Saturday, July 30, 2016

Felted Garments
Wearable Art

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

History of Felt Making
Felt is a non-woven fabric formed when sheep's wool or animal fur is subjected to heat, moisture and pressure or agitation. Using soap, or creating an alkaline environment, assists the felting process. Heat and moisture cause the outer scales along the fiber to open, and the soap assists the fibers to slide easily over one another, thereby causing them to become entangled. The wool fibers are made up of a protein called keratin. The keratin in the fibers becomes chemically bound to the protein of the other fibers resulting in a permanent bond between the fibers, and so making the felting process irreversible.

A felted garment designed and constructed inspired by textile fragments found in Hallstatt.
Designer and Collection Title: C. Dorfler, Wandering Tribe Collection.
Technique: Clothing dyed with techniques using metal corrosion.
Note: These are some of the oldest dyed textiles in Europe, since they have been dated from the Bronze Age (ca. 1600 – 1200 BC) to the Early Iron Age (Hallstatt Culture, 850 – 350 BC).

Felting is a simple technique requiring very little equipment. The main advantage felting has over other textile techniques is producing a finished product in much less time. No one knows for certain how humans first discovered the felting properties of wool and animal fur, but several ideas suggest how early humans may have become interested in making felt. Matted wool may have been noticed on sheep. Wool shed from wild sheep may have been found formed into a mass of fibers as a result of the elements. Perhaps they stuffed their foot wear, presumably animal hide, with wool to keep their feet warm. After walking on the wool for a while they found that it became stiff and formed a kind of fabric.

See - Fabric Construction - for a more readable table.

The oldest archaeological finds containing evidence of the use of felt are in Turkey. Wall paintings that date from 6500 to 3000 BC have been found which have the motif of felt appliquè. At Pazyryk in Southern Siberia archeological evidence of felt was found inside a frozen tomb of a nomadic tribal chief that dates from the fifth Century BC. The evidence from this find shows a highly developed technology of felt making. These felts are in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Pazyryk Carpet - oldest carpet ever found, Siberia, ca. 5th Century BC.
Hermitage Museum.

The Romans and Greeks knew of felt. Roman soldiers were equipped with felt breastplates (for protection from arrows), tunics, boots and socks. The earliest felt found in Scandinavia dates back to the Iron Age. Felt sheets believed to be from about 500 AD were found covering a body in a tomb in Hordaland, Norway.

A felt, hair and leather appliqué saddle found in the frozen Pazyryk tombs in Siberia in 1949.

Today felt is still in use in many parts of the world especially in areas with harsh climates. In Mongolia, nomads live in felt tents called yurts. In Turkey, rugs, hats and other items are made of felt. In South Central Asia nomadic tribes use felt as tent coverings, rugs and blankets. Shepherds use felt cloaks (kepenek) and hats to protect them from the harsh climate. In Scandinavia and Russia, felt boots are produced and widely used. More recently there has been a revival in the interest in felt making especially in Europe, Scandinavia, USA and also in Australia, with contemporary felt making design and techniques becoming more widespread.

Turkish kepenek - wearable tent/cloak which weighs up to 12 lbs.

With respect to Australia, in 1992 Polly Stirling - a fiber artist from NSW, Australia – developed nuno (Japanese for cloth) felting. The technique bonds loose fiber, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze, thereby creating a lightweight felt that can either completely cover the background fabric or may be used as a decorative design and so permit the backing cloth to be revealed. It often incorporates several combined layers of loose fibers in order to build up color, texture, and/or design elements in the finished cloth.

Felted Scarf.
Materials: Extra fine and soft Australian merino wool, mulberry silk, silk chiffon fabric, silk gauze fabric, cotton gauze fabric, silk yarn.
Color: Earthy-multicolored fabrics.
Approximate Dimension: 200 cm (length) x 45 cm (width).
Courtesy: Felted Pleasure.


Felted Garments
Felt is used to create so many diverse wearable objects from hats to scarves to dresses such as kimonos to coats to pants and so on. It is also used in jewelery, furniture (e.g. felt shade floor lamps), soft sculpture and in wall art. There are a variety of techniques such as nuno and shibori – to name a few!

Felt is no longer confined to wool. Felt can be created using a variety of fabrics including silk, gauze, lace and velvet. Its had a massive resurgence in recent years since the current generation of crafters and artists drive towards more organic and natural techniques and fabrics.

A valuable resource is Lark Crafts book – 500 Felt objects. It illustrates that whilst felt has an ancient history, placed in a modern design context, felt is as relevant today as it was yesterday. I have only given you a sniff of this wonderful compilation of felt objects.

Catherine O’Leary – Untitled (2009).
Materials and Techniques: Merino wool fleece silk; wet felted, nuno technique, stitched.
Size: 88 x 65 cm.
Photograph courtesy of artist[1].

Ulrieke Benner – Coat of Many Colors (2008).
Materials and Techniques: Merino wool, silk nuno techniques.
Size: 91.1 cm long.
Photograph courtesy of John Cameron[1].

Katelyn Aslett – Origami and Rosie Skirt (2006).
Materials and Techniques: Merino, silk; hand dyed, hand felted.
Photograph courtesy of Rosie Kersch[1].

Rosie Godbout – Perfecto Vest (2007).
Materials and Techniques: Merino fleece, silk rayon; wet felted.
Size: 80 x 43 cm.
Photograph courtesy of David Bishop Noriega[1].

Horst – Deadwood (2009).
Materials and Techniques: Falkland wool; wet felted, dyed.
Size: 150 x 120 x 120 cm.
Photograph courtesy of artist[1].

Anne Sheikh – The Life Aquatic (1995).
Materials and Techniques: Silk chiffon, silk charmeuse, angora and merino fleece, abalone button; needle felted, wet felted, hand dyed, sewn.
Size: 132 x 60.9 cm.
Photograph courtesy of John Baer[1].

Short by Charity van der Meer Musoma – Stormy Weather (2009).
Materials and Techniques: Wool, silk; nuno techniques.
Size: 38.
Photograph courtesy of Harry Tielman[1].

Anna-Katherine Curfman – Swirls (2009).
Materials and Techniques: Merino roving, silk organza; nuno techniques, wet felted.
Size: 203.2 x 45.7 cm.
Photograph courtesy of artist[1].

Beth Andrews – Untitled (2009).
Materials and Techniques: Merino fleece, wool button, industrial steel pieces; wet felted, resist, tailored, needle punched, resist dyed.
Size: 81 x 44 cm.
Photograph courtesy of artist[1].

Christine Birkle – Hut Up (2010).
Materials and Techniques: Merino wool, cotton.
Size: Vary.
Photograph courtesy of artist[1].


Reference:
[1] N. Mornu and J. Hale, 500 Felt Objects, Lark Crafts, New York (2011).

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Image Dreamings: Basic Silk Screen Printing Workshop
Part II
2016 Art Quill Studio Workshop Program

Tutor: Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Preamble
This blogspot exhibits many of my students outputs from a variety of workshops. There are one, two and five day workshops as well as workshops that have a different focus. Nevertheless, it always surprises me how much I learn from my students and how enthusiastic they are to learn and so for your convenience, I have listed the workshop posts below.

The University of Newcastle Multi-Media Course
The University of Newcastle (Newcastle and Ourimbah Campuses, NSW, Australia) 2008 to 2010.

One and Two Day Disperse Dye Workshops
Various Textile Groups (Australia) 2008 - 2011.

Five Day Workshop - In Pursuit of Complex Cloth
“Wrapt in Rocky” Textile Fibre Forum Conference (Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia) 29th June to 5th July 2008.

Five Day Workshop – In Pursuit of Complex Cloth
Orange Textile Fiber Forum (Orange, NSW, Australia) 19th to 25th April 2009.

5 Day Workshop – In Pursuit of Complex Cloth
Geelong Fiber Forum (Geelong, Victoria, Australia) 27th September to 3rd October 2009.

Two Day Workshop - Deconstructed and Polychromatic Screen Printing
Beautiful Silks (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) 20th to 21st March 2010.

Five Day Workshop – Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
“Wrapt in Rocky” Biennial Textile Forum/Conference Program (Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia) 25th June to 1st July 2010.

Two Day Workshop – Improvisational Screen Printing
ATASDA (Sydney, NSW, Australia) 28th to 29th August 2010.

Two Day Workshop – In Pursuit of Complex Cloth (Day One)
”Stitching and Beyond” Textile Group (Woodbridge, Tasmania, Australia) 2nd to 3rd October 2010.

Two Day Workshop – In Pursuit of Complex Cloth (Day Two)
”Stitching and Beyond” Textile Group (Woodbridge, Tasmania, Australia) 2nd to 3rd October 2010.

Advance Silk Screen Printing
Redcliffe City Art Gallery Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia) 10th April 2011.

One Day Workshop - In Pursuit of Complex Cloth
The Victorian Feltmakers Inc. (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) 14th May 2011.

One Day Workshop - In Pursuit of Complex Cloth (Felted and Silk Fibers)
Victorian Feltmakers Inc (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) 15th May 2011.

Five Day Workshop – Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
SDA (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA) 13th to 17th June 2011.

Five Day Disperse Dye Master Class – Barbara Scott
Art Quill Studio (Arcadia Vale, NSW, Australia) 15th to 19th August 2011.

Five Day Workshop – Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
Fiber Arts Australia (Sydney, NSW, Australia) 26th September to 1st October 2011.

One Day Workshop – Improvisational Screen Printing
Newcastle Printmakers Workshop Inc. (Newcastle, NSW, Australia) 5th November 2011.

One Day Workshops – Low Relief Screen Printing
Various classes within Australia.

Two Day Workshop – Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
ATASDA (Sydney, NSW, Australia) 23rd to 24th June 2012.

MSDS Demonstration at Zijdelings
(Tilburg, The Netherlands) October, 2012.

Five Day Workshop - Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
Fibre Arts@Ballarat (Ballarat, Victoria, Australia) 6th to 12th April 2013.

Two Day Workshop - Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
EFTAG (Tuross Head, NSW, Australia) 13th to 14th April 2013.

Two Day Workshop - Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
Zijdelings Studio (Tilburg, The Netherlands) 9th to 10th October 2014.

PCA - Celebrating 50 Years in 2016
Art Quill Studio 2016 Workshop Program (Newcastle, Australia).

Image Dreamings: Basic Silk Screen Printing Workshop - Part I
2016 Art Quill Studio Workshop Program (Newcastle, Australia).

In Pursuit of: Improvisational Screen Printing Workshop
2016 Art Quill Studio Workshop Program (Newcastle, Australia).

In Pursuit of: Low Relief Screen Printing (LRSP) Workshop
2016 Art Quill Studio Workshop Program (Newcastle, Australia).

Art Quill Studio 2017 Workshop Program
2017 Art Quill Studio Workshop Program (Newcastle, Australia).


Introduction
To celebrate the Print Council of Australia’s 50 Years in 2016, Art Quill Studio in Arcadia Vale, NSW, Australia will be holding a series of workshops during 2016 tutored by Marie-Therese Wisniowski.

The workshops have been structured so that they can be attended as individual workshops or as an on-going series. The workshop program will start with basic printmaking techniques and advance to mastering complex multiple imaging/overprinting relationships and techniques. The techniques are suitable for printing on fabric and paper substrates.

Today's post highlights participants outcomes from Workshop No. 3 in the 2016 Art Quill Studio Workshop Program - Image Dreamings: Basic Silk Screen Printing Part II - and gives links to workshops so that you can view past students outcomes. For Australian enquiries please email me at Marie-Therese. For overseas enquiries these workshops may be held in overseas venues provided that there are enough participants per workshop (10-15 participants) and that within each country a sufficient number of workshops can be organized in order to make the journey cost-effective (5-10 workshops). Please email me at Marie-Therese to initiate a discussion on the feasibility of such an overseas venture.

One-on-one Master Classes are also available. For more details of these Master Classes email me at Marie-Therese. For Master Class outcomes see - Barbara Scott. On-line classes will be available in 2017.


One Day Workshop Synopsis - Image Dreamings:
Basic Silk Screen Printing Workshop Part II

The one day "Image Dreamings: Basic Silk Screen Printing Workshop - Part II" was held at Art Quill Studio in Arcadia Vale, NSW, Australia on the 6th June 2016.

Participants learnt how to create unique and personalized printed imagery using the very versatile silk screen. Direct and indirect stencil techniques were explored in this workshop. Participants were introduced to techniques which included working with wax, masking tape and talcum powder as improvisational printing techniques. No prior experience using a silk screen was needed for this class.

Below are outputs created during the workshop by participant/quilt artist Judi Nikoleski.

One of Judi Nikoleski's prints employing talcum powder as a direct silk screen stencil technique.

Judi's 'prints in progress' employing masking tape as an indirect silk screen stencil technique.

Judi adding a bead of fabric paint to the silk screen employing her wax design.

Judi's wax design printed using the ombre silk screen color technique.

Judi's wax design printed using two colors offset to create a shadowed three-dimensional effect.

Judi's wax design printed over her talcum powder base print.

Some of Judi's completed silk screened print samples at the end of the workshop!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Textile Dyeing Patterns of Japan
ArtCloth

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Introduction
The Japanese appreciation of nature is reflected in its long history and tradition of textile design. Expressions of nature in textile motifs and patterns are in fact fundamental to the Japanese concept of design. Kyoto Shoin has produced a series of six books that introduce various patterns created at a time when traditional style costumes were flourishing from 1850 to 1920. The collection includes 1200 distinct textile patterns (200 per volume) and so presents characteristics and progressive development of Japanese design. This series is an invaluable source of ideas and inspirations for designers in many fields including: fashion, interior design, graphic design, illustration etc. Along with design professionals, students and those interested in Japanese culture are sure to find this series as a valuable reference tool.

The images below have been abstracted from volume 4 of the series - Textile Dyeing Patterns[1].


History of Japanese Textiles by Kax Wilson[2]
Very little is known about the history of Japan before the eighth century. The early Japanese made cloth from hemp, ramie, mulberry, and wisteria vine fiber. Silk was not known until the second century AD, when the Chinese sent silkworm eggs and woven silk was imported from Korea. In the fourth and fifth centuries Chinese and Korean weavers emigrated to Japan where they were given land and titles in exchange for their knowledge.

Nara Textiles
The Nara period (710-785 AD) was a brief but golden time in Japanese history. Close contact with T'ang China led to the development of many weaving and dyeing techniques. In the mid-eighth century, the Emperor Shomu commissioned a gigantic bronze Buddha for installation in the Shosoin, the imperial repository at Nara. Shomu died, and his widow dedicated his art treasures and household goods to Buddha. These articles, along with dedicatory records giving detailed descriptions, were preserved for centuries in a sealed building. Western scholars believe that the thousands of textile fragments came mostly from China and Iran, because the Japanese were not using the drawloom in the eighth century. Some Japanese authors, however, attribute the textiles to their own weavers.

Nishiki is an important, if indefinite, term. It has been used as a name for several constructions, including brocade, and has come to mean any textile with a colorful woven design. More exactly, the Japanese use tate nishiki for the warp-patterned textiles of the Han dynasty and nuki nishiki for weft-patterned silks of the T'ang dynasty, Nara period, and Sassanian Persia.

The word aya was used in the Nara period to denote a patterned fabric made by combining plain and twill, or warp-faced and weft-faced twill (like damask). In modern times, aya refers only to twill weave. Gauze fabrics were also woven in the Nara period. Sha was a simple leno weave, while ra was stiffer and had woven lozenge and floral patterns.

During the Nara period Japanese dyers were adept at rokechi (wax resist dyeing) and kokechi (tie and dye). Kyokechi, called jam dyeing, reached Japan from China in the sixth century and was well developed by the Nara period. Folded cloth was pressed between two boards perforated with designs. The dye entered through the holes.

Heian and Kamakura Textiles
During the Heian period (785-1185 AD) Japan turned inward to a life of luxury, over-refinement in ceremonies, and a flourishing textile industry. Costume was voluminous; a lady might wear a dozen layers, with colors delicately coordinated. There are no extant fabrics from this period, but Lady Murasaki's, "The Tale of Genji", describes some of the court costumes in detail. The ladies gave up the multitudinous layers for the kosode, the small-sleeved kimono, in the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Life became more practical; the military controlled the government, and resources were consumed in fending off the Mongols.

During the late Heian period the first real brocade was made in Japan after students brought it back from China. The new fabric was called kinran after its gold threads. An overlay of gold foil was applied to fine tough paper made from mulberry fiber, and the paper was cut into strips for weft. In the Kamakura period, brocading, painting, and embroidery were used to put the Mon, or family crest, on textiles. The designs were used to identify a certain lord, his family, and his servants.

Muromachi and Momoyama Textiles
The Muromachi (Ashikaga) period (1334-1573 AD) was a time of continued warfare and the flowering of the arts. Almost contemporary with the Ming dynasty, the Muromachi period coincided with two centuries of strife and change in Europe. The Ashikaga moved the capital to Kyoto, a major weaving and embroidery center since the eighth century. Magnificent fabrics were woven for costumes worn in the newly popular Noh dramas. Japan was united in the Momoyama period (1573-1615 AD) and industry prospered. Each year trading ships carried Japanese goods to South East Asian ports, and soon Europeans were in Nagasaki seeking Japanese silks.

Seigo, a stiff silk that made trousers stand straight out sideways and yukata, a soft cotton crepé weave made with irregular floats, were two quite contrasting Muromachi fabrics. Cotton was also used for warp in a silk tapestry called tsuzure nishiki. The Japanese called it - "fingernail tapestry" - because the weavers battened the weft with long, specially grooved nails. Tsuzure nishiki was a development of tsuzure-ori (linked weaving), copied from and nearly identical to Chinese k'o-ssu.

Brocades were important during the Muramachi and Momoyama periods, when Ming imports were copied. A most sumptuous gold brocade, kara-ori, was woven with satin design on a twill ground and had elaborate plant, animal, and bird designs.

Velvet (birodo) belongs to the late Momoyama and early Edo periods. The were several stories which told how the Japanese first learned how to make it: one story tells of a Chinese weaver who happened to leave in one of the wires used to hold up the pile warp and so created it. The Japanese invented a method for resist dyeing velvets woven with delicate floral patterns.

Edo Dyeing
During the Edo (Tokugawa) period (1615-1867 AD) Japan closed its doors to the outside world and artistic extravagance was patronised in courts set up at Edo (Tokyo) to occupy the feudal lords. Although some trade with the Dutch continued, the quantity of textiles that reached the West was small until Commodore Perry opened Japan to American trade in 1854.

Thus, Edo fabrics were made for the Japanese alone, and as the period advanced textile artists turned to age-old dyeing techniques and used them with a perfection unrivalled anywhere. Ikat (Kasuri), tie-dyeing, jam dyeing, and block printing were well developed.

A famous fabric of the Edo period, and one still popular for the ceremonial kimono is Yuzen work. A seventeenth century fan painter, Miyazaki Yuzen, perfected an old method for applying resist paste with sharpened sticks in order to retain very precise design outlines. He was also adept at "twilight dyeing" - one color shaded off into an entirely different one. Yuzen published a catalog of kimono designs for which his dealers took orders. Many individual designs were available, bamboo and plum blossoms ranking highest. Ideographs - telling messages such as "I like a fight" - remind us of the screen-printed T-shirts of the 1970s. The beautiful stencils used to apply resist paste have been collected as art objects. Very thin paper layers are reinforced with webs of hair, so fine as not to hinder the work.

Japanese design is a combination of native and Chinese motifs. Stories of filial affection, Chinese legend, Japanese mythology, tales of chivalry, fantastic creatures, plants both naturalistic and symbolic have all been represented on Japan­ese textiles. During the second half of the nineteenth century Japanese design had a particularly strong influence on Western art and interior decoration, giving rise to a style called Japonaiserie.


Textile Dyeing Patterns: Volume 4 [1]
Below are twelve Japanese textile dyeing patterns.

























References:
[1] The Best in International Textile Design - Japanese Style: Textile Dyeing Patterns, Mamoru Fujioka, Kyoto Shoin (1989).

[2] http://char.txa.cornell.edu/japantex.htm

Saturday, July 9, 2016

AIVA
My New Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Fabric Design
ArtCloth

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Preamble
On this blog spot there are posts that center on my “Wearable Art” (e.g. scarves, digital or analogue created fabric lengths etc.) For your convenience I have listed these posts below.

A Selection of My Scarves
Leaves Transformed: A New Collection of My Digitally Designed Fabrics
My New Silk Rayon Velvet Scarves@Purple Noon Art And Sculpture Gallery
My Fabric Lengths@QSDS
My Fabric Collection:"Oh, Oh Marilyn and Mona!"@Spoonflower
2013 Australian Craft Awards – Finalist
My Scarves@2014 Scarf Festival: "Urban Artscape" Pashminas
My New Scarves and Fabric Lengths
New Range of Silk Neckties - Karma and Akash
New Colorways For My 'Cultural Graffiti' Fabrics
Byzantine Glow: A New Collection of My Digitally Designed Fabrics
Wall Flower: A New Collection of My Digitally Designed Fabrics
Ink Fern: A New Collection of My Digitally Designed Fabrics


AIVA
My new fabric design, AIVA, is based on my interpretation of traditional Indian floral pattern textile designs which I have translated into a new, unique and contemporary design.

Traditional Indian floral pattern design (India).

Using time honored hand dyeing and hand printing processes, the white cotton fabric was dyed and over dyed in green hues to produce a deep bottle green color. The next layer, the second layer, employed extensive block printing in a rich magenta metallic fabric paint over the entire four meter surface using repeat patterns. The block printing was repeated again on the third layer using a rich metallic gold fabric paint over the entire surface. These fine, organic, linear, background printed layers create a sense of movement and visual interest/depth to the base layers of the design.

AIVA (detail view).

To build up additional layers of complex imaging, contrast, visual depth and patterning to the first three layers, floral visuals were carefully re-designed based on ancient Indian pattern styles and cut into stencil templates. Using rich metallic and opaque fabric paints, six additional layers were overprinted using three stencil designs to create a multifaceted, rich textural surface imbued with movement over the entire four meter fabric length. Random pattern positioning techniques were employed. Colors included metallic blue, metallic green, metallic olive green, metallic gold, metallic magenta and opaque deep rose. The nine dyed and printed layers result in a fabric that is sumptuous, luscious and visually arresting!

AVIA (mid view).

The fabric and patterning in AIVA can be designed using colors of your choice to create a truly unique and individual statement. AIVA fabric lengths can be used for wearable art, accessories, quilts, furnishing and interior design projects.

AIVA (two meter length view).

Please email me - Marie-Therese - for further information.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns
Edition 4.0[1-32]

Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Introduction
There are currently six data bases on this blogspot, namely: Glossary of Terms; Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff; A Fashion Data Base; Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins; the Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns and lastly, the Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements.

The Glossary of Terms, Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff, A Fashion Data Base, Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins, the Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns and the Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements have been updated. These Glossaries will be updated in the future to incorporate more definitions that we should be aware of in our art practice.

The Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns is highly focussed, containing definitions and terms pertinent to the specific categories in the title. If you find any post on this blog site useful, you can save it or copy and paste it into your own "Word" document etc. for your future reference. For example, Safari allows you to save a post (e.g. click on "File", click on "Print" and release, click on "PDF" and then click on "Save As" and release - and a PDF should appear where you have stored it). Safari also allows you to mail a post to a friend (click on "File", and then point cursor to "Mail Contents On This Page" and release). Either way, this or other posts on this site may be a useful Art Resource for you.

The Art Resource series will be the first post in each calendar month. Remember - these Art Resource posts span information that will be useful for a home hobbyist to that required by a final year University Fine-Art student and so undoubtedly, some parts of any Art Resource post may appear far too technical for your needs (skip over those mind boggling parts) and in other parts, it may be too simplistic with respect to your level of knowledge (ditto the skip). The trade-off between these two extremes will mean that Art Resource posts will hopefully be useful in parts to most, but unfortunately may not be satisfying to all! The references - that were invaluable in this compilation - are given at the end of the glossary.


Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns

Abone Dress (Scotland): Traditional dress worn in Scotland.


Abrasion Resistant: General Definition: The ability of a fabric to withstand hard rubbing. Woolen fabrics are abrasion resistant; Fiber Property: Abrasion resistance is the ability of the fiber to resist damage due to rubbing or abrasion during every day use; Reason for Fiber Property: This is due to - (i) the tough outer layer, scales or skin of fiber; (ii) the flexible and strong bonds within the fiber polymer system; Translation into Fabric Property: Affects the following properties of fabrics - (i) its durability; (ii) its abrasion resistance; (iii) its rubbing resistance; (iv) its resistance to splitting.

Absorbency: General Definition: The ability of a material to take up liquid or moisture; Fiber Property: Absorbency is the ability of a fiber to take up moisture and is expressed in terms of moisture regain (which is the percentage of moisture that a bone-dry fiber will absorb from air under standard conditions of temperature and moisture); Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to - (i) the fiber polymer system contains hydroxyl groups (-OH); (ii) the fiber polymer system have large amorphous regions and low regions of crystallinity; Translation into Fabric Property: It affects the following properties of a fabric - (i) comfort; (ii) warmth; (iii) water repellency; (iv) absorbency; (v) static electricity build up; (vi) shrinkage; (vii) dye ability; (viii) wrinkle resistance and crease recovery; (ix) tear strength; (x) spotting.

Absorbents (Stain Removal Agent): (i) Examples: talc powder; cornflour; blotting paper; chalk; (ii) Use: Non-wash fabrics, for greasy stains and liquids; (iii) General Instructions: Spread absorbent powder over the stain. Remove it by brushing, shaking or vacuuming it as it absorbs the stain. Several applications may be necessary. Absorbent agents may be used in conjunction with grease solvents where use of a solvent alone may leave a ring mark. A relatively dry mixture of the two agents is spread on a grease stain and allowed to dry. This is then brushed off.

Acetate: Hydrophobic fibers made by chemical modification of regenerated cellulose. This man-made fiber can be mixed with variety of other fibers including cotton viscose and nylon. It has good draping qualities for furnishing and can be printed or colored with transfer inks.

Acetate fibers.

Acetone Solvents (Stain Removal Agent): (i) Example: Use with cold water; (ii) Use: On washable fabrics for water soluble, colloidal or protein stains; (iii) General Instructions: Solvents other than water are dangerous if inhaled and should be used only in small amounts with caution. Many are also highly inflammable. Do not use acetone solvents on Acetate, Arnel, Dynel or Verel fabrics.

Acid: When dissolved in water, an acid is a proton donor; on the pH scale, it has a pH lower than 7. Rainwater, sourced from the ocean, is slightly acidic with a pH ca. 5.0 - 5.6.

Acid (Stains): (i) Fabric: All; (ii) Method: Rinse fabric immediately with water, then apply ammonia and rinse again.

Acrylic Fibers: Synthetics that contain not less than 85% of the monomer acrylonitrile. Trade names: Acrilan, Creslan and Zefran etc. Textile Inks And Dyes For Acrylics: pigment; basic dyes.


Adhesive Bonding: Used to bond fibers in some non-wovens because fiber-fiber friction on its own is too weak.

Adhesive (Stains): (i) Fabric: All; (ii) Method: Harden with ice cubes, scrape carefully with dull edged knife (e.g. table knife) then sponge with kerosene or other grease solvents.

Adire: The name of a Nigerian resist patterned fabric, traditionally dyed with indigo.

Adire blue tie dye dress.

Admiralty Cloth: Melton cloth often used in military uniforms and pea coats.


Afghan (Coat): Sheepskin coat, often embroidered.


Agal: Typically of braided cord, as worn by desert Arabs to hold the kaffiyeh or headers in place.

The Arab Shemagh scarf was traditionally held in place by a draw string cord, known as the Agal.

Aging Resistance: General Definition and Fiber Property: The ability of a fabric to withstand raging; Reason for Fiber Property: This is due to the chemical structure of the fiber polymer system; Translation into Fabric Property: This affects the durability and long lived storage of the fabric.

Aida Canvas: Stiff, coarse fabric used for needlework.


Air Fixing: Air hanging is one of the easiest methods of fixation. Most resist techniques using vat dyes require air fixing for up to 24 hours to ensure full oxidation. Highly reactive dyes (Procion MX) can be fixed by air hanging or by wrapping the fabric in polythene and leaving for about 12 hours in a warm damp place. The results may not be as good as those produced by steaming or thermofixation.

Airplane Glue (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: as per correction fluid; (iii) Fabric: Non–Washable; (iv) Method: Spot clean as per washable and finish by sponging. (Test fabric first).

Akubra: Wide-brimmed hat made of felt., as worn in Australia.


Al-Amira: The al-amira is a two-piece veil. It consists of a close fitting cap, usually made from cotton or polyester, and an accompanying tube-like scarf.


Alb: Long white robe, as for mass.

Clergy robe, alb.

Albert Cloth: A reversible wool double cloth with different colors on front and back. Used for coats.


Alcohol: Organic compounds containing one or more -OH groups.

Alcoholic Beverages (Stains): (i) Fabric: All; (ii) Method: Sponge immediately with cold water. If stain remains, work soap into it, then rinse. Red wine should be treated with vinegar or lemon juice before soaping.

Alcohol Solvents (Stain Removal Agent): (i) Example: Use with cold water; (ii) Use: On washable fabrics for water soluble, colloidal or protein stains; (iii) General Instructions: Solvents other than water are dangerous if inhaled and should be used only in small amounts with caution. Many are also highly inflammable. Before use, check that it is safe for the dye. Dilute 2 parts of water for use on acetate.

Alencon Lace: An ornate needle lace fabric with a floral design on a sheer net background, originating in the French town of Alencon in the 16th Century.


Algerian Eye or Star Stitch (Needlepoint): This is a variation of the eyelet stitch but with only eight spokes. Both are worked from the outside to the center.


Algorithmics: The study of problem-solving by use of predetermined set of procedural instructions; an algorithm is a set of fixed instructions for carrying out a process and may either be in analog form (e.g. dye mixing recipe for Multisperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS) technique notes) or digital in form (e.g. a computer program to play a board game such as chess).

Marie-Therese Wisnowski demonstrating her MSDS technique in the Netherlands.

Alice Band: Headband, typically U shaped and of stiff plastic or metal used for holding down the hair on the crown of a women's head.

Black metal hairband suitable for sports - Alice Band.

Alkali (Base): When dissolved in water, a base is a hydroxide anion (OH-) donor. On the pH scale, its pH is greater than 7. For example, the lilac plant prefers soil that is slightly basic (pH 7.1 - 8.0).

Alkali (Stains): (i) Fabric: All; (ii) Method: Rinse immediately with water, then apply vinegar to the area and rinse again.

Allover: A layout in which motifs are fairly close and evenly distributed as opposed to stripes, borders, plaids, and engineered designs. Another term is overall.


Alpaca: A flat dull fabric with the appearance of wool. Alpaca have been bred for their fiber - which can be super-soft, light, airy and warm. Alpaca clothing is durable, and up to 7 times lighter than wool for its warmth. See post on speciality hair.

Bolivian Alpaca.

Alternative Method of Honeycombing (Smocking): This is achieved with the thread passing from stitch to stitch on the surface of the fabric. The needle is brought up in the second pleat on the right-hand side of the work. A stitch is made as shown in (a). The needle is inserted in the second pleat at the gathering thread of the row above as shown in (b). A stitch is made over the third and second pleats, with the needle brought out again in the third pleat. The needle is inserted in the third pleat on the row below to begin again at (c).


American Cormo (Fleece): (i) Count: 46-56s; (ii) Staple Length: 7 – 10 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: White.

Amice: Long white scarf tucked into the alb.


Amide Group: It has the chemical formula -CONH-. When found in nylon polymers it is called an amide group; when found in wool polymers it is called the peptide group.

Amino Acid: A building block of proteins. There are approximately 22 amino acids available for protein construction. Amino acids contain a basic amino group and a carboxylic acid group.

Amorak (Jacket): Padded waterproof jacket.

Hippie military anorak jacket.

Amorphous: Amorphous regions do not have an ordered structure and so the fiber molecules do not pack tightly. Amorphous regions are characterized by weak intermolecular bonding and contain voids in which dye or water molecules can fill.


Amorphous Fibers: In general, the more amorphous fibers are:(a) The more absorbent; (b) The weaker in strength; (c) The less durable; (d) The more easily degraded by chemicals; (e) The more easily dyed; (f) The more pliable and softer handling; (g) The more plastic and so the more easily distorted. In general, amorphous fibers are softer to touch than are crystalline fibers. For example, cellulose acetate has softer handle than viscose rayon.

Amount of Twist: Some yarns are barely twisted together and others are so tightly twisted that a ravel from a fabric will appear kinky. The amount of twist influences the smoothness, stretch, shrinkage, and appearance of both the yarn and fabric. Satins are made from yarns with little or no twisted yarns and when woven closely, will take hard wear but have a tendency to stretch or shrink. In between the smooth satin and the crinkly crêpe are many variations depending on the amount of yarn twist. The more tightly twisted the yarns, the greater the strength, but the fabric will be firm and possibly scratchy.

Amyl Acetate Solvents (Stain Removal Agent): (i) Example: Use with cold water; (ii) Use: On washable fabrics for water soluble, colloidal or protein stains; (iii) General Instructions: Solvents other than water are dangerous if inhaled and should be used only in small amounts with caution. Many are also highly inflammable. If pure, it can be used on fabrics which are damaged by acetone.

Ancient Egyptian Dress: Illustration of one of the tunics found in Tutankhamun’s tomb. It is of fine linen with woven and embroidered applied bands. Top: Illustration indicates the position of the bands on a tunic. Below: A reconstruction illustration of two embroidered panels. Their condition is poor but outline and chain stitch can be recognized (ca. 1361 – 1352 BC). See - Ancient Egyptian Dress


Angarkha (Pakistan): Traditional Pakistani woman dress.


Angora: The hair from the angora rabbit. The fur is usually collected by combing the animals, but the rabbits may be clipped or shorn instead. Due to their high cost, the soft, silky angora fibers are often blended with other fibers. The yield per animal is approximately 0.4 kg per year collected four times a year. The principle countries of production are France, USA, UK and Canada. The fiber length is 8 – 9 cm. In summary it is a silky, lightweight, warm and medullated fiber. It is very fine, fluffy, soft, slippery and fairly long. It is pure white in color. See post - Speciality Hair Fibers.

Face of an Angora rabbit.

Anidex Fibers: Man-made fibers that have an exceptional resistance to sunlight, chemicals, and heat. Its easy-care properties make it possible to combine it with both natural and man-made fibers.

Animal Stains: Most types of animal stains (vomit, urine) can be treated by soaking the fabric overnight in a solution of warm water and biological soap powder. The item should then be washed in a biological powder.

Antependium: A structure (painted or metalwork or fabric) which hangs in the front of an altar.

The altar in St Mary's Anglican Church, Redcliffe, Bristol, England. It is decorated with an elaborate frontal in green, a color typically associated with the seasons after Epiphany and Pentecost.

Antifusant: It is most commonly made from 10% gutta mixed with white spirit or Shellite. When this is painted all over silk and allowed to dry, any paint place on it will not bleed, conditioning the silk so that painting on it is as simple as painting on paper.

Antiperspirant (Stains): (i) Fabric: All; (ii) Method: Sponge with soap or detergent and warm water, rinse. If stain is still visible, sponge with chlorine or peroxygen bleach.

Antique Satin: A reversible satin-weave fabric with satin floats on the technical face and surface clubs on the technical back created by using slub-filling yarns. It is usually used with the technical back as the right side for drapery fabrics and often made of a blend of fibers.

Antistatic Agent: A polar or a small charge molecule that is added to the fiber in order to negate its static electric charge.

Antron®: A type of nylon made by DuPont®.

Ao dai (Vietnam): Tradition woman dress in Vietnam.


Appliqué: The art of applying shapes cut from a variety of fabrics onto a different background material.

Black lace appliqué dress.

Arabesque: Imagery that resembles the flowing interlaces of Islamic art; stylized ornamental motifs based on plants and flowers; intricate and fantastic decorative pattern of organic or geometric design.

Arabesque-print shift dress.

Aramid: A high strength and/or flame resistant polyamide that contains aromatic components.

Archival: Long term stability and resistance of a material to ageing; generally, it also described by being an acid-free material.

Argyle: A pattern of diamond-shaped rectangles in a diagonal alternating (checkerboard) arrangement. Typically uses a small number (two or three) colors. Mostly used in knitted fabrics. An alternative spelling is Argyll.


ArtCloth: ArtCloth was a term invented by Jane Dunnewold at the dawn of the 21st Century. It must satisfy the three necessary conditions that circumscribe artwork. It has been widely used to embrace a myriad of “Art” that utilizes cloth as its medium.

Jane Dunnewold's ArtCloth piece: "Untitled".

