acetate – A manufactured fiber formed by a compound of cellulose, refined from cotton linters and/or wood pulp, and acetic acid that has been extruded through a spinneret and then hardened.
angora – The hair of the Angora goat. Also known as Angora mohair. Angora may also apply to the fur of the Angora rabbit.
appliqué – A cutout decoration fastened to a larger piece of material.
beaded – This refers to any style of fabric that has beads embroidered into the design. Beading can be done at the time the lace is made or can be re-embroidered after the lace is made.
bengaline – A fabric with a crosswise rib made from textile fibers (as rayon, nylon, cotton, or wool) often in combination.
boucle – A knit or woven fabric made from a rough, curly, knotted boucle yarn. The fabric has a looped, knotted surface and is often used in sportswear and coats.
brocade – A heavy, exquisite, jacquard-type fabric with an all-over raised pattern or floral design.
cambric – A fine thin white linen fabric.
canvas – A strong, durable, closely woven cotton fabric.
cashmere – A luxury fiber obtained from the soft, fleecy undergrowth of the Kashmir goat of Tibet, Mongolia, China, Iran, Iraq, and India. Most commonly used in sweaters, shawls, suits, coats, and dresses.
chambray – A plain woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns.
Chantilly lace – This lace has a net background, and the pattern is created by embroidering with thread and ribbon to create floral designs. The pattern has areas of design that are very dense, and the pattern is often outlined with heavier cords or threads.
charmeuse – Trade name of silk and silk-like fabrics that are characterized by a shiny, soft, satin-like appearance
chenille – Soft, fuzzy yarns stand out around a velvety cord on this fabric, whose name comes from the French word for “caterpillar.”
chiffon – A plain, woven, lightweight, extremely sheer, airy, and soft silk fabric, containing highly twisted filament yarns. The fabric, used mainly in evening dresses and scarves, can also be made from rayon and other manufactured fibers.
chintz – A usually glazed printed cotton fabric.
cotton – A unicellular, natural fiber that grows in the seed pod of the cotton plant. Fibers are typically 1/2 inch to 2 inches long. The longest staple fibers, longer than 1-1/2 inch, including the Pima and Egyptian varieties, produce the highest quality cotton fabrics.
crepe – Used to describe all kinds of fabrics–wool, cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics and blends-that have a crinkle, crimped or grained surface.
crepe back satin – A satin fabric in which highly-twisted yarns are used in the filling direction. The floating yarns are made with low twist and may be of either high or low luster. If the crepe effect is the right side of the fabric, the fabric is called satin-back crepe.
crinkled – Forming many short bends or ripples.
crocheted – Loose, open knit made by looping thread with a hooked needle. Used for light, summer sweaters.
denim – True denim is a twill-weave, cotton-like fabric made with different colored yarns in the warp and the weft. Due to the twill construction, one color predominates on the fabric surface.
dupioni – Similar to shantung, this textured fabric is recognized by irregular-sized, thick fibers woven into the base fabric. Fibers that create the texture, are thicker and heavier than those used in shantung.
elastin – A protein that is similar to collagen and is the chief constituent of elastic fibers.
embroidered – An embellishment of a fabric or garment in which colored threads are sewn into the fabric to create a design. Embroidery may be done either by hand or machine.
fagoting – an embroidery produced by pulling out horizontal threads from a fabric and tying the remaining cross threads into groups of an hourglass shape.
faille – A glossy, soft, finely-ribbed, silk-like woven fabric made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers.
faux fur – Artificial fur made from synthetic material.
flannel – A warm, soft fabric made in tightly woven twill or plain weave and finished with a light napping.
fleece – A soft, bulky, deep-piled knitted or woven fabric.
foil – A thin piece of material put under another material to add color or brilliance.
gabardine – A tightly woven, twilled, worsted fabric with a slight diagonal line on the right side. Wool gabardine is known as a year-round fabric for business suiting.
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.
georgette – A sheer lightweight fabric, often made of silk or from such manufactured fibers as polyester, with a crepe surface. End-uses include dresses and blouses.
gingham – A medium-weight, plain-weave fabric with a plaid or check pattern.
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 gray heathered yarn.) The term, heather, may also be used to describe the fabric made from heathered yarns.
intarsia – A colored design knitted on both sides of a fabric.
jacquard – Woven fabrics manufactured by using the Jacquard attachment on the loom. This attachment provides versatility in designs and permits individual control of each of the warp yarns. Thus, fabrics of almost any type or complexity can be made. Brocade and damask are types of jacquard woven fabrics.
jersey – The consistent interlooping of yarns in the jersey stitch to produce a fabric with a smooth, flat face, and a more textured, but uniform back. Jersey fabrics may be produced on either circular or flat weft knitting machines.
knit – 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.
knitted – Formed by interlacing yarn or thread in a series of connected loops with needles.
lace – An ornamental braid for trimming.
lame like glotique – A woven fabric using flat silver or gold metal threads to create either the design or the background in the fabric.
lawn – A light, fine cloth made using carded or combed, linen or cotton yarns. The fabric has a crease-resistant, crisp finish.
leather – Animal skin dressed for use in clothing.
leatherette – Simulated leather.
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.
lycra – A DuPont trademark for its spandex fiber. Any time you see this fiber listed on a label, expect comfort, movement, and shape retention that won’t wash away.
marabou – A thrown silk usually dyed in the gum or a fabric made of this silk.
matte – Lacks luster or gloss and has a usually smooth even surface free from shine or highlights.
mesh – A type of fabric characterized by its net-like open appearance, and the spaces between the yarns. Mesh is available in a variety of constructions including wovens, knits, laces, or crocheted fabrics.
micro fiber – Generic term for any synthetic fiber finer than silk. Fabrics made with micro fibers are soft, lightweight, breathable and durable.
net – An open fabric, which is created by connecting the intersections in a woven, knitted, or crocheted construction to form a mesh-like appearance that won’t ravel.
nylon – The first completely synthetic fiber developed. Known for its high strength and excellent resilience, nylon has superior abrasion resistance and high flexibility.
organza – A crisp, sheer, lightweight plain-weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count, made of silk, rayon, nylon, or polyester. The fabric is used primarily in evening and wedding apparel for women.
ottoman – A tightly woven, plain-weave, ribbed fabric with a hard, slightly lustered surface. The ribbed effect is created by weaving a finer silk or manufactured warp yarn with a heavier filler yarn, usually made of cotton, wool, or waste yarn. In the construction, the heavier filler yarn is completely covered by the warp yarn, thus creating the ribbed effect.
pearlized – Given a pearlescent surface or finish.
peau satin – A heavy twill weave drapeable satin fabric, made of silk or a manufactured fiber, and used for bridal gowns and evening wear.
picot – A row of woven loops along the selvage of fabric or lace.
pointelle – Very feminine, delicate-looking, rib-knit fabric made with a pattern of openings.
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 – A bast fiber, similar to flax, taken from the stalk of a plant grown in China.
rayon – A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters, or other vegetable matter.
re-embroidered – To outline a design (as on lace) with embroidery stitching.
rhinestoned – To attach a colorless imitation stone of high luster made of glass, paste, or gem quartz.
ribbed – To form vertical ridges in knitting.
ribboned – Ribbon lace is made by stitching ribbon onto mesh or net fabrics. The design is usually a random pattern rather than floral.
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.
satin – A traditional fabric utilizing a satin weave construction to achieve a lustrous fabric surface. Satin is a traditional fabric for evening and wedding garments. Typical examples of satin weave fabrics include: slipper satin, crepe-back satin, faille satin, bridal satin, moleskin, and royal satin.
seersucker – A woven fabric which incorporates modification of tension control. In the production of seersucker, some of the warp yarns are held under controlled tension at all times during the weaving, while other warp yarns are in a relaxed state and tend to pucker when the filling yarns are placed. The result produces a puckered stripe effect in the fabric.
sequined – Ornamented with a small plate of shining metal or plastic.
shantung – A medium-weight, plain-weave fabric, characterized by a ribbed effect, resulting from slubbed yarns used in the warp or filling direction. End-uses include dresses and suits.
sheer – Any very light-weight fabric (e.g., chiffon, georgette, voile, sheer crepe). Usually has an open weave. Sheers mostly feel cool.
silk – It is obtained from cocoons of certain species of caterpillars. It is soft and has a brilliant sheen. It is one of the finest textiles. It is also very strong and absorbent.
spandex – A manufactured elastomeric fiber that can be repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking, and will still recover to its original length.
suede – Leather with a napped surface.
taffeta – A lustrous, medium-weight, plain-weave fabric with a slight ribbed appearance in the filling (crosswise) direction. For formal wear, taffeta is a favorite choice. It provides a crisp hand, with lots of body. Silk taffeta gives the ultimate rustle, but other fibers are also good choices.
Tencel – A trademark of Courtaulds for a high performance fiber used to make soft, beautifully draping rayon fabrics. Tencel is made from wood pulp that is harvested from replenished tree farms. So it’s environmentally sensitive and it’s washable!
terry – A woven fabric, usually cotton, with loop pile on one or both sides.
tri-acetate – A manufactured fiber, which, like acetate, is made by modifying cellulose. Tri-acetate is less absorbent and less sensitive to high temperatures than acetate. It can be hand or machine washed and tumble dried, with relatively good wrinkle recovery.
twill – A fabric that shows a distinct diagonal wale on the face (e.g., denim, gabardine, tricotine).
velour – A medium-weight, closely-woven fabric with a thick pile. It can be made using either a plain weave or a satin weave construction. It resembles velvet, but has a lower cut pile.
velvet – A medium-weight, cut-pile constructed fabric in which the cut pile stands up very straight. It is woven using two sets of warp yarns; the extra set creates the pile. Velvet, a luxurious fabric, is commonly made with a filament fiber for high luster and smooth hand.
Venice lace – This lace often has a high profile, and is made using a needlepoint technique rather than embroidery. A heavier weight lace, the patterns vary from geometric to floral. Each pattern is attached to the others by bars made of thread.
viscose – The most common type of rayon. It is produced in much greater quantity than cuprammonium rayon, the other commercial type.
voile – A crisp, lightweight, plain weave cotton-like fabric, made with high twist yarns in a high yarn count construction. Similar in appearance to organdy and organza.
wool – Usually associated with fiber or fabric made from the fleece of sheep or lambs. However, the term “wool” can also apply to all animal hair fibers, including the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat or the specialty hair fibers of the camel, alpaca, llama, or vicuna.