chemical, usually a metallic salt, used to fix a dye by combining with it to form an insoluble compound.
Muslin
An evenweave cotton produced in a variety of weights, either bleached or unbleached.
Naalbinding
A technique of producing fabric in which a continuous length of yarn is stitched to itself in interlocking loops.
Nap
A soft, fuzzy surface as found on flannel or pile fabrics. Also used to indicate a fabric that has a directional nap, such as velvet.
Natural Fiber
Any of the naturally occurring fibers obtained from plants or animals.
Net
A type of fabric produced by looping and knotting a yarn to itself in an open pattern.
Noil
Short or tangled fibers which are removed from other staple fibers in the carding process; or a yarn spun with or from noils or a fabric woven from such a yarn.
Non-Woven
A fabric made by a method other than weaving, but especially used to refer to fabrics produced by felting, fusing, or gluing fibers together.
Nylon
A fiber formed from long-chain polymeric amides.
Off-Grain
Not on the straight of the grain.
Oilcloth
A cotton fabric that has been coated with a waterproof, usually oil-based, finish.
Olefin
A fiber formed from polymers composed of ethylene, propylene, or other olefin units. See also polypropylene.
Organdy
A fine, sheer evenweave fabric with a crisp finish.
Organza
A fine, sheer, stiff evenweave fabric woven from highly twisted yarns.
Osnaburg
A soft, loosely woven evenweave of unbleached cotton.
Over Dye
To dye in successive dye baths so as to build up darker shades of a color, or to mix different colors or dye properties. See also top dye.
Oxford
A medium weight basket weave or evenweave cotton.
Painted
Colored by means of applying dye or pigment in a freehand manner.
Paisley
A design containing a curved teardrop shape.
Panné Velour
A style of velour in which the pile has been pressed flat.
Percale
A firm smooth evenweave.
Pick
The yarns running across the width of a woven fabric. See also weft, fill, and woof.
Piece Dye
To dye a length of fabric.
Pile
A raised surface of loops or sheared loops as found on pile fabrics.
Pile Fabrics
Fabrics with a raised surface of loops or sheared loops.
Pill
A small ball of fibers as forms on the surface of napped fabrics under friction.
Pima Cotton
A variety of cotton with a longer than usual staple.
Piņa Cloth
A fabric made from fibers obtained from the leaves of the pineapple plant.
Pinpoint Oxford
A high threadcount shot oxford.
Piqué
A fabric with lengthwise or crosswise puckered ribs or figures, created by interlacing dual warps.
Plaid
A pattern formed from stripes of varying thickness crossing at right angles.
Plain Knit
The most basic knit, which has the appearance of interlocking V-shapes on the front and interlocking crescent shapes on the back. See also stockinette.
Plain Weave
The most basic weave, in which the weft yarns pass over one warp yarn and under the next. See also evenweave and tabby weave.
Plant Fiber
Any of the naturally occurring fibers obtained from plants.
Plied Yarn
A yarn formed from two or more spun strands twisted together.
Plissé
A fabric which has had its surface treated with caustic chemicals so as to cause the fabric to shrink unevenly, producing puckered effects.
Ply
A spun length of fiber that is combined with others to form a plied yarn.
Polar Fleece
A polyester knit fabric with a pronounced nap.
Polished Cotton
A cotton fabric treated with a glaze.
Polyester
A fiber formed from resin formed of polyhydric alcohols and dibasic acids.
Polypropylene
A fiber formed from polymers composed of ethylene, propylene, or other olefin units. See also olefin.
Pongee
A fabric woven from raw silk with a characteristic tan or ecru color.
Poplin
A strong rib weave.
Print
To color a fabric using a printing method; or a fabric colored in this manner.
Purl Knit
The reverse of stockinette, a knit fabric which has the appearance of interlocking crescent shapes on the front and interlocking V-shapes on the back.
Qiviut
A fiber obtained from the underlayer of hair of the musk ox.
Rajah
A silk fabric with a rough surface similar to pongee.
Ramie
A fiber obtained from the stem of the ramie plant (Boehmeria nivea), a member of the nettle family of plants. See also china grass, green ramie, rhea, and white ramie.
Raw Silk
Silk reeled from cocoons without removing the natural gum. Commonly misused to refer to silk noil.
Rayon
A fiber formed from cellulose modified with some synthetic replacement.
Resist Dye
To color fabric using a process in which a resisting method or agent is used to block our certain areas of the fabric so it doesn't accept the dye.
Rhea
A variety of ramie plant (Boehmeria nivea tenacissima), a member of the nettle family of plants, from which ramie fiber is obtained. See also china grass, green ramie, ramie, and white ramie.
Rib Knit
A knit formed by alternating wales, or sets of wales, of stockinette and purl knit.
Rib Weave
A weave characterized by prominent ribs in the weft. This is achieved by using larger yarns in the weft than are used in the warp, by using two or more yarns in the place of one weft yarn, or by using many more yarns in the warp than in the weft.
Ripstop
A woven fabric with larger yarns spaced periodically in the warp and weft.
Roller Printing
A method of printing in which the fabric is passed under a patterned roller or series of rollers, applying the color in a continuous repeat of the design.
Run
A wale of stitches in a knit fabric which have unlooped themselves in a chain-reaction originating at a single broken yarn, traveling up and down the length of the fabric from this initial break.
Sailcloth
A strong, heavy canvas.
Sandwash
To wash a fabric with sand with the intent of abrading the fabric, softening it and imparting an irregular aged or distressed effect.
Sateen
A weave in which the weft yarns float over 4 or more warp yarns before passing under one; or the fabric produced with this weave.
Satin
A weave in which the warp yarns float over 4 or more weft yarns before passing under one; or the fabric produced with this weave.
Screen Printing
A method of printing in which color is applied to the fabric through a screen which has had areas blocked out by resist, causing a negative of the resisted design to form on the fabric. See also silkscreening.
Seersucker
A fabric woven with warp yarns of different tensions. These different tensions cause lengthwise puckered stripes to develop once the fabric is released from the loom.
Selvedge
Either of the two long finished edges of the fabric, formed as the fabric is woven, knit, or otherwise, created.
Serge
A durable smooth twill.
Shantung
An evenweave characterized by strong horizontal lines formed by using a slubby yarn in the weft.
Sharkskin
A wool twill or basketweave with small woven designs.
Sheeting
An unusually wide evenweave.
Shibori
A Japanese method of resist dyeing which uses folds, pleats, and compression to form the dye resisting areas.
Shirting
Any fabric suitable for shirts.
Shot
A word used to describe an iridescent fabric created by weaving a warp of one color with a weft of another.
Silk
A fiber obtained from silkworm cocoons.
Silk Cotton
A fiber obtained from the seed hairs of the ceiba tree. See also ceiba, java cotton, and kapok.
Silk-screening
A method of printing in which color is applied to the fabric through a screen which has had areas blocked out by resist, causing a negative of the resisted design to form on the fabric. See also screen printing.
Silvercloth
A flannel which has been impregnated with microscopic silver particles.
Sisal
A fiber obtained from the leaves of any of the members of the agave plant family. See also agave and sisal hemp.
Sisal Hemp
A fiber obtained from the leaves of any of the members of the agave plant family. See also agave and sisal.
Sizing
A glue-like stiffening substance.
Slub
An irregular thickened spot in a yarn.
Solution Dye
To add dye to a manufactured fiber while still in chemical solution.
Space Dye
To dye a yarn at intervals along its length.
Spandex
A fiber formed from polymers of polyurethane.
Sprang
A technique involving crossing and twisting parallel yarns to produce a fabric that looks like a cross between knitting and netting.
Stable Knit
A knit formed with tension and yarn deliberately chosen to minimize the stretchiness of the fabric.
Staple Fiber
A fiber of a set length, or one which was produced by cutting up a filament fiber.
Staple Yarn
A yarn spun from staple fibers.
Stock Dye
To dye the raw fiber stock before it's spun into yarn.
Stockinette
The most basic knit, which has the appearance of interlocking V-shapes on the front and interlocking crescent shapes on the back. See also plain knit.
Stonewash
To wash a fabric with pumice stones with the intent of abrading the fabric, softening it and imparting an irregular aged or distressed effect.
Stretch Terry
A knit base looped pile fabric.
Suede
Animal skin with any hair removed, and the skin surface treated to create a nap. While not really a fabric, it can in all other respects still be treated as such.
Suedecloth
A fabric, usually of knit base, that has been brushed to resemble suede.
Surface Dye
To coat the exterior of a fabric with dye.
Swivel Weave
A figured fabric woven on a loom with an attachment made for guiding additional weft yarns over limited areas.
Synthetic Fiber
Any of the manufactured fibers derived from petroleum or natural gas.
Tabby Weave
The most basic weave, in which the weft yarns pass over one warp yarn and under the next. See also evenweave and plain weave.
Taffeta
A rib weave with a smooth, lustrous surface.
Tapestry
A completely weft-faced fabric, often characterized by weft yarns that don't pass the full width of the fabric, but instead fill smaller areas. Commonly misused to refer to highly decorative brocades.
Tartan
A two-way even plaid twill, usually of wool, and since the 18th Century frequently designating particular Scottish clans.
Tatting
A type of lace formed by knotting a length of thread around itself.
Tencel
A brand of lyocell.
Terrycloth
A woven base looped pile fabric.
Textile
Any material made from fibers using any of a variety of techniques, including, but not limited to weaving, knitting, and felting. See also cloth and fabric.
Thread
A length of fibers spun together or aligned along their length to form a thin strand.
Threadcount
A measure of how many yarns per inch are found in a woven fabric.
Ticking
A striped twill.
Tie Dye
A method of resist dyeing which uses lengths of string to compress the fabric to form the dye resisting areas.
Toile
A fabric printed with landscapes or similar designs in one color on a cream or white background.
Top Dye
To dye in successive dye baths so as to build up darker shades of a color, or to mix different colors or dye properties. See also over dye.
Triacetate
A variant of acetate in which 92 percent or more of the hydroxyl groups are acetylated.
Trigger
A brand of 65% cotton/35% polyester poplin.
True Bias
The forty-five degree angle between the lengthwise and crosswise grains.
Tufted
A fabric formed by punching lengths of yarn through the surface of a fabric to create a pile.
Tulle
A thin fine machine-made net, frequently used for petticoats and bridal veils.
Tussah
An uneven tan silk filament produced by wild silkworms; or any fabric made from this fiber.
Tweed
A rough wool twill.
Twill
A weave in which yarns float over two or three yarns before passing under one; or the fabric produced with this weave.
Two-Way Stretch Knit
A knit formed with tension and yarn deliberately chosen to create a fabric that stretches equally across its width and along its length.
Ultrasuede
A brand of non-woven fabric specifically designed to imitate suede.
Uncut Velvet
A velvet in which the pile loops are left intact.
Unravel
To come unknit.
Unspun Yarn
Carded staple fibers that are aligned into a long, thin yarn shape without actually being spun together.
Vat Dye
To dye by submersion in a dyebath.
Velour
A knit base cut pile fabric.
Velvet
A supplementary warp cut pile fabric.
Velveteen
A supplementary weft cut pile fabric.
Vicuņa
A fiber obtained from the hair of the vicuņa, a wild animal related to the camel and llama.
Vinyl
A fiber formed from polymerized vinyl compounds.
Vinyon
A fiber formed from long-chain polymers composed of at least 85 percent by weight of vinyl chloride units.
Virgin Wool
Wool that has never been used before, as opposed to recycled wool.
Voile
A soft, sheer, loosely woven evenweave fabric often printed
Wale
A line running the length of a fabric, as in the rib of pile in corduroy or a column of stitches in a knit. See also cord.
Warp
The yarns running the length of a woven fabric. See also ends.
Warp-Faced
A weave in which the warp yarns float over or are more prominent than the weft yarns.
Weave
To create a woven fabric. Also, the specific pattern of woven fabric.
Weft
The yarns running across the width of a woven fabric. See also fill, pick, and woof.
Weft-Faced
A weave in which the weft yarns float over or are more prominent than the warp yarns.
Weighted Silk
Silk treated with metallic salts so as to improve drape and dye receptiveness. This was a common technique in Victorian times, but is rarely used anymore because the process causes rapid degradation of the silk.
White Ramie
Another name for the ramie plant (Boehmeria nivea), a member of the nettle family of plants, from which ramie fiber is obtained. See also china grass, green ramie, ramie, and rhea.
Woof
The yarns running across the width of a woven fabric. See also weft, fill, and pick.
Wool
A fiber obtained from the hair of sheep. Also often used to refer to fibers obtained from the hair of other animals.
Woolen
A fabric formed from short staple or mixed length staple wool, as opposed to a worsted.
Worsted
A fabric formed from long staple wool which is less scratchy than other wools, due to the fact that the longer fibers align themselves in the yarn to a greater degree than shorter fibers and therefore have fewer ends sticking out.
Woven
A fabric created from the intersection of two sets of yarns.
Yarn
A length of fibers spun together or aligned along their length. While in common use the word is used to describe relatively thick strands, yarns can actually be quite thin.
Yarn Dye
To dye fibers after they have been spun into yarn.


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