Arts and Crafts Movement: A tendency originating in England around 1860 (and particularly associated with William Morris) that also manifested itself elsewhere in Europe and the USA. It was characterized by a belief in “truth to materials”, honesty of form, and integrity of decoration, and was frequently associated with a commitment to hand-craft (rather than mechanized) means of production.

Artwork: There are three necessary (as opposed to definitions) that all artworks possess: (i) they need to be “engaged”; (ii) they are non-functional, and (iii) they are aesthetic.

Assemblage: Creation of imagery by aggregation of different materials, often fragments of other, recognizable images and objects.

Assemblage dress made from paper and fabric.

Assemblages: Three-dimensional collages made from objects such as stones, scraps of wood, parts of a clock or any material which has bulk.

ASTM: Acronym for the American Society for Testing and Materials. This organisation, headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, sets up standard methods of tests for textiles and other merchandize.

Astrakhan: (i) The dark curly fleece of young karakul lambs from central Asia; (ii) a fabric imitating astrakhan.

Evening Cape of silk rushed to imitate astrakhan (1935).

Atlas Fabric: A warp knitted fabric with a zig-zag pattern.

Vintage Atlas Ikat, medium hardness dress decor fabric (100% silk).

Autographic: (i) Mark made on a fabric by hand; (ii) Revealing or seeming to reveal an artist’s hand or touch.

Auxiliary Product: A chemical or formulated chemical product that is used in dyeing, printing or finishing – or if a given effect is desired – and enables these processes to be carried out more effectively.

Awning Stripes: A pattern of relatively wide, even, usually vertical stripes of solid color on a lighter ground. Resembles the pattern on awning fabrics.

Awning Stripes - Biscuit.

Axminster: A descriptor of a cut-pile carpet woven on a Jacquard loom.

Axminster carpet; Patterns: Torbay Turkish splendor.

Azlon Fibers: These are man-made protein fibers use the protein of milk and corn as the source proteins. They had many of the properties of wool and cashmere (soft and warm), but they were not very strong and very expensive.

Azlon fibers were produced in limited quantities in the 1930s and their production is being redeveloped.

Background: The part of a design that appears to be farthest from the viewer and behind the objects of interest. Can be a solid color, texture, random objects, or another pattern (patterned ground). Also called ground. Opposite of foreground.

A design with a patterned background created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Back Stitch (Embroidery): The thread is brought through and a small stitch is made back along the design and the needle brought up slightly in front of the thread for the next stitch.


Bacteriostat: A chemical added to the fabric in order to inhibit the growth of microorganisms.

Baize: A simple weave that is loosely woven and napped. This heavily felted material is traditionally dyed either red or green, and is used for simple clothing, as well as drawer linings and tablecloths. Derived from the French baie, the Spanish name for baize isbayetta.

A full length long sleeves dress with open back - baize fabric (Green).

Balance: Describes a woven fabric having equal numbers of weft and warp yarns per cm. A balanced or squared fabric usually wears better than those with a greater difference between lengthwise and cross wise count. However, interesting cloth textures can be achieved by unbalanced thread counts.

Batiste: A balanced plain weave, a fine cloth made from cotton or linen such as cambric. Batiste was often used as a lining fabric for high-quality garments.

The dress is American (1810-15) and it is held in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Balbriggan: Plain knit cotton fabric usually used in lingerie.

1900s Vintage underwear long johns pants Raguet French balbriggan button fly.

Balloon Cloth: A fine yarn cotton fabric in a balanced weave. It acquires its name from its use as a covering for balloon gas cells.

Little dress in sarah jane balloon fabric.

Balmoral: Woolen petticoat showing below the skirt.

1860s. Civil War. Silk dress with Balmoral petticoat, umbrellas and parasols.

Bamboo: Bamboo is a natural fiber, which is bacteria and door resistant, as well as absorbent and breathable. Bamboo's strength lends excellent durability to a fabric.

Bandana (Accessory): Bright neckerchief or light scarf.

A colorful Pop Art bandana.

Barathea: A ribbed fabric with a weave that gives a broken surface effect.

Barathea dress.

Bargello: Needlepoint which has 14 stitches to the inch. It is one of the easiest forms of needlepoint as it consists of just one simple straight stitch. This is repeated in different colors and different positions on the canvas, to create striking patterns - see below.


Bark Cloth: A printed, textured cotton fabric, popular from the 1930s to 1950s, featuring floral and leaf designs.


Bark Crêpe: Bark crêpe is a heavy crêpe with a rough finish. It has the appearance of a tree bark.

ca. 1912 Ivory silk crêpe overdress with Greek key embroidery and green tree bark crêpe skirt.

Barred Dimity: It has cords in both warp and filling.

Vintage doubled barred dimity.

Base Artwork: Artwork requiring the addition of other elements.

Basic Knot In Rugmaking: The yarn is doubled around the shaft as shown in (a). The hook is inserted under a horizontal canvas thread and it is pushed up through a hole above until the open latchet clears the thread as shown in (b). The yarn is brought up, around and under the eye of the hook as shown in (c). The hook is pulled back through the loop to close the latch as shown in (d) and the ends of the yarn are pulled to tighten the knot as shown in (e). This is a basic knot in rugmaking made with a latch hook.


Basketry: The craft of basket making.

Dolce and Gabbana basket dress (2013).

Basket Weave: A variation on plain weave in which two or more warp threads are woven as one unit with one of more weft threads, giving the fabric a softer drape.

A basket weave dress.

Basket Weave Stitch (Needlepoint): See figure below. This stitch, worked in diagonal rows, creates small interlocking stitches like woven fabric on the back of the work. This distorts the canvas minimally.


Base Relief: Three-dimensional design in which the image stands in shallow relief from a flat background.

Bast Fibers: Describes fibers obtained from plant stems (e.g. linen, ramie, hemp and jute etc.)


Basting (Quilting): Firm basting is very important in quilting to hold layers together accurately during stitching: otherwise the fabric will move and produce a wrinkled effect. Before basting, iron the fabrics thoroughly as creases cannot be removed later. On small pieces, baste in lines radiating out from the center as shown in (a); on larger pieces, in horizontal and vertical lines to form a grid as shown in (b).


Batchelor, Ham and Perigal: English firm whose pattern books became part of the Warner archive that were acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum. The firm began with John Batchelor, apprentice in 1694, and ended with the death of John Ham in the 1820s. The first partners were resident in Spital square and they advertised in 1763 in a Directory as weavers of gold and silver brocaded and flowered silks.

Batik: Method of printing on cloth using a series of wax deposits, which are added one by one between a series of dyeing operations.

Nothing is the Same I & II (Els van Baarle) - detailed view of her Batik artwork.

Batik Printing: Batik printing is a resist printing in that it employs a waxy material or special paste to prevent the dye from penetrating the fabric.

Batiste: A lightweight fabric that is a smooth, balanced, soft, and fine. It is white or light in color and is plain woven from cotton, linen and wool. It is finer than nainsook and softer than lawn. Long-staple, combined fibers are used. Used for lingerie, infants' wear and blouses.

Cotton batiste nightgown and lace peignoir, ca. 1905.

Bave: Silk in a cocoon form; twin filaments bound by sericin.

Bayadere Stripes: Brightly colored stripes of various widths laid out horizontally (from side to side on the fabrics). The color effects usually range from lively to startling to bizarre. Often made with black warps and crosswise ribs (plain or twill weave). Mostly produced in India. The name is derived from the Bayadere dancing girl of India, dedicated to a dancing life from birth.

An example of a Bayadere stripes pattern.

Bedford Cord: Coarser and heavier than pique but made in a similar manner. Corded material first made in New Bedford Massachusetts; hence the name. Today, usually called just "cord". Made of wool or cotton yarns or blended with man-made fibers. Used for suits, sports clothes and uniforms.

World War I Officers Breeches - made from the very best military weight Bedford Cord. The color is called tan and it is worn as a contrast to the tunic color. The inside of the legs have "rough side out" leather riding patches, they are laced up under the knee.

Beam Dyeing: A dyeing process in which a fabric is loosely wrapped around a perforated beam through, which dye is pumped.

Beating Up: Pushing newly laid weft into place the cloth.

Beaver (Castor): Top hat.

Beaver felt hat.

Bees Wax: Natural wax which is mainly composed of esters of fatty acids and various long chain alcohols. It is softer and more pliable than off waxes and so less likely to break off. It melts at 62°C - 66°C; it solidifies at 60.5°C - 63°C. The malleable quality of beeswax insures a flexible and substantial resist, which corrodes less than synthetic resists when chemicals are added. Used as a resist in Batik making.


Beetling: A smooth finish produced by pounding fabric with large hammers; often applied to cotton and linen fabric to flatten fabric surface.

Bemberg: A trademark of Bemberg Spa, Italy, this rayon lining material has a soft, silk-like quality and comes in several weights.


Bengaline: A warp-faced weave that uses a heavier weft yarn than warp yarn, creating a horizontal rib texture on the fabric surface. Crosswise ribs heavier than faille. Filling yarns are often of cotton fibers and covered completely by warp yarns of silk or synthetic filament fibers. Used for dresses, suits and summer coats.

Sweetheart Bengaline pencil dress.

Bengal Stripes: Stripes of apparently the same width and alternating light and dark colors. Bengal stripes are usually wider than candy stripes, but narrower than awning stripes. Commonly used in wallpaper, upholstery, and shirtings. Originated in India and became popular during the Regency era in the United Kingdom. Also called Regency stripes and tiger stripes.

Bengal stripe design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Bermuda Shorts (Daywear): Tight knee-length shorts.


Bicomponent Fiber: A synthetic fiber extruded from two different polymer solutions. Hence each polymer component of the fiber has different stretching characteristics and so yields a fabric with a natural crimp.


Biil Dress (Navajo): Traditional Navajo dress that is Diné woven.

Laramie Blake wears a traditional biil dress and leggings for her graduation portrait. The dress is woven in two pieces and sewn together.

Binder: Yarn: The yarn that holds the effect yarn in position on the core yarn.

Biodegradation: A breakdown process due to biological action. Under damp conditions this process can cause fabrics to rot.

Birdseye Cloth: A fabric that is woven to yield a pattern of small spots. In other words, a simple weave with small “lozenges” of pattern can be made by reversing the twill in both directions.


Birdseye Diaper: A cloth that has a diamond shaped pattern that resembles the eye of a bird. Reversible. Usually made of cotton.

100% Cotton washable diaper - Birdseye diaper.

Birdseye Piqué: The cords are made in such a way that they come together and then separate to find a birdseye effect. This fabric is not reversible as is birdseye diaper cloth.

Original penguin birdseye piqué polo T-shirt (blue).

Bisso: Crisp, fine linen which is sometimes called altar cloth and used for that purpose.

Blackout: A type of fabric that is commonly used for drapery, this fabric has the distinctive quality of blocking light, and comes in two forms: 2-pass and 3-pass. Two-pass has two “passes” of foam on a fabric, which means the black layer of foam will be visible. 3-pass has two layers of white and one layer of black foam. Three-pass can also be used as an upholstery fabric, as the black layer is not visible. Blackout fabrics can also be insulating and noise-dampening.

Blackwork: Blackwork embroidery is a counted-thread embroidery technique, a type of cross stitch in which black thread is stitched onto white or cream fabric, normally linen. The stitches used are double running stitch (which is also called holbein stitch) backstitch, cross stitch,and sometimes stem stitch, which incidentally is perfect for geometric designs.These geometric patterns are the main basis for the Blackwork embroidery technique.


Blanket Stitch (Embroidery): The needle is brought out on the line of the design. A straight vertical stitch is made, looping the thread beneath the needle. The thread is pulled up firmly.


Above are a number of different blanket stitch.

Bleaches (Stain Removal Agent): (i) Example: Hydrogen peroxide, sunlight, cream of tartar, sodium hypochlorite, sodium hydrosulfite; (ii) Use: As a last restort for colored stains; (iii) General Instructions: Hydrogen peroxide – 33% solution is safe for all fibers. It loses strength on storage. Test for color fastness before use. Use a few drops of hydrogen peroxide on the stain and place in sunlight. A few drops of ammonia added to about 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide makes a stronger treatment. If all else fails, cover stain with a pad of material soaked in hydrogen peroxide and heat with an iron. Rinse well; Chlorine Bleach – do not use on protein fibers, elastomerics, polyester, polyurethane foams or special finishes. A mild treatment consists of 1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 liter of water. Apply to small stains with a medicine dropper, soak larger stains. Rinse well. A stronger treatment consists of equal parts of bleach and water. Use as above; Powdered Peroxygen Bleaches: these include sodium perborate and potassium permonosulfate. Test for colr-fastness and do not use a metal container. Use 1 or 2 tablespoons in 0.5 liter of water. Mix just before using as the mixture loses strength on standing. A hot mixture provides a stronger treatment but is not suitable for such fabrics as protein fibers that are sensitive to hot treatments. Always rinse thoroughly.

Bleaching Agents: Chemicals, usually oxidants that remove color from fabrics.

Blend: A combination of two or more fibers within the same yarn. Fabrics are often made from blended yarns to increase durability, stretch, stain resistance and cost efficiency.

Blending: The complete intermixing of fibers.

Blocking (Needlepoint): A method of straightening needle point work by pulling it straight and pinning it down to a rigid surface. It is dampened and left to dry.

Block Printing: Carving pieces of wood into different shapes, applying paint on the parts of the wood that stands out and then pressing this onto the fabric in order to make a crude design.

Red skirt with golden, silver and saffron block-printed.

Blood (Stains): (i) Fabric: All except protein fibers; (ii) Method: Treat with enzyme washing powder, soap or detergent and cold water. If difficult to remove, a few drops of ammonia and further treatment with detergent may work. Bleach if necessary. Heat-set blood stains will be difficult to remove; (iii) Fabric: Wool, Silk; (iv) Method: Sponge with cold water.

Blouses and Shirts: The figures below give the names of designs of various blouses and shirts.



Blowing: The process in which woolen cloth, usually stretched over a perforated cylinder, is subjected to steam in order to set the woven structure in a regular manner. The process is also known as decatizing.

Boa (Accessory): Long stole or scarf, as of fur or feathers.

China painted plaid boa scarf.

Boater: Stiff straw hat with a low crown.


Bobble Effect: Three-dimensional effect created by multiplying stitches from a single stitch and decreasing back down to the original stitch.

Beige mini-skirt with bobble effect.

Boiled Wool: Similar to felting, the knitted fabric is boiled, causing it to shrink by approximately 25-30 percent, producing very thick finished goods suitable for structured jackets and coats.

Women's boiled wool jacket.

Bolero (Daywear): Lady's very short jacket.

Black lace bolero jacket short-sleeve floral pattern with small rhinestone.

Bolt: Fabric. A roll of fabric that resembles the shape of a bolt.

Bolt End: Refers to the care instruction labels that are found at the end of a bolt of fabric.

Bombazine: Bombazine, or bombasine, is a fabric originally made of silk or silk and wool, and now also made of cotton and wool or of wool alone. Quality bombazine is made with a silk warp and a worsted weft. It is twilled or corded and used for dress-material.

Bombazine dress.

Bonded Fabrics: Fabrics that have been bonded together with adhesives and usually under controlled pressure and temperature conditions (e.g. foam laminates).

Bonded fabrics. Sketch of basket weave fabric and tricot fabric which is used for a bonded lining.

Booroola Merino (Fleece): (i) Count: 60s; (ii) Staple Length: 7.5 – 10 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Good.

Border Design: A pattern designed to run lengthwise along the edge of the fabric or wallpaper.

Home Decoré Fabric. A French courtyard - French border red.

Border or Frieze Repeats: Using border as a means of repeating pattern made from lines, chevrons, zig zags, spiral, crosses, dots, circles and more complex patterning such as twisting and inter-wining designs and motifs.


Border Leicester (Fleece): (i) Count: 44-46s; (ii) Staple Length: 12.5 – 25 cm; (iii) Handle: Medium; Color: (iv) Good.

Botany Wool: Originally referred to Australian wool, of fine quality, but now refers to fine wool from all over the world.


Boteh: A stylized teardrop-shaped design originally on shawls from Kashmir and mass-produced in Paisley, Scotland. Same as paisley.

Termed with twinned both motifs.

Bouclé: Term applied to any fabric made entirely of bouclé yarns or combined with smooth warp yarns. The occasional loops on the surface of the yarn results in a dull textured appearance. May be knit or woven wool or any fiber. Especially preferred for sweaters and sports suits.

R Jerome fabrics (England) bouclé wool blend sport coat suit jacket.

Bouclé Yarn: A looped yarn, which creates a fabric with a rough, pebbly surface.

Bouclé yarns are characterized by tight loops that project from the body of the yarn at fairly regular intervals. Used in knitted sweaters, woven dresses and upholstery fabrics.

Boynge: Thermal underwear fabric.


Braid: A narrow fabric woven on a narrow loom or produced by interlacing yarns at an angle and so that it is necessarily devoid of wefts.

Braid fabric - black and white.

Braiding: Three or more yarns are interlaced, usually for trimming, but these braids can be sewn together to make hats, summer purses and other articles.

Brick Repeat or Network: A pattern where the horizontal line images are moved halfway between images on either side. See figure below.


Brick Stitch (Needlepoint): See figure below. Although similar to straight Gobelin, this produces a textured effect because of the staggered stitches. This must be worked over an even number of threads, to ensure the correct balance between stitches.


Brissac, Peter Abraham De (1731-68): Of Huguenot descent he was related to several London silk weavers. De Brissac account book from January 1760 to December 1762 provides much information of this freelance designer for woven silks and printed cottons.

British Pharmacopoeia (B.P.): (i) When these letters follow the name of a material they indicate that the material conforms to the specifications of the British Pharmacopoeia, and that it is approved for use in medicinal preparations. This grade is usually below C.P. grade in absolute chemical purity, but of more than adequate purity for average technical use. Corresponds to the American U.S.P.; (ii) In chemistry it is an abbreviation for boiling point.

Broadcloth: A lustrous flat fabric that is highly napped, with a weave that is not visible. Unless examined closely, it may be mistaken for a percale, but the thread count is different; combed broadcloth may be 144 x 76 and carded cloth 100 x 60. Often mercerised to increase loser. Used commonly for men's shirts, blouses, uniforms and pyjamas. It may also be made from silk or nylon. Wool broadcloth has a slight nap brush in one direction.

Ladies long sleeve broadcloth pyjama (blue).

Broadloom: A generic name for carpets that are more than two meters wide.


Brocade: It is similar to damask in pattern, the design slightly raised and the yarns used are usually silk, nylon or other man-made filament ones. The fabric is not reversible. Elaborate brocades for formal wear may have a definite raised design with the addition of metallic threads (Lamé).

Oscar de la Renta - floral brocade evening gown.

Brocade Velvet: It has a pile of different heights cut to form a design.

Velvet/brocade Betsy circle dress.

Brocading: (i) The action of the weaver in carrying the brocaded weft across one limited section of the warp; (ii) The area in the textile, which has been brocaded. When silk and, still more, metal thread were much more expensive than labor, it was economic to make a woven pattern by this method.

Brocatelle: It has a satin or twill figure on a plain or satin ground. It has areas, which appeared raised since it contains a double warp. Like damask, it seldom uses more than two colors.

Ochre Zig Zag brocatelle dress.

Broderie Anglaise: This technique creates patterns and shapes using cutout motifs with embroidery. Traditionally used in undergarments and children's clothing, today it is used in women's dresses and blouses.

Broderie Anglaise puff sleeve blouse.

Brush Batik: Batik method in which brushes are used to apply hot wax to large areas of cloth before dyeing.

Brushed Knit: A single jersey fabric that has its thick laid-in yarn fibers matted by brushing.

Floral dot brushed knit skater dress.

Brushing: A process in which the surface fibers are deliberately damaged by rotating wire brushes creating a soft fuzzy fabric surface.

Brush Strokes: Make direct marks and stokes onto a fabric. The range of brush strokes can be as varied as the types and sizes of brushes used.

Brussels Carpet: A looped pile woven carpet.

Brussels flower carpet.

Buckram: A fabric that is similar to crinoline except with a stiffer finish. Two-ply cotton fabric stiffened with glue or other sizing for hat frames, interlinings for purses and fabric details. Also used as bookbinder’s cloth. Seldom washable.

Buckram coating fabric for book coverings and bindings.

Buff: To polish with a cloth.

Bullion Knot (Embroidery): A back stitch is made, and the needle tip is brought out where the thread last emerged. The thread is wound several times around the needle tip as in (a) and is held firmly. The needle is pulled through with the thread still held firmly. The needle is re-inserted and the thread is pulled through until the coiled knot lies flat.


Bunad (Norway): "Bunad" is a name that derives from Old Norwegian Language-norrønt and means something like "equpiment for household". "Bound" is a common naming for many kinds of costumes for special occasions in Norway.


Bunting: The definition of bunting refers to loosely woven fabric normally used for flags, to flags used as festive decorations, to a songbird or to a baby's hooded blanket. Fabric used to make a flag is an example of bunting. A festive flag decoration is an example of bunting.


Burberry (Coat): Worsted trench coat.

Cotton twill trench coat.

Burka: The burka is the most concealing of all Islamic veils. It covers the entire face and body, leaving just a mesh screen to see through.


Burlap (Also known as gunny): A coarse and heavy plain weave fabric made from jute fibers in natural tan; may be dyed. Low grades for gunny sacks and furniture webbing; better grades for draperies and novelty clothing.

Cowl neck slouch funnel larger-look natural linen cotton tent burlap sack dress.

Burling: The removal of excess knots, bumps, loose threads and clubs from a fabric before the finishing process, by means of a burling iron or tweezers. Burning does not damage the fabric and ensures a smooth texture.

Burnous: Long hooded Arabic cloak and it is traditionally worn in North Africa, especially Morocco.

The cloak above is believed to have been owned by the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, and taken after he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo (Belgium) on 18 June 1815.

Burnout: Known as "devoré" and using a technique similar to etching, a chemical eats away at the fibers leaving the fabric background behind to create a pattern. See devoré.

1990s Black sheer burnout velvet blouse.

Burnt-Out Velvet: See above image. The burn-out look is created when fiber-eating chemicals are printed on the fabric instead of color. The desired pattern is left imprinted in the velvet leaving the backing untouched.

Butcher Paper: Low grade paper that is often used as an absorbent in processes such as to wrap up silk prior to steaming.

Butcher Rayon: It is either acetate and rayon blend or 100% rayon. It is a crash-like fabric made in various weights - with the heavier weights taken on the appearance of linen.

1960s dobby woven, black rayon Butcher cloth.

Butterfly (Weaving): Instead of using a shuttle, the yarn can be wound around the thumb and little finger in figure eight as shown in (a), and then made into a bundle as shown in (b).


Butter or Margarine (Stains): (i) Fabric: All; (ii) Method: Sponge stain with grease solvent. Dry, and repeat. If yellow stain appears, use chlorine or peroxygen bleach. If safe for fabric, use sodium perborate.

Buttonhole Stitch (Embroidery): This is done in the same way as a blanket stitch, but with the stitches closer together.


Cable or Basket Pattern (Smocking): This is made in the same way as the rope pattern, but the needle is inserted horizontally and the stitches are made with the thread alternatively above as shown in (a) and below as shown in (b).


Cable Effect: Twisted three-dimensional pattern that uses double-ended needles to create vine-like or geometric patterns.

Oversized beige cowl neck cable knit sweater dress.

Cable Stitch (Embroidery): (a) A stitch is made along the line of the design. The needle is brought out halfway along with the thread below. (b) Repeat for the next stitch but with the thread above.


Cable Yarn: A yarn produced when two or more ply yarns are twisted together, with each successive twist (single ply or cable) going in the same direction.

Cabretta: A fine lightweight goatskin fabric. Excellent choice for garment sewing, especially pants.


Caesin Glue (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Sponge with cool water, work in soap or detergent and rinse; (iii) Fabric: Non–Washable; (iv) Method: Spot clean as per washable and finish by sponging. (Test fabric first).

Caftan (Kaftan) (Morocco): The Moroccan caftan, is worn for celebrations, particularly weddings. There are stylish and can be worn for party wear or as wedding dress in Morocco.


Cagoule (Raincoat): Light hooded raincoat.

Fisherman cagoule raincoat.

Calendar: A process to flatten fabric involving alternating smooth metal and cloth-wrapped rollers, similar to ironing. The process can also be used to apply different finishes to pre-treated textiles, as well as to coat fabrics with plastics or rubber.

Calendering: A finishing process using heat and pressure in order to render surface effects.

Calgon: Water softening agent.

Calico: A bleached or unbleached plain, medium weight cotton fabric. It is also known as unbleached muslin. It is a medium weight fabric that often has a matt finish in its natural state. When untreated, its natural color is creamy with brown flecks. Calico can be dyed easily, although the resulting colors are inclined to be rather dull. It is firmly woven fabric, hardwearing and cheap. It can be purchased in number of different weights, from lightweight and medium to heavyweight. It also refers to a small, all over old fashion print on plain weave cotton. Used for household fabrics and dresses.

Plain woven textile made from unbleached cotton.

Cambric: It is also known as - chambray. A fine plain weave balanced fabric that is finished with starch. It has a slight luster on one side of the fabric. Once the shiny finish has been removed, the fabric takes dye well. The fabric is lightweight and loosely woven and so stiff and glazed. It will not wash. Used for costumes and decorations. (Do not confuse with linen cambric which is used for handkerchiefs... often called handkerchief linen.).

Chambray blue - medium weight.

Camel Fibers: Many fabrics are called "camel's hair" simply because they are a natural tan color of the camel, but true Camel's hair comes from Bactrian or two-hump camel that lives in Mongolia and Tibet. See post - Speciality Hair Fibers.

A camel hair blazer from the American fashion label Bill Blass, 2009.

Camisole: Short negligee or sleeveless under bodice.


Camouflage: A pattern that conceals the object by blending it into its environment or providing a false impression of the object characteristics (disruptive pattern). Digital camouflage patterns are often pixelated, without discernible shapes or features.

Outdoor apparel - Women's Camouflage rain jacket.

Candlewick: an unbleached cotton or muslin into which loops of yarn are hooked and then cut to give a tufted pattern. It is used for bedspreads, dressing gowns, etc. the wick of a candle. (modifier) being or made of candlewick fabric.

1940s Candlewick chenille dressing gown.

Canting: Pronounced chanting and originally spelt, tjanting. A traditional Indonesian tool with a hollow metal vessel at one end; the canting holds the hot wax and allows the artist to "draw" with the wax onto the cloth as part of the batik technique.


Canton Crêpe: Canton crêpe is a filling crêpe made with coarse yarns of alternate S and Z twist (2S and 2Z); (4S and 4Z); (6S and 6Z). It has a low count and is rough looking. There is much crosswise stretch in the fabric. It is used for dresses and suit dresses. Dry-cleaning is preferable.

1926 Brown Canton crêpe dress.

Canton Flannel: Heavy cotton material with twilled weave showing on one side and long, soft nap on the other. Bleached, unbleached, or piece-dyed. Used for work gloves, sleeping garments and interlinings.

Canton flannel fabric.

Canvas: (i) A heavy stiff fabric made from cotton or linen. It is a woven interfacing material that comes in various weights. The cloth is woven in such a way that the tension is evenly distributed throughout its length and breadth, thereby facilitating stretching over the stretcher. It is not suitable for dyeing. It ranges from lightweight used for interfacings to heavy weight used for tents. Some weights are called duck or sailcloth; (ii) A backing material used for needlepoint. Usually woven material with large mesh to accept the needlepoint yarns. There are many mesh sizes, for example, Mono (10 to 18 holes per inch), Interlock (5 to 14 holes per inch), Penelope (double threaded and 6.5 to 15 holes per inch). Canvas is made from cotton or plastic in either white or tan.

Canvas natural - medium weight.

Cap: Pronounced chap and originally spelt tjap. A traditional Indonesian custom-made stamping tool (usually made of copper or bronze) used for applying hot wax to the cloth as part of the batik technique.

Handmade Indonesian copper batik stamp/cap/tjap.

Capote (Cloak): Long cloak.

Azores capote.

Carbon-infused: A carbon fabric blends carbon-infused fibers by the burning of bamboo and blends them with synthetic fiber to create a durable, tech fabrication that is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, breathable and moisture wicking.

Carbonizing: The treatment of wool with sulfuric acid in order to destroy any cellulosic contaminants.

Carbon Paper (Stains): (i) Fabric: All; (ii) Method: Work detergent or soap into the stain, rinse. If the stain is still visible, lace a few drops of ammonia on the stain and repeat washing.

Carders: The function of carders is to remove tangles and dirt from fleece. After carding the fleece it is in an organized state, and all wool fibers lie in a parallel fashion. Spinners often use hand carders, although drum carders does the same work as hand carders, but on a much larger scale.

Carding: The process to partially aligning fibers in a web, either as a preparatory step in yarn manufacture or to create an orientated web for non-woven textiles.


Card Sliver: A rope like strand of fibers about 1.8 to 2.5 cm in diameter – the form in which fibers emerge from the carding machine.

Carpet: Up to the mid 18th Century the term was used for many different materials with a variety of uses. Garthwaite's "carpet patt" was intended as a woven repeating pattern made on a draw loom and intended for joined strip carpeting. Such carpeting was made at Wilton (England) in uncut pile in a technique virtually identical with velvet. It was used for both floors and stairs, but even at the end of the century it was rare to find carpets or carpeting in every room.

Carr, Robert (1701-91): The senior partner in one of the most important firms of mercers during the 18th century, which lasted with several changes of partnership from 1727, when it was founded by Ebenezer Ibbetson, until the early 19th century.

Casement Cloth: Lightweight plain weave fabric.

Como casement cloth.

Cashmere Fibers: Hair of the cashmere goat. The finest cashmere garments are made from the soft under hairs of the goat, but those made from the coarse outer hairs may also be labeled cashmere. See post - Speciality Hair Fibers.

Striking new red fur trim hood cape coat jacket shawl wrap. Stunning cashmere mix.

Cassava Paste: The paste resists indigo. The copper sulfate used is optional, but acts as a preservative and gives the paste a pale blue color that enables it to be seen when used on a white cloth.

Cassock: Black cloak.

Cassock - front view.

Causticize: The treatment of cellulose fabrics with sodium hydroxide solution under such conditions that a full mercerizing effect is not obtained, but the color yield in dyeing and printing is significantly enhanced.

Caustic Soda: Sodium hydroxide. It is the effective agent for mercerizing cotton. It is used in naphthol as an alkali.

Cavalry Twill: Strong cotton, wool or worsted fabric constructed in double twill, which results in diagonal, subtle ridges that give it a distinct look. Traditionally used for pants and jackets.

Cavalry twill trouser.

Cellulose: The main constituent of the cell wall of all plants. It is a polymer of glucose (a natural sugar). It is the basic material of all vegetable, cotton, flax and new Viscose Rayon.

Cellulose Fibers: Fibers derived from plant material. Can be man-made (e.g. rayon) or natural (e.g. cotton, linen, sisal, flax, jute and hemp etc.)

Celtic Knot: A knot formed by interfaced ribbons that lead seamlessly into one another. Same as everlasting knot. A


Chador: The chador, worn by many Iranian women when outside the house, is a full-body cloak. It is often accompanied by a smaller headscarf underneath.


Chain Stitch (Embroidery): The needle is brought out and the thread is looped around it, holding the thread down. The needle is re-inserted and a stitch is taken forward, catching the loop.


There are a number of different chain stitches.

Chalk Cloth: A pliable fabric that can be used like a chalk board. Commonly used for tablecloths, posters, and projects, prime the fabric with chalk before using. To remove the chalk, wipe with a damp sponge.

Chalk cloth lunch bag.

Challis: A soft, fine fabric of cotton, very fine wool or viscose that is either a plain or twill weave. Often printed but may be of plain colors. Usually woven 27 inches wide. Used for dresses and robes. Challis may also be made of rayon spun yarns, used for nightwear. Often printed with a delicate, dainty design.

Printed challis fabric.

Chambray: Plain weave with lengthwise and crosswise yarns of different colors. The filling threads are often white and the selvages will appear all white. Occasionally there are woven-in stripes. Heavy weights used for man's shirt. Other weights for for sports clothes and dresses.

Chambray woman's shirt.

Chamois: Light-weight leather from sheepskin. Used for buffing cars and american indian-inspired garments.


Chantilly Lace: A lace featuring a netted background with ornate, often dense embroidered floral patterns with outlines made from heavier threads. Originated in Chantilly, France in the 17th Century.

Chantilly lace is known for its fine ground, outlined pattern, and abundant detail. The pattern is outlined in cordoned, a flat untwisted strand.

Chaps/Chaparejos (Daywear): Cowboy's seatless leather trousers.

These chaps are copied from an original 1870s pair in the River Junction private collection. Made of oiled chaparejos leather being especially prepared for this purpose. Laced together with fringe on the outside of each leg. Upper sides and fly area re-enforced with a double layer of leather. Has two pockets.

Charmelaine: A wool twill dress fabric with a ribbed face and smooth back.


Charm Quilt: A quilt made of many, many small patches (traditionally 2" or so) where each piece is a different fabric. The pattern is usually a one-patch design and often involves swaps and trades with friends to gather many fabrics.

Crazy Patch Quilt - Charm Quilt.

Charmuese: A luxurious, supple silky fabric with a shiny satin face and a dull back. Generally either silk, rayon ,or polyester. Suitable for blouses, fuller pants and lingerie.

Cheongsam: Tight Chinese dress with a high collar and slit skirt.

Embroidered red floral gauze traditional Chinese wedding cheongsam bridal dress.

Charmeuse: Luxury fabric with a glossy satin finish, extremely lightweight. Often made in 100% silk, its fluidity creates a soft drape suitable for dresses and separates.

2012 Pleated charmeuse chiffon A line sleeveless floor length prom dress with beadwork.

Chasuble: Long sleeveless vestment.

Multicoloured coordinating chasuble and stole set symbols separate on stole and merge on chasuble.

Check: A pattern of squares. Some of the check patterns (in order of increasing size) are pincheck, mini check, Gingham check, tattersall check, and windowpane check.

Gingham check - light blue and white - long skirt - Civil War, Victorian.

Cheesecloth: It is a plain-woven cotton fabric made from highly twisted hairy yarns in a course and loose weave. Originally used for wrapping cheese. Finer grades used for covering hotbeds and tobacco fields, bandages and costumes. typical thread count varies from 20x12 to 44x40.

A "gauze weave" cotton multi-use fabric - Cheesecloth.

Chemical Reactivity: General Definition and Fiber Property: It is the effect of acids, alkali, oxidising agents and solvents on the fiber; Reason For Fiber Property: The fiber polymer system contains polar groups and so its chemical structure is the cause for this fiber property; Translation into Fabric Property: Helps to determine care required during cleaning of the fabric - such as its ability to withstand bleaching, and to take acid or alkali finishes.

Chemical Resist: The use of a wide range of chemical compounds (e.g. alkalis, acids, salts, reducing and oxidizing agents etc.) in order to prevent the fixation or development of a ground color.

Chemical Water (Calgon): Chemically known as sodium hexametaphosphate, it acts as a sequestering agent, neutralizing any interference in water to the normal reaction of dyes.

Chemise/shift: Woman's loose shirt-like under garment.

Paloma chemise.

Chenille: (i) A cut-pile fabric made by tufting. (ii) This is a thread, in use in the late 17th Century which is in the form of a furry cord - rather like a caterpillar, hence its name. It is made by weaving a material in which the warp threads are arranged in groups of 2 to 6 ends which interlace like gauze, the groups being a definite distance apart to suit the length of the pile. The weft is inserted in the normal way, each shoot representing a potential tuft. The woven piece is cut into warp-wise strips, which are then used as weft yarn.

Chenillle yarn pattern.

Chenille Yarn: A hairy yarn created by cutting specially woven fabrics into strips.

Chenille yarn is derived from a term which means “caterpillar”. It refers to a special, soft, fuzzy, loft yarn with pile protruding on all sides. It is produced from woven leno fabric structure that is slit into narrow, warp wise strips to serve as yarn.

Chequer: Also known as checker or checkerboard pattern. A pattern of squares of alternating colors, textures, or materials.

Pencil skirt in checkerboard print.

Chesterfield (Overcoat): Overcoat, typically with concealed button and a velvet collar.

Burberry black virgin wool Chesterfield coat.

Cheviot (Fleece): (i) Count: 48/54s; (ii) Staple Length: 7-13 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (v) Color: Good.

Chevron: Lightweight, extremely sheer and airy fabric, containing highly twisted fibers. Suitable for full pants, loose tops or dresses.

Chevron printed multi color palazzo pants.

Chevron Pattern (Smocking): The stitches for this pattern are made with the thread above the needle in the descending group as shown in (a) and below the needle in the ascending group as shown in (b). The stitches are worked from left to right, so that the group of stitches form waves or diamonds.


Chevron Stitch (Smocking): This stitch is done from left to right and alternatively up and down in groups of two pleats. The thread is kept above the needle in the top stitch shown in (a) and below the needle in the bottom stitch shown in (b). The alternate pleats that have not been joined can be done in the same way in contrasting color.


Chewing Gum (Stains): (i) Fabric: All; (ii) Method: Apply ice to harden and chip off as much chewing gum as possible. Sponge with grease solvent.

Chiffon: A plain light and loose weaved fabric, which was originally made from silk. It will take color well in printing and painting. It is soft, very sheer, almost filmy fabric that drapes well. Used for scarfs, dresses and formal gowns. Another crêpe-appearing fabric is "Whipped Cream" a trade name for a fabric of heat-sensitive fibers such as polyesters, which has a slight all-over crinkle appearance due to embossing. A raised design is pressed into the cloth by an engraved roller. The design is permanent when heat set. Easy to sew and care for, it is not considered a true crêpe.

Whipped cream knitted fabric.

Chiffon Velvet: It is very durable, lightweight and is made with a rayon pile and a silk back. Faconné velvet is patterned by burnt out designs.

ca. 1882. Burgundy Façonné floral rose velvet, cream satin and Alençon lace trained evening reception gown.

China Silk: A soft lightweight sheer plain weave fabric used for scarfs.

China silk scarf.

Chinchilla: A heavy twill-weave wool coating, which has a napped surface that is rolled into little balls.

Chinchilla cloth - closeup.

Chino: A medium weight lustrous cotton fabric with warp floats, used for skirts, slacks and sportswear.

Belted Chino skirt - medium weight.

Chinoiserie: Any Western interpretation of an Oriental design.

Chinoiserie ruching printed Empire waist white formal dress.

Chintz: A plain weaved fabric with a glazed finish produced by calendaring and resin treatment. It is usually made from cotton and it is often printed. As the cotton fabric has a glossy finish it is also known as "glazed cotton". When printing or dyeing the glossy finish needs to be removed in order to ensure permanence. Glazed finishes may disappear in first washing, or may be long lasting, depending on materials used. Used for drapery materials and also for summer dresses and robes.

Chintz party dress.

Chite: Painted linens that originated in Chitta (India) in the 17th Century.

Chiton: Loose woolen tunic worn by men and women in ancient Greece.


Chlamys: Man's short cloak in Ancient Greece.


Chlorination: An early shrink-proofing treatment of wool in which chlorine was used to soften and degrade the scales.

Chlorine-Retentive: Statement found on garment label. Resins are added to fibers to make them wrinkle-resistant. However, some of these resins might react with the chlorine in a chlorine bleached and so discolour the fabric (i.e. turns it a slight yellow). The tag description most garments have using such finishes is “Do not bleach”.

Chlorine (Stains): (i) Fabric: No treatment for chlorine stains on wool or silk; (ii) Method: Rinse fabric thoroughly with water. Soak for 30 minutes or longer in a solution of 1 teaspoon of sodium thiosulfate to each liter of water (as hot as is safe for the fabric). Bleaching cause by chlorine cannot be removed.

Chocolate (Stains): (i) Fabric: Cotton, linen; (ii) Method: Use cold water to soak, wash in hypochlorine bleach; (iii) Fabric: Wool, silk; (iv) Method: Use cold water to soak, wash in hydrogen peroxide.

Choga (india): Traditional Indian dress.

19th Century Indian Choga - silk.

Choli: Short-sleeved Indian blouse or bodice.

Note: The choli is an under bodice that like the Ghaghara petticoat acts as a foundation for the top layer of the sari.

Christmas Patterns: Patterns on the Christmas theme. Used for gift wrap, fabrics, greeting cards, and other applications.

Christmas patterned white net-satin dress.

Chuba (Tibet): Traditional Tibetan robes.

Robe for Tibetan aristocrat (chubby).

Ciré: A high-polish finish sometimes applied to silk and silk blends, in which the fabric is impregnated with a wax or thermoplastic material and passed through a frictional calender resulting in a polished wet look.

Vintage Ciré by Landa cocktail dress, heavily beaded, from the early 90s.

Cissing: Running streaks and bare spots in color that should lie smoothly, usually due to poor wetting of the surface.

Classification of Fibers: Fibers can be classified as natural or man-made and then under these classification headings they can be further sub-divided into the fiber types: cellulose, protein and mineral etc.

Classification of fibers into their various categories and sub-categories.

Clerical Clothing: As per diagram below.


Clipspot: A fabric with warp pile yarns woven into the ground fabric only at intervals: the long floats are clipped away to leave a spot pile pattern.

Vintage cotton clipspot fabric woven orange, black and white on tan lightweight shirting textile yardage.

Cloqué: A woven or knitted fabric that has a figured irregularly raised, blistered effect.

Simone Rocha floral metallic cloqué skirt.

Clouds: Silks printed on the warp before weaving were called "clouds" in England and chine in France. They were especially fashionable in the second half of the 18th Century. When woven, the color printed on the warp is muted by the uncolored weft - hence the name.

Clump Tying (Dye Pattern):
A very attractive pattern can be made by tying small stones into the fabric at intervals The fabric is dyed then rinsed. The string is removed and the fabric and stones are washed. Note: The effect on the fabric is shown in the background.


Clydella: A soft fabric made of wool and cotton, used especially for blouses and shirts.

1954. Advertising Clydella men's shirts.

Coats and Outerwear: The figure below gives the names for the various designs of coats and outerwear.


Cockade: Feather, ribbon or rosette worn on the hat, especially by soldiers.

Premium wool in black only, this hat is cocked, lined with linen sweat band, has trim and a cockade.

Codpiece: Pouch in the crotch of men's breeches, 15 - 16th Century.

Alessandro Young. Just to emphasise his authority and toughness, he flaunts his equipment in a prominent fiery codpiece.

Coffee - Black (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Pour boiling water from a height and then wash. If necessary treat with perborate; (iii) Coffee – white; (iv) Fabric: Washable; (v) Method: Treat as per milk.

Coffee - White (Stains): Treat as per milk.

Cohesiveness: General Definition and Fiber Property: It is the ability of fibers to cling together during spinning. This is an important property in staple but not in filament; Reason for Fiber Property: This is caused by the crimp or twist property of the fiber; Translation into Fabric Property: This affects the fabrics resistance to ravelling.

Coir: Coarse reddish brown fibers from the husk of a coconut.


Cold Drawing: The stretching of synthetic filaments in order to orientate crystallites in the direction of the fiber length.

Collage: From the French coller - “to paste”; any artistic composition made by gluing assorted materials (cloth, newsprint, wood veneers) to a flat surface, usually a canvas or a panel.

Collage dress by knee sock.

Collage Blocks: The basic principle of relief printing, in which the design is formed by contrast between positive (raised) areas of a printing block and negative cut-away sections. The blocks are constructed from a range of materials and are assembled on a flat base to form a relief block with different surface levels.

Collage Blocks Equipment: Buttons, wood shavings; pulses, yarn and pasta or other low relief items; PVA adhesive; scissors; craft knives; fabric and/or paper.

Collars: The figures below give the names for the various collar designs.



Color Effects On Devoré: Color and resist effects can be produced by printing with an alkaline pigment, reactive or vat dye before blotch printing the devoré paste over the design.

Color Fastness: The resistance of s colored cloth to various stressed situations such as washing, light degradation, rubbing etc. These are measured using standard protocols yielding a scale range from 1 to 5, where 5 signifies no visible change and 1 signifies a substantial change. For light degradation 8 represents the most resistance (highest fastness) to alteration.

Colorwashing: Simple water-based technique used to produce a softly textured, patchy finish achieved by applying several layers of thin paint.

Columbia (Fleece): (i) Count: 50-60s; (ii) Staple Length: 10 – 15 cm; (iii) Handle: Medium; (iv) Color: Good.

Combed Cotton: A strong, fine yarn made from long staple cotton fibers that are carded and combed before being spun.

Combed Yarn: The process following carding, combing straightens fibers into parallel strands and removed any remaining impurities or short pieces, in order to further soften cotton yarns.

Comber: The term is used by 18th Century designers in several senses; (i) a straight repeat (i.e. ∫ ∫ ∫ ∫); (ii) a complete repeat horizontally. The number of repeats in the width was determined by the comber-board. The cords making the pattern were threaded through this at the top of the loom. The board could be divided into sections each one constituting a repeat. The cords for the same part of the design in each repeat were then tied together at the neck of the pulley. Many silks and designs of the period up to the mid 1760s were "single comber" with only one repeat in the width of the textile. The journey men charged more for such designs - as shown in the list of prices in England of 1769.

Combinations: One-piece undergarment with sleeves and legs.

Combination undergarment. Cotton 1900-1910.

Combing: The removal of short fibers from staple sliver, yielding yarns that are very smooth.

Comfort-Stretch: Many fabrics are made from elastic yarns, which when they are slack mercerized yield a small amount of stretch in order to provide “give” and so increase comfort in routine wear or mild activity.

Comfort-stretch woman's jeans.

Complex Yarn: See novelty yarn.

Composite Artwork: Artwork combining a number of different elements.

Composite Fabric: These are two or more fabrics or fibers that have been joined together to utilize their best properties. Some of these fabrics have natural qualities, whereas others have been developed for specific purpose such as for insulation or water proofing etc.

Composite embroidery lace fabric for ladies dress.

Compound Weaves: Compound weaves are used to create contrasting textures and the more elaborate patterns and color effects, and are generally produced on a loom with an attached Jacquard or a Jacquard-like computer (e.g. damasks).

Ivory silk, metallic gold, compound weave dress.

Computer Aided Design (CAD): A pattern design CAD software application is a tool for creating repeat patterns by computer. Not to be confused with fashion CAD systems that deal with creating patterns for garments, footwear, or accessories.

Conductive Textile or Fabrics: Textile or fabrics that contain an electrical circuit built within them in order to operate electronic devices such as mobile phones, and stereos etc. These materials can also support fiber optics in order to transmit light or digital information.

A conductive textile dress that sparkles.

Continental Stitch or Tent Stitch (Needlepoint): See figure below. This is the most extensively used needlepoint stitch. When worked on mono canvas it is also known as petit point, and on Penelope canvas as gros point. If done in horizontal rows - see (a) and (b) - it tends to stretch the canvas out of shape and the stitches on the reverse side are long diagonal ones. When done on Penelope canvas over a trame thread - see (c) - the stitches slope more at the back of the work – see (d).


Continuous or Diagonal Mosaic Stitch (Needlepoint): This useful stitch creates a pattern of stripes with serrated edges.


Converter: A business that develops fabric styles and has them printed or woven to order by a mill. Unlike the mill, the converter owns no printing or weaving equipment. In the past, the major function of a converter was to provide rapid response to fashion change, quick delivery and service, and to handle relatively small orders. Today, converters like Regal Fabrics are particularly known for creating exclusive, copyrighted designs and unique fabric constructions.

Coolmax: A polyester fiber designed to move moisture away from the body and out onto the surface of the garment for quick evaporation.

Cool Wool: A trade name used to denote a light-weight “tropical” wool. Armani suits are often made in this fabric.


Coopworth (Fleece): (i) Count: 60s; (ii) Staple Length: 7.5 – 10 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Good.

Cope: A liturgical garment similar to a felonion or chasuble, but resembling an outer cloak with sleeves and sometimes a hood.

Long outer coat.

Coral Stitch (Embroidery): The stitch is worked from right to left. The thread is brought through and held down with the left thumb. A small stitch is made at right angles to the thread, going under and then over. The thread is pulled tight.


Corded or “Italian” Quilting: Only two layers of fabric are used here. The raised design is made by inserting rug yarn, quilting yarn or cord between double lines of stitching.

Italian Quilting otherwise known as trapunto.

Cords: Cords are vertical or warpwise ridges and are not to be confused with ribs as in faille and bengaline that go cross-wise. See Piqué, Bedford Cord and Dimity.

Rare Breed Cord Retro Mod Jacket.

Corduroy: A weft pile fabric in which the cut pile tufts are align in lengthwise rows. Wide wale has 3 to 10 ribs per inch: medium wale has 14 ribs; pinwale has 16 ribs. A combed pinwale may be as fine as 21 ribs per inch. Needs little or no ironing, especially if dried in tumble dryer. Used for children's clothing, bedspreads, sportswear, pants and heavier weights for coats.

Top: Magnified pinwale corduroy (usually 16 ribs to the inch).
Bottom: Magnified midwale corduroy (usually 14 ribs to the inch).

Some corduroy fabrics are printed and may resemble other fabrics at a distance.

Corduroy (Commercial): A ribbed, high-luster, cut-piled fabric made with two sets of weft yarn and one warp. The extra weft yarns are woven into the fabrics as floats and arranged above each other so that they form vertical rows of pile when the weft floats are cut.

Hot pink skinny corduroy pants.

Corduroy (Hand Woven): A cut-piled fabric woven with a flat wave that leaves long weft floats on the surface that can be cut to form a pile.

Hand woven corduroy rug.

Cord Yarn: A cord yarn requires three twisting operations, resulting in a very strong yarn. Some types of sewing threads are made in this way.

Core Yarn: A yarn consisting of a sheath of staple fibers wrapped around a filament core.

Corkscrew Yarn: Yarn made by twisting together yarns of different diameters, varying the speed and direction of twist.

Two plies of different count ( fine around coarse ply).

Correction Fluid (Stains): (i) Fabric: All except Acetates, Arnel, Dynel, Verel; (ii) Method: Sponge with acetone; (iii) Fabric: Acetates, Arnel, Dynel, Verel; (iv) Method: Sponge with amyl acetate.

Corriedale (Fleece): (i) Count: 44-50s; (ii) Staple Length: 12.5 – 20 cm; (iii) Handle: Medium; (iv) Color: Good.

Corrosive Label: Signage or label suggests that the chemical will destroy living tissue, so protective clothing, face visor and gloves are required. Handle the chemical in a well ventilated environment.

Corset, Stays: Tight supporting undergarment over waist and hips.

Deep-red shadow Corset.

Cortex: The central mass of fiber hair.

Cosmetics (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Sponge with undiluted detergent until thick suds appear. Work into the fabric until stain disappears. Rinse, repeat if necessary; (iii) Fabric: Non-washable; (iv) Method: Use grease solvent.

Cotswold (Fleece): (i) Count: 36-48s; (ii) Staple Length: 18 – 37.5 cm; (iii) Handle: Medium; (iv) Color: Good.

Cotta: Short surplice, often sleeveless.

White short surplice.

Cotton: (i) A wide variety of fabrics are made from cotton. It can be made into lightweight fabrics such as organza, voile, muslin, lawn, shiny fabrics such as furnishing satin, and heavyweight fabrics such as velvet, drills, corduroys, denim, canvas and gabardine. Cotton fabrics offer an excellent medium for painting. They absorb color well in dyeing, and the range of different weights and weaves available gives a very wide selection of fabric surfaces and textures for printing and painting. Moreover, it is a fairly inexpensive fabric; (ii) Textile Inks And Dyes for Cotton: pigment; reactive; direct vat; multi-purpose dyes; discharging printing; natural dyes; cellulose devour. See post on cotton.

High-waist cotton knit.

Cotton Boll: The seed pod of a cotton bush. Inside the boll are seeds from which the fibers develop. When the boll is ripe it splits and fine white cotton hairs are ready to be picked.

Close up of a cotton boll.

Cotton Covert: Cotton covert is always mottled and it may be made with ply yarns, one ply white and the other colored, or it may be fiber dyed white and a color. It is a 2 x 1 twill of the same weight as denim and is used primarily for work pants, overalls and service coats.

Short sleeved T-shirt cotton covert military clothing fashion.

Cotton Fibers: Cotton fibers are harvested from the hairy fruit of a plant, bush or tree. The seeds are separated from the fibrous boll by grinding and the raw cotton disentangled into bundles of fibers ready to be spun in order to create a continuous yarn of useful plying and weaving length.

Cotton Lisle: A hard-spun two ply cotton yarn made from long staple fibers and treated to remove all short fuzzy ends for a smooth finish. Lisle is a popular choice for fine men's knitwear, including tops and socks.

Couching (Embroidery): One thread is laid on the fabric surface and stitched over at intervals with another thread.


Count: (i) The number of yarns per cm (i.e. a measure of the thickness of yarns or threads); (ii)(Fleece): The “count” of a fleece is based on the number of hanks (a hank being 560 yards long) that can be spun from 1 lb. of wool top. A 60 count fleece would yield 33,600 yards. The higher the counts, the finer the fiber.

Counterchange: A design where a certain color of the motif and its ground are reversed in another part of the design to balance the elements. See also two-color symmetries.

A counterchange pattern design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Count of Cloth: The number of ends and picks per inch in a woven fabric. If a cloth is 64 x 60, it means there are 64 ends and 60 picks per inch in the fabric.

Courtelle: A trademark a synthetic acrylic fiber resembling wool.

Vintage, 1970s - Courtelle fabric dress.

Cover: General Definition and Fiber Property: The amount of space occupied by the yarns of fabric. Hence, fabrics with high cover have little space between the yarns, whereas fabrics with low cover have a lot of space. Cover may be expressed in terms of the ratio of yarn diameter to yarn spacing; Reason For Fiber Property: This results from the crimp, curl or twist of the fiber and its cross-sectional shape; Translation into Fabric Property: It affects the warmth of the fabric and its cost, since less fiber is required.

Cover Factor: The area covered by a yarn's thickness, when resting on a surface. A hairy yarn, for example, has a greater cover factor than a smooth yarn. Cover factor usually refers to yarns, but fibers also have a cover factor. A fiber with an oval cross-section has a greater cover factor than a fiber with circular cross-section.

Cover Power: The extent of area over which a given amount of liquid paint or varnish will spread to give a satisfactory coating when it is applied in a normal layer, ordinarily expressed in square feet per gallon. Sometimes confused with hiding power.

Covert: Made of cotton with a mottled effect due to two-ply yarns of different colors. Finer yarns for children's wear; heavier weight for uniforms. If made of wool fibers, usually of worsted yarns. Looks like gabardine, but is coarser. Often has a flecked appearance. Durable, long-wearing. Used for suits, uniforms, coats and riding apparel. There are cotton, wool and rayon coverts.

Suit made from covert cloth.

Cowl (also Mapuche): Monk's hood or hooded robe.

Monk's hood.

Crash: Term given to many plain weave dull fabrics with coarse, uneven yarns. Fabric may vary from dress linen weight to that of towering or heavy drapery fabric. Usually of cotton or linen yarn.

Crash. Notice the irregular dull yarns.

Vintage linen Crash cloth kitchen towering fabric - green stripe.

Cravat, Ascot (Accessory): Man's small light knotted scarf.

Scrunch red cravat scarlet and matching hankie.

Crayon (Stains): As per cosmetics.

Cream (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Sponge or soak in cold water for 30 minutes or longer. Work soap or detergent into the stain, rinse thoroughly. Dry. Further treatment with grease solvent may be necessary; (iii) Fabric: Non-washable; (iv) Method: Spot-clean as above.

Crebasi Linen: It refers to a dress weight, plain weave linen fabric.

Creep: Fiber Property: Creep is delayed elasticity; that is, the fiber does not recover immediately from the strain but will recover gradually; Reason for Fiber Property: This is due to the lack of side chains, cross links and strong bonds within the fiber polymer system as well as because of its poor orientation; Translation into Fabric Property: It affects the levelness of the fabric when dyed. A high creep fiber may cause the fabric to dye streakily.

Crêpe: A woven fabric with a crinkled surface, which is obtained either by irregular interlacing of yarns or by using highly twisted yarns. There is a wide range of crêpe fabrics (e.g. Chiffon, Canton Crêpe, Crêpe Romaine etc.) Note the crinkled may vary from a flat crêpe which is only slightly crinkly to crêpe de chine which is very crinkly. Soft, graceful drape, usually a soft luster due to yarn twist. Used for linings, dresses and blouses.

Wool crêpe. Crinkled effect is due to highly twisted yarns.

Crêpe-Back Satin: Lightly textured, two-face fabric with crêpe on one side and a high ouster satin on the other. Available in silk and synthetics, the soft drape is suitable for dresses and blouses.

Slim line crêpe-back satin asymmetrical bodice asymmetrical neckline bridesmaid dress.

Crêpe Charmeuse: A smooth, soft luster fabric of grenadine silk warp and filling, with latter given crêpe twist. It has the body and drape of satin and is used for dresses and evening wear.

Crêpe de Chine: A light weight crêpe fabric made from filament yarns, with untwisted warp and highly twisted alternating S and Z wefts. It is not particularly suitable for dyeing but will print well. It can be purchased in a large range of colors.

1920s-style dark ivory crêpe de chine dress with panelled plunge neckline (wedding dress).

Crêpe Romaine: It is a triple sheer and semi-sheer fabric. It is heavier than georgette but not as transparent. It is a 2/1 basket weave.

Tunic dress, Madeleine Vionnet, Autumn-Winter, 1921. Black crêpe de Romain.

Crêpe Yarn: A high-twist simple yarn.

Crepe yarn are produced with high level of twist to give them liveliness. They may be single or plyed yarns. The twist in this yarn is not balanced, so the yarns have a tendency to kink and snarl.

Crêpon: A heavier fabric similar to crêpe.

Burberry brit silk crépon dress.

Cretonne: A heavy unglazed cotton, linen, or rayon fabric, colorfully printed and used for draperies and slipcovers. Origin of cretonne. After Creton, a village of northwest France.

Woman's sprouted cretonne gay colored dress.

Crewel: A true crewel fabric is embroidered with crewel yarn (a loosely twisted, two-ply wool) on a plain weave fabric. Traditional crewel fabrics are hand-woven and embroidered in India. The design motif for crewel work is typically outlines of flowers, vines, and leaves, in one or many colors. Modern weaving technology and inventive designers create traditional "crewel" looks with weave effects alone, without the use of embroidery.

Crewel Wool: A fine embroidery yarn popular for needlepoint.

Crewel wool sampler.

Crimp: Crimp refers to the waves, bends or twists that occur along the length of the fiber. Fiber crimp should not be confused with the weave crimp, which results from the interlacing of yarns in the fabric, nor with molecular crimp, which results from the way molecular chains are built up. Fiber crimp increases cohesiveness, resiliency, resistance to abrasion, and gives increased bulk and warmth to fabrics. It assist fabrics to maintain their loft or thickness, increases absorbency and skin-contact comfort, but reduces luster.

A fiber may have three kinds of crimp, namely: mechanical crimp, natural or inherent crimp, or latent chemical) crimp. Mechanical crimp is imparted to fibers by passing them through fluted rollers to produce a two-dimensional, saw-tooth crimp. The bends are angular in contrast to the rounded waves of a natural crimp. If the fluted rolls are heated, the crimp will be permanent in the thermoplastic or synthetic fibers. The figure below shows mechanical crimping gears. Texturizing processes to give loft, bulk or stretch are done on filament (sometimes staple fiber) yarns by dropping the yarns into a stuffing box, or running them through a false twister or subjecting them to a curling process. Natural or inherent crimp occurs in cotton and wool. Cotton has a two-dimensional twist called convolutions. Wool has three-dimensional crimp.

The third type of crimp, latent or chemical, exists in the fiber in an undeveloped state until the finished garment is either: (i) immersed in a suitable solvent or; (ii) given a heat treatment to develop the crimp. This kind of crimp occurs in fibers that have been modified in the spinning solution or in the extrusion process. The modification produces a fiber that will shrink more on one side than it does on the other. High shrinkage of one side forces the fiber to curl.

Mechanical Crimping of Man-Made Fibers.

Crimplene: Trademark of a synthetic crease-resistant fiber and fabric.

Crimplene dress.

Crinkle Effects: Seersucker fabrics have a woven pucker, but plissé crêpes and crinkle crêpes are made by applying chemicals in stripes to plain fabrics. When subjected to special chemical applications, printed or striped parts of the fabric shrink, leaving unexposed sections to crinkle.

A crinkle printed maxi skirt.

Crinoline: Stiff, open, plain weave fabric highly sized with a dull finish. Usually only white, grey or black and used for interlinings, petticoats and bookbindings.

Crinoline petticoat - 19 inch long.

Crochet: A single strand of yarn is used with a special hook. A loop is made and another loop is pulled through this one until a chain is produced. Other loops are then made along this chain and a fabric results. Narrow edgings are often made by crocheting.

Crochet top with chart.

Crock: To transfer color by a rubbing action.

Crocheted: Loose, open knit made by looping thread with a hooked needle. Used for light, summer sweaters.

Crochet sweater.

Crocking: (i) The removal of color due to rubbing action on the fabric; (ii) Unfixed dye which rubs off a cloth surface.

Cross Dyeing: Dyeing a fabric blend in two or more successive processes, one for each component of the blend.

Crossed Corners Stitch (Needlepoint): This is a traditional stitch, also known as rice stitch or William and Mary stitch; it can look very pretty done in two colors – one for the cross and the other for the tying stitches.


Cross-Hatching: Two sets of parallel lines, one on top of the other, with the second set at an angle to the first.

A beaded cross hatched miniskirt.

Crosswise Rib Effects: Some fabrics such as broadcloth, faille, grosgrain and bengaline, have crosswise rib effects due to the use of heavy crosswise yarns and finer warp yarns. These fabrics are not too durable, as the small yarns may break as they rub at the point where they cross the heavy yarns.

Navy rib effect panel flare jersey tea length skirt.

Cross-Section Shape of a Fiber: Fiber shape of man-made fibers is controlled by the spinneret. Shapes vary from round to flat and straw-like and are important because they help determine the texture of fabrics. For a silk like texture, trilobal fibers, which resemble silk in size and cross-section, are man-made. Shape is also important in luster, bulk and body, and helps to determine the hand or feel of the fabric. Natural fibers derive their shape from: (i) the way the cellulose is built up during the plant growth; (ii) the way the shape of the orifice through which the silk fiber is extruded; (iii) the way the shape of the hair follicle and the formation of protein substances in animals.

Typical Cross-Section Shapes and Contours of Fibers.

Cross Stitch (Embroidery): One of the oldest and most universal embroidery stitches. The easiest way to work cross-stitch is on an even weave fabric, counting over an equal number of threads down and across. A row of diagonal stitches is worked in one direction. Then stitch back in the opposite way, completing the crosses as shown in the figure below. It is important that all the upper stitches always lie in the same direction, as a mistake will show up early.


There are a number of different cross stitches.

Crosswise Grain: Direction of the filling or weft threads.

Crosswise Rib Effects: Plain weave with the use of heavy crosswise yarns and finer warp yarns (e.g. broadcloth, faille, grosgrain etc.) See cross rib effects.

Crushed Velvet: Textured finish with the appearance of being crushed or creased.

Crushed velvet dress.

Crystalline Fibers: In general, the more crystalline fibers are: (a) The less absorbent; (b) The stronger the fiber; (c) The more durable; (d) The less easily degraded by chemicals; (e) The less easily dyed; (f) The less pliable, the stiffer the handling; (g) The less plastic, and so the more resistant to distortion.

Crystallinity: In crystalline regions of fibers, molecules are in highly ordered arrangements and are packed tightly because there is considerable bonding between molecular chains.


Crystallite: A small region within a fiber in which molecules are in a crystalline arrangement.

Cuffs: The figure below gives the various names for cuff designs.


Culottes (Daywear): Woman's flared trousers.

Culottes - 1960s fashion pants.

Cummerbund (Accessory): Wide pleated sash for men, worn around the waist with a formal suit.


Cupro: Regenerated cellulose fiber (a rayon) made by dissolving cellulose in cupraammonium hydroxide then precipitating it in an acid coagulating bath.

Dress made from cupro (eco-fashion).

Curing: The application of heat, usually to polymerize and/or set resins applied to textile materials.

Cut and Uncut Velvet: Velvet with part of the pile left uncut and other details cut. The material was often used for men's suitings.

Evening dress, 1850s, chocolate brown silk faille with border design of brown and cream roses, scrolls and columns in cut, uncut and voided velvet.

Cut and Sew: Garments made with pre-knit yardage. Garment patterns are laid on top, cut and sewn in a similar way to woven fabrics.

Cut and Sew Flowchart.

Dacron: Trademark of a brand of polyester fiber.

Dacron stylish mini skirt.

Dalmatic: Wide-sleeved outer garment, as worn by Roman Catholic Bishops.

Gothic style Dalmatic.

Damask: A pattern fabric where the ground is sateen weave and the figure is sateen weave. In damask, the warp and weft face of the same weave appear side by side. Damasks can be printed on successfully and so it takes on color well. It creases easily. In the 17th to 19th Century their designs sometimes lagged a little behind those of polychrome silks. Made of cotton and linen for tablecloths or of silk and synthetics for blouses, robes and formal gowns.

A rare and early Alix - (Madame Grés) couture gold and ivory silk damask evening gown, Winter, 1935.

Damasquette (Compound Weave): A lampas weave with an additional single-colored warp, which usually matches the weft.

This glamorous range of weaves is based on documents in the Zoffany archive, from an early 19th century linen and metal damasquette to a French mid 18th century stripe silk damask.

Dashiki (West Africa): A dashiki is a shirt worn by men in West Africa that varies in style to be both formal and informal.


Debouillet (Fleece): (i) Count: 64-70s; (ii) Staple Length: 6 – 9 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Good.

Decating: A smooth finish applied to wool, silk and rayon blends through a pressing process using heat, pressure and moisture.

Decorative Design: Artwork created for use in home furnishing and interior decoration.

Decorative Yarn: The design yarn that forms the design, color appearance or texture of the finished yarn by the way it is attached to the core yarn.

Multi-color nylon eyelash decorative yarn.

Découpage: Application of illustrative material to any surface using several coats of a clear finish such as vanish, lacquer or plastic finish. Illustrations might include specially prepared commercial prints etc. Usually applied to plaques.

Ted Baker Decoupage print shift dress.

Deerskin: Soft, supple leather skin from deer hide. Makes first-quality garments; especially soft shirts, loose pants, and skirts.


Deep Kent (Fleece): (i) Count: 46/48s; (ii) Staple Length: 18 cm; (iii) Handle: Reasonably Soft; (iv) Color: Good.

Deerstalker: Soft cloth hat with peaks at the front and back, and ear flaps typically tied on top.

Tweed Deerstalker hat - Brown.

Delaine: A lightweight wool fabric featuring a print.

Dealing neoprene dress.

Delaine Merino (Fleece): (i) Count: 64-80s; (ii) Staple Length: 6.5 – 9 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: White to straw.

Del (Mongolia): Traditional Mongolian wear.

Mongolian family dressed in traditional clothes (del).

Delustrant: White pigment added to synthetic fibers to subdue their luster by scattering light.

Denier: A measure of filament thicknesses. By definition 9000 meters of 1 denier filament has a mass of 1 g.

Denim: A warp-face twill cotton cloth woven with indigo blue warp and white weft. Heavier than jean cloth, less coarse than drill. Comes in several weights. Used for work clothes, sports and slipovers.

Low rise denim jeans.

Denim-Stretch: The twill weave cotton is blended with spandex to give the denim elasticity.

Denim stretch hot pants.

Density: Fiber Property: Density is equal to mass divided by volume and so in the SI system has units of kg/m3 or g/cm3. The density of a substance varies at different temperatures (due to volume that changes as temperature changes) and so is quoted at particular temperatures. For the Imperial System see post on Conversion Factors. Specific gravity is the ratio of the mass of the fiber to an equal volume of water at 4oC. Both measure the weight of a fiber; Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to the chemical composition of the fiber polymer system; Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects the fabric's in three ways namely, (i) warmth without weight; (ii) loftiness - full and light; (iii) buoyancy.

Derby: US term for a bowler hat.


De-Size: The removal of the gelatinous solution or dispersion that is normally applied to warps and sometimes to wefts before weaving to protect them from abrasion, as well as strengthening and lubricating the yarns during weaving.

Detergent: A molecule with both polar or highly charge segments and a long non-polar chain, which therefore has both hydrophilic (water loving) and oleophilic (strong affinity for oils) character; it is used to remove or break up grease or oil and to increase wettability.

Devoré: A lacy pattern effect achieved by printing the fabric with alkali to destroy some of the fabric fibers. See burnout.

Gold pembury printed devoré blouse.

Devoré for Cellulose Fibers: This technique relies upon the degradation of cellulose fibers with an acid (aluminate sulfate or sodium hydrogen sulfate) that leaves the other fibers unaffected. The most commonly used devoré cellulose fabrics are: silk-viscose velvet and silk-viscose satin, in which the viscose is burned away; cotton-polyester and viscose polyester blends in which the cellulose is burned away; cotton furnishing velvet where the surface of the cotton is burned away leaving an embossed effect behind.

Cellulose portion of a blended fabric has been removed from this dress.

Devoré for Protein Fibers: This type of devoré relies upon the destruction of protein fibers with a strong alkali. The most common fiber combinations are wool-polyester, wool-acrylic or wool and cellulose. Other effects can be produced from fabric combinations of silk and metal and silk and polyester.

Devoré Paste: A paste that can be mixed with chemicals that burns out fibers. The mix will not affect the screen mesh.

Dezine: Unit of measurement for the length of a pattern. Dezines are sub-divided according to the size of the paper to be used for the draft, usually 8 or 10 small squares, each representing one line in the pattern.

Dhoti: Long-skirt like garment worn by Hindu men in India.

Silk Dhoti.

Dhulang: Painted patterns or designs in the North East Arnhem land (Australia).

Diamond Repeat or Network: Hatched lines yielding diamond appearance. See figure below.


Diaper: A small-scale geometric pattern in a set layout of interlocking or closely aligned forms. Also a weave forming a diamond (diagonal) pattern.

Diaper design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Diazo: abbr. Diazonium. A method of reproducing in limited quantities from a transparent or translucent original on paper, cloth or film. the image is exposed onto a light-sensitive coating of diazo salts and dyestuff and the print may be blue, black or another color.

Dicky (Accessory): Also spelt dickey. Bib-like detachable shirt front.


Diffusant: Diffusant, when added to the paint, makes it bleed faster and run more smoothly on the silk, thus making backgrounds easier to paint, and enhancing the rock-salt effect. Each silk paint brand has a pre-mixed diffusant in its range; or lyogen can be bought separately from craft suppliers and substituted. Lyogen usually needs to be diluted with water, at least 50:50.

Digital Printing: Taking a digital image of the printed fabric and then reproducing it on the same or another type of fabric.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski's - "Oh Marilyn 1" - digitally printed (Spoonflower) test swatch.

Digital Textile Printing: It is often referred to as direct to garment printing (DTG printing). Digital textile printing is a process of printing on textiles and garments using specialized or modified inkjet technology. Inkjet printing on fabric is also possible with an inkjet printer by using fabric sheets with a removable paper backing. Today major inkjet technology manufacturers can offer specialized products designed for direct printing on textiles - not only for sampling but also for bulk production.

Digital printed dress.

Dimensional Stability: The degree to which a material maintains its original dimensions when subjected to changes in temperature and humidity.

Dimity: Sheer and crisp cotton fabric made of combed or carded yarns. Warp-wise cords made by weaving two or more yarns as one separating them with areas of plain weave. Used for little girl's dresses, summer wear.

Printed dimity day dress (1860s). One-piece, white, windowpane-woven with small red flower print, self fabric belt, and trained skirt.

Dimity Piqué: It is neither like piqué nor like dimity It has the sheerness of dimity, but not the double three. It has the appearance of piqué cord, but is not a cord weave. Dimity piqué is made with combed, cotton yarns and spaces are left at regular intervals between the warp threads (skipped dents).

Antique Vintage 1920 Pique Dimity embroidery girls cloche hat bonnet.

Dip: Immersion of cloth into dye bath.

Dip Dyeing: A multi-colored dyed effect, created by carefully dipping sections of the yarn or fabric into different colored dye baths. A stripy effect can be achieved by keeping colors separated as much as possible.

Dip dyed wedding dress.

Direct Application: Includes painting on, spraying, blocking dyes, pigments or resists onto the surface of a cloth.

Directional Frictional Effect: The effect of the scales of wool which makes it easier to move the wool fiber in the direction of its root than in the direction of its tip.

Direct Spun Yarns: Direct spun yarns have a higher degree of strength and uniformity than conventionally spun yarns. They can be distinguished from conventionally spun yarns by “backing” the twist out of a single yarn. The fibers will have a staple length in excess of six inches (15 cm), whereas conventionally spun yarns have fibers, which are usually less than two inches (ca. 5 cm) in length. See post on Direct Spun Yarns.

Direct Style: A style of patterning in which one or several colors are applied to the surface of a fabric and are usually fixed by thermofixation or steaming. The fabric base is usually white, but may have been previously dyed. This method was rarely used until the advent of synthetic dyestuff.

Direct style patterned smock dress.

Direct Warping (Weaving): On a frame loom, you can directly warp onto the frame, by knotting the yarn firmly to one end of the frame and winding the yarn around the frame in a continuous figure eight as shown in (a). At the center of the frame the warp threads will cross each other in alternate sequence. This cross, as shown in (b), is an essential feature of all warping. It keeps the threads in the correct sequence and prevents them from becoming twisted.


Dirndl (Austrian Daywear): Traditional Austrian woman's dress.


Discharge: Using a chemical compound (discharge paste) in order to remove, discharge or extract dye from a fabric. Total removal of the dye returns the fabric to its former color. Also called bleaching or stripping.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski's ArtCloth Velvet Scarf 1.
Technique: Hand dyed and Hand printed by the artist. Dyed, over-dyed, discharged, silk screened and foiled employing dyes and foil on silk rayon velvet.
Size: 28 cm (width) x 180 cm (length).

Discharge Printing: Darker colored dye fabric is printed with a chemical compound (discharge paste), which destroys, discharges or extracts dye from the darker ground color.

Discharge printed bandana - Navy.

Distressing: Process of artificially abrading a new surface to create the appearance of age.


District Check: A check pattern that originates from uniforms identifying specific Scottish estates. Famous district check patterns include the Glen checks, the Shepherd, the Dupplin, the Benmore, and others. See also Tartans.

High-waisted pleated knitted Glen check skirt.

Djellaba (Arabia) A traditional long female dress worn in Arabia.


Dobby Loom: A Dobby loom is a type of floor loom that controls all the warp threads using a device called a dobby. (The word dobby is a corruption of "draw boy" which refers to the weaver's helpers who used to control the warp thread by pulling on draw threads.) A hobby loom is an alternative to a treadle loom.


Dobby Weave: A weave obtained using a hobby attachment on the loom producing fabrics with a small, geometric patterns woven in a regular pattern (e.g. see birdseye cloth).

Navy - lobby weaved check slim fit shirt.

Dodot: Batik cloth made by joining two kains together (2x4m) used for ceremonial occasions.

Dodos, ceremonial court dress, batik tulip.

Doeskin: A fine warp-faced wool fabric finished to have a handle resembling kid.

Doeskin dress.

Dolman (Cape): Woman's cape-like coat.

Woman's Dolman cape.

Domino: (i) The color of a black clerical robe. From the Latin dominos (master); (ii) Hooded robe worn at masked balls.


Donegal Tweeds: A rather-coarse, wrinkle-resistant multicoloured wool most often used in men’s sports jackets.


Do Not Bleach: Statement on a tag on a garment. See chlorine-retentive.

Dope Dyeing (Solution Dyeing): The coloring of synthetic filaments by the addition of pigments before extrusion.

Dope dyed handkerchief short dress with Appliquéd empire waist and tiered skirt.

Dorset Horn (Fleece): (i) Count: 56/54s; (ii) Staple Length: 7-10 cm; (iii) Handle: Crisp; (iv) Color: Fairly Good.

Dossal: A panel painting hung behind an altar.

"Pentecost" - Great Dossal.

Dotted Swiss (also known as Swiss dot): Name given to fine, sheer fabric similar to organdie or lawn with woven-in dots, usually made by the clipped-spot method. Heavier extra filling yarns, then float across the back before interlacing with other yarns. Later the extra threads are cut off, leaving cut, fuzzy ends on one surface of the fabrics. Some dots are made with a swivel attachment in which extra warp yarns are twisted around some of the grounded fabric at intervals. The yarn is sheared off between the dots and the cut ends are on the back of the fabric. Swivel dots are not easily pulled out as the clipped dots. Dots may be also made of paste. These stick to the hot iron and are usually used on nylon or polyester sheers that require little ironing.


Double Cloth: Fabric woven with two sets of warp yarns, the weft passing only occasionally from one set to another.

Double cloth bag from Peru.

Double Damask: The satin weave is tied down at every eighth weft, creating a firmer, more lustrous cloth.

Classic double damask high quality Chinese style banquet women's cheongsam one-piece dress.

Double Jersey: A weft-knit fabric produced on a knitting machine that has two beds of needles.

Double jersey jumper with metallic midriff insert.

Double Knit: A term given to many types of knit fabrics that are made from two sets of needles. The knit equivalent to a double cloth. That is, two interlocked layers, face and back, which cannot be separated. Has more firmness and durability than single knits. Fabrics appear reversible. Used for suitings and dresses.

DKNY black double-knit biker mini-skirt.

Double Knot Stitch (Embroidery): The needle is brought up and a small stitch is made across the line of the design as in (a). The needle is passed downward under this stitch, without taking it through the fabric as in (b). The needle is passed under the first stitch again, keeping the thread below the needle as in (c). The thread is pulled firmly to form a knot. The work is continued in this way, spacing the knots evenly and close together to create a beaded effect.


Double Rub: Double rubs measure a fabric’s abrasion resistance, determined by the Wyzenbeek test. Each “rub” is one back and forth pass over a stretched piece of fabric by a mechanical arm. The test is run until the fabric shows noticeable wear. Consider the double rub count when purchasing upholstery fabric for a high-traffic area in your home.

Double-Width Loom: A type of loom that can produce fabric in widths up to 280 cm (108"). These are typically used to produce 140 cm (54") width fabrics by inserting a knife at the halfway point and adding a woven selvage at the center of the loom.

Doublet: Man's tight jacket (15 -17th Century).

Piper/drummer military doublet jacket.

Double Sided Quilted Cotton: A fabric construction in which a layer of down or fiberfill is placed between two layers of fabric, and then held in place by stitching or sealing in a regular, consistent, all-over pattern on the goods.

Double Tabby: This had a tabby ground with a pattern, usually in the same color, bound in twill by a proportion of threads of the ground warp. It was a substantial material. A paduasoy may have been a virtually identical material when it was patterned.

Doup Weave (Leno Weave): A lace weave in which warp yarns are crossed at certain points and held in place by the weft shot. Called doup after the doup attachment used for chaining warp position on commercial power looms.

Handwoven leno-weave dress made with Alpaca silk.

Dragging: Technique of pulling a long-haired brush through wet transparent glaze or distemper to produce a series of fine lines.

Drape: The behavior of cloth when hung in a suspended mode.

Tadashi off shoulder long drape dress.

Drawing: The process by which slivers of natural fibers are pulled out of carding or combing; also the process of pulling fibers out to a thin thread as they are spun into a yarn.

Drawing Ink (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Force water through the stain to remove pigment. Wash with soap or detergent. Soak in a solution of dilute ammonia (4 tablespoons per litre); (iii) Fabric: Non-Washable; (iv) Method: Use water as above, or the stain will spread. Sponge with dilute ammonia or a combination of soap and ammonia if necessary. If color changes, sponge with vinegar.

Drawn Fabric Work: See Pulled thread embroidery.

Dressed Silk: Most 18th Century silks received no further treatment after the silk yarns had been dyed. Satins, especially the lightweight satins of the later 18th Century were sized on the reverse with various substances to give them some body. "Satin dressers" were one of the few ancillary trades found in Spitalfields.

Dresses: The figure below gives the names for the designs of various dresses.


Dressing: A mixture applied to give a finish to the cloth surface. Best removed before dyeing.

Dressmaker Darts: The figure below gives the names of the various dressmaker dart designs.


Driers: Substances usually metallic salts that can speed ink drying.

Drill: A rough cotton twill fabric. It resembles denim. May be bleached, unbleached or piece-dyed. Light weight drill is often called jean cloth and used for play clothes. Khaki colored drill used for uniforms.

Officers Khaki Drill uniform, patterned after the Service Dress uniform, as worn during the Second World War. This example is from the gallery of the King's Own Calgary Regiment museum at The Military Museums in Calgary.

Drip Dry: Instructions on the label of a garment indicating that the garment may not require ironing.

Drop Needle (or Needle Out): Transferring one or more stitches onto the adjacent stitch, creating a ladder effect as the yarn is carried over the dropped stitch area on subsequent rows.

Ivory sleeveless pullover in dropped needle lace - intarsia white colored garment.

Dropt: The term refers to the repeat of the design. A dropt repeat is one in which the design unit is moved horizontally half the width of the repeat and dropped vertically the length of the full repeat. Most of the designs by Garthwaite described as "dropt" are actually dropt reverse designs; that is, the design unit is reversed horizontally and dropt. Moreover, she also used the word quite loosely, since sometimes the two halves are not identical.

This is the Half-drop Repeat - the columns are staggered vertically.

Dry-Brushing: Paint technique that keeps the bristle surface of a brush relatively dry in order to build up a cloudy effect, or to touch up the highlights of a textured surface.

Dry Clean Only: Instruction on the label of a garment indicating appropriate method of cleaning that is required in order not to reduce the natural lifetime of the garment.

Dry Cleaning: Cleaning fabric by treating with an organic solvent.

Dry Spinning: Production of filaments by extrusion of their solution into a stream of dry air, which evaporates the solvent.

Duchesse Satin: Elegant fabric, the heaviest within the silk family. Has a subtle luster. Often used in couture and for extravagant occasions.

Strapless Duchess Satin ballgown with side pockets (Bridal dress).

Duck: A heavy cotton or linen fabric resembling canvas. May be made with a basket weave but are plain weave fabrics of plyed yarns. See canvas and sailcloth.

Red Kap; Duck cloth work jacket.

Duffle or Duffel: A heavy woolen fabric napped on both sides.

Woman winter long cashmere-wool duffle ladies casual dress outerwear.

Dungarees (Daywear): Denim trousers often with a bib front.

Dungaree overalls styling.

Dupion: Fabric made from an irregular silk produced when two silk worms spin their cocoons together (see below).

Pleated silk dupion fully-ruches A-line wedding dress.

Dupioni (Douppioni): A heavy silk yarn with clubs. Shimmering fabric created by weaving threads of rough silk fibers together, giving a crisp drape to the finish.

Dupioni silk wedding dress.

Durable Press: Pleats and creases that are not altered by washing or dry-cleaning.

Dutch Metal Leaf: Imitation gold or silver using gliding.

Ladies belt buckle - Dutch metal leaf golden skirt belt.

Duvet: Continental quilt - also doona, eiderdown.

Duck feather & down Duvet quilt.

Duvetyn(e): Made of various fibers in plain or twill weave with a napped surface but softer than suede cloth. A fabric that is similar to suede but lighter in weight and is more drainable. It has a soft velvet-like surface made by napping, shearing and brushing. Used for dresses and sportswear.

Women Gothic dress of red color with brocade front part of wine color, black fur collar and fastened sleeves with binding on forearm. Decorated by nonferrous yellow metal gallon. material: red duvetyn (cotton), red/black brocade (cotton/polyester), fabric fur (black), nonferrous yellow metal gallon.

Dye-Ability: General Definition: It is the ability of fibers to be dyed; Reason for Fiber Property: There are numerous fiber properties that contribute to its dye-ability and for that matter, some of these properties preclude the use of a particular dye types in preference for other dye types etc. The major fiber properties with respect to dye-ability depend on - (i) Chemical structure of the fiber (e.g. reactive groups and dye sites in the fiber polymer system); (ii) molecular structure such as its orientation, crystallinity, cross-linkages, hydrogen bonding etc. within the fiber polymer system; (iii) fiber diameter; Translation into Fabric Property: Affects the ability of a fabric to be dyed or printed with a particular dye type.

Dyed Style: A method of patterning in which a mordant is applied to a fabric before dyeing. Only the mordant areas permanently fix the dye. Different mordants can produce different colors with the same dye upon the piece of fabric.

Dyeing: Apart from its participle meaning it is also used as a noun meaning a specimen of dyed material (e.g. a dyed hank of cotton). Dyeing is in general carried out in an aqueous solution. The attachment of a dye molecule to a fiber is due to absorption. There are four types of forces that bind a dye molecule to a fiber and these are: ionic forces, hydrogen bonds, van der Waals’ forces and covalent bonds.

Dyes (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Sponge or soak in cool water. Treat with soap or detergent. A long soak in soapy water is often effective on fresh stains. Stubborn stains may need treatment with chlorine or peroxygen bleach; (iii) Fabrics: Non-washable; (iv) Method: Spot clean with water and soap or detergent. A final sponge with alcohol helps to remove soap. Test fabric with alcohol first.

Dyestuff: Animal, mineral or vegetable (plant) matter from which a dye is made.

Easy-Care: Requiring little or no ironing, and retaining its appearance after washing.

Eclecticism: Creating a form or style on the basis of many borrowings; the combination of recognizable elements from several styles to fashion something new.

Ecosil Polyester: Ecosil means the polyester fibers are spun very compactly to give the fabric a clean appearance, and a resistance to pilling and abrasion.

Effect Yarn: See Decorative Yarn.

Eggshell: Mid-sheen, oil- or acrylic-based paint used as a base coat for basic and bravura finishes. White eggshell is also used for mixing some pale colors for the glaze coat. Also used to describe a mid-sheen finish of paints and varnishes.

Eggshell Finish: The rough finish found on drawing paper and notepaper as a result of omitting calendering.

Egg (Stains): As per dyes. Enzyme soak may be used on all except protein fibers. Sponge the stain with a solution of cold, salty water. Do not use hot water because it will set the stain.

Egyptian Cotton: A long staple fiber that on average is between 1.25 and 2 inches in length. They are silkier and smoother than many other cotton fibers.


Elastane: Elastane is just another name for an old fiber: Spandex. The word "elastane" is used in Europe while "spandex" is used in the United States. Elastane/spandex trade names are Lycra and Dorlastan.

Elastic:A stretchy yarn or fabric.

Elasticil: Printing onto stretchy fabrics most pigment inks are not pliable and will crack when stretched and so an elasticil binder has been created to stretch with the fabric.

Elasticity: The ability of fiber to recover from an extension.

Elastic Recovery: General Definition and Fiber Property: It is the ability of fibers to recover from strain. Elasticity is the ability of a stretched material to return immediately to its original size. Fibers usually have high elasticity for low stretches and high elasticity for high stretches; Reason for Fiber Property: This is due to the molecular structure - such as side chains, cross-linkages and strong bonds - within the fiber polymer system; Translation into Fabric Property: This affects the fabric's process-ability, resiliency and delayed elasticity or creep.

Elastique: A soft, smooth, twill weave fabric with diagonal ribbing.

Green toile elastique dress.

Elastomeric: A class of synthetic fibers capable of considerable extensions with good recovery.

Electrical Conductivity: General Definition: It is the ability of a fiber to transfer electrical charges (such as electrons) along its length and breadth; Reason for Fiber Property: This is due to the chemical structure (i.e. existence of polar groups) within the fiber polymer system; Translation into Fabric Property: Poor conductivity causes - (i) fabric to cling to a person in cold dry atmospheres; (ii) promotes the build up of static charge causing electrical shocks; (iii) causes fabrics to cling to machinery during fabric and garment production.

Elongation: General Definition: The amount of stretch or tension that a fiber yarn or fabric will accept; Fiber Property: Elongation is the ability for a fiber to be stretched, extended or lengthened. For production of yarns and fabrics a minimum of 10 per cent elongation is desirable. Elongations vary at different temperatures, or when the fiber is wet or dry; Reason for Fiber Property: This is due to the fiber crimp and/or to the molecular structure of its fiber polymer system (e.g. molecular crimp orientation); Translation into Fabric Property: It affects - (i) working of textiles; (ii) fabrics tear strength; (iii) fabrics brittleness; (iv) provides "give" and stretchiness of fabrics.

Embossed Piqué: It is plain weave balanced fabric which is treated with resin and then embossed in a piqué stripe. The resin finish is cured to make it durable.

Ethan neon embossed piqué mini skirt.

Embossed Velvet: It has certain areas pressed flat.

Embossed velvet shirt - boat neck, long sleeve - for women.

Embossing: A calendaring process used to create three-dimensional design effects.

Embossing Effects: The thermal properties of a fiber or resin can be used to emboss a fabric. Simple effects can be achieve by placing objects (e.g. washers, lino cuts) under a heat press for a few minutes.

Multicolour embossed miniskirt.

Embroidery: Embroidery has been one of the most intricately worked and colorful forms of decorative needlework.

An embroidered cloth highlighting the wealth of different stitches.

Emulsifying Agents (Stain Removal Agent): (i) Example: Soap (on washable fabrics) fat; (ii) Use: On greasy and resinous stains, such as tar. Note: Tar can be rubbed with lard to soften it and after 30 minutes scraped and washed; (iii) General Instructions: Soaps and detergents break down grease and other soil into small globules, which can be rinsed out. Liquid detergents are often very useful as they are in concentrated form and can also be easily worked into the stain.

Emulsion: (i) Water-based paint, suitable for most decorative paint finishes if protected with a glaze or varnish; (ii) Suspension of an oil in water.

Emulsion Thickeners: They are generally long-chain compounds containing a hydrophilic group at one end of the molecule. Emulsion thickeners of the white-spirit type are particular suitable for pigment printing, because all the components, except the emulsifying agent, will completely evaporate, leaving no residues.

en: A measurement half the width of em, used in casting off.

Enamel: (i) A vitreous glaze or porcelain which contains pigments, applied to metal or pottery objects and fused to produce a smooth, hard, durable surface by heating in a kiln or furnace; (ii) An object so decorated; (iii) A liquid paint, which dries with an extremely high gloss, its effect approaching that of a vitreous enamel. Derived from the German word meaning "to melt" (about 1550).

Encroaching Gobelin (Needlepoint): See figure below. With this stitch, each row overlaps the previous one by one thread of canvas. For a shaded effect use different colored yarns.


End: One thread of the warp.

End and End: Term refers to fabrics with two colors alternating in the warp.

Endoscope: See "fiber optics".

Ends: The lengthwise threads in a loom.

Engineered Rib Knit: Variety of rib stitches used in combination with one another to form the body of the knit garment.

Alexander McQueen black cutout yoke engineered rib-knit dress.

English Net: A cotton netting with a hexagonal weave that dyes well. Used in evening wear for sheer sections and as underlining in bodices.


English Quilting: A type of quilting in which the decorative top layer is made of many small pieces of fabric sewn together in a pattern or design (pieced work) or in which smaller pieces are applied on top of a larger piece of fabric in order to create a pattern or design (appliquéd work).

Mid-18th Century English waistcoat with English quilting.

Epinglé: A special high loop construction produced in Belgium on velvet wire looms. It is essentially a velvet, but without the usual shearing process after weaving. They are often called Moquettes, which is the french word for "uncut". Usually, epinglés are made from the highest grades of cotton, producing a very soft hand and good durability test results.


Entari (Turkey): Turkey's national dress.

Anaya tribal Turkish entire dress.

Equipment For Loom: (a) Beater – This is a heavy metal fork, used with frame looms. After each weft pick, the beater is used to ensure that the weft threads are tightly packed together. This is called beating down the weft; (b) Threading Hook and Fish Hooks – The threads are passed through a reed of a loom with the aid of a threading hook or fish hook. A threading hook has a notch at one end to pull the threads through dens of a loom, and is used with coarse yarns. Fish hooks are used with finer yarns.


Eton (Jacket): Very short jacket with wide labels.

The Eton jackets with shawl collars.

Everlasting Knot: A knot formed by interfaced ribbons that lead seamlessly into one another. Same as Celtic knot.

An everlasting knot design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Exhaust Dyeing: Using water, additives and sometimes heat, the fibers of a cloth are able to take up dye. This continues until all the dye has been absorbed into the cloth, leaving an "exhausted" dye bath.

Exhaustion: The process, during dyeing, of the transfer of the dye from the dye bath to the fiber until the dyestuff in the dye bath has been used-up (i.e. exhausted).

Explosive Sign or Label: Safety measure – Store in a fire proof cupboard.

Exterior Fabrics: Lightweight fabrics specifically developed as hard wearing and also to protect against wind chill etc. The fabrics also breathe.

Eyelet: Traditionally white cotton, this fabric, as the name suggests, uses cutout holes with embroidered edges to create an overall pattern, and is popular in children's clothing. Today it is used in women's dresses and blouses.

Embroidered eyelet poncho women's blouse (white).

Eyelet or Eye Stitch (Needlepoint): This stitch has 16 spokes radiating from a central hole.


Fabric Crayons: These crayons take on the same appearance when used on fabric as they do on paper, and are used in exactly the same way. Care should be taken not to smudge them on application. They are fixed in exactly the same way as fabric paints and so if using an iron, the iron can be protected using a clean cloth and so avoid traces of greasy marks. Fabric crayons can be used on any type of fabric and they can be combined with other fabric paints in order to form a more textural quality.

Fabric Designing Rules: (i) The more complicated the design's construction, the plainer the fabric; (ii) Never force a fabric; (iii) design to accentuate the natural characteristics of the fabric; (iv) Vary fabric weights to add a dynamics to your collection; (v) Do not commit to a fabric until you have unrolled the bolt.

Fabric Dyes: There are dyes for both man-made and natural fabrics. It is important that the correct dye is used for the target fabric otherwise streaky results will occur. There are two types of dyes that are generally available: cold water dyes which are only suitable for natural fabrics such as cotton and linen and hot water dyes.

Fabric Finishes: Fabric finishes have many purposes, but mainly they are to make cloth look better, feel better and give better service. Many finishes are not visible to the eye and so it is difficult to tell what effect they have on the finished fabric. Some finishes are not long lasting, and so will be destroyed through wear and improper care; Few finishes are permanent, but with proper care they are durable and will last the fabrics use-by-date.

Fabric Paints: Fabric paints can be used on most fabrics. There is a large range of colors and moreover, the paints can be intermixed to create nearly an endless range. All paints can be diluted with water and are available in four finishes – pearlized, opaque, fluorescent and transparent. Different types of fabric paints react differently on materials. For example, pearlized paints sit on the fabric and do not soak into it and for this reason they can be employed on darker backgrounds. White fabric paint can be mixed with opaque fabric paints to create pastel colors. The amount of fabric paint employed is a function of the technique that is used and the effect that is desired. For example, a technique like block printing requires little fabric paint. It should be noted that diluting fabric paints with too much water can cause he paint to bleed into the fabric.

Fabric Pens: Fabric pens look and work like ordinary felt tip pens, but are especially formulated to be used on fabric. They are generally available in two nib sizes – a fine tip and a wider tip. The pens can be used on most fabrics, although the color may bleed on a fine, smooth material. They are not suitable for fabrics with dark backgrounds as the color will not show up. When used on fabrics, the effect is rather like diluted fabric paint. Fabric pens are useful for scribbles, doodles, dots and lettering and are not useful for painting large flat areas.

Fabric Collection Composition Rules (Sportswear): (i) Two to three jacket/coat weights; (ii) two to three suiting weights; (iii) two to three shirting/blouse weights; (iv) Two to three knits; (v) Two to three novelties.

Facile: A trademark of Skinner Co., this faux suede is lightweight and drapes better than ultra suede.


Facing: Facing is due to the partial discharge of the unprinted areas of the dye ground occurring mainly in roller printing. It is also called scumming.

Fading: Loss of color caused by light-initiated chemical break down of dye molecules.

Faille: A fine soft fabric with weft rib of silk, rayon or synthetic fibers. Lighter and flatter ribs than bengaline. Used for women's dresses, men's ties and dressy blouses.


2015 Elegant sexy faille embroidered red Chinese-style dress; formal evening dress gown.

Faille Taffeta: It has a crosswise rib made by using many more warp yarns than filling yarns. All ribbed taffetas have crispness.

Oscar de la Renta strapless green lily silk faille taffeta dress.

Fair Isle: Technique used to create multiple colored patterns that are generally small in scale. Made by knitting the design into the pattern pieces at the same time. When a yarn color changes, a "float" is created on the wrong side and is carried over to where the pattern resumes.

Fairisle mini tube skirt.

Fastness: The cloth's color resistance, particularly to light and washing.

Fastness Properties and Tests: Fastness is the resistance of dyes or pigments to various agencies and actions, which the dyed or painted fabric must withstand in the process of manufacture and in its everyday use. For example, fastness tests encompass: acids, alkalis, bleaching agents, burnt gas fumes, hand washing, heat, light, linseed oil, acid and alkaline milling, oleic acid, perspiration, rubbing, solvents, sublimation, washing, and water. For example, disperse dyes transfer printing on polyester shows a standard wet fastness not worse than grade 4 for color change and staining in ISO Wash Fastness Test No. 3.

Farthingale: Hoop supporting a skirt (16th Century).

Farthingales/hoops/crinolines.

Fat Quarter: A fat quarter is a piece of cloth of size: 21" x 18" or 53 x 46 cm.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski's "Leaves Transformed" (fat quarter in green color way).

Faux Effects: Literally: “false effects”. That is, finishes created to imitate another material, such as marble (faux marbre) or wood (faux bois).

Faux Fur: Artificial fur made from synthetic material.

Faux Leather: A Simulated leather.

Quilted faux-leather moto jacket.

Faux Suede: Leather with a napped surface.

Faux seule jacket.

Feather Stitch (Embroidery): A loop stitch is made alternatively to the left and right as in (a), holding the thread down with the thumb until it is secured. For double feathering stitch as in (b), two stitches are taken to the left and right alternatively.


There are a number of different feather stitch.

Felt: True felt is made of all or part wool fibers treated with heat, moisture and pressure so fibers interlock. Thickness, weight and texture vary according yo smh uses as hats, skirts, pennants and blackboard erasers. The name "felt" should not be used if the fabric does not contain wool fibers or if it is held together by adhesives. Felt may look like melton but one can unravel lengthwise and crosswise yarns from melton. Felt does not have as much as strength as fabrics made of woven yarns. See post on Felt

Alexander McQueen wool-felt coat.

Feltability: General Definition: It is the ability of fibers to mat together; Reason for Fiber Property: This is associated with the scale structure of wool; Translation into Fabric Property: Enhances the ability to make fabrics directly from fibers; special care required during washing in order to avoid unintended felting.

Felted: The matting together of material’s fibers to create a fabric that is characterised by the entangled condition of many of its component fibers (see also milling).

Felting (Fulling): A washing finish in which hot water, soap and agitation are applied to wool fabrics to cause the wool fibers to inter-migrate and interlock, creating a denser, tighter fabric.

Felt Making: The ideal fleece for felt making is a short staple (that is fiber length) and a high count. The higher the count the easier it is to felt and so a count of 50-70s is best. Note: long staple fleeces can be cut to shorter lengths.

Fiber: A plant cell composed of cellulose used as the basic element in cloth or paper-making.

Fiber Art: Artwork that utilizes fabrics as its medium (see definition of ArtCloth and Artwork).

Detail photograph of "Sequestration of CO2 - Diurnal Pattern of Respiration". Artwork by Marie-Therese Wisniowski.

Fiber Blends: Blended fabrics are made by blending together two or more fibers before they are spun into yarn. Desirable characteristic of each fiber are achieved if the blending is done correctly (e.g. blends of cotton and polyester produce fabrics that are absorbent of moisture and comfortable like cotton, and wrinkle resistant and easy to care like polyester). The exact proportions vary with the purposed for which they are made.

Fiberfill: Lightweight, synthetic fiber that can be used to line coats, vests and padded garments.

Fiber Identification by Burning: Many fibers can be identified by their burning characteristics. When fibers are blended or have certain finishes added, this test may not be reliable. For example, a piece of fabric is held with tweezers and the fabric is slowly brought to the flame of a candle, which has been set in a metal plate. A number of features are noted namely: (a) whether the flame goes out; (b) odor (e.g. burning of hair odor suggest presence of wool or silk etc.); (c) characteristic of the residue. Based on these characteristics an assessment can be made about the fiber type.

Fire Identification by Burning.

Fiber Identification Using A Microscope: Many common fibers can easily be identified with the aid of a microscope. If a yarn is used, then one end is untwisted and examined. This end if laced in a drop of water or glycerine on a clean glass slide can be inspected with the microscope. Cotton, linen and woolen fibers can easily be identified (see below), whereas for man-made fibers more complicated methods are usually required.

Magnification of fibers.

Fiber Optics: Technique of transmitting an image through flexible bundle of fine, tubular fibers.

Fiber-Reactive Dyes: Cold water dye, which reacts to alkaline solution to form a bond between the dye molecule and the fiber. It is intermixable, reliable, fast and simple to use on cotton and silk.

Fibril: A single spiral within the cotton or other cellulosic fibers; fibrous component of wool and other hair fibers.

Fibroin: The protein of silk.

Fichu (Accessory): Woman's light triangular scarf or cravate.

Fichu cravate (Costume Parisienne).

Figure, Figured: The term was used by the 18th Century designers for both the whole pattern and part of it. "Figured" was used loosely for "patterned".

Figure Weaves: These weaves may be simple or complex. Examples of complex figure weaves are brocades and damasks, which are made on a loom with a complicated Jacquard attachment, where each yarn is controlled separately.

Filament Fiber: A fiber of indefinite length.

Filament Yarns: A yarn made from several continuous filaments held together with a twist. See post on Filament Yarns.

File: A core of linen or silk wound with flat gold thread or strip (lamella).

Filet Lace: A lace with a square mesh produced by Leavers machine, by warp knitting or by hand knotting.

filet lace tenerife.

Filling or Weft Knit: A single yarn travels around and round to form a tubular fabric or back and forth to create a flat fabric. Hand knitting is an example of a filling knit.

Filling knit fabric under magnification.

Fillet: Headband of a narrow strip of metal, ribbon or the like worn around the forehead.

A fabric fillet headband.

Filling Yarns: See weft.

Film-Release in Transfer Printing: A film layer containing color is transferred completely to the textile substrate by adhesion forces, which are stronger than the adhesion forces between the layer and the paper on which it is printed.

Fine Masham (Fleece): (i) Count: 50s; (ii) Staple Length: 20 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Off white.

Fingering Yarn: A yarn designed for hand knitting.

Brown sheep (Wildfoote) fingering yarn (red and blues).

Finish: A commercial or hand process that alters fibers or fabric structure in some way that, in turn, alters the behaviour of the fabric.

Finished Art: Same as artwork.

Finished Rough: Term for presentation of a visual.

Finishing: Collectively, all processes other than dyeing and coloring to which a textile is subjected after it leaves the loom or knitting frame.

Fire Proof Fabrics: Some fibers are naturally fire proof. Mineral fibers such as asbestos and fiber glass cannot support combustion.

Cotton flame retardant fabric - fireproof fabric.

Fire Retardant: A finish applied to a fabric in order to ensure that the fabric reduces or isolates damage due to fire.

Fishbone Stitch (Embroidery): This stitch is used for filling spaces. The needle is brought through one end of the area to be filled. A small straight stitch is made along the centerline. The needle is brought up at the edge of the shape and a sloping stitch is made across the centerline at the base of the first stitch. A third stitch is made from the opposite edge to overlap the second stitch at the center-line and the work is continued alternately from each side.


Fixation: Most fixation processes require the application of heat to fix the dyestuffs to the fabric fibers. There are various methods available some of which include: air fixing, wet processing with chemicals, thermofixing (baking) and steam fixing.

Fixative: A clear vanish solution that, sprayed over artwork or a drawing, dries to a protective coating without altering surface qualities.

Fixing: The process of making the color permanent to ensure fastness.

Flame Proofing: A finish added to the fiber to ensure that the fabric will not flame.

Flame Resistant: Denotes a fabric or textile which will burn when the flame is applied but which will rapidly extinguish itself when the flame is removed.

A flame-resistant treatment has been applied to this fabric.

Flame Retardant: A chemical or treatment used to impart flame-resistant properties to the textile or fabric.

Flammability: General Definition: Fabrics are not fire proof, but they can be flame retardant. Generally, they will not spread a fire and will not melt or drip hot residue; Fiber Property: It is the ability of a fiber to ignite and burn; Reason for Fiber Property: This is due to the chemical composition of the fiber polymer system; Translation into Fabric Property: The flammability of the fabric is controlled by the flammability of the fiber.

Flammable Sign or Label: Safety measure – store in a fire proof cupboard.

Flannel: A soft wool fabric with a slightly raised surface. The word flannel is closely associated with the napping finish. Flannel fabrics may be of wool, rayon, acrylic, or other man-made fibers in plain or twill weave, but all napped to some extent. Used for suits, robes, coats and sportswear.

Flannel in two designs. The fabric on the left is a shepherd check design and the one on the right is commonly called a Glenplaid.

2015 Autumn and winter flannel robe.

Flannelette: A cotton fabric woven from soft spun yarns and raised to a fluffy nap. Usually striped or printed. Used for sleeping garments, interlinings and shirts.

Winter cotton flannelette pyjamas.

Flat: The flat of yarns is composed of untwisted filaments.

Flat Finish: Matt, non-glossy finish.

Flat Side: Side of a screen frame on which mesh is glued.

Flat Strapping: Full needle rib trim, used as facing, in side slits or at necklines for a clean finished look.

A lovely collar or cuff accent with a full needle rib hem and hand manipulated lace.

Flat or Diagonal Satin Stitch or Scotch Stitch (Needlepoint): This is done diagonally in units of five stitches to create squares.


Flat Quilting: Two layers of fabric are held together by an all-over design of decorative stitching, but no padding is inserted. This type of quilting gives body extra warmth to a fabric without adding bulk.

Flax: The bast fiber used to make linen. It is the plant from which it is obtained.

Linen flax plant. The stems of the flax plant are preferably pulled up with the root system somewhat intact, rather than cut at the base.

Fleece: Wool sheared from living sheep.

Fleece (Fabric): A coat weight fabric with a long brushed nap. Do not confuse with pushed or pile fabrics. May be of loosely twisted yarns. Used for sweatshirts, winter coats and sportswear.

Navy cotton sweatshirt fleece fabric.

Float: The length of yarn lying across the surface of a knit or woven fabric; usually it is referred in context to the effect or color yarns, which are worked into the fabric only at intervals.

Floats: Exposed parts of yarns.

Flock: Very short textile fibers obtained by shredding or grinding. These may be glued to the fabric to give it a pile effect.

Flock Yarns: Flock yarns are frequently called flake yarns and are usually single yarns to which small tufts of fiber are added at intervals. The tufts are held to the yarn by twist or adhesive.


Flocking Effects: These effects require specialist equipment as it usually employs a static field that causes the fibers to stand on end, prior to setting, thereby creating a cloth with a dense even pile. Similar effects can be achieved by shaking the fibers over a glue-covered surface.

Flock Printing: A design can be applied to a fabric with adhesive and then flocks - or short, fibrous particles - are dusted on. The resulting design is one that stands out from the fabric. It may or may not be permanent depending upon the adhesive.

Flogging: Colored glaze is laid over a base coat, then flogged with a long-bristled brush. This gives a mottled effect.

Flooding: Overfilling the mesh with printing mixture, usually leading to imperfect printing.

Floral A design using flowers and other nature elements such as seed pods, leaves, and marine plants.

Floral printed pattern pleated mini skirt.

Florentine Stitch (Needlepoint): See figure below. Interlocking rows of this stitch create the fluid change of color that makes Bargello so attractive. There are two ways of doing it. The first method is shown in (a) is a more economical use of yarn. A small slanting stitch on the back of the work is that all is needed to connect the long stitches on the front. The second method shown in (b) uses more yarn on the back of the work. Although the finished effect of both methods is exactly the same, the second method creates a tougher fabric and is more suitable for items like chair seats, which will get a lot of hard wear.


Flounce: A term used for the band of decoration at the hem of a dress. This could be woven, printed or embroidered - or simply an extra frill of material.

Black flounce skirt.

Fluorescent Brightening Agents: Agents that when applied to fabrics enhance the whiteness of the fabric by adding an emitted violet-blue light to the white light, the latter of which would have already been reflected by the fabric without the presence of the agent.

Flush: A design effect formed by an unbound weft, either a pattern weft (passing from selvage to selvage and additional to the ground weft) or a ground weft. Modern usage confines the word to warp effects, whereas it was a term only applied to weft effects in the 18th Century.

Flushing: The production of burred edges and loss of fine detail around a white discharge printing.

Flushing Effects: In discharge it is the “halo” effect that often occurs.

Fly Stitch (Embroidery): The thread is brought out at top left, and held down with the thumb; the needle is inserted to the right. The thread is secured with a small stitch at the center. Stitching is worked across as in (a) or down as in (b).


Foam Dyeing: Dye liquor is applied to the fabric surface as foam; when the foam breaks the fabric surface is wetted. The process uses concentrated dye solutions, and is economical with respect to solvents and therefore of energy.

Foil: (i) An extremely thin, flexible metal sheet applied as decoration to a block or embossed design; (ii) paper coated with metallic leaf or powder used in box making.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski's - ArtCloth Velvet Scarf 8.
Materials and Techniques: Hand dyed and Hand printed by the artist. Dyed, discharged, silk screened, hand painted and foiled employing dyes and foil on silk rayon velvet.
Size: 28 cm (width) x 180 cm (length).

ArtCloth Velvet Scarf 8. Detail view showing silk screened foil on reverse side of scarf.

Folk Art: The art of the people. It is usually associated with naïve art of the untrained.

Food Coloring (Stains): As per dyes.

Foot-Figured: These are patterns made not on a draw loom but with multiple shafts. Their designs are either geometric or on a very small scale, since there was a practical limit to the number of shafts.

Foreground: The part of a design that appears to be closest to the viewer and in front of other objects. Contrast to background.

A floral foreground on a patterned background in a design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Found Material: Any objects or materials such as feathers, leaves, fabric, printed material or ephemera which can be incorporated in the image making process.

Four Color Process: A method of printing in full color by color separation, producing four plates for printing in cyan, yellow, magenta and black.

Four-Sided Stitch (Embroidery): The needle is brought back up through the fabric and the first stitch is made as shown in (a). The second stitch is made by inserting the needle at the starting place and then taking it up diagonally as shown in (b). The third stitch is made as shown in (c), and then each step is repeated to continue the rows of squares. The fabric is turned around and a second row of squares is worked from right to left as shown in (d).


Foulard: A lightweight silk or synthetic twill fabric, usually printed. Occasionally of cotton or rayon. Used for neckties, linings and dresses. May be called "tie silk".

Foulard ties.

Framed and Table Loom: Devices used to weave yarns.


Free Embroidery: Free-style embroidery involves stitching a design which has been transferred onto fabric.

French Knot (Embroidery): The thread is brought out and wound twice around the needle as in (a). The thread is held securely, the needle is re-inserted and the thread is pulled through as in (b).


French Terry Knit: A soft knit fabric that features a smooth face and loped back. French terry knit fabric is typically used in loungewear, tops, and baby items.

French terry knit Capri pants.

Friezé: A strong, durable, heavy-warp yarn pile fabric. The pile is made by the over-wire method to create a closed-loop pile.

Frock Coat, Surtout: Man's formal overcoat with skirts to the knee (19th Century).

The Officers overcoat (surtout coat) comes in a heavy dark blue wool for warmth, with heavy black cotton lining and black cotton lined detachable cape.

Frontlet: Headband that is usually decorative.

Bridal frontlet headband.

Frost (Frise): A metal or silk thread in which one component is twisted more tightly than the other to produce a bumpy effect. When carried out in metal thread this gives an additional sparkle.

Frottage: Taking a rubbing from an embossed or textured surface, such as wood or stone, using hard chalk, crayon, pastel or other medium on paper.

Fruit Juice (Stains): As per dyes. If safe for the fabric, pour boiling water through the stain. Immediate sponging with cool water is the most effective treatment. Some juices color after drying and may be difficult to remove. The method is not suitable for delicate fabrics, which need to be sponged with a liquid detergent.

Fukusa: A silk square used in Japan to wrap gifts. Can be combined in garments for beautiful effects.


Full Drop (Square Drop): A common form of repeat used in textile printing in which the design unit, when repeated, is placed next to the last in the form of a grid system, exactly horizontal and vertical to the last unit.


Fulling: See Felting.

Fulling Process: Wool fabrics go through a fulling process in which heat, moisture and pressure are carefully applied, causing the fibers to interlock and expand.

Full Fashion: When stitches are transferred over to create shape at armholes, necklines, princess seams etc.

Suzette is a surplice wrap knit blouse with delicate picot edging and fine full fashioned details.

Full Needle Rib: Machine double-bed rib that creates the effect of one-by-one rib on both sides of garment.

Full needle rib skirt with knit.

Fully Fashioned: of knitted garments; shaped during knitting.

Fully fashioned and cut and sewn knit.

Fur-Like Fabrics: Resembled plush but may be finished by curling, shearing, or printing to resemble real fur. Often made of blends of modacrylic and acrylic fibers.

Composition: 52% Acrylic, 31% Modacrylic, 17% Polyester; Lining: 100% polyester; Shaggy faux fur fabric; patched pattern design.

Furnishing Satin: Shiny smooth fabric.

Furnishing satin three-piece nightdress.

Furniture Polish (Stains): As per cream. If the polish contains wood stain, turpentine may help to remove it. After using turpentine, work soap or detergent into the area and soak in hot water, leave overnight.

Fustanella (Greek Daywear): Traditional Greek male dress.

Ethan Karras in Greek fustanella costume.

Fustian: A low cost hard wearing weft-faced cloth with linen warp and cotton weft a weft-faced cotton cloth.

Fustian stay - front view.

Gabardine: A durable firm warp-face twill cloth. The pronounced distinct steep twill line is 60o or greater. The wrong side does not appear to be a twill leave. Hard, yet smooth and very little nap. Made of cotton, rayon, wool or blends for jackets, slacks, shorts and raincoats.

Gabardine. The steep twill line is from the lower left to the upper right.

Faux leather - wool gabardine shorts.

Gaberdine (Raincoat): Worsted raincoat.

A lady's full length mink-lined gaberdine raincoat - a taupe raincoat.

Galebeya (Egypt): Traditional Egyptian dress worn by the peasants outdoors and by city women indoors.


Galligaskins: Long loose breaches (16 - 17th Centuries).


Galloon Lace: Lace with both edges scalloped.

Rachel rigid gallon lace fabric.

Garment Lengths: The figure below gives garment lengths for shorts, pants and skirts.


Garter Stitch:: Every row is knit stitched, giving a reverse jersey look to both sides of the work.

Garter stitched scarf.

Garthwaite, Anna Maria (1690-1763): Silk designer who worked as a freelance artists in Spitalfields from about 1728 until 1756. She came from a well-to-do clerical family. How she obtained the technical training to design silks is unknown. She lived in London with her sister, Mary, surrounded by her customers. She produced over a thousand designs for the leading weavers and mercers of her day - with an average of 80 designs per year. Despite the stylistic reaction against rococo, her name remained a by-word in the industry.

Silk design by Anna Maria Garthwaite (ca. 1726 – 1727).

Gathering or Ruching (Dye Pattern): A length of string is laid over one corner of the fabric and the fabric is rolled diagonally around it. From a circle with the rolled fabric, the fabric is gathered tightly along the string and the ends tied. The fabric is dyed and then rinsed, and the string removed and the fabric is rinsed gain. When dry repeat the process but roll the fabric from the opposite corner and dye in the same or different color. Note: The effect on the fabric is shown in the background.


Gauffering: The name by which the process of crushing pile is known, is also used to produce relief designs – such as honeycomb or “waffle” – on non-pile fabrics.

Gauffering: The name by which the process of crushing pile is known, is also used to produce relief designs – such as honeycomb or “waffle” – on non-pile fabrics.

Gauge (Crochet): Gauge is the number of stitches and rows to a given measurement using a particular yarn and hook size. In machine knitting the technical abbreviation GG, refers to "Knitting Machines" fineness size. For both hand and machine knitting, the term refers to the number of stitches per inch, not the size of the finished garment. In both cases, the gauge is measured by counting the number of stitches (in hand knitting) or the number of needles (on a knitting machine bed) over several inches then dividing by the number of inches in the width of the sample. The following - egg, egg, 12g, 16g and 24g - are the most commonly used for machine sizes. On the other hand, egg and egg are most commonly used for hand knits. Knitting a sample with you chosen yarn and measuring how many stitches equals one inch and how many rows equal one inch will enable you to map out your pattern. The size of yarn thickness determines gauge.

Women sweater lambswool yarn; fashion style - striped; gauge - 3gg.

Gauze: A lightweight open leno-weaved fabric. It is a weave with a twisted warp. The loom contains a shaft which can be moved sideways and this carries the "doup" ends alternatively to the right or left of the fixed ends. There are many variations, according to the complexity of the movements made by the doup ends in relation to the fixed ones. The technique was also used to imitate bobbin lace.

Gauze cocktail dress.

Gauze Effect: The effect caused by lighting an open weave from the front (same side as viewer) or from behind (opposite side from viewer). Lit from the front, the threads reflect light back to the viewer making the fabric appear solid; lit from behind, the fabric appears to be a thin diaphanous web.

Generic Name (Fiber): The name under which a fiber is classified (e.g. cotton, wool, silk etc.)

Geneva Bands: Pair of white cloth strips hanging from the collar.


Georgette: A plain weave that is woven in a looser manner so that it is filmy or sheer. This fabric has a rougher, more crêpe-like surface than chiffon. It is also more opaque than chiffon. Often made from silk but available in synthetics. Has a crinkly, crêpe like texture and is dry to touch. Drapes well and is ideal for blouses and dresses.

Purple yellow silk Georgette blouse with short cap sleeves and printed lace.

Geotextile: A textile used as construction material in roads etc. usually designed to be permeable to water but resistant to stones.

TYPAR Geotextiles provide an effective filter structure since it has both higher permeability rates than adjacent construction soils and the ability to retain fine soil particles, minimising the piping of sub grade soils.

Gho (Bhutan): Traditional men clothes in Bhutan.


Gilding: Method of giving a surface a metallic finish by the application of a metal leaf or paint.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski's hand dyed and hand printed AIVA fabric (detailed view).
Material and Techniques: Dyed, over dyed, block printed and stencilled employing metallic blue, metallic green, metallic olive green, metallic gold, metallic magenta, and opaque deep rose fabric paints on cotton.

Gilet (Daywear): Woman's waistcoat.

Long gilet jacket.

Gilling: The combining of wool for exact alignment of fibers in the production of worsted yarns.

Gimp: Wrapped cord, often used as a highlight in laces made from finer threads.

Ten petalled flower with gimp lace pattern.

Gimp Yarn: A novelty yarn produced when a bulky yarn is looped around a core yarn and held in place by a binder yarn.


Gin: A machine for the removal of seeds and trash from cotton.

Gingham: It is a yarn-dyed checked plain-woven cotton usually in white and one other color. Fined ginghams are of combed and mercerised yarns; lower grades are carded. (Tissue gingham is a finer weight fabric.) Used for dresses, blouses, sports shirts, children's wear and curtains.

Gingham - a woven plaid, plain weave fabric.

Gingham women Blouse red and white tie up blouse.

Gingham Check: Fabrics woven in a block or check effect. An allover pattern of solid-color squares made by overlapping stripes of the same width.

Purple lilac Gingham-check dress.

Glass Fiber: A strong plastic, textile, or other material containing embedded glass filaments for reinforcement.

Glass fiber wedding dress.

Glass Transition Temperature of a Polymer: The glass transition temperature (Tg) of polymer is an accurate measure of its softness. A polymer that is too soft will lead to a cold flow in an adhesive and pick up dirt in a coating or fabric. A polymer, which is too hard, may crack when stressed or may not be able respond to movements in a fabric. Most polymers in fabrics have a glass transition temperature around room temperature.

Glazing of Fabrics: Polish cottons and chintz fabrics have a glaze or shiny surface caused by the addition of resins, gums, sugars or starches. Note: Synthetic resin gives the same effect as gums and starches but is more durable when it is washed.

Vintage floral chintz peplum pencil skirt.

Glen Check: One of the district check patterns that typically includes hound's tooth (broken) check areas on intersections of alternating darker and lighter stripes. Also called the Prince of Wales check. Commonly used in suiting fabrics.

Glen check London shrunk slim fit suit jacket.

Glen-Garry: Low brimless Scottish hat or cap with a crease down the crown and often ribbons at the back.

Glen-garry with cap badge option.

Glen Plaid: Traditional, classical plaid pattern of muted colors or black, grey and white. Two dark and two light stripes alternate with four dark and four light stripes vertically and horizontally, forming a crossing pattern of irregular checks.

Glen Plaid suit.

Glitter Paints: Suitable for all surfaces, including paper, glitter paint is available in the large range of colors. It remains of the surface of the fabric and so can be used on darker backgrounds.

Glue on Fabrics (Stains): Place a clean piece of cotton wool over the stain. Soak another piece of cotton wool with non-oily nail varnish remover and dab on the other side of stain. Nail varnish remover is not suitable for man-made materials.

Glucose (D form): A common sugar present in many plants and in human blood. It is a constituent of starch, cellulose and sucrose etc. and can be obtained from the latter in the hydrolysis with acids or enzymes.

Gold Leaf: (i) Very thin sheets of gold obtained via hammering. Note: It should not be confuse with metal leaf the latter of which may have a gold coloring; (ii) Sheets of gold beaten to a wafer thinness used in gilding.

Gore-Tex®: This porous fabric repels water but allows body moisture to escape, making it comfortable for active outerwear.


Gossamer: Gossamer is something super fine and delicate — like a spider web or the material of a wedding veil. The original gossamer, from which these meanings come from, is the fine, filmy substance spiders excrete to weave their webs. A dress can be gossamer-like, if its fabric is so sheer as to be see-through, or almost.

Gossamer cascade blouse.

Grain: When a pattern refers to the lengthwise grain of a fabric, it means the direction of the warp threads. The crosswise grain means the direction of the filling threads.

Grain Direction: The direction the fibers lie in a piece of cloth or sheet of paper.

Grandrelle: A two-ply yarn twisted from contrasting singles.

Grass, Flowers (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Work soap or detergent into stain, then rinse. If safe for dye, sponge stain with alcohol. Dilute alcohol with 2 parts water for acetate; (iii) Fabric: Non-Washable; (iv) Method: Spot clean as above, using alcohol (if safe for dye) to remove soap from article.

Grease (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Rub with soap or detergent and rinse in warm water. For some fabrics it may be necessary to leave soap in it for some hours or overnight. A grease solvent will probably be necessary. If the solvent leaves a stain, sodium perborate solution is effective but test first; (iii) Fabric: Non-Washable; (iv) Method: Sponge with grease solvent. Several treatments may be necessary. Finish with sodium perborate if safe.

Greasy Wool: Sheep's wool that has not been fully scoured, and still retains its natural grease and lanolin.

Greige (Grey): It describes woven or knitted fabrics in the condition in which they leave the loom or knitting machine; loom-state.

Grey Cloth: Term used for cloth just off the loom.

Gringsing: A fish-scale motif which patterns the background of Indonesian batiks.

Grogram: A coarse fabric of silk, wool, or silk mixed with wool or mohair, often stiffened with gum, formerly used for clothing.

Rustic grogram bedding thickening cotton 100% old grogram cloth.

Grois Point: A fabric which features large points of yarn on the surface of the fabric.

Grosgrain: A shiny weft-ribbed fabric usually produced as ribbons. Firm and stiff with filling yarns usually cotton and warp yarns of rayon, silk or synthetics. Often woven in narrow width for ribbons.

Grosgrain ribbon bow.

Gros Point: Needlepoint which has 8 to 15 stitches per inch.

Ground: The base or underlying state of a fabric.

Guanaco Fibers: The guanaco is a camelid native to South America that stands between 1 and 1.2 meters at the shoulder and weighs about 90 kg. The color of the fiber varies very little, ranging from a light brown to dark cinnamon and shading to white underneath. The principal country of origin is Argentina. Their fiber diameter and length is of the order of 18 – 24 micron and 5 cm in length, respectively. The fiber is finer than alpaca but coarser than vicuña. Fifty per cent of their fibers are modulated fibers. See post - Speciality Hair Fibers.

Most guanacos live in herds composed of family groups or “bachelor” males and females, but some males are solitary.

Guayaberas Dress (Cuba): Traditional Cuban dress.


Guernsey: Knitted sweater.


Guilds: Free professional and social associations of medieval artisans, merchants, tradesman, organized to protect their interests, to maintain standards of craft, to govern the training of apprentices and journey men, the admission of members, the reservation of trade secrets and the control of business and work.

Guimpe (Daywear): Blouse under a pinafore dress.


Guipure: A heavy embroidered lace, now usually made by embroidery on a water-soluble cloth.

Guipure lace wedding dress.

Gutta-Percha: A grey-black substance that can be molded for decorative purposes, derived from latex obtained from certain types of oriental tree.

Habit: Dress or costume of a nun or friar.


Habotai: A range of shiny silk fabrics, ideal for fashion.

Silk Habotai Dress.

Hacking Jacket: Riding jacket with slit sides or back.


Hackling: A careful combing process that straightens the fiber.

Haik: Arab garment of large cloth draped over the head and about the body.


Hair Canvas: Hair canvas is usually goat hair combined with wool, cotton or rayon, the latter three are used in the filling direction. Arms and Hymo are trade names.


Half Cross Stitch (Needlepoint): See figure below. This is suitable for thick yarns as the stitches on he reverse side are vertical and not so bulky.


Half Drop: A common phrase for a repeat used in textile printing in which the design unit is stepped down half its original length.


Half Up: Artwork prepared one-and-a-half times reproduced size, so as to ensure fine detail and accuracy.

Haloing: A white ring that resembles a "halo" around a colored discharge print. This is caused by migration of the soluble reducing agent around the printed design.

Halter (Daywear): Skimpy bodice tied behind the neck.

Low V-neck halter mini dress.

Hammered Satin: Thick lustrous fabric with the sheen of satin and a surface similar to hammered metal. Its drape makes it suitable for elegant dresses, blouses and special occasion garments.

Hammered-Satin side draped dress with bow-detail (yellow).

Handkerchief Linen: It is similar in ouster and count to batiste and like batiste it wrinkles badly. Linen yarns are more uneven than cotton yarns. This helps in identifying the fabric. Cotton and rayon yarns are sometimes made to resemble linen yarns by being purposely spun with irregularities.

Handkerchief linen long skirt.

Handle (or Hand): Fiber Property: Hand is the way a fiber and fabrics feels when handled - silky, harsh, soft, crisp, dry and tactile are just some descriptors of the handle or hand of a fabric; Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to the outside or external structure of the fiber; that is, it is due to the fiber's diameter, cross-sectional shape, its crimp and length etc. However, some fibers are much softer than others. For example, viscose has a softer handle than cotton, and cellulose acetate in turn has softer handle than viscose rayon; Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects the handle or hand of the fabric.

Hand Wash: Instruction on the label of a garment indicating that an abrasive washing action may reduce the natural lifetime of a garment.

Hanbok (Korea): Traditional Korean woman dress.


Hanfu (China): Traditional Chinese woman dress.


Hangtag: It is a temporary garment tag, attached with plastic, which can be removed before wearing the garment.

Hank: A loose coil of yarn or thread, not wound around a core.

Handkerchief Linen: A plain weave of the lightest weight linen. Used for handkerchiefs, blouses, and bias binding.


Hardness: For main measures of hardness of a material are: resistance to indentation; scratch resistance; damping of a pendulum; flexibility.

Hardness of Water: The property of water conferred by the presence of salts that prevent formation of a lather, with soaps.

Harmful/Irritant Sign or Label: Safety measure – Wear protective gloves, clothing and mask when handling the chemical. Make sure the handling space is well ventilated.

Harness (also known as racks): Harness holds the heddles at the back of the loom. See Dobby loom.

Harris Tweed: Handwoven tweed made in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, especially on the island of Lewis and Harris.

Harris tweed jacket.

Hat: A shaped covering for the head worn for warmth, as a fashion item, or as part of a uniform.

Names of common men's hats.

Names of common women's hats.

Hatchi: A lightweight sweater knit fabric that features a moderately loose weave and is most commonly used to create sweaters, cardigans, and tops.

Stretch Hatchi Sweater Knit Stripes Maroon/Black.

Heartgrainer: Comb that produces faux wood grain effects.

Heat: Energy possessed by a substance in the form of kinetic energy of atoms or in the case of molecules due to their translational, rotational, and vibrational energies.

Heat Conductivity Fiber Property: It is the ability of the fiber to conduct heat away from the body; Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to the fiber's external structure; that is, it is due to its crimp, cross-sectional shape and the uniformity of its cross-section shape; Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects the warmth of a 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 heathered yarn.) The term, heather, may also be used to describe the fabric made from weathered yarns.

Heat Sensitivity: Fiber Property: It is the ability of the fiber to soften, melt or shrink when subjected to heat; Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to the inner structure of the fiber; that is, there are fewer inter-molecular attractive forces, and no cross links within the fiber polymer system. Heat causes the molecular structure and/or molecular groups within the fiber polymer system to vibrate more vigorously; Translation Into Fabric Property: This property determines safe washing and ironing temperatures of the fabric; makes heat setting the fabric possible; makes certain heat sensitive fabric finishes possible.

Heat Setting: The use of heat to break intermolecular bonds, allowing re-arrangement of polymer chains in a desired form.

Heat Shrinkage: Fabrics when heated may shrink and sometimes this property is made use of in the construction of a fabric. For example, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fibers are used in blends with wool since when the fabric is heated the PVC component shrinks, producing a compact fiber with an all-wool surface.

Heddle: The heddle hold each individual warp yarn in the back part of the loom. See Dobby loom.

Hemp: A fine light-colored lustrous base fiber.

Wedding dress is made from blend of hemp and silk (hemp 85% and silk 15%). The dress is lined with 100% silk. The hemp is chemical and pesticide-free.

Hemstitch (Embroidery): This stitch can be used to edge a band of drawn threads or to sew up a hem in a decorative manner. It can be done over varying numbers of threads depending on the effect that is desired. The figure below shows the stitch worked over two threads down and two across. The yarn is brought out two threads below the space and it is passed behind the two loose threads to the left. The same two threads are taken around the same two threads again and the needle is passed through the fabric two threads down and to the left. It is repeated for the next stitch. If you are sewing up a hem, baste it up to the edge of the space, then the hemstitch is worked through all the layers of the fabric.


Henequen: Fiber from the leaf of the agave plant.

Dried henequen fiber.

Herringbone: Two-color twill woven to produce a zig-zag pattern.

Herringbone variation of the twill weave under magnification.

Herringbone Pattern: A traditional woven or printed design of zigzags in a stripe layout, also called chevron. Herringbone is also a type of twill weave that forms a "V" pattern (also called a broken twill).

Herringbone design (Chevron) created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Herringbone Stitch (Embroidery): A line is made of alternately sloping stitches, with small stitch being taken back to the left after each one is completed.


Hessian: Coarse plain-weave cloth from hemp or jute.

Brown hessian cloth.

Hexagon Repeat or Network: A pattern with lines yielding a honeycomb appearance. See below.


Hijab: The word hijab comes from the Arabic for veil and is used to describe the headscarves worn by Muslim women. These scarves come in a myriad of styles and colors. The type most commonly worn in the West is a square scarf that covers the head and neck but leaves the face clear.


Himation: Long loose cloak worn by men and women in Ancient Greece.


Hodden: A coarse homespun cloth produced in Scotland: for example, hodden grey is made by mixing black and white wools.

Hodden is a Scottish cloth used for military uniform.

Hogget Wool: Wool from the first shearing of a sheep.

Blaxland Poll Merino hogget ewe fleece.

Hog-Hair Brush: Tough, springy hog-hair brush that is suitable for acrylic- and oil painting.

Holbein or Double Running Stitch (Embroidery): The running stitch is worked around the design from right to left. Return left to right, filling in the spaces.


Holland: A plain weave fabric, usually made of cotton. When stiffened, this fabric is often used for making roller blinds and window shades. It takes fabric-printing color well. Firm and hard wearing, rather like Hessian or Burlap, it is not very suitable for dyeing.

Hollow-Filament Yarn: Synthetic filament extruded with a hollow center; used to reduce mass without loss of bulk for insulation.

Homburg: Man's felt hat with a narrow brim and denied crown.


Home Furnishing (Home Fashion): A field of design dealing with products for interior design and decoration, such as upholstery, bedding, rugs, and carpets.

Homespun: A coarse balanced plain weave fabric with a hand-woven appearance.

Homespun dress.

Honan: A silk, similar to shantung, but the club yarns are in both warp and filling. It is a high grade form of Pongee fabric. It was originally made using the silk cocoons of wild silkworms from the Honan Province of China. Honan is the only type of wild silk that dyes easily and consistently. It is used mainly for dresses, lingerie and other women’s garments. Some properties of this fabric are that it has a crisp handle; it is woven in a plain weave, it is thin and lightweight and has the same uneven, nubbly texture that wild silk does, because of the slub yarns of different thicknesses that are used.

A hand woven Honan silk providing natural variations in texture and color - especially suitable for interior soft furnishings and lampshades.

Honeycomb: Woven fabric with a three-dimensional cellular effect.

Sleeveless A-line dress in a Honeycomb fabric.

Honeycomb or Seed Stitch (Smocking): This is a term often used synonymously with smocking. The pattern gives great elasticity and is worked to complete two rows at the same time. Start by passing the thread through the first pleat, level with a gathering thread, on the left-hand side of the work. Small pieces of material are picked up from the second and first pleats as shown in (a). Another stitch is made in the same way just above this, and then the needle is inserted as shown in (b) to pass down through the back of the pleat to the next gathering thread below. The stitches are repeated over the second and third pleat and then the needle is inserted to begin as shown in (c). If three joining stitches are found to be too thick, two may be worked instead.


Hopsack: Fabric made with a variation of plain weave in which a number of warp and weft yarns are woven as one.

Plain Hopsack suit jacket.

Hose: Breaches fastened to a doublet.

These are a pair of joined hose used under armour. They are made from a thick/strong moleskin type fabric. There is extra padding on the knees to pad the leg armour. They have cod piece, joined at the bottom, and laced with points at the waist.

Hot-wire Cutter: An electrical device consisting of a nichrome wire stretched across a frame. A heating element heats up the wire so it will cut foam plastic materials without requiring a sharp cutting edge. Can be used to edge cut textiles.

Houndstooth: A small check pattern in plain weave or twill fabrics, produced by using regular groups of contrasting colors in the warp and weft. Duo-tone fabric with a characteristic broken-check or tooth pattern, traditionally in black and white wool twill. It is traditionally a menswear staple for suits and coats, but it is also used in women's suitings.

Houndstooth skirt suit with black tights.

Huaso Costume (Chile): Traditional garment of Chile.


Huckaback (Huck): A woven fabric with a rough texture produced by warp and weft floats. A pebbly surface with irregular filling floats, which give it added absorbency. Made of cotton or occasionally linen. Users primarily for hand towels and as a background for Swedish embroidery.

Huckaback towels.

Hydrolysis: The chemical decomposition of a substance by the reaction with water in which water is itself decomposed. Acids and alkalis often catalyze hydrolysis. The destructive effect of hydrolysis upon fiber polymers will also result in the rupture of inter-polymer forces of attraction.

Hydrophilic: Water loving (i.e. completely miscible in water).

Hydrophilic Fabric: Fabric that attracts water and is absorbent.

Hydrophobic: Water hating (i.e. sparingly soluble in water).

Hydrophobic Fabric: Fabric that tends to repel water.

Hygienic or Antiseptic Finishes: Clothing fabrics may be treated with antibacterial finishes to retard the growth of bacteria and fungi. Such treatments help to prevent the spread of infection, reduces perspiration odor and delays mildew attacks.

Hygroscopic: The capacity for a chemical compound to uptake water. For example, NaCl (table salt) is extremely hygroscopic and so can dry out atmosphere in a confined area.

Ice Cream (Stains): As per cream.

Ikat (Kasuri): A resist method of hand dyeing in which certain areas of the yarn are wrapped to resist the dye, producing a pattern that will be later developed in the weave.

Ikat Print Full Skirt.

Iket Kapala: Batik headcloth.


Imprimatura: A veil or thin glaze of color applied to a ground as a preliminary coating. Term not in very wide use.

Indian Head: Trade name for a plain weave cotton fabric, vat-dyed or printed with a smooth durable finish. Used for a variety of household purposes and for many types of garments.

Ad for Indian Head Cloth, Delineator, September 1925.

Initial Modulus: The initial resistance to touch of a fiber.

Ink – Ball Point (Stains): (i) Fabric: All except Acetate, Arnel, Dynel, Verel; (ii) Method: Sponge stain immediately with acetone; (iii) Fabric: Acetate, Arnel, Dynel, Verel; (iv) Method: Sponge immediately with amyl acetate.

Ink Drier: A chemical agent added to ink to speed drying and to prevent smudging.

Inlay: Discontinuous brocade; the extra or brocade does not run full length of warp or weft but is added discontinuous in certain areas to the plain weave from an extra shuttle. Also a decoration in wood or other materials set into a matrix that forms the background.

Insulating Finishes: Usually a metal coating on the back of a lining fabric in order to produce warmth or coolness (e.g. aluminium flakes) depending on the weather.

Intarsia: A weft-knit fabric with adjacent design areas in different colors. Shapes are generally large and are knitted as separate pieces that are then fitted together like puzzle pieces to form the garment.

Mixed yarn intarsia - women's blouse.

Interfacing: A woven or non-woven fabric used to give body to a garment. Any fabric may be used. Choice depends on the weight of the fabric and proper cleaning method. Specially prepared interfacings are:
Nonwoven: Pellon, Keybak, Textryl, Pelonite, Remay.
Woven: Hair-canvas, Armo, Humo, Siri, Wigan, Lamicel.

British court dress (ca. 1750). In the 1700s, starched linen was the most popular interfacing, giving our Founding Fathers their nice, stiff coat tails.

Interfacing & Interlining: The fabric used between the inner and outer layers of a garment to enhance warmth, strength or shape. Interfacing fabrics come in fusible (pre-treated with glue and attached to the fabric with an iron) and sew-in varieties, in a wide array of weights.

Interlaced Hemstitch (Embroidery): The ladder hemstitch is worked along both edges as described in the ladder hemstitch, then one end in the central position is secured at the right-hand side of the drawn thread band. The needle is taken over two groups of threads and it is brought up between them as shown in (a), then the two groups are twisted by the needle being brought up between them again in the opposite direction as shown in (b).


Interlock: A form of double knot in which on one pass every second needle is missed out.

Interlock Knits: A special type of weft knit fabric.


Inter-reflection: A color shift due to light absorption into a deeply textured yarn or fabric surface; particularly evident in a nap or pile surface texture.

Interweaving: The process in which everyday objects are plaited from many types of grass, leaves and fibers.

Inverness (Overcoat): Loose overcoat with a removable cape.


Iodine (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Try soaking in water, use soap if necessary. Use 1 tablespoon of sodium thiosulfate per 0.5 liter of water to soak with if needed. Alcohol may be used; a pad left on the stain for several hours may be necessary; (iii) Fabric: Non-Washable; (iv) Method: Spot clean as above.

Irish Poplin: There are two types of Irish poplin: (1) Originally a fabric constructed with silk warp and wool filling in plain weave with fine rib. (2) Fine linen or cotton shirting also made in Ireland. Sometimes used for neckwear.

Irish poplin necktie.

Italian Buttonhole Insertion Stitch (Embroidery): This stitch requires a space between the two edges of the fabric of a least 1 cm. The needle is brought through on the top piece of the fabric and a horizontal bar is made across to the bottom piece. Five buttonhole stitches are worked over this bar from left to right. The thread is taken through the top piece of the fabric 0.5 cm beyond the first stitch and across diagonally to the bottom piece. Three buttonhole stitches are made from left to right as shown in (a). The thread is taken through on the top piece of the fabric 0.5 cm lower down, and then the three buttonhole stitches are worked from the center out towards the left, over the double thread of the diagonal bar as shown in (b). The thread is taken through the bottom piece and three buttonhole stitches are made from the center out towards the right over the double thread as shown in (c) Continue in this way to complete the whole row.


Italian Nylon: A very high quality knit fabric with 4-way stretch that comes from Italy. Italian nylon includes some lycra to give great stretch and recovery, abrasion resistance and anti-bacterial qualities.

Italian Quilting: A stitched and padded type of quilting similar to trapunto, except that the padding takes the form of a thick yarn padding inserted between two parallel rows of stitching, creating a linear type of raised design.

Italian quilting also known as trapunto.

ITY Knit: ITY stands for Interlock Twist Yarn and is a soft, lightweight, slinky knit fabric often used to create tops, skirts, dresses, and dance wear. This fabric is tightly woven and does not wrinkle easily.

Tulip skirt, ITY knit, form fitting, double layer.

Jacobean Couching or Trellis (Embroidery): Crewel work is sometimes known as Jacobean work. This filling stitch is traditionally used for the centers of flowers or for shapes where an “open” lattice effect is required. Long, evenly spaced stitches are taken across the space horizontally and vertically or diagonally and secured with one stitch (as shown) or a cross stitch at each intersection.


Jacob (Fleece): (i) Count: 48/54s; (ii) Staple Length: 13-20 cm; (iii) Handle: Fairly Soft; (iv) Color: Piebald.

Jaconet: A fine, sheer plain-weave cotton fabric used in children’s summer clothing.


Jacquard: Similar in appearance to a damask tablecloth, a jacquard is a fabric with a repeating picture or pattern woven into it. The pattern is sometimes raised above the surface, or more commonly it is shinier than the background. There are lightweight satiny jacquards and very heavy raw silk jacquards.

Bhagalpur silk jacquard raw saree with blouse.

Jacquard Knit: Weft-knitted fabric using multiple yarns feeds in different colors to create a complete pattern.

Jacquard knit reindeer skirt.

Jacquard Loom: The device was invented by J.-. Jacquard in 1801. The loom replaced the draw loom for the weaving of pattern fabrics. A loom that allows the warp yarns to be lifted individually, thus allowing extremely complex patterns to be woven. Each line of the design is represented by one punch card. Instead of coords of the figure harness, a needle was brought up to the card. Where a hole had been punched the needle lifted the appropriate warp thread by means of a hook attached to a heddle. No drawboy was needed and the mechanism could be adapted to power loom weaving.

The Original Jacquard Loom 1804.

Jacquard Stitch (Needlepoint): This stitch produces a diagonal stepped effect. The rows are done alternately over two threads diagonally and over on thread diagonally.


Jacquard Weave: A weave produced using a complicated Jacquard attachment on loom creating elaborate woven designs in the fabric – as in brocades, damasks and some tapestries.

Japanese Rice Resist Paste: Rice paste can be drawn or stencilled directly onto the surface of the cloth. It acts as a resist to most dyes.

Jap or Habutai: A fine smooth silk which is usually used for linings. It is inexpensive and so is useful to try out silk paints. This fabric can be purchased in a variety of different weights from light and medium to heavy. An excellent fabric for painting and printing, it will also dye beautifully. It takes color well and the luster of the fabric enhances the richness of the dye colors.

Habutai dress.

Jaspé Cloth: A plain weave suiting weight cloth made with multicoloured warp yarns and plain filling yarns. It is used for worksheets, slipcovers and draperies.

Ralph Lauren Jaspé workshirt.

Jellaba (Also known as Djellaba): Long loose, hooded cloak, as worn by men in North Africa.


Jerkin (Daywear): Short jacket with sleeves or collar.

Jerkin (garment).

Jersey: A general name for weft-fitted fabrics. A true jersey fabric is made in a stockinet stitch, a type of weft or filling knit. Wool jersey does not run due to the fuzziness of the wool yarns that causes them to cling together. May be bonded with a tricot knot fabric to increase fabric firmness. Made from wool, cotton, rayon or almost any of the synthetics. Used for underwear, cool weather dresses and infants' wear.

Party dresses - Empire Jersey: A-line O-neck sleeveless (2015).

Jersey Knit: Formed by knitting one row and purling one row.


Jet Dyeing: A dyeing procedure whereby the fabric rope and concentrated dye liquor are moved together in a sealed pressurized dye vat.

Jet Loom: A loom in which the weft is carried across the shed by a jet of water or air.

Jig Dyeing: A dyeing procedure in which the fabric is move back and forth through the dye liquor.

Jodhpurs (Daywear): Riding breeches, loose at the thighs.

Buttoned pants button fly unisex jodhpurs.

Jobber: A distribution company that purchases fabric in full piece quantities from mills or converters and then sells smaller quantities of cut yardage to other wholesalers, decorators, or upholsterers.

Journeyman Weaver: The name of the journeyman weaver who was to weave the silk, was noted on his designs by James Leman. Batchelor, Ham and Perigal also wrote the name of journeyman who was to weave a particular silk on the sample. Journeymen worked in their own homes for the master weavers.

Jute: A base fiber much used for sacking. It is also used for making burlap, which was fashionable for sports ware in some seasons.

Jute plant.

Kain Panjang: Long cloth, approximately two to three meters (6.5-10ft) long, densely decorated with batik designs and with a border at one end.

Kamies (Ethiopia): Traditional Ethiopian dress.


Kanga: Bright cotton cloth dropped about the body by women in East Africa.

A woman wearing kanga in Situ on Pate Island, Kenya.

Kanzu: Long white tunic worn by men in East Africa.


Kapok: The fine soft seed hairs of tropical plant used for stuffing.

Kapok pod and seeds.

Kasha: A type of flannel, which has black and colored fibers in the filling yarns.

Kasha short sleeve for women.

Kasuri: See Ikat.

Kata (Chinese Term): A Buddhist ceremonial scarf.

Tibetan Buddhist silk offering scarf - Kata in beige.

Katazome: Paste-resist stencil dyeing.

Kemben: A narrow batik cloth used around the upper body to fasten a sarong.

Kemp: A coarse heavily medullated fiber that does not take dye well; it occurs naturally in wool and is now often imitated by synthetics to give a subtle color effects in tweeds.

Kendal Green: A kind of rough green woolen cloth.

Kendal green lace burnt out dress.

Kent Half Breed (Fleece): (i) Count: 56/58s; (ii) Staple Length: 5-10 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Creamy.

Kente: Bright toga worn in Ghana.


Kepala: The perpendicular band that contrasts with the main design area of the sarong.

Keratin: The protein of wool and other fiber hairs.

Wool fiber.

Kerchief: A triangular scarf or a square scarf that is folded into a triangle and worn over the head or about the neck for protective or decorative purposes. A bandanna is a colorful kerchief.

A kerchief design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Kerr, Robert: Shawl manufacturer at the Clydesdale Factory, Paisley, and partner in the firm of Kerr and Scott, London. He tried to have the duty lifted on cards used for Jacquard-woven shawls made for the Great Exhibition of 1851 suspended by the Treasury, but filed. His exhibits there were considered by the Jurors to be pre-eminent in design, novelty, variety and texture.

Kersey: A very heavy thick boardy wool coating fabric, which has been fulled and felted.

1969 - Vintage Kersey peacoat mens wool - US Navy Coat.

Kesi: The Chinese term for slit tapestry characterized by a weave with wefts of two or more colors that do not run from one side to the other side, slits occur where colors change.


Kevlar: An aramide fiber.

Khaki: A yellowish earth tone color, also a rugged twill weave fabric, often in the same dusty brown color. First named and utilized in 1848 by English soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

33rd Punjabi Army (Commander Punjabi Subadar) by A.C. Lovett.

Khimar: The khimar is a long, cape-like veil that hangs down to just above the waist. It covers the hair, neck and shoulders completely, but leaves the face clear.


Khurta (also spelt Kurta): Long, loose, collarless Indian shirt.


Kier-Boiling: A scouring treatment of cotton goods by heating them with aqueous alkali under pressure in iron or steel vessels (kiers).

Kimono (Japan): The traditional long dress, worn by women as well as men. Women's kimonos are usually brightly colored and more brocaded. It is used in combination with a kind of belt or sash - obi - some ten yards long, which is wound several times around the kimono and tied at the back.


Kings Silk Mercers: King & Co of Wheatsheaf, King Street Covent Garden (UK) sold silks to the Prince Regent in 1795 and despite his failure to pay, continued to supply him in he period 1812-1818. They sold him some of the richest silks on the market. There were several generations, but not necessarily the same firm. From 1781 to 1814, King was an important customer of Batchelor, Ham and Perigal and their successors buying many of their gold and silver materials. Elizabeth and Rebecca King supplied the Prince Regent from 1786 to 1792 and were succeeded by Thomas and William King. William King was mentioned on a sample of Jourdain and John Ham dated 1812. They also mentioned a John King in 1808 and in 1818 the firm of King and Roberts.

Knights, P.J: Knights was a shawl manufacture to Her Majesty and had a factory in the 1790s in Norwich and a warehouse in London selling: "Shawl Bed-Furniture, Dresses, Scarfs, Shawls and Fancy waistcoats" with "a very near affinity to the real Indian Shawls".

Knit: The first basic stitch learnt in knitting, which forms the front or "right side" of the work.


Knit-de-Knit: A type of yarn texturizing in which a crimped yarn is made by knitting the yarn into a fabric, and then heat-setting the fabric. The yarn is then unraveled from the fabric and used in this permanently crinkled form.

Knit de knit yarn.

Knitted Fabrics: Knitted fabrics can be plain, ribbed or of fancy patterns for making almost any type of garment. Knitted garments are comfortable because the "give" as one moves. They are generally warm, since air is held in the fabric which acts as an insulator. However, if they are loosely knitted they can be cool, especially if worn in windy weather. Knitted garments shrink and stretch move than woven garments, Snagging is a common problem.

Women Autumn high waist knitted mini skirt.

Knitting: The looping of yarns together to form a fabric.

Special needles used for knitting machines.

Knit Velour: A pile fabric made by shearing off the tops of loops of one side of stretch terry. Plush cotton with thick nap, making it soft to the touch. Unlike velvet, this knit is highly stretchy and is typically used in casual loungewear and athletic cover-ups.

Women's knit velour lounge suit.

Knots used in Rugmaking: (a) Basic Fringe knot; (b) Knotted Fringe; (c) Crisscross Knotting; (d) Braided Fringe.


Knotted Insertion Stitch (Embroidery): This stitch gives a strong firm finish. The needle is brought up close to the edge of the top piece of fabric and a single buttonhole stitch is made above and a little to the right. A second buttonhole stitch is made over the first picking up both threads as shown below. It is repeated on the bottom fabric and continued working on alternate edges in the same way.


Knotting: Knotting is the interlacing or inter-looping of threads. The loops knot each step so that it cannot be unraveled. The fabrics are light in weight and have an open effect (e.g. Tulle net). Tatting is a similar method.

Knotting (Dye Pattern): Depending on how the knots are formed, knotting can produce a variety of different patterns from intermittent undulating bands to unusual free form flower shapes. The fabric is rolled diagonally and knotted tightly at intervals and then dyed. The fabric is unknotted and rinsed thoroughly. It is then re-knotted below the original knots. The fabric is untied, rinsed again and washed. To produce a broken wavy pattern, the fabric is folded three or four times length wise and tied into several regularly spaced knots before dyeing. On the other hand, freedom designs can be produced by knotting the fabric at random, although the areas of pattern should be determined by first marking the position of each knot. Note: The effect of the first procedure on the fabric is shown in the background.


Knot Yarns: Yarns that are wound around a base yarn several times at one place to produce a heavy knot effect.

Koshibo: A medium weight, woven, polyester fabric known for being colorfast, koshibo is suited for different types of apparel projects such as skirts, dresses, and blouses.

100% Polyester Koshiba fabric dress.

Kurta (Afganistan): Man dress - Kurta juba in Afghanistan.


Label (Cloth): A label is generally sewn into the garment and may or may not be permanent.

Lace: An open work cloth with a design created by the network of threads.Laces have two parts: a ground fabric similar to net, and a design which varies from simple dots to elaborate floral patterns. Traditionally produced in cotton, polyester and nylon. Lace can be dyed if the fabric is 100% cotton. Printing and spraying onto cotton lace can be effective. Lace may be narrow for delicate edgings or wide for dress materials. Kinds of lace include Alencon, Chantilly, Cluny, Irish Crochet, Rose Point, Val and Venetian Point.

Chantilly lace skirt.

Lace Weaves: Open weaves created by the distortion of either warp or weft yarns.

La Coste: A double-knit fabric made with a combination of knit and tuck stitches to create a mesh-like appearance. It is often a cotton or cotton/polyester blend.

Lacoste skirt in double knit stretch cotton and nylon.

Lacquer (Stains): As per correction fluid.

Ladder Hemstitch (Embroidery): Here the hemstitch is worked along both edges of the drawn thread space to create a decorative ladder effect.


Laid-In Yarns: Yarns in knitting, which are held in place by loops but which do not themselves form loops.

Lambswool: Wool from sheep less than eight months old.

Cotswold lambs wool.

Lamé: A fabric containing metallic yarns.

Gold lamé evening gown.

Laminating: (i) A process of applying layers to fabrics by attaching two or more pieces of fabrics together (e.g. by stitching or using fabric adhesives); (ii) To protect paper or card or fabric and give it a glossy surface by applying a transparent plastic coating through heat or pressure.

Women laminating flare sleeve contrast color printed long dress.

Lampas: Multicolored, compound weave fabrics are often termed lampas, a French derived term denoting a figured fabric with additional warps or wefts, used in pattern areas to create extra colors and when not required, woven into the back of the cloth. In some English firms lampas weaves are broken down to more specific types.

A Mongol silk lampas weave robe. Eastern Iran or Central Asia, late 13th or first half 14th Century.

Lanolin: Wool fat; the natural grease of wool.

Lanolin anhydrous.

Latch Hook: Tool used in rugmaking to assist in creating knots.


Latin America Panama: Wide-brimmed hat made of tropical leaves as worn on Latin America.

A woman shows traditional techniques for making Panama hats.

Lawn: A fine plain-weave fabric of cotton or linen. It is sometimes also known as "calico". It can be dyed and printed successfully. Lightweight, thin plain weave cotton of combed or carded yarns, not mercerised. Finish may be soft or fairly stiff. Used for curtains, linings, handkerchiefs and women's clothing. Liberty lawn is a well known fabric from Great Britain.

Liberty lawn cotton summer dress.

Lazy Daisy Stitch or Detached Chain Stitch (Embroidery): This is similar to a chain stitch, but each loop is separate as in (a) and fastened by a small stitch at the outer edge as in (b).


Lazy Twill: Usually fabrics are made with a diagonal line at 45o angle. A diagonal line at a lesser degree is a lazy or reclining twill.

Leaf Stitch (Needlepoint): If done in several colors, this stitch can be particularly attractive. It requires careful counting: each stitch starts at the edge and goes into the center.


Leather: This is animal hide or skin, and can be decorated with colored leather shoe dyes for interesting effects.

Leather min-skirt in black.

Leatherette: A coated fabric that simulates leather. Used in upholstery.


Lederhosen (German Daywear): Traditional German male pants.


Leicester (Fleece): (i) Count: 48s; (ii) Staple Length: 18-21 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Fairly Good.

Lengthwise Grain: Direction of the warp threads.

Leno Weave (or Dope Weave): Weaving with crossing over of adjacent warp yarns, working in pairs.

Leno weave under magnification. The warp yarns twist around the filling yarns like a figure 8 and hold them tightly in place.

Level Dyeing: Dyeing without streaks or unevenness.

Liberty: Hand-blocked floral prints in silk, rayon, cotton, and wool challis.


Liberty Bodice: Buttoned sleeveless vest.

Girl's liberty bodice.

Light Fastness: The fastness to sunlight of the colors of dyed or printed textiles. Light fastness ratings: 1 - very poor light fastness; 2 - poor; 3 - moderate; 4 - fair; 5 - good; 6 - very good; 7 - excellent; 8 - maximum light fastness (i.e. textile material may break down before color begins to fade).

Lincoln (Fleece): (i) Count: 36/46s; (ii) Staple Length: 8-25 cm; (iii) Handle: Hard; (iv) Color: Off White.

Line Dry: Instruction on a label of a garment indicating the appropriate method of drying in order not to reduce the natural lifetime of a garment. Note: Tumble dry would be too an abrasive action for this garment.

Line Linen: A strong linen yarn made from staple linen that has been carded and combed before being spun.

Irish line linen.

Linen: (i) Yarns of fabric made from flax; textile items traditionally made from linen; often used to describe fabrics, which initiate the appearance and texture of linen. Its disadvantage as a fashion fabric is its tendency to crease. Linen is very expensive and so is often mixed with cotton. Known for its tendency to crease, which is part of its charm, it is available in various weights for separates. Linen takes dye and fabric paint very well; (ii) Textile Inks And Dyes For Linen: pigment; reactive; direct; vat; multi-purpose dyes; discharge printing; natural dyes; cellulose devour. See post on linen.

Cotton linen casual short mini dress bohemian boho hippo ethnic print patchwork.

Linked: A contrast trim is knitted separately and linked on after the garment is knitted. The stitches along the edge are picked up and the trim is attached by a few rows of knit, which form a seam inside the garment.

Linked trim feather mini skirt.

Linen Testers: See pick glasses.

Lining: It refers to any fabric used on the back of the shell.

Linseed Oil: Oil that is extracted from the seeds of flax.

Bundle of flax showing the seed pods from which linseed oil is made.

Linsey-Woolsey: Linsey-woolsey (less often, woolsey-linsey or in Scottish English, wincey) is a coarse twill or plain-woven fabric woven with a linen warp and a woolen weft. Similar fabrics woven with a cotton warp and woolen weft in Colonial America were also called linsey-woolsey or winces.

Plaid linsey-woolsey skirt with chemisette and black silk jacket.

Lint: Cleaned cotton fibers.

Cotton lint.

Linters: The short fragments of cotton fibers adhering to the seed after ginning. Often used as a raw material for rayon production.

Pre-shred cotton linters.

Liseré (Compound Weave): In French it means selvage, but British firms use this term to denote a lampas weave in which a figure weave has an additional warp.

Lisere mini-skirt.

Lisle: A fine, smooth, tightly twisted thread spun from long-staple cotton. A ffabric knitted of this thread, used especially for hosiery and underwear.



Lissapol: Detergent and wetting agent.

Lively Yarn: A yarn with an unbalanced torque and so with a tendency to twist and snarl and curl back on itself. Fabrics woven from lively yarns often have excellent drape.

The lively yarn with free locks.

Llama Fibers: The llama fibers come from the llama animals of South America. The fleece consists of two layers, the guard layer, which is strong and straight, and makes good rope, while underneath is the super-soft layer of down. These are the fluffy fibers which make excellent clothing and, like alpaca, can be as fine or finer than cashmere, under 20 micron. They usually have a hollow core, which gives extra insulating warmth, and a crimp (a kind of zig-zagging of the fiber) like merino wool, which also adds insulation.These fibers are expensive due to their rarity. See post - Speciality Hair Fibers.

A Quechua girl and her Llama.

Loden Cloth: A thick, soft, oily green wool fabric that repels water and is typically seen in coatings.


Loft (or Compressional Resiliency): Fiber Property: It refers to the ability of the fiber, yarn or fabric to spring back to its original thickness after being compressed; that is, the springiness or fluffiness of a fiber or yarn; Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to the fiber crimp; Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects fabric's springiness, cover and resistance to flattening.

Loftiness: Lofty fabrics feel full and light, and are not heavy for their thickness.

Faux Fur: Lofty Mongolian fur - Coral.

Logo Patterns: Patterns created from a logo. Used on stationary, fabric, and other identity items.

A logo pattern created from the Artlandia SymmetryMill logo in SymmetryMill.

London Shrinking: A finishing process used mainly for worsteds, in which the wetted fabric is allowed to dry in a relaxed state.

The London Shrunk process shrinks and relaxes fabric so that it is easier to handle and work by tailors. The fabric is softer and drapes better.

Long and Short Stitch (Embroidery): This type of stitching fills in a shape too large for satin stitch. In the first row alternate long and short stitches are worked along the outline. The stitches in the second row are staggered for a smooth effect.


Longcloth: A plain weave balanced white cotton fabric. Lightweight, unfinished bleached muslin free from starch or sizing. Used for dresses, underwear and linings.

New woman dress with three quarter sleeve (longcloth in orange-red).

Loom: Original word for “tool”. It is a frame that is designed to assist the interlacing of yarns using a shuttle.

Handloom. Notice the warp yarns are in place and the shuttle is wound with coarse filling yarns. The stick shown is a shed stick, which separates the warp yarns so that the fillings may be quickly inserted through without tedious process of going over and under each separate warp yarn.

Loop Stitch Filling (Embroidery): Bring the needle up through the top pf a satin stitch block, then pass the thread once around the woven bars, working around each side of the cut-out square.


Loop Yarn: Two yarns are twisted in such a way as to form loops such as in bouclés.

Lumen: The central canal of the cotton fiber.

Lungi: Loincloth, headdress or scarf worn by Indian men.

Cotton Lungi scarf.

Lurex: A type of yarn or fabric which incorporates a glittering metallic thread.

Lurex midi dress - Black.

Luster (or Lustre): Fiber Property: It is the light reflected from the surface of the fiber. That is, the manner in which the surface of a fabric reflects light. High reflection yields a shine to the fabric surface and so increases its luster. It differs from shine in that it is more subdued; that is, in the case of ouster the reflected light is more scattered, whereas for shine the reflected light is better bundled in a given direction; Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to the external structure of the fiber; that is its length, crimp and cross-sectional shape; Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects the ouster or shine of the fabric.

Lustering (Lustring): This was closely woven, very lightweight tabby with an extra sheen imparted by a special process by which the warp was heated and stretched after being coated with beer or something similar. In order to show off this ground the design must be open and airy, composed of various sorts of flowers carelessly disposed and garnished. The material was produced from the late 17th to the early 19th Century. Some of the most successful English silks were lustrings and it was the favorite export to the American colonies. Although first produced as a black silk exclusively by the Royal Lustring Company, by the time the Company was dissolved in 1718 it had become one of the standard dress materials and remained so until the last quarter of a century.

Lycra: The trademark name for DuPont's brand of Spandex fiber.

Spandex club dress.

Lyocell: A manufactured fiber made from wood pulp cellulose, an environmentally-friendly material found in plants cells. It is classified as a sub-category of rayon, with a similar soft hand and drape, but slightly more durable. It has a subtle sheen and is very breathable.

Swing dress dovetail fashion glossy golden decoration micro crepé lyocell neck sleeveless dress.

Lyons Velvet: It is closely woven fabric with a deep pile which sometimes has a cotton pile and a silk back. It is used for coat collars, suits and coats, and for millinery.

1965 "Glowing" red Lyons velvet cocktail party dress.

Macerate: To reduce to a soft mass by soaking in a liquid.

Machine Wash: Instructions on the garment label indicating cleaning using a washing machine will not decrease the natural lifetime of the garment.

Macramé: The art of knotting string in patterns to make decorative articles.

Macrame - Back of a tank top.

Madras: A type of gingham woven in India of yarns which will bleed or run in washing, resulting in a soft, muted appearance. Used for sport shirts, summer jackets and dresses. Madras with a woven pattern is a different fabric.

Madras-Gingham strap dress.

Madras Cotton (also known as Madras Muslin): A leno gauze fabric with extra, hand-cut, weft for patterning. A soft cotton, also called Madras Muslin, this fabric is imported from India. A fine and open weave material, which sometimes has other colors interwoven. It is an inexpensive material, which is useful in order to practice printing etc. The additional colors can add surface interest when over printing. It is not suitable for dyeing as the colors in the fabric are likely to run. Used for shirts and blouses.

Madras checked cotton shirt.

Makeup (Stains): Sponge the stain with undiluted liquid detergent. Leave the detergent to penetrate the fabric for five minutes then rinse well with cold water. For man-made fabrics, the detergent should be diluted. Wash the fabric as usual with a biological washing powder.

Mangle: Two heavy rollers through which wet textiles are passed to squeeze out liquid.

Mantilla (Accessory): Lace shawl, as worn over the head and shoulders by Spanish women.

Handmade Spanish chantilly mantilla veil.

Mantle: Loose sleeveless cloak or cape.

Full circle cloak with mantle.

Mantua: Loose gown revealing an underskirt (17 - 18th Century).

Silver embroidered blue damask court mantua (an open fronted gown with an elaborate train).

Marabou: A thrown silk usually dyed in the gum or a fabric made of this silk.

Merlot Marabou dressing gown.

Marbling (Dye Pattern): Of all the patterns marbling is the easiest to achieve using dyes. The fabric is crumbled into a ball or sausage shape and bound tightly at intervals with string. The crumbled fabric is wet thoroughly and dyed. If more than one color is used, the fabric needs to untied and be rinsed well, before it is re-tied and re-dyed. Note: The effect on the fabric is shown in the background.


Marl: Two differently colored single yarns or filaments plied together.

Cold shoulder body grey marl dress.

Marocain: A crêpe fabric with a weft rib, woven with two highly twisted S wefts alternating with two highly twisted yarns, and a closely spaced warp.

Marocain skirt.

Marquisette: A leno weave or warp-knitted open textured fabric.

Marquisette structured black skirt.

Martingale Tester: European abrasion testing machine that is also used in ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) tests for fabric abrasion resistance and pilling resistance.

Mase (or Maze) Family: The family came from Normandy and apart from one John Maze, who was a butcher, most entered the silk industry. Two parallel branches had each a pair of brothers James and John and since both married into the same Huguenot families they have proved impossible to disentangle. They achieve considerable prosperity as a clan, leaving substantial sums in their wills, in both real estate and funds.

Master Weaver: James Leman, together with most of the names on the Garthwaite designs, and the firm Batchelor, Ham and Perigal, are all the UK master weavers of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Some of the richest might have produced goods for sale to the mercers each season but increasingly they received commissions for work and then gave it out to their journeymen. The latter were given a warp and a draft form, which to enter the pattern. James Leman was unusual in having a workshop as well as giving out work.

Matelassé (French): It translates as cushioned or padded, which is the appearance of this fabric. Made as a double cloth with two sets of warp and two sets of filling yarns that interlace in a pattern effect. Classified as a crêpe effect fabric, because the appearance is usually more of a heavy crinkled one than one of definite figures. Made of silk, rayon, nylon or several other synthetic filament yarns. Some fabrics have a crinkled appearance in stripes, alternating with smooth sections of fabrics. Examples are Seersucker and Plissé Crêpe.


Matexil PA-L (Auxiliary): To avoid excessive halo effects in discharging, the fabic can be treated with this resist salt before printing. This salt acts as a mild oxidizing agent that prevents the spread of unwanted reducing agent.

Matrix Formatting Screen Printing (MFSP): This technique was developed by Marie-Therese Wisniowski. It involves creating a number of images that are then spliced together to form a matrix. The base unit is overlaid by the components of the matrix during the screen printing process. This gives the works an underlying symmetry, which projects a real sense of vibrancy.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski's, Veiled Curtains: Suu Kyi (MFSP).

Matte Jersey: Dull, flat knit fabric made with fine crepe yarns. Has a crisp, dry feel. Popular for travel and easy-care dresses and separates. It drapes well and transitions well from day to night.

Rushed matte jersey dress.

Mayonnaise – Salad Dressing (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Sponge with cool water or soak for 30 minutes or longer. Soap or detergent may be used. Follow with treatment using a grease solvent if a greasy stain remains; (iii) Fabric: Non-Washable; (iv) Method: Spot clean as above.

Maze and Steer: The firm's pattern book of waistcoat materials dates from 1786 to about 1791 but they did not advertise in the period and have not, so far, been identified. Three waistcoats woven by them have so far been traced, all of very good quality.

H.C. McCrea & Co.: Manufacturers of worsted and mixed furniture damasks of Halifax, who showed in the 1851 Exhibition class XII and XV. The Jury report commented on the "...great perfection, both in excellence of material and elegance of design" of the damasks for curtains and hangings made in Halifax. McCrea won a prize medal for their "damasks of great excellence".

Mechanical Resists: The creation of a physical barrier between the colorant and the cloth (e.g. wax, fat, resin, clay, starch, gum, clamping, tying, stitching etc.)

Medical Fabrics: Fabrics specifically designed to be compatible with human tissue, such as those used in implants, or are designed with live cells to aid in the recovery of injury.

AEC’s knitted narrow fabrics have been used for decades in compression bandaging.

Medicines (Stains): (i) Fabric: See method; (ii) Method: Treat as per butter or other greasy stains if medicine appears greasy. If syrupy, wash with water. If the medicine is dissolved in alcohol (tincture), sponge with alcohol. A medicine containing iron should be treated as an iron stain. If the medicine is colored, treat as per dye stain.

Medulla: The central canal in hair fibers.


Melange Printing: The printing of carded sliver in a striped pattern to produce subtle color effects in the yarn.

Printed Melange knitted fabric.

Melded Fabric: Non-woven fabric composed of a mix of fibers with different melting points, or bicomponent fibers, and are bonded by melting and welding.

Melded fibers may be drawn in different configurations. From top left: core-sheath; eccentric core-sheath; side-side; splittable pie; islands in a sea.

Melt Spinning: Extrusion of a filament from the molten polymer.

Melt Transfer (Transfer Printing): Originally used for transferring an embroidery design to a fabric from a paper by applying a hot iron to its reverse face. The design is transferred by melting to a fabric, while in contact with the design.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski: Global Warming Surviving Remneants (MSDS technique).

Melton: It is similar to Kersey but is heavier in weight. Thick smooth woolen fabric, heavier than broadcloth; resembles felt but is woven; much felted, napped, shorn close, and dull finished. Uses: overcoats and cold-weather jackets.

Melton Wool flight jacket.

Memory Foam: Memory foam is often used to give shape to a garment.

Memory foam pullover.

Men's Hats: See figure below.


Mercer: A dealer in textile fabrics - especially silks. The master weavers in the UK sought orders for their goods from the retailers, the mercers of Ludgate Hill and Covent Garden in the 18th and 19th Centuries. These men sold only silks and high quality worsteds. Garthwaite lists their names together with that of the master weaver whom she sold her designs and their names are also inscribed on the samples of the weavers of Batchelor, Ham and Perigal. The samples for each season were shown to the mercer who then placed his orders. The silk was then woven by the journeymen weaver as instructed and both names were written on the sample.

Mercerization: Treatment of cellulose cloth such as cotton with concentrated caustic soda (alkali) in order to improve luster and strengthen he fibers' affinity with the dye. That is, it also results in less twist in the fibers so that more light is reflected.

Mercerized Cotton: Cotton that has been through a wet finishing process which swells the yarns of the fabric to give it a round smooth surface and stops the cotton from further shrinkage. This process results in a stronger and more lustrous yarn that is more easily dyed, producing brighter, deeper colors.

Mercerized cotton drill beach tunic dress long skirt.

Mercurochrome (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Soak in warm water, soap or detergent and ammonia (4 tablespoons per liter); (iii) Fabric: Non-Washable; (iv) Method: If safe to use alcohol, use this to sponge away the stain. Liquid detergent and a drop of ammonia may be used if alcohol is not safe. Rinse well.

Merino (Fleece): (i) Count: 60/70s; (ii) Staple Length: 5-10 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Off White.

Merino/Cross (Fleece): (i) Count: 58/60s; (ii) Staple Length: 5-15 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Off White.

Mesh: The woven polyester fabric of a screen.


Mesh (in Clothing): In clothing, a mesh is often defined as a loosely woven or knitted fabric that has a large number of closely spaced holes.


Metal Coated or Reflective Linings: These are lining fabrics that have a finish of metallic particles sprayed on the inner side Aluminium is used because it is economical and lightweight, but any metal that flakes could be used. The metal can be applied to any type of fiber.

Metallic Fibers: Man-made from metal such as aluminium, it is used for decorative trim to highlight certain fabrics. Strips of metal are coated with either acetate or polyester films, and so these yarns are heat sensitive. Those made with polyester film coating wear longer and can stand higher temperatures in laundering and ironing than those with the acetate film.

Sheath V-neck Cap Knee-length Metallic Fibers Mother of the Bride Dress.

Metal (Stains): (i) Fabric: See method; (ii) Method: Use acid treatment. That is use 10% acetic acid or vinegar. Keep wet until stain is removed. Rinse well after use. Do not use bleaches.

Methylene Radical: The radical -CH2- , which is found in many fiber polymers.

Microcrystalline Wax: Synthetic substance derived from petroleum. It is used as a substitute for beeswax in resist work on fabrics.

Micro Dyeing: This technique is based on traditional tie dyeing technique in which the item to be dyed is tied, pleated or knotted and immerse in a dye bath which is placed in a microwave oven for four minutes. Note: the size of the items is dictated by the micro-oven size.

Microfibers: An extremely fine synthetic fiber that can be woven into textiles with the texture and drape of natural-fiber cloth but with enhanced washability, breathability, and water repellency.

Microfibril: A small, long bundle of molecules, which goes to make up a fibril.


Microfleece: Microfleece is an ultra-soft synthetic wool-like fabric.

Micro Modal: Micro Modal® is a trademarked microfiber from an Austrian textile company, Lenzing made from spun beechwood cellulose. The fabric is delicate and light.

Women underwear t-shirt micro modal red.

Milanese: A warp-knitted fabric of double threads with a slight diagonal design.


Mildew Resistance: Fiber Property: Ability of a fiber to resist attack from a particular fungus; Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to the chemical composition of the fiber polymer system; Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects level of care during storage and moreover, the selection of fabrics for damp, humid conditions.

Mildew (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Wash thoroughly and dry in the sun. Use chlorine or peroxygen bleach if necessary; (iii) Fabric: Non-Washable; (iv) Method: Send article to the dry cleaner promptly.

Mild Scorch Marks: Heavy scorch marks cannot be treated since the fabric has been permanently damaged. Mild scorch marks can be minimized by sponging the fabric immediately with a solution of cold water and sugar.

Milk (Stains): As per egg.

Millefleurs: French for thousand flowers. A flower-studded pattern with naturalistically depicted flowers, originally used on medieval pictorial tapestries.

Vintage mille fleurs Hereke Turkish rug.

Milliner: Maker or seller of women's hats. See Millinery.

Millinery: Hats for women.

Wearable Artist: Flora Fascinator.
Title of headpiece: Thermoplastic Rose Red.
Materials: Vinyl fabric, foam, glue, spray paint, varnish, satin covered band.
Size: 35 cm (high) x 35 cm (wide) x 20 cm (deep).

Milling: A finishing process in which wool fabrics are pounded in hot soapy water to give them a soft, fuzzy surface.

Mineral Fibers: Asbestos and fiberglass belong to this class of fiber. Both are injurious with respect to health and so are not used in clothing.

Mineral Wool.

Mini Check: A very small-scale check pattern of even-sized checks of the same color on a solid ground. Check sizes are somewhere between the pincheck and the Gingham check.

Mini check dress.

Minky: A soft and fuzzy polyester fabric created to imitate the look of mink, Minky fabric is available in a variety of colors and prints, and is used for creating luxurious blankets and soft baby accessories.

Boy - Minky baby blanket.

Modacrylic Fiber (Modified Acrylics) These fibers are similar to acrylics but were modified in order to impart special characteristics that make them suitable for long pile garments (e.g. they look and feel like fur). Because the fibers are more heat sensitive than other thermoplastics and are often more difficult to iron at any temperature, they have not been used widely for clothing except for coats. Modacrylics are non-flammable, which means they will burn but as soon as the source of the flame is removed, the fabric will not flare up, drip or melt. Trade names Verel and Dynel. Wigs other than human hair have been made from Dynel.


Glamorous 23 inches long straight skin top wigs. Finest Modacrylic Kanekalon fiber.

Modal: A type of rayon created with reconstituted cellulose. Modal fabrics are commonly used in creating towels, pyjamas, robes, and sheets.

Red belt V-neck sleeve Modal dress.

Mohair Fibers: The long fibers from the angora goat. The fibers are long wearing with considerable luster but is needs special care. See post - Speciality Hair Fibers.

Hot mohair sweater from Sweden.

Moiré: A finishing procedure in which two layers of a ribbed fabric are passed together between heavy rollers, giving a non-durable watermark effect. Lustrous, watery design embossed on a faille fabric. Design is permanent only on thermoplastic fibers.

Dress date ca. 1810-1825. Description: Dress of white silk moiré faille, gold embroidery; fitted bodice, puffed sleeves, gored skirt to ankle.

Moiré Pattern: Fancy way of describing "screen clash" but best be applied to desirable use of this effect - see figure below.


Moiree: A corded fabric, usually made from silk or one of the manufactured fibers, which has a distinctive water-marked wavy pattern on the face of the fabric.

Spring Moiree maxi dress.

Moistener: A moistener, promotes the contact with fiber and dyebath, and helps the dye molecules to penetrate into the amorphous regions of the fiber polymer system.

Moisture Content: The amount or mass of water contained in the fiber or textile material, expressed as a percentage of the "as is" or air-dry mass of the fiber or textile.

Moisture Regain: The amount of mass of water contained in the fiber or textile material, expressed as a percentage of the oven-dry mass of the fiber or textile.

Moleskin (Daywear): A heavy-duty cotton fabric with a smooth face, used for trousers and work clothes. Used especially in casual tailored looks or lightweight coats.

Australia's RM Williams Jim Beam moleskin jacket.

Molleton: A heavy reversible cloth with a nap on both sides, originally made from wool.

Red cotton molleton ladies long pants.

Momme: A Japanese unit of weight for silk fabrics.


Mongrel: A plaid design in which the warp stripe layout and filling stripe layout are different.

Mongrel dress.

Monk’s Cloth: A heavy loosely woven basket weave in solid colors, stripes or plaids. Rough material made of heavy cotton yarns. Usually natural color, may also appear to be oatmeal color due to ply yarns, one natural and one dyed brown. Used mainly for draperies, scarves or novelty clothing items.

Monk's cloth design.

Monofilament: Fabric woven from single threads; used in making screen mesh.

Montero: Huntsman's hat in the form of a round cap with ear-flaps.


Monture (Mounture): Drawloom. The term is used by contrast with "foot-figured" by Batchelor, Ham and Perigal.

Moquette: A loop- or cut-pile fabric used for upholstery.


Morphology: With respect to textile fibers, it is the study of the size, shape, structure and composition of the fiber, and their influence on fiber properties and fiber end-uses.

Mortar Board, Trencher: Black academic hat consisting of a tight cap topped by a stiff square and sometimes tassel.

Moss Crêpe: A crêpe weave fabric with a very large repeat, and hence a dull, random appearance.

Moss crêpe drape dress.

Moth Resistance: Fiber Property: The ability of a fiber to resist attack from moths; Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to chemical composition of the fiber (e.g. no sulfur being present in the fiber polymer system); Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects level of care during storage of the fabric.

Mottled: Variegated, spotty or patchy coloring, probably from motley, the partly-colorer costume of the thirteen and fourteenth century jester.

Jesters from a 13th century manuscript.

Mottling: An uneven impression, especially in flat areas.

Mousseline De Soie: It is French for “silk muslin”. It is a plain weave, balanced sheer fabric with a crisp finish.

Caftan mousseline de soie.

Movement Promoters (Stain Removal Agent): (i) Example: Boiling water from a height; (ii) Use: Colloidal stains; (iii) General Instructions: Should be poured onto the stain from a hight to maximize the movement of the stain. Take care when pouring boiling water.

Mozetta: Short hooded cloak for Roman Catholic Bishops.

His holiness, Pope Benedict, wearing a fur-lined winter mozzetta.

Mucus Vomitus (Stains): Treat with lukewarm solution of salt and water (0.25 cup salt per liter of water). Sponge stain with solution or soak stain in it. Rinse well. Treatment as per dyes may also be necessary.

Mud (Stains): Allow to dry and the brush off. Mud from iron-rich clay will need further treatment as per metal stain.

Multihued knitter: A wet-knitting machine which feeds a new yarn to each needle as soon as it has completed a stitch, thus allowing many rows to be knitted at once.

Multifilament: Fabric woven from strands made up of multiple threads; used in making screen mesh.

Multi-Plex Screen Printing (MPSP): This technique was developed by Marie-Therese Wisniowski. It is titled, "Multi-Plexing", and employs the use of transparent inks. The technique involves multi-complex layering of transparent inks and visuals using block out medium to create painterly effects of great depth, movement and rich transparent layers to the silk screened image.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski's, Whose Church? It employs the MPSP technique.

MultiSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS): Developed by Marie-Therese Wisniowski, the MSDS technique employs disperse dyes and involves hand printing multiple resists and multiple overprinted layers employing numerous color plates, mixed media and low relief plant materials. The completed works are rich in color, light, shade, contrast, movement and depth. The multiple layers also imbue a painterly aesthetic and textural, three-dimensional quality to the finished ArtCloth works. Each print is unique and cannot be replicated.

Marie-Therese Wsiniowski's ArtCloth Work: Global Warming - Surviving Remnants. MultiSperse Dye Sublimation technique on satin.

Mungo: Fibrous material recovered from torn wool cloth and felt waste.

Muslin: A lightweight open plain weave cotton fabric. Firm, plain weave cotton fabric, stronger and heavier than longcloth and percale. Little sizing used except in poor grades. May be bleached, semi-bleached or unbleached. Muslin is a term often applied to any plain-weave, balanced fabric ranging from lawn to bed sheeting. It is a specific term for medium weight fabrics which are stronger and heavier than longcloth and percale and are starched or given a slightly crisp finished. Use for sleepwear, dresses, children's clothes and sheets.

Women muslin nightgown-girl flower sleeveless pajamas.

Mustard (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Dampen stain and rub with soap or detergent, rinse. If stubborn, use hot water and soap or detergent, leave for several hours. Further treatment with sodium perborate may be necessary; (iii) Non-Washable; (iv) Method: If safe, sponge with alcohol; otherwise spot clean as above.

Muumuu (Daywear): Bright loose-fitting Hawaiian dress.


Nacre Velvet: It is a changeable fabric with the back of one color and the pile of another.

Nacré Velvet: The back of one color and pile of another, so that it has changeable pearly appearance.

Nail Varnish (Stains): As per correction fluid. Place a clean piece of cotton wool over the stain. Soak another piece of cotton wool with non-oily nail varnish remover and dab the other side of the stain. Take great care to work inwards from the edges of the stain so that you do not spread the mark over the fabric.

Nainsook: A soft finished and sometimes mercerized plain weave balanced cotton fabric. It may be white, pastel colored or printed. Nainsook is similar to batiste, but is less transparent. It has a slight polish on one side. Longcloth and nainsook are identical before finishing. Finer grades may be mercerised. Used for infants' clothing, lingerie and blouses.

1920s white nainsook cotton step-in chemise.

Nankeen: Nankeen, also called Nankeen cloth, is a kind of pale yellowish cloth, originally made at Nanjing from a yellow variety of cotton, but subsequently manufactured from ordinary cotton which is then dyed. Also in the plural a piece or variety of this cloth.

1813. Men's ensemble with piqué vest and nankeen pantaloons.

Nap: A fiberous surface on a fabric, often with a one-way orientation.

Skirt with napped effect.

Napa: A soft, thin, very drape leather skin used for quality garments.


Napping: A process that raises the fiber ends. For example, by mechanical means such as the use of wire brushes or teasels (natural burrs). The ends of the fibers are roughed up or pulled to the surface to produce a downy or fuzzy effect (e.g. blanket cloth or flannelette).

Twill weave fabric: (A) Before napping; (B) After napping. Notice how the raised fibers make it difficult to observe the weave.

Navajo-Churro (Fleece): (i) Count: 60s; (ii) Staple Length: 7.5 – 30 cm ; (iii) Handle: Silky; (iv) Color: Good.

Neats: A neat is an allover, small-scaled, spaced pattern with floral or geometric motifs usually printed in one or two colors on a white or colored ground. Inexpensive to produce and economical for dressmaking.

Neats created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Neckline: The figure below gives the names for the various designs of necklines.


Needle Felt: A non-woven textile in which the necessary bonding is obtained by tangling some fibers together by means of barbed needles.

Fairy skirt. Layered, needle felt costume.

Needle Loom: The machine for producing needle felts.

Needle Loop: Loop created with a needle.


Needlepoint: A craft or method for covering an open-weaved fabric completely with yarn.

Needlepoint Lace: A hand-made lace worked with needle and thread.

First needlepoint lace were made in Venice. Above are 19th Century cuffs.

Needle-Punch Web Fabrics: Fibers are laid out in a thick web effect. Barbed needles are worked up and down through the web in such a way the fiber is intermeshed.

Neligee, Peignoir: Woman's light loose dressing gown.

Vintage luxurious ribbon weave silk in seafood green with lace Peignoir set.

Nep: A small tangle of usually immature cotton fibers.


Net: A sheer mesh made by twisting threads around each other in order to produce hexagonal (six sided) meshes, which appear round at a distance.

The net is made by twisting threads around each other into hexagonal shapes, which appear round at a distance. The construction is not amenable to water absorption.

Netting: Refers to any open-construction fabric whether it is created by weaving, knitting, knotting, or another method.

Ninon: A plain weave sheer fabric made of acetate or polyester filaments.

Ninon dress by Missoni.

Niqab: The niqab is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear. However, it may be worn with a separate eye veil. It is worn with an accompanying headscarf.


Noil: Short wool fibers separated from the top during combing.

Chinese carbonised wool nail.

Non-Woven Fabrics: These fabrics are not made from yarns, but directly from the fiber itself. They can be bonded together in different ways to create extremes of strength, from heavyweight protective fabric to lightweight delicate fabric. Non-wovens are constructed using adhesives, stitching, felting, needle punching, hydro-entangling (using high pressure water jets) and thermal bonding (melting fibers together that become rigid when cooled).

A non-woven fabric spiral dress by designer Madeleine Haber.

Norfolk Jacket: Man's jacket with a belt and box pleats.

Norfolk tweed jacket.

North Down (Fleece): (i) Count: 56/58s; (ii) Staple Length: 6-12 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Off White/A Little Grey.

North Leicester (Fleece): (i) Count: 48/50s; (ii) Staple Length: 23-25 cm; (iii) Handle: Fairly Soft; (iv) Color: Fairly Good.

Novelty Piqué: It is any fabric which has a combination of piqué weave with another weave. Often the piqué strip does not go the entire length of the fabric.

1950s Novelty cotton piqué dress.

Novelty Yarn: A yarn made with irregularities in size, twist, or construction, but not necessarily having a complicated construction.


Novelty Weave: Combining different weaves produces novelties with an unlimited variety of interesting effects, contributing to the beauty rather than to the strength of a fabric.

Chanel novelty weave skirt suit with sequins. Cream and white blend of rayon, cotton, silk, etc. with white sequins, the collarless jacket having angled pockets, flared cuff and slight peplum, logo pearl buttons and logo silk lining, A-line skirt with angled pockets and silk lining.

Nub, Knot and Spot Yarns: A novelty yarn made by wrapping a decorative strand repeatedly around a core to form an enlarged segment.


Nun’s Veiling: A lightweight smooth finished plain weave fabric, often worsted or cotton, sometimes silk.

Nun's cloth or nun's veiling fabrics traditionally used for veils.

Nya Nordiska: A German company founded in the 1960s to produce contemporary textile and product design.

Nylon (Polyamide): A class of synthetic fibers and plastics, polyamides. Its advantage is its elasticity. Although some dyes are specifically prepared for nylon, only light medium colors can be achieved. Its advantage over other synthetic fibers is its similarity in chemical make-up to protein fibers, which means that the same print and dye products can be used. Brand names for nylon include tactile; Textile Inks And Dyes For Nylon: pigment; acid; heat transfer/dispersal papers and inks. See post on Nylon.

Cross-section of conventional nylon under magnification.

Cross-section of Antron nylon (magnified 500 times). Because of the tri-lobal shape which is different from the usual round shape (see above), Antron fabrics are more opaque and have a softer touch.

Off-Grain: Describes fabrics in which the warp and weft do not cross at right angles.

If the fold line ripples, the fabric is off-grain.

Ogee: This is a half drop pattern, where the image also fits into a different shape, which is onion-shaped in appearance - see below.


Oilcloth: Plain-woven fabric water-proofed by impregnation with linseed oil.

Amaro floral extra wide acrylic oOilcloth.

Oiled Silk: Silk or rayon fabrics waterproofed by treatment with oils such as linseed oil.

Yarn dye oiled silk fabric.

Oil Gilding: Technique in which transfer gold is applied to a surface.

Transitional Louis XV-XVI armchair with original water and oil gilding French ca. 18th Century.

Oil Glaze: See glaze.

Oilskin: A cotton linen, silk, or manmade material treated with linseed oil varnish for waterproofing. Used for rainwear.

Field tan waterproof oilskin Gidley jacket with attached cape and Nubuck leather collar.

Oil (Stains): As per butter or margarine.

Oily Stains: Stains due to the absorption of oil.

Olefin Fibers: These are unlike other fibers in that they absorb no moisture, are waxy in feel, and are lighter than water. They were initially employed in hosiery but are now used in garments as well as carpets. Tradenames: Vectra, Herculon and Marvess.

Ombre: Literally, shaded: fabric in which the color is graduated from light to dark. That is, a dyeing effect that graduates the fabric color from light to dark. This is achieved by lowering the fabric or yarn in the dye vat in gradual stages. An ombre effect can also be achieved by using printing methods.

Ombre mini-skirt.

Onion Skin: A lightweight knit fabric that has a subtle pattern on the backing that resembles the appearance of an onion skin.

V Front onion skin dress.

Optical Brightener: A fluorescent dye used to give a “brighter than white” effect.

Optical Finishes: Chemical finishes that either raises or lowers the light reflectance and luster of the fabric.

Organdie (Organdy): A lightweight plain weave transparent fabric with a permanently stiff finish. It can be printed and hand painted. The fabric appearance can be enhanced by using dyes without pigments. Fine spraying onto cotton organdie will produce lovely effects. Low grades are coarse, wrinkle easily and soften with wear. Better grades have durable crisp finish. Used for dresses, curtains, blouses and collars.

1920s Organdy over-the-head blouse.

Organic: A crisp, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count, made of silk, rayon, nylon, or polyester.

Pink organic silk Eleonora dress.

Organza: A rayon or silk organdy. Sheer fabric of silk in plain weave. Slightly stiff because of silk gum. Resembles organdie but softer drape. May be made of rayon or synthetic fibers with finishes.

Black organza endless ruffle blouse.

Orientated: Aligned parallel with the length of the fiber.

Orkny Native (Fleece): (i) Count: 50/56s; (ii) Staple Length: 2-12 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Off White, dark grey.

Osnaburg: A coarse, suiting-weight cotton fabric characterized by uneven yarns, which have bits of cellulosic wastes.

19th Century trade shirt in osnaburg.

Ottoman: A warp-face fabric with a bold weft rib. Originally made with silk warp and wool weft. Generally, heavy corded silk, rayon, nylon or wool fabric with a cotton cord filling. Broad flat ribs alternate with smaller ribs. Used for dressy suits and coats.

Cotton Ottoman rib jacket.

Outdoor: Outdoor fabric is used to recover cushions, pillows, create awnings, and more for spaces exposed to nature’s elements like the sun and rain. Created with polyester or acrylic fibers, outdoor fabric is durable, soil and stain resistant, and can be cleaned by wiping with a damp rag.

Outline (Stem) Stitch (Embroidery): It is worked from left to right with small regular stitches. Each slightly slanted stitch emerges to the right of the previous one.


Outing Flannel: A white or yarn dyed cotton fabric napped on both sides. Used for the same purpose as flannelette.

Vintage outing flannel.

Overall: A layout in which motifs are fairly close and evenly distributed as opposed to stripes, borders, plaids, and engineered designs. Another term is allover.

Overall design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Overcasting (Embroidery): Withdraw the required number off threads, and pass the needle under and over the remaining threads to form the bar.


Over-Dyeing: Partially or fully dyeing a fabric that has already been initially dyed. The final outcome will be affected by the original base color.

Oxidizing Sign or Label: Safety measure – Isolate the chemical since it can react dangerously with other chemicals.

Oxford: A plain weave fabric with two warp ends weaving as one: the yarns are good quality, often cotton, and the fabric is often striped. It is a 2 x 1 fabric made of combed cotton yarns with the warp yarns much finer than the filling yarns. It has a flat appearance because the two warp yarns occupy the same space as the one filling yarn. White or dyed. Used for men's shirts, blouses and dresses.

Oxford cloth as it appears under magnification. Notice that the two fine warp yarns occupy the same space as one filling yarn. The use of white filling yarns and yarn-dyed warps is common.

Oxford Bags (Daywear): 1920s-style baggy trousers.

1920 Oxford bags.

Oxford (Fleece): (i) Count: 50 - 58s; (ii) Staple Length: 7.5 – 12.5 cm ; (iii) Handle: Medium; (iv) Color: Fair.

Pack Cloth: A tear-drop shaped, fancy printed pattern, used in dresses, blouses, and men's ties.

Padded or “English” Quilting: This is perhaps the best known form of quilting where the entire surface is padded. Two layers of fabric and one of padding are required.

English/Wadded Quilting Sampler.

Padding: A dyeing process in which the fabric impregnated with dye is squeezed between weighted mangles to recover (and recycle) the excess.

Paisley: A decorative print featuring Indian curved "pine cone" patterns.

Diversity Paisley masse fabric.

Pagi-Sore: A batik sarong, which can be adjusted to be worn as morning or evening wear. Each half has a separate design.

Batik Tulis Solo Lawasan Pagi Sore. Hand-drawn vintage batik cloth from Solo.

Paint or Varnish (Stains): (i ) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Treat immediate with whatever is recommended as a thinner. Follow by washing; (iii) Fabric: Non-Washable; (iv) Method: Spot clean as above, including spot cleaning with detergent.

Pajama Check: Similar to dimity in construction, but it is made with carded yarns and not as sheer. It has a soft finish and group yarns in both directions.

Men pyjama check pants.

Paletot: Woman's fitted jacket (19th Century).


Pallium, Toga: Cloak or robe in Ancient Rome.

In the Imperial period, the tunic was replaced by a type of coat, the pallium for men and the palla for women. This type of coat, adopted from the Greeks, was easy to throw over the shoulders and mostly ankle-length. The most popular color was purple.

Panama Canvas: A plain-weave fabric used for embroidery.

Panama canvas-cordura trousers.

Panama Fabric: A plain-weave smooth finished cloth used for men’s tropical suits.

Panama fabrics combine elegant texture with durability, making it a superb choice for adding an extra touch of panache to a plain colored shirt.

Panel: A panel is a cotton print that can be used for anything from quilt projects to aprons, doll clothes, or soft books. Most commonly used in quilting, panels feature a large design that is often featured in the center of a quilt, making it perfect for themed projects. Some panels also feature instructions and cut-outs for projects like an apron or book.

Womens vintage rose panel kitchen apron.

Panné: A high-gloss satin fabric.


Panné Satin: Lightweight silk or manmade fiber satin fabric with very high ouster achieved with aid of heavy roll pressure. Crushes easily. Used for evening wear.

Panné satin.

Panné Velvet: A lightweight velvet with a flatten pile. Skinny fabric with piles that lie flat, creating a soft hand feel with wonderful drape.

Gold panné velvet backless dress with foulard embroidered sleeves.

Paper Fabrics: They are really non-woven fabrics made of a webbing of cellulose fibers, cotton or usually rayon bonded together using various materials.

Vintage 1950s novelty print paper fabric skirt.

Paper Taffeta: It is a very lightweight, stiff, transparent fabric.

Balenziaga's black tissue-paper taffeta dress, ballooning sash, and velvet coat.

Parang: A diagonal "broken knife" batik motif on a sarong, at one time worn exclusively by the nobility in Java.

Detail of traditional batik cloth from Yogyakarta in Central Java, a sarong for women. The Yogyakarta pattern features the parang rusak (broken knife or dagger) motif, a symbol of justice and power. Traditionally this design, particularly during the 18th century, was considered one of the forbidden designs and its use was restricted to the Sultan and his close relatives; commoners were strictly forbidden from wearing it.

Parchment: Goat or sheep-skin, scraped and dressed with lime and pumice and used for writing on.

Sheep skin parchment.

Parchmentizing: A brief acid treatment of cottons to give a permanent transparent finish (as in organdie) or a crisp linen-like hand.

Parka (Jacket): Hooded fur or cloth jacket.

Fur lined Parka jacket.

Patchwork (piecing; pieced work): The sewing together of small pieces of fabric to form a large piece.

Patchwork 2-piece dress (blue).

Patent Leather: Shiny, hard, smooth leather created by applying a solution that hardens to the surface of the leather.


Patina: (i) Color and texture that appears on the surface of a material as a result of age or atmospheric corrosion; (ii) The mellow, greenish-brown film created on a copper or bronze sculpture either through natural oxidation or by applying chemicals and heat.

Patination: Artificially created patina.

Pattern Classifications: Ways to group (classify) patterns according to their traits, such as: symmetry (for example, seventeen planar symmetry types); layout type (diamond, drop, gradation, grid, spot, etc.); layout arrangement (allover, foulard, etc.); pattern directions (one-way, two-way, unidirectional, etc.); motif or subject matter (florals, geometrics, paisleys, conversational, abstract, plaid, stripe, etc.; florals can be further subdivided into roses, palette (botanical or stylized), etc.; conversational can be subdivided into pictorials, figurative, etc.; geometrics into line patterns, argyle, etc.); production technique used or imitated (watercolour, airbrush, hound's tooth weaving, herringbone, chevron, satin, pilotage, eccentrics, batik, etc.); repeating on the infinite plane or designed to fit a specific shape (engineered); purpose or application (apparel, home furnishing, camouflage, etc.); scale (small-scale for contract design or large-scale for home furnishing); target garment or accessory (rugs, bandanna, neckwear, etc.); coloring (madders, khaki, etc.); historic period, art movement, or place of origin (Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Liberty style, Pop Art etc.); Toile De Jouy, Herati, Tartan, ethnic (Indian, African tribal, Maya, etc.), contemporary, etc.) These classifications are not mutually exclusive and patterns are frequently described as belonging to more than one class; for example, an abstract undirectional allover madder camouflage pattern, which has the simple shift symmetry and the half-drop layout.

Patterned Ground: A background (ground) that is in itself a pattern. Often consists of stripes, plaids, dots, zigzags, and other small geometric elements or textures, but can also contain flowers and more complex motifs.

A guilloche ground created in Artlandia SymmetryMill.

Peachskin: A soft fabric with a brushed texture similar to the skin of a peach on one side, with a good amount of drape. Peach skin is often used to create blouses, skirts, and dresses with a lining.

Peanut Batik: Batik in which a paste of finely ground peanuts, lime and water was used as a resist agent.

Peau De Soie: Literally, skin of silk, satin silk-like fabric with a grained or ribbed surface.

Beau De Soie bridesmaid dress.

Pelerine (Cape): Woman's short cape.

Periling cape with longer hood.

Pelissé (Cloak): Long fur or fur-lined cloak.

1840's fur trim pelisse.

Pellon: A trade name for non-woven fabric used for interlinings and made from a combination of such fibers as nylon, cotton, rayon, or others. Pellon has been incorrectly applied to many non-woven interlinings. All bias pellon is made from fibers that are individually texturized so that there is a give to the fabric similar to the bias direction of woven fabrics.

Pellon fusible fleece.

Pencil (Stains): Try using a soft eraser. Further treatment if required may be s per carbon paper.

Pencil Stripes: A stripe pattern produced by lines that are about as thick as ones drawn by pencil. The distance between lines is often wider than the lines. Also called dress stripe.

Pencil stripe design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Peplos: Woman's blouse or robe in Ancient Greece.

A woman's garment, fastened at the shoulders, leaving the arms bare, and open along one side.

Percale: A lightweight fine, closely woven plain weave fabric often made from fine Egyptian cotton. The yarns may be combed or carded, and the glazed or unglazed fabric is often used for sheeting. It is similar to poplin. It is suitable for printing, painting and dyeing. Usually printed but may be white or dyed. Checks and plaids may be printed to stimulate gingham. Good quality often called 80 square, meaning approximately 80 warp and 80 filling threads per square inch. Used for dresses, blouses, sleepwear, children's clothes and sheets.


Perendale (Fleece): (i) Count: 48 - 56s; (ii) Staple Length: 6 – 9 cm ; (iii) Handle: Medium; (iv) Color: Fair.

Permanent Care Labeling: A label that is permanently attached to a garment outlining how the garment should be cared in order to extend its lifetime.

Permanent Press: Statement found on a garment label. Indicates the garment has been given a finish so that it comes through a washing-drying cycle smooth, ready to put on without the need to iron. Note for such garments usually stains need to be pre-treated and chlorine bleach may cause problems.

Perspiration (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Wash in warm water and soap or use detergent. Take care with silk because it is damaged by perspiration. Vinegar may be used on old stains; ammonia on fresh stains. Bleaching may be necessary; (iii) Fabric: Non-Washable; (iv) Method Spot clean as above.

Peruvian Pima Cotton: Pima cotton that is grown in Peru and harvested by hand which reduces the scratchy impurities and guarantees a more brilliant white shade that can be easily dyed.

Peruvian pima-cotton bikini briefs.

Petersham (Coats and Jackets): Thick woolen coats and jackets.

Bench beige Petersham hooded, knitted jacket.

Petit Point: Needlepoint which has 16 or more stitches to the inch.

Petit Point evening bag "Flowers - Bunch of roses".

PFD: A fabric that is not sized or finished. PFD stand for “Prepared for Dyeing,” and is perfect apparel and quilting projects.

Pheasant's Eye: A weave forming diamond shapes that are somewhat bigger than bird's eye weaves.

A pheasant's eye pattern schematic created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Photodegradation: Changes in fibers due to light-initiated chemical reactions.

Phototropism: With respect to dye technology, it refers to reversible fading, induced by light, of certain dyes in association with substrates.

Pick: (i) A pass of the weft through the warp shed; (ii) Crosswise thread in a loom.

Pick Glasses: Magnifying lenses placed over carefully measured openings in order to make thread counts of a fabric.

Picolay (Trade Name): It is an embossed fabric that resembles birdseye piqué. Proper care must be given if the design is to list satisfactorily.

1950 Bates cotton Picolay floral dress.

Picotage: An old style of creating stipple patterns in textile printing when highlights and shadows are produced with different sizes of brass pins driven into a wooden block. Also called pinning. Imitated with a modern technology to create an old fashion look.

A pilotage pattern created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Picot Edging: Decorative edge created by knitting regular pointelle holes along the middle of a jersey trim, then holding the trim in half to form an undulating edge.

Chanel dress (1920s) with picot edging, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Piece: One bolt or roll of fabric. A typical piece from Regal has 50 to 60 yards of fabric.

Piece Dyeing: Dyeing of one type of material or yarn, such as 100% cotton, into one single even color. This involves the fabric being completely submerged into a dye bath. It is also a commercial practice of dyeing solid color fabric to order.

Piece-dyed cotton skirt - black.

Pigment Taffeta: It is woven with delustered rayon filaments with little or no twist, into a plain weave balanced fabric. It is not crisp.
Pigment (or yarn dyed) Taffeta dress.

Pigskin: A sueded leather skin that can be drape or firm depending on the dye lot. Works well in jackets, slim pants, and straight skirts.


Pilcha (Brazil): Traditional dress from Brazil.

Garment, Pilcha, Prenda Gaúcha. Brazil.

Pile: Raised surface or nap of a fabric.

Pile Weaves: Pile weaves have an extra set of yarns in a three-dimensional effect. The word pile comes from the Latin word meaning fur, which some piles are similar in appearance to. Example of pile fabrics are velvet, velveteen and corduroy.

A pile fabric. Notice how the pile stands at right angles to the background fabric. This is a long pile, often called a man-made fur.

Pill: A tangle of broken fibers adhering to the surface of a fabric.


Pillbox: Small stiff round hat.

Red wool pillbox hat with black curly goose feathers and black beaded medallion.

Pilling: Fiber Property: It is the balling up of fiber ends on the surface of fabrics; Reason For Fiber Property: This is associated with fiber strength; Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects extent of pilling of fabric.

Because polyester and nylon fibers are so strong, fabrics made from them may have the tendency to pill. The balls of fiber do not affect the wear of the garment, but they may be unsightly.

Pima Cotton: A long staple fiber that, on average is between 1.25 and 2 inches in length. They are silkier and smoother than many other cotton fibers. Pima Cotton made from Egyptian cotton, is an excellent quality cotton fabric.Long cotton fibers. Strong and silky to the touch. It has a characteristically fine luster.


Piña: Fine, lustrous cloth fabrics; the fibers produced from the leaf of pineapple.

Piña circle skirt.

Pincheck: A check pattern produced by intersecting pin-sized stripes that are one or two yarns thick.


A pincheck design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Pincord: A fabric similar in texture and appearance to corduroy with very fine raised stripes. Pincer fabric is most common in home décor and apparel projects.

Pincer jacket in light grey.

Pinstripe: A stripe pattern produced by (sometimes broken) very thin lines that are one or two yarns thick.

Pinstripe design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Piping: A narrow fabric, one of the selvedges of which is wrapped around a core. Used for decorative effects.


Piqué: A woven fabric textured by long floating wefts on the reverse side, which pull the ground fabric into hills and furrows. It has a warp wise corded effect due to the extra filling yarns on the back and stuffer warp yarns under each cord. May be pin wale or wide wale. Usually of mercerised cotton yarns, but may be of almost any fiber. Variations include birdseye piqué, where the cords are made in such a way that they come together and then separate to form a birdseye effect. This fabric is not reversible as is birdseye diaper cloth.

Printed piqué. Notice the lengthwise ridges.

Pirn: The small bobbin around which weft yarn is wound inside a shuttle.

Plaid: A design that consists of crossing bands or stripes of color, almost always at right angles.

Plaid design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Plain Knitting: Knit and purl stitches used together to form plain knitting.


Plain Weave: This is also called “tabby” and is identical to darning, being an over one, under one interlacing of threads. The pattern thus repeats itself over two warp ends. See also tabby.


Plain weave fabric under magnification.

Plait Fabric: Machine technique used most often with Lurex or metallic yarn. One end of the "novelty" yarn is added along with the base yarn and is knitted only on the face of the work, so as not to create an itchy texture on the inside. The resulting fabric has a similar look to marl.

High waist umbrella plait short-skirt.

Plait Stitch (Embroidery): The first stitch is worked across four threads and three stitches vertically from bottom left to top right. The needle is brought out three threads below and worked back diagonally across two threads and the needle is brought out directly below. Repeat to form a plait. One row is worked for the border, filling in each corner with a star satin stitch.


Plangi (Tie Dyeing): A resist method of printing fabric or yarn in which the fabric or yarn is first tied with a wax thread where ever it is intended to resist the dye, and then is dipped in a dye bath.

Plastic Glue (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Wash with soap or detergent before glue hardens. Some forms of plastic glue maybe removed by soaking stain in hot 10% acetic acid or vinegar. Keep this hot or nearly boiling until stain is removed (bout 15 minutes). Rinse; (iii) Fabric: Non –Washable; (iv) Method: Spot clean as per washable and finish by sponging. (Test fabric first).

Plasticity: The property of a material or fiber to remain deformed when the forces, which caused its deformation have been removed. A plastic fiber will tend to remain stretched and distorted, while fabric made from such fiber will tend to wrinkle and distort on wearing.

Plastic (Stains): Use amyl acetate or trichloroethylene. Follow method for solvents.

Pleating (Dye Pattern): The fabric is pleated or folded to produce on dyeing colored stripes. Several variations are possible: if the fabric is folded lengthwise vertical stripes ensue, width-wise for horizontal stripes or diagonally for diagonal stripes. Every fold produces a stripe and so for an evenly spaced design it is important that the distance between folds is measured and the string bindings tied at regular intervals. By re-folding and re-tying the fabric between several dyeings, a multi-colored criss-cross design can be created. Always tie the new bindings before removing the old ones so that the pleats are not disturbed. Note: The effect on the fabric is shown in the background.


Plissé: Crinkled finish given to cotton and nylon fabrics by treatment with caustic soda solution.

1950s Red nylon Plissé full dress.

Plissé Crêpe: Fabric with puckered or crinkled finish. It is made from lawn or similar material by printing sodium hydroxide in the form of stripes on the cloth. The caustic soda causes the fabric to shrink in the treated areas, which results in the untreated areas becoming puckered. Plissé can be distinguished from seersucker by pulling it flat. With a little tension it becomes flat but resumes its crinkle when tension is removed. It is a softer fabric than seersucker. It is used for sleepwear, infants' wear and summer dresses.

Plissé. The smooth stripes are where the chemicals were applied, causing the untreated sections to pucker.

Plush: A fabric with a long but not particularly dense pile, woven, weft knitted, or warped knitted. It is a cut-pile fabric with a deeper pile than velvet or velour; usually greater than 0.25 inches. It may be made from cotton, wool, silk or man-made fibers. It is used for coats, upholstery, powder puffs and coat collars.

Simple modern European sofa cover high-grade leather sofa cushion towel jacket custom-made short plush fabric slip sofa covers.

Ply: Strand of yarn. Three-ply refers to a yarn made up of three strands of any weight or thickness.

Plying: The twisting together of individual strands of yarn.

Ply Yarn: A yarn stronger than a single yarn of the same thickness and weight. Ply yarns are often used for fabrics expected to take hard ware.


Pockets: The figures below give names to the various designs of pockets.



Pocket Treatments: The figure below gives the names of various pocket treatments.


Point D’Esprit: A netting with a rectangular dot in a regular, all-over pattern.


Pointelle: Effect created by knitting stitches together in one row, then adding the stitch back into the next row to create a hole.

Vintage 1960s red pointelle knit long sleeve sweater.

Pointelle Lace Effects: Any amount of lace effects can be created with engineered pointelle patterns.

Half-sleeve mixed-lace pointelle top.

Polished Cotton: Term applied to cotton fabric, usually of plain weave but may be a sateen weave, with a surface layer of resin to add gloss. Thinner layer than for chintz and fabric is more apt to wrinkle. Used for dresses.


Pollera Dress (Panama): Traditional dress of Panama.

Pollera Dress, Pollera Panameña.

Polyamide: The basic fiber-forming substance for nylon fiber. It is also the European term for nylon.

Polwarth (Fleece): (i) Count: 58-64s; (ii) Staple Length: 10 – 12 cm ; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Ultra White.

Polychromate Dyeing: A dyeing process in which streams of different colored dyes are poured over a moving piece of fabric, resulting in a colored pattern.

Polychrome: Multi-colored.

Polyester Fiber: (i) Like Nylon, there are many types of polyesters, each serving a specific purpose. Polyester fibers are made in staple and filament forms, and also as a film called Mylar, the latter of which is used for making "metallic" yarns. The manufacture is a complex chemical process involving many steps. Numerous trade names abound (e.g. Terylene, Dacron, Vycon and Fortrel etc.) It is most suitable for transfer paints and crayons. The shape of polyester can be moulded at a high temperature, so permanent creases, pleats and 3D effects can be created; (ii) Textile Inks And Dyes For Polyester: pigment; heat transfer/dispersal papers and inks. See post on polyester.

Polyester (Rayon) Cotton: This fabric is made from a blend of natural cotton fibers and polyester. This makes the fabric more hard-wearing and it is therefore most commonly used. It is suitable for all fabric printing and dyeing, although, as always, the correct type of dye or paints must be used. The percentage of polyester can vary greatly as the fabric is made in a good range of different weights.

Ebony twist black polyester cotton mini skirt.

Polyester (Rayon) Crêpe: A soft fabric, which is very hard wearing. This fabric can be used for printing, but is best used for transfer printing colors. The intense color of transfer inks works best on 100% polyesters of all types.


Polyester Sheer: This firm net fabric has a hard quality. It can be colored with transfer inks.

Polyester sheer top.

Polymer: A large molecule formed by joining together, via chemical bonds, many smaller sub-units (called monomers) in a repeated pattern.

Polymerization: Molecular re-alignment impelled by some external force or treatment. An internal change by which properties of a substance are changed and its molecular weight increase without the addition of a new ingredient.

Polynosic: A regenerated cellulosic fiber with a fribrillar structure, which gives it a high wet strength.

Men's Burleigh Point polynosic shirt.

Polypeptide: A linear polymer of amino acid (protein) which are linked together by a peptide bond (-CONH- link).

Polypropylene:A textile fiber developed by Professor Guilio Natta, consultant to the largest chemical producer in Italy. It is obtained from propylene gas, a by-product of oil refining. This fiber may be used for satiny silk-like fabrics or for heavy wool-like yarns. Characteristics of polypropylene include: good strength, excellent elastic recovery, good resilience, and good stain resistance. This latter property has led to its wide use in carpets and upholstery fabrics. Polypropylene has a relatively low melting point and should not be ironed. Polypropylene is used widely in inexpensive upholstery fabrics due to its price and durability.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Known as “vinyl” in North America. Most fabrics called “PVC” have a fabric base, which has been coated. There is a variety of uses for this fabric - in and out of doors. Special fabric colors can be applied from puff pens, which will dry and stick to the PVC.

PVC Crop Top and Pleated Mini Skirt.

Poncho (Cloak): Simple cloak of a large cloth with a hole for the head to pass through.

Colorful acrylic poncho.

Pongee: A wild silk, plain weave fabric. It is also the name of a ribbed fabric comparable to broadcloth in weight, which is made with an acetate filament warp and cotton filling yarns. Usually of natural color. Duller than shantung and lighter weight. May be imitated with acetate or other man-made fibers. Used for luxury robes, blouses and dresses.

Long sequins plus Pongee red evening dresses.

Poplin: A fine, tightly woven, warped-faced fabric that is heavier weft yarn than warp yarn to create a noticeable rib texture on the fabric surface. Suitable for printing and dyeing. Usually cotton fibers, often mercerized. Used for nurse's uniforms and summer jackets.


Pounds Per Square Inch (Abbreviation: psi): A British Imperial measurement of pressure used in pressure steaming.

Power Net: An elasticized warp-knitted fabric.


Pre-shrunk: Often a statement on a garment label that is of little consequence, since what should be known is the extent of further shrinkage. A further shrinkage of 1% is of no consequence but a 2% further shrinkage will affect the comfort and fit of the garment.

Printed Fabrics: Textiles with design elements or motifs which are applied to the surface of the fabric with colorants such as dyes or pigments. This is as opposed to woven fabrics in which the design is created in the weaving as part of the structure of the textile itself. Many different types of printing methods exist, some of which include: rotary screen printing, heat transfer printing, and block printing.

Projectile Loom: A loom in which single lengths of weft yarns are carried across the shed in the grip of a small, light projectile which is hit across the loom at high speed.

Protein: A natural polymer of amino acids that is found in animals and plants. It is also called a natural polypeptide.

Protein Fibers: Fibers that are extracted from proteins. Can be natural (e.g. wool, silk, cashmere, mohair, angora, and silk) or man-made (e.g. lanital, azlon and marinova etc.)

Pulled Threaded Embroidery (Drawn Fabric Work): A counted embroidery technique in which the value and hue of the thread and fabric are the same. The stitches are pulled tight so that the warp and weft are either pulled together or pulled apart to form geometric patterns.

Pulled Wool: Wool that is chemically removed from the skins of slaughtered sheep. It is usually less alive and springy from fleece wool.

Punch Stitch (Embroidery): Two straight stitches are made over the same four threads, and then the needle is taken diagonally under and along four threads as shown in (a). It is continued long the row in the same way. The fabric is turned sideways and two more rows are worked to form the square as shown in (b).


Purl: The second basic stitch learnt in knitting, which forms the back or "wrong side" of the work. Purl stitch works the opposite of a knit. Make sure the yarn is in front of your work before starting any purl stitch. Slip left needle into first stitch from left to right. This time your working needle (the left needle) ends up in front of the holding needle (the right needle).


Quality: (i) A term which refers to the type of construction of a woven fabric; (ii) A term which refers to a product's lack of deficiencies.

Quatrefoil: A fabric construction in which a layer of down or fiberfill is placed between two layers of fabric, and then held in place by stitching or sealing in a regular, consistent, all-over pattern on the goods.

Quick Point: Needlepoint which has 3.5 to 5 inches per stitch.

Quilted Fabrics: Quilted fabrics are multicomponent fabrics consisting of two fabrics above and below a layer of wadding or batting held together by machine stitching or by fusion.


Quilting: The art of quilting basically involves stitching together two or more layers of fabric to form a decorative design on the top surface, either to create warmth or softness or simply to add interest.

Japanese Quilt Flower Festival by Noriko Masui (2006).

Quilting Frame: Quilting may be done on a rectangular frame which has two bars with webbing attached and two bars as stretchers. The bottom layer of the fabric is stitched to the webbing tapes and stretched taut. The sides are laced to the stretchers with heavy thread. The batting and top fabric is smoothly placed over it and all three layers are baste together. Frames are usually available with tapes up to 76 cm long.


Rabbit Fur: Using rabbit fur for producing felted products has a long history. In 1874 Benjamin Dunkerley arrived in Tasmania from England and decided to start a hat making business in Hobart. In the early 1900's Dunkerley moved the business to Crown Street, Surry Hills, an inner suburb of Sydney, setting up a small hat making factory. In 1911, the business became Dunkerley Hat Mills Ltd, and had a mere nineteen employees. The trade name "Akubra" came into use in 1912. The Akubra Hat Factory is now based on the mid north coast of New South Wales in the town of Kempsey, having relocated from Sydney in 1974.There are eleven essential steps in making an Akubra hat. The fur used in manufacturing felt hats is the downy-under-fur of these animals, not the long, coarse hair commonly called fur. This under-fur has tiny barb-like projections on the surface of each fiber and these barbs lock the fibers to make strong felt. The fur is graded (cheeks, flanks, sides, centre-backs or entire) and then packed into different bags for storage. Fur from the centre-back is the choicest fur, the fur from the sides is the poorer quality. A good blend is a proper combination of furs, skilfully selected by the hat maker. See post - Speciality Hair Fibers.


Rachel: A term describing a large variety of knit fabrics with designs that resemble lace. Often knit very loosely with tricot backing for stabilization.

Rachel lace fabric - Titli Copper Jari.

Raddle (Weaving): A raddle looks like a large comb with a removable top. It is used with a table loom for transferring warp onto the back roller or warp beam of a table loom. The teeth of the raddle are at regular intervals and the threads are spread in groups between the teeth to equal the number of ends per cm.


Raffia: Taken from palm leaves, this natural fiber can be woven like straw to create a very coarse-textured fabric, typically used in millinery.

Raffia Fedora with buckle (natural color).

Ragging: Paint technique that employs a crumpled piece of rag to create decorative broken-color finishes.

Raglan: Coat or cloak with sleeves to the collar.

Raglan sleeve coat.

Raiki Wara: Aboriginal phrase which translated means long cloth (e.g. often use in the context of Aboriginal ArtCloth works).

Angkuna Kulyuru, Raiki wara. Batik On Silk (Ernabella, Australia).

Railroaded: Describes the orientation of a pattern's direction. When looking at a railroaded pattern, the filling yarns are in the vertical direction, while the warp yarns are in the horizontal direction. Some industries and manufacturers prefer railroaded patterns, while others prefer up-the-roll patterns for their application. For example, a sofa upholsterer may prefer a railroaded pattern in order to avoid excessive seams and waste fabric.

Railroaded.

Up the Roll.

Raising: The finishing of fabrics by abrasion to produce a surface layer of protruding fibers.

Strapless black lined floral raised fabric.

Rambouillet (Fleece): (i) Count: 60-80s; (ii) Staple Length: 5 – 10 cm ; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Good.

Ramie: A bast fiber, similar to flax, taken from the stalk of a plant grown in China.

Rapier Loom: A shuttle less loom in which the wefts carried through the shed by a gripper mounted on a long metal strip or rapier.

Raschel Knitting: The Raschel knitting machine can use any type of yarn. It produces a variety of fabrics from thermal wear to dress fabrics to delicate lace.

Sketch of Raschel knit fabric. Designs vary but all are loosely knit and resemble lace.

Raschel Lace: A warp knitted lace fabric.

Raschel knit lace top.

Ratine Yarn: A yarn produced when bulky yarn is looped around a core yarn and held in place by a binder yarn.

Raw Cotton: Cotton in its natural (unmercerized) state.

Raw cotton dress with asymmetrical collar and self belt-vintage dress.

Raw Silk: Silk from which the sericin has not been removed.

Burgundy raw silk evening dress with tucks.

Rayon: A regenerated cellulose fiber; the first artificially produced fiber and the first that imitated silk. Viscose Rayon dyes as well as cotton.

Long maxi skirt bright color rayon.

Rayon Covert: Rayon covert looks like wool covert. It is made with a blend of rayon and acetate in dress weight.

Model wearing Cohama rayon covert-cloth suit, and pixie cap, holding velveteen topcoat, standing next to table and chandelier.

Reconstituted Cellulose Fibers: Man-made methods, using reconstituted cellulose. They have similar properties to cotton, and can be dyed and printed in the same way (e.g. viscose rayon, acetate rayon, tencel and modal etc.)

Modal (1960's) A type of Rayon; reconstituted Cellulose from Beech trees.

Recovery: The degree to which a fiber will return to its original length after elongation.

Reed: A comb-like part of a loom, used to beat up the wefts.

Reed (Weaving): The reed is a metal structure used with table looms. It consists of a series of wires strung between two slats of wood, and is the width of the table loom. It has spaces equal to the number of warp threads per cm. These spaces are called dents.

Reefer (Jacket): Man's short double-breasted jacket.

Men's lined pea coat (Reefer jacket) - Navy.

Reeled Silk: A fine silk filament yarn made from several perfect silk filaments held together with twist.

Reeled silk strapless dress - apricot.

Regain: The degree to which a fiber can absorb atmospheric moisture.

Regency Stripes: Stripes of apparently the same width and alternating light and dark colors. Regency stripes are usually wider than candy stripes, but narrower than awning stripes. Commonly used in wallpaper, upholstery, and shirtings. Originated in India and became popular during the Regency era in the United Kingdom. Also called Bengal stripes and tiger stripes.

Regency stripe design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Regenerated Fibers: Regenerated fibers are those made from natural fibrous substances such as cotton linters or wood pulp.

Regimental Stripe: A stripe pattern with colors originating from British regiments. Most often used in neckwear. Also called regimentals.

Regimental stripe design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Relief Effects: Soft relief effects can be produced on wool fibers by utilizing their natural felting properties.

Repeat: Complete unit of pattern for design. Repeats vary in size considerably, depending on the weave, type of material, texture, and the use of the cloth. Measured vertically and horizontally, repeat information is used in defining how to layout the fabric on the furniture.

Repeat Networks: Repeat networks are designs that establish an ordered pattern such as: (i) full-drop square network; (ii) brick network; (iii) half-drop network; (iv) diamond network; (v) triangular network; (vi) ogee network; (vii) hexagonal network; (viii) scale network.

Brick network.

Repeat Printing: Printing an image more than once on the same piece of fabric or paper. Often refers to printing in measured increments along a length of fabric, assembly-line style.

Versace Collection Repeat Print Pencil Dress.

Repp (Rep): A plain weave fabric with a pronounced weft rib. Resembles poplin but has a flatter and heavier rib effect. May be of cotton or silk or synthetic fibers. Used for men's ties, suits or in heavy weight upholstery fabrics.

Kelly green and yellow repp-striped tie paired with light blue gingham check shirt and steel blue suit.

Reprocessed Wool: Reprocessed wool is converted into a fiberous state from scraps and clips of never-worn woven and felted fabrics or from garments that did not sell for some reason.

Residual Shrinkage: The amount of shrinkage during the natural lifetime of a garment.

Resilience: The ability of fiber to recover from a slight deformation.

Resiliency: The ability of a fiber to maintain its form when under the stress by an external action. For example, cotton easily wrinkles when washed and needs to be ironed and so is not as resilient as a drip-dry fabric to the washing action.

Resist Painted: Painted on woven fabric.

Wax resist and silk painting silk dress.

Resist Printing: Application to a fabric in a pattern or image of a substance, which prevents dye uptake, resulting in a white or undyed pattern or image on a dyed ground.

Resists: A substance that prevents dye uptake or fixation of a dye on a substrate in areas where the resist has been applied. Resists may be physical or chemical barriers (e.g physical - leaf of a plant; chemical - lack of a mordant for natural dyes).

Resist Salt L: A mild oxidizing agent that prevents the dye from decomposing during fixation and achieves a high color yield.

Resist Style: A pattern style in which the fabric is treated with a resist whereby on dyeing or developing, a white or colored pattern is obtained on a colored ground.

Retouching: Methods of altering the image of artwork to make corrections, improve or change the character of the image.

Retroussage: The term given to flicking a soft rag lightly over a wiped intaglio plate, to draw out the ink slightly and give a softer line. In other words, a technique of wiping an etching plate so that ink is drawn up out of lines, thus producing softer, richer effects.

Rettling: The process that separates the flax fibers from the stem. This is usually achieved by soaking the stem in water.

Reused Wool: Reused wool is made from fibers garneted from fabrics that have been worn or used in some manner. It is commonly called shoddy wool.

Ribbed Wheel (Embroidery): Work satin stitch blocks to form a square over 18 threads on each side. Then cut and withdraw six threads each way, skip six threads and withdraw six more. Form horizontal and vertical bars across the center by overcasting the remaining threads. Work four twisted bars diagonally, one from each corner to the center, then fill in the central "wheel" by working back stitch under and over the twisted and overcast bars. Continue around until the wheel is the required size.


Rib Knit: Knit and purl stitches combined in any variety.

1/1 Rib knit.

Rib Trim: Knit and purl alternated in multiples (1x1, 2x2, 4x4 etc.)

Latex Rib Trim Skirt.

Ric-Rac: A zig-zag braid produced by varying the tension of yarns during manufacture.

Oscar de la Renta black ric rac-trim ruffled silk crêpe blouse.

Ringed Back Stitch (Embroidery): This stitch is worked from right to left. The needle is bought up through the fabric and back-stitch is worked to form semicircles as shown in (a). The fabric is turned around and the back-stitch is worked as before to complete the rings as shown in (b).


Rinse: To wash in water without soap; to remove from dyed fiber any trace of the dye liquor or mordants, which may remain after dyeing.

Ripon Hog (Fleece): (i) Count: 46/48s; (ii) Staple Length: 23-31 cm; (iii) Handle: Smooth; (iv) Color: Very Good.

Rip-Stop Nylon: A lightweight, wind resistant, and water resistant fabric. Appropriate for outdoor wear and equipment as well as outdoor flags.

Riza (Bulgaria): Traditional Bulgarian dress.


Rochet: Tight-sleeved white surplice, as worn by Bishops.

Catholic Bishop's rocket.

Roketsu-zome: Japanese batik method.

Indigo Roketsuzome Vintage Japanese cotton kimono fabric by Cosima Orison.

Roller: Tool with a revolving cylinder covered in various materials and used for applying paint.

Roller Printing: Application of pigment or dye to a fabric in a pattern or image by mean of engraved metal rollers.

Romney (Fleece): (i) Count: 44-52s; (ii) Staple Length: 7.5 – 10 cm ; (iii) Handle: Hard; (iv) Color: Fair.

Rope Pattern (Smocking): This pattern is one of the easiest to do. The needle is brought up through the first tube on the left. Then a small piece of material is picked up on each of the following tube across the work, keeping the thread above the needle and inserting the needle at an angle as shown in (a). The greater the angle, the shorter the stitch. The thread is drawn fairly tight. A second row can be made in the same way, but with the thread below the needle as shown in (b). These two rows can be place close together to cause a mock chain effect.


Rough: Sketch design for printed material, not always as "rough" as term implies.

Roving: The process by which a sliver of natural fiber is attenuated to between one-quarter and one-eight of its original diameter; also, the product of this operation.

Rubber Cement (Stains): (i) Fabric: All; (ii) Method: Scrape gummy glue from fabric and sponge thoroughly with grease solvent.

Rubbing: Method of relief printing in which any textured surface can be the "printing block".

Running Stitch (Embroidery): The stitches are made of equal length, passing the needle under and other the fabric.


There are a number of different running stitches.

Russian Constructivist Textiles: The work of designers such as Liubov Popova and Varvara Stepanova, reflected the new communist society in the USSR. The designs were functional and bold, influenced by the Russian Constructivist movement, and reflecting scenes of agriculture, machinery and patriotic themes.


Rust (Stains): Treat with oxalic acid. If stain is stubborn, place oxalic crystals directly on the stain and pour boiling water through the stain (this treatment is harsh and may cause damage to some fabrics e.g. silk) Cream of tartar or lemon juice may be used on less stubborn stains.

Sackcloth: A very coarse, rough fabric woven from flax or hemp.

Sackcloth dress.

Sailcloth: A suiting weighted cotton fabric in a 2/1 basket weave.


Samfoo: Loose Chinese suit for women.

Dressed up in traditional samfoo and wooden clogs for official opening of JB Chinese Heritage Museum.

Sampot (Cambodia): Tradition Cambodian woman's dress.


San Blas (or Reverse) Appliqué: The cutting away of pieces of fabric.

Sanforizing: A well-known process which guarantees that cotton fabrics will not shrink more than 1%.

Saponification: Alkaline hydrolysis. In textiles this often refers to hydrolysis of the ester group of the polyester and acetate polymers during laundering, which is usually under alkaline conditions.

Sarafan (Russia): Traditional Russian dress.


Sarong: Javanese or Malay waist cloth originally from India.

Sarong can be worn long, and if necessary when it is too hot for example, it can be made short by folding.

Sateen: Cotton sateen has a sheen on the right side. It is quite a heavy fabric, often used for furniture and curtains. Its weight makes it unsuitable for dyeing, but very good for printing and painting as the sateen finish creates a very luxurious effect.


Sateen Repeat: A non-directional pattern in which motifs are arranged on a rectangular grid in such a way that each "row" and "column" of the repeated unit contains only one instance of the motif. Additionally, the motifs may be rotated and/or reflected to produce a more uniform pattern. Same as spot repeat. The distribution of the motifs in the grid resembles the satin weave.

A sateen repeat (5-spot) design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Sateen Weave: A weft-faced smooth weave, often used for cottons. If you have a smooth sateen in the direction of the shine, you will find the fabric is shiny crosswise - just the opposite direction from rayon or silk satin. Often mercerised for added ouster. Used for linings and dresses.

Red sateen dress.

Satin: Made of silk, rayon or any filament fiber in a weave that has long lengthwise floats. The warp yarns float over at least four filling yarns or as many as seven. High count satins are durable. Low count satins will fray easily, pull at the seams, and rough-up during wear. Note: The image below of satin highlights a widely-spaced twill using five warps and wefts.


Satin beaded mini cocktail dress.

Satin Crêpe: Satin crêpe is a fabric that has satin on one side and crêpe on the other. This is heavier than the plain satin, and thus richer and easier to sew.

Crepe-Satin gown.

Satin Stitch: A straight embroidery stitch that resembles a weaving float in its ability to reflect light. This stitch is used to fill in small area such as a leaf shape, with straight stitches worked from edge to edge. Note: The stitches are not too long.


Satin Stitch Blocks (Embroidery): Satin stitch is used for creating blocks which form the surround for the cut-out spaces. Make the stitches first (a), using an embroidery frame and counting the threads accurately. Cut the thread very carefully very close to the stitches and draw out each horizontal thread, then each vertical one (b). Note: always work all blocks of satin stitch on a piece of work before cutting any of the threads.


Satin Stitch (Needlepoint): This is repeated over the same number of threads in a straight row. The number of stitches in each block can be varied and stepped up or down to create the illusion of a curve.


Satin Weave: This has a very smooth surface; either the warp or the weft is hidden. Satin weave is most successfully worked over eight ends, though it can repeat over five. Warp stain weave is shown in (a). It has a raised effect as most of the warp comes to the surface of the cloth and is held in place by the occasional weft thread. Weft satin weave - as shown in (b) - reverses the process and most of the weft is held on the surface by the occasional warp end.


Satin weave. Notice how the warp yarns float over four filling yarns. Weave fabric under magnification.

Sauces (Stains): As per mayonnaise.

Scale Network: Scale Repeat or Network: curved lines yielding a pattern reminiscent of fish scales. See below.


Scapular: Monk's sleeveless cloak.

21st Century Cistercian monks in their habit (with hoodless black monastic scapular).

Schappe Silk: A spun silk fabric.

100% Natural silk Schappe male shirt.

Schiffli Fabric: Term applied to many fabrics that are embroidered with a machine called a "Schiffli" which creates more intricate designs than the swivel or clipped dot method.

Schiffli dress.

Schreinering: A softly lustrous finish sometimes applied to cotton and linen fabric; a roller engraved in fine lines to an angle parallel to the twist of yarns is used to flatten the yarns and make a smoother, more compact cloth.

Scorch Mark (Stains): As per dyes. Severe scorch cannot be removed because of damage to the fiber.

Scouring: The thorough washing of fibers or fabrics to remove oils, dirt and size. That is, removing impurities from fabric by washing in sap or detergent in preparation for dyeing.

Screen-printing: A printing method that produces prints by using a squeegee to push ink through a screen. That is, a printing through an intermediary surface – the screen mesh. The images of screen prints are formed by various kinds of stenciling techniques, based on blocking out areas of the mesh either with sheet materials such as paper or stencil film or with liquids that fill the mesh. See diagram below.


Screenprinting Equipment: Squeegee; screen; screenprinting inks; palette knife; solvent brush to remove stencils; cleaning rags.

Scrim: Low quality lightweight plain-cloth resembling muslin; semi-transparent loosely constructed fabric of heavier weight.

The nights scrim dress.

Scrooping: A finish used to add luster to silk; mild acids are applied to the silk fibers, which are then dried under tension and steamed.

Scrooped mini-skirt in black.

Scutching: The process that dries the flax stem.

Sea Island Cotton: The finest grade of cotton.


Seam Slippage: A measure of a fabric's ability to hold together when sewn so that the furniture doesn't pull apart at the seams. Seam slippage may be due to improper woven construction or finish, or may also be caused by stitching that does not have proper holding power. There are laboratory tests that determine the seam integrity of a woven fabric.

Seed Yarn: A yarn produced when a decorative strand is rapped repeatedly around a core yarn to form an enlarged segment, similar to a nub yarn, but with smaller segments.

Seersucker: A plain weave fabric characterised by puckered and relatively flat sections, usually in stripes but sometimes in checks. It is a lightweight cotton fabric crinkled into lengthwise stripes. Note: true seersucker is made by a slack-tension method where there are two warp beams. The yarns on one beam are held at regular tension. As the fabric is woven, the slack yarns crinkle. The stripes are always in the warp direction. If the fabric is raveled, the warp yarns in the crinkled stripe will be longer than in the flat section. Heavier than plissé crepe it is used for dresses, summer suits and men's sport jackets. If made of cotton, it will be cool but wrinkle easily; blended with polyester or acrylic fibers it will keep its trim appearance better.


Seersucker Piqué: It is made with a slack tension weaving in which the tight stripe is a piqué weave. Wales and crinkle stripes are in the warp directions. ike all piqué and unlike seersucker, the fabrics have a right and wrong side.

Piqué and Seersucker Nicole Moore dress.

Self-Start Trim: Term used for a full rib body where the rib itself forms the start and no additional trim is necessary. Sometimes a tighter tension is requested for 3/8 inch (1 cm) at the start to hold shape.

Self-start trim T-shirt.

Selvage: The self edge of the weaving process which is usually heavier than the rest of the fabric because warp yarns are placed closer together at the edges.

Sley: The number of warp ends per inch in a fabric exclusive of selvage. A fabric of "high sley" has a high number of warp yarns per inch. Most of Regal's high-end upholstery fabrics have 9600 warp yarns across a 54" width.

Semi-Wet Processes in Transfer Printing: It relies on the transfer of water soluble dye printed on paper to a controlled volume of interstitial liquid previously applied to the fabric. In this method, the design or motif is retained by utilizing a viscous aqueous medium, and careful regulation of pressure.

Semi-worsted: Yarn spun by carding and gilling then roving fibers of wool staple length.

Semi-worsted flannel two-piece suit.

Sensitive Material: A material with the surface chemically treated to make it receptive to light.

Sequined: Ornamented with a small plate of shining metal or plastic.

Serape Dress (Mexico): Traditional Mexican dress.


Serge: Even 2x2 twill, reversible, usually of worsted yarns, but may have woolen or acrylic yarns one way for softness; becomes shiny with hard wear. Used for uniforms and men's suits.

Red serge uniform.

Sericin: The gum that holds the twin silk filaments together and binds the cocoon.


Sericulture: The industry of raising "silkworms" and unwinding the cocoons to produce silk strands of up to 1800 feet in length.

Sfumato: The soft “smoky” treatment of contours, notably by Leonardo, to avoid edginess and to create an impression of rounded volume.

Shade (Dyeing): To add a small quantity of dye to increase color shade.

Shagbark Gingham: It has slack tension loops scattered over the surface.

1950s Red plaid shagbark cotton dress.

Shalwar: Baggy trousers as worn in Pakistan.

Women churidar kameez shalwar and pajama.

Shantung: A plain weave silk dress or furnishing fabrics with random irregularities in the weft yarns; synthetics imitating this. May be of silk with natural irregular yarns or of synthetics. Used for dresses and dressy women's suits. "Body" or stiffness may need to be restored after cleaning.

Shantung.

Sharkskin: A woven warp-knitted fabric with a firm construction and stiff handle. A medium weight fabric of dull acetate or Arnel filament yarns. Used for tennis dresses, summer skirts and sportswear. Differs from sharkskin suiting.

1950s Lilac Sharkskin taffeta party dress.

Sharkskin Suiting: Sharkskin is a smooth worsted fabric with a soft texture and a two-toned woven appearance. Sharkskin fabric's lightweight and wrinkle-free properties make it ideal for curtains, tablecloths and napkins. Sharkskin fabric is popular for both men’s and women’s worsted suits, light winter jackets and coats.

Essential blue sharkskin suit.

Shayla: The shayla is a long, rectangular scarf popular in the Gulf region. It is wrapped around the head and tucked or pinned in place at the shoulders.


Sheath Lining: t is a medium weight, plain weave, balanced fabric which resembles China silk.

Shed: The space created between warp yarns for the passage of the weft.

Sheer: Any very light-weight fabric (e.g., chiffon, georgette, voile, sheer crepe). Usually has an open weave. Sheers mostly feel cool.

Sheepskin: Suede produced from a breed of sheep that grows hair rather than wool.


Shepherd’s Check: The small check pattern achieved on plain or twill fabrics by using regular groups of contrasting colors in the warp and weft.


Sherwani: Indian men's high collar coat.

Wedding sherwani

Shetland Cross (Fleece): (i) Count: 50/56s; (ii) Staple Length: 2-12 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Off White.

Shetland Moorit (Fleece): (i) Count: 56/58s; (ii) Staple Length: 2-6 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft and silky; (iv) Color: Brown.

Shetland White (Fleece): (i) Count: 56/58s; (ii) Staple Length: 2-5 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft and silky; (iv) Color: Off White.

Shalwar Kameez (South Africa): Worn by the Indian minority in South Africa.

Women embroidered Shalwar Kameez.

Shirt: The figure below details the anatomy of a shirt.


Shoddy: Fibrous material recovered from loosely constructed woolen rags.

Shoddy fiber waste.

Shoe Polish (Stains): There are many different forms of polish so trial and error is the only way. (i) Treat as per cosmetic; (ii) Sponge with alcohol if safe for fabric; (iii) Use grease solvent or turpentine. Further treatment with bleach may be necessary.

Short Super Kent (Fleece): (i) Count: 54s; (ii) Staple Length: 6-8 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Off White.

Shot: In fabric, having a changeable and contrasting color effects similar to iridescence. In weaving, one passage of weft yarn through a shed of warp yarn; one weft yarn.

Lilac shot silk taffeta curtain & bridal dress fabric.

Shovel Hat: Low-crowned hat with a broad brim projecting at the front, as formally worn by some clergymen.


Shower Repellent: Denotes fabrics treated to resist the passage of liquid water without being completely waterproof.

Nano water repellent laminated polyester/nylon spandex fabrics for soft-shell jacket and coat.

Shrinkage: Contraction of cloth from heat or moisture processes.

Shrinkage Control: It is possible for fabrics to prevent excessive shrinking when washed.

Shropshire Lamb (Fleece): (i) Count: 56/58s; (ii) Staple Length: 1-3 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Fairly Good.

Shuttle: A small container, which carry the weft threads across the warps. The most common are: (a) Stick shuttle – This shuttle is usually used with a frame loom. It can be handmade out of wood or a very heavy cardboard; (b) Boat Shuttle – This is made of wood and used on table and floor looms. Some boat shuttles have rollers on the bottom to carry them through the shed faster. In the center is a metal pin, which holds the bobbin. This is removed, the yarn wound around it and then replaced. The end of the yarn is threaded through a hole in the side of the shuttle.


Side Repeat: The horizontal repeat of a design or cloth.

Silicone: A rubber like polymer, which maintains its elasticity over a wide range of temperatures. Often used inside the lace top of stockings to cling to the skin and keep the stocking up without garters.

Silk: (i) A protein filament obtained from a silkworm to spin a cocoon as part as its metamorphosis to a moth; loosely used to describe any light, shiny fabric woven from this filament. There are a hugh variety of silks from lightweight organzas, georgettes, habotai, crêpes and heavier raw silks such as dupion and satin. Most silks are extremely good for printing, painting and dyeing. Special dyes and paints are made specifically for this fabric; (ii) Textile inks and dyes for silks: pigment (only in small quantities as it can upset the surface quality of the fabric); reactive; acid; direct; multi-purpose dyes; discharge printing; natural dyes. See post on Silk.

Silk worm on a twig.

The worm is beginning to sin his cocoon, from which silk is made.

Silk Broadcloth: A fine, closely woven silk with a fine rib.


Silk Brocade: Silk brocades are known for their smooth texture, durability and strength, which qualify as a perfect clothing material. Only the highest quality of raw silk is used in brocade weaving.


Silk Jersey: Fluid knit with subtle sheen that can be used in a wide variety of silhouettes. Transition well from day to evening.

Wrap-effect silk-jersey dress.

Silk Paints: These paints are transparent and have a translucent quality. The colors may be thinned by water and can be mixed together to create other colors. Silk paints can often differ in the way they are fixed – some are steam fixed, others need ironing and so need to be immersed in a fixative solution. Silk paints work well on wool as long as the wool is fine and smooth. Sometimes a diffusing agent is necessary to prevent the paint from drying too quickly and to stop any hard lines appearing when covering large areas with a coat of paint A diffusing agent can also be useful when merging colors into each other so that the paints gradually blend and do not have hard and definite edges where one color stops and another one starts.

Marabu silk paints - 50m jars.

Silk Roads: Trade routes established in the 1st Century BC reaching from Eastern China to Central Asia and ultimately into Europe; these routes were an important source of cultural exchange through the 14th Century AD.

Silk Screen: A stencil used as a resist in printing, once made of mulberry paper on a silk screen, now usually photographically developed on a polyester screen.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski's talc powder silkscreen print employing orange, green and black fabric paint on a dyed and discharged silk substrate.

Silhouette: A common device used by fashion designer to develop a theme a common thread of shape, fabric and design. For example, Dior often worked from a silhouette that led to a collection named "H-Line", "Y-Line", "Tulip" and "Figure 8".

Dior A-Line collection of spring 1955. It was defined by its triangular silhouette.

Simple Weaves: The simplest weave structure (plain or tabby weave) has yarns in the loom which are spaced at intervals roughly equal to those in the weft, which is past back and forth from selvage to selvage, alternatively over and under each warp and reversing the over-under sequence on the return journey.

Simple Yarn: A smooth even uniform yarn that has an even twist (an equal number of turns per cm) throughout the length of the yarn.

Singeing: A smooth fabric finish that is created by burning off the fuzz of the fiber ends sticking out of a fabric made from staple length fibers. Singeing of a fabric is done in order to obtain a clean fabric surface which allows the structure of the fabric to be clearly seen. Fabrics, which have been singed, soil less easily than un-singed fabrics. The risk of pilling, especially with synthetics and their blends, is reduced in case of singed fabrics. Singed fabrics allow printing of fine intricate patterns with high clarity and detail. The risk of skitters dyeings with singed articles dyed in dark shades is considerably reduced, as randomly protruding fibers are removed in singeing which could cause diffused reflection of light. To produce a smooth surface finish on fabrics made from staple fibers first the fabric surfaces are brushed lightly to raise the unwanted fiber ends. Then the fabric is singed with or passed over heated copper plates or open gas flames. The fiber ends burn off. The fabric is moved very rapidly, and only the fiber ends are destroyed. As soon as the fabric leaves the singeing area, it enters a water bath or desizing bath. This stops any singeing afterglow or sparks that might damage the cloth.

Device used to singe fabric.

Single Crochet: Stitches are picked up and crocheted yo give a simple finished edge.

Crochet Edge Skirt

Single Damask: The satin weave is tied down by every fifth weft.

Single Feather Stitch (Smoking): Working from right to left, the needle is brought through above the center line of the design, and then a small stitch is made through the pleat below, to the left, below the center line, catching the thread under the point of the needle. A series of stitches are continued to be made above as shown in (a) and below as shown in (b) the center line, inserting the needle at an angle. Single feather stitch and chevron stitch are both useful for building up different patterns or combinations.


Single-Knit: Weft knitting using a single row of needles.

Single-knit black stripped jumper/blouse.

Single Yarn: It is the result of the first twisting of fibers. That is, a basic yarn of continuous length of fibers held together with an unidirectional twist

Sisal: Fiber of several species used mainly to make rope.

Six Cord Thread: A six-cord thread is made by twisting two strands together; then two more and two more. The three coupled threads are twisted to form the thread.


Size: Starch and other substances added to yarns to protect them from damage during weaving and to make them easier to handle.

Sizing: A starch substance is added to many cotton fabrics to give stiffness and gloss. Such sizing might wash out leaving the fabric dull and sleazy. It also refers to a coating agent used to enhance finish on cloth.

Skein: Continuous, circular hank of yarn; usually 114 gm in weight if commercially wound.

Skirts: The figures below gives the names of various designs of skirts.



Skitteriness: The variation in depth of color between one fiber and another in dyeing, usually wool dyeing.

Slanting or Oblique Gobelin (Needlepoint): See figure below. This gives the appearance of sloping ridges. Worked with even tension.


Slendang: Long, narrow cloth used by Javanese women.

Slinky Knit: It drapes well, never wrinkles and washes beautifully. It’s the perfect travel fabric with four-way stretch for ultimate comfort. Suitable for almost any wardrobe item.

Sliver: A strip of loose textile fibers after carding.

50% Hemp sliver ready for spinning.

Sloppy Joe (Daywear): Long baggy sweater.


Slubbing: Wool prepared for spinning by having been giving a slight twist.

Slubby: A fabric that contains slub in the yarn that has been used to produce it. A slub is an abnormally thick area in a yarn.

Slub Yarn: A yarn that is varied in twist and diameter. Produced by uneven twisting.


Slub yarn under magnification. Used for crosswise yarns of shantung fabrics.

Smooth and Shiny Effects: There are a number of industrial finishing processes that produce laminated plastic-coated fabrics or shiny chintz surfaces, but most of these are unavailable to crafters. There are, however, special binders, pigments and resin finishes that produce glossy effects when printed onto various base cloths. Many of these products require heat setting. Other effects can be created by laminating foils and plastics to the surface of the cloth etc.

Smoothing Tool: Hand tool used to flatten background in foil tooling.

Snagging: The loops of a knitted fabric being caught by a sharp edge or hook. Some knits may run or ladder if a loop is broken.

Soak Out: To whet yarn thoroughly; to aid the extraction of pigment from dyestuff by soaking it in water for several hours longer.

Soap: A cleaning agent manufactured by reacting natural oils or fats, usually with sodium hydroxide. Soap is a surface active agent.

Soaping: Washing the fabric in nearly boiling soapy water; used to remove the excess dyes (e.g. especially in vat dyes) from the surface of the fabric. In the case of vat dyes it also promotes aggregation and orientation of the dye molecules with the fibers.

Soft Drinks (Stains): As per dyes.

Soft Water: The absence of mineral salts in water (see hardness of water).

Solution Dyeing: See Dope Dyeing.

Solvent: (i) Usually toxic (but it can be non-toxic) chemical used to dissolve oily block out materials from the screen or used as a pressurized removing agent (e.g. water pressure); (ii) Part of oil-based paints that evaporates during drying.

Solvents (Stain Removal Agent): (i) Examples: Organic solvents, dry cleaning fluids, methylated spirits, turpentine, ether; (ii) Use: On greasy and resinous stains and some special stains such as lipstick; (iii) General Instructions: Grease solvents are available as proprietary lines. Follow care instructions on the label. Place article stain side down on a wad of clean absorbent cloth or other material. Dampen pad of cotton or soft cloth with a small amount of solvent. Dab stain from center out, voiding rubbing. Change cloths as required to avoid re-staining the fabric. Sponge stain irregularly around the edge to help avoid leaving a ring mark. Old paint or tar may require a dampened pad to be left on the stain for the solvent to have sufficient time to soften the stain. Solvents may be used in conjunction with absorbent powders in cases where the solvents may leave a ring. This is less satisfactory on dark fabrics which may be marked by the powder.

Soot, Smoke (Stains): As per cosmetics.

Sombrero: Wide-brimmed Spanish or Mexican hat of felt or straw.


Soutane: Black cloak worn by Roman Catholic priests.


South Down (Fleece): (i) Count: 58/60s; (ii) Staple Length: 2-5 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Creamy.

Sou'wester: Water-proof hat with a broad brim at the back.


Soy: Soy fabric is made from the leftover dregs from soybean oil or tofu production making it eco-friendly. Similar to natural silk, it is common for find occasional slubs which adds to its natural beauty. Its care is the same as cotton fabric.

Space Dyeing: A method of dyeing a yarn in which different areas of the yarn are dyed different colors so as to produce a pattern or image of the fabric on the fabric made from it.

Spandex Fibers: Spandex fibers are similar to other thermoplastic fibers, but they have an unusual amount of stretch and will return to their original size. Therefore they are called elastic fibers. They serve the purposes of rubber but are more comfortable to wear, lighter in weight, and can be dyed pretty colors. They are used in an array of sporting attire. Trade names: Lycra, Vyrene, Gospan, Spandelle etc.

Cloth made from Spandex fibers.

Spannette: A natural rubber latex/nylon stretch fabric with thousands of air holes for comfort and breathability.

Spattering: Colors are simply flicked onto fabric, using a tooth brush or a stick depending upon the effect that is desired.

Special Agents (Stain Removal Agent): (i) Examples: Acids (oxalic, lemon juice); Alkalis (ammonia); (ii) Use: Rust, perspiration; (iii) General Instructions: Acetic Acid, Vinegar – Use 10% acetic acid or vinegar. Keep wet until stain is removed. Rinse well after use. Note: this treatment is not safe for all dyes. Ammonia may help to restore the color; Oxalic Acid – It may cause damage to protein fibers. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of oxalic acid in 1 cup of warm water. Soak stain area in this solution. Rinse thoroughly. A stronger treatment uses the same proportion of acid to water but uses water as hot as the fabric can take. Oxalic acid is toxic and so do not use kitchen utensils; Ammonia – for use with protein fibers. Dilute ammonia with an equal volume of water. For all other fibers use 10% household ammonia. Soak stain in it until gone.

Spencer: Woman's short or long sleeved vest.

Long sleeved spencer Vest.

Spider's Web Filling (Embroidery): Bring the needle up in one corner between the blocks of satin stitch, then take the thread diagonally across to the opposite corner. Pass the thread vertically or horizontally under the satin stitch block, bring the needle up into the third corner and take the thread over tp form the second diagonal. Work a twisted bar over the first diagonal thread by passing the needle under and over. Work in the same way for the other diagonal thread until you reach the center, then stitch twice around the spokes at the center. Finish the twisted bar over the second half of the diagonal.


Spin Dyeing: The incorporation of pigment with a polymer solution (e.g. viscose dope) or molten polymer (e.g. polyamide) prior to extrusion through minute orifices (spinnerets) to produce a color fiber.

Spinnerette: One of two small holes in a silkworm’s head through which silk strands are extruded by the worm; also resembling a shower head through which vicious raw material is extruded to form man made fibers.

Spinning: The twisting and combining of fibers usually from carded fleece to form a yarn using a spinning wheel or other such devices.



Spiral Yarn: A yarn made by twisting a bulky low-twist yarn around a hard-twist yarn.

Spirit Dyes: Dyes that are used to stimulate a distressed surface.

Splashing: The splash effect is achieved by dipping the brush or stick into the paint and flicking the paint onto the fabric by jerking the wrist downward.

Splattering: A technique by which a paint or resist (e.g. sugar syrup) is randomly flicked on a fabric, producing a splattered effect.

Split Gobelin (Needlepoint): See figure below. This is similar to encroaching Gobelin except that each new stitch actually splits the stitch in every previous row. The effect is rather like a knitted fabric.


Sponging: Paint technique that uses a damp sponge to produce a mottled, patchy effect.

Spot Repeats: In patterning, spot repeats are images that occupy a small area. Hence any isolated image such as a bird or boat etc. can be used to create a spot repeat on a fabric. These can be ordered or randomly placed or fashioned in between these extremes.

A 5-spot pattern design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Spraying: Method of directing paint onto a surface in a fine spray.

Spraygun: Same as airbrush.

Spun Silk: Silk spun from the short fibers from pierced cocoons and the first brushings of the cocoon.

Spun silk yarn.

Spun Yarn: The yarn made by twisting together a small number of fibers.

Square (Fabric): See balanced.

Stability: Fiber Property: Stability is the retention of size, shape or form of the fiber; Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to the chemical composition of the fiber polymer system (e.g. strong molecular bonds); Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects the fabrics resistance to shrinkage.

Stains: Any discoloration of a fabric due to exposure to a foreign substance. Stains can be oil or water based.

Stamp Batik: Method of batik in which wax is applied to cloth with special shapes. These shapes are dipped in hot wax and pressed onto dry cloth.

Staple Fiber: A staple is a fiber of a standardized length and may be of any composition, but a wool staple is an independent natural cluster of fibers, not a single fiber. A continuous fiber such as natural silk or synthetic is known as a filament rather than a fiber. In other words, short fiber lengths as opposed to filaments; fiber of cotton, wool, cut filaments etc.

Magnification of staple fibers of: (a) silk; (b) wool; (c) cotton.

Staple Yarn: A yarn constructed from short short fibers held together by a twist.

Fabrics made from yarns of short staple fibers.

Static Electricity: Fibers that are poor conductors of electricity allow the build up of positive or negative charges in the structure (due to rubbing action etc.) These charges will eventually earth (neutralize) causing a spark, which may be hurtful and/or dangerous.

Steam Setting: The use of heat and humidity to rearrange the hydrogen and disulfide bonds of wool.

Steep Twill: Usually fabrics are made with a diagonal line at 45o angle. A diagonal line at a greater degree is called a steep twill. Gabardine is a steep twill.

Stencil or Spray Printing: In stencil or spray printing the color is sprayed, dabbed, brushed or sponged onto a material through a stencil which has been prepared from a substrate (e.g. thin sheet of metal, plastic, cardboard or water proofed transparent paper etc.)

Stenter: A device for straightening wefts and easing yarn tension introduced during fabric manufacture, by passing the wet fabric at controlled speed and tension through a dryer.

Stetson: A hat with a high brown and wide brim, popular in Western USA.


Stiffness (or Rigidity): Fiber Property: It is the opposite to flexibility. It is the resistance to bending or creasing of the fiber; Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to amount of crystallinity of the fiber polymer system; Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects the handle and body of the fabric.

Stippling: Making sharp indentations in a surface with a sharp point to provide texture.

Stitches used in Rugmaking: Edging stitches – blanket stitch and braid stitch are usually neatly finishes as shown in (c).


Stitching by Hand (Quilting): Small, even running stitches are traditionally used for padded quilts and must be done with an upright motion to pierce all three layers correctly. With one hand above the work and the other below, the needle is passed up and down from one to the other. Back and chain stitch may also be used as a variation.


Stock: Any material to be used for printing on.

Stock (Accessory): Long white neckerchief worn with formal riding dress.

Stock Dyeing: The dyeing of fibers before spinning.

Stock Solution: Prepared chemical or dye solution to a specific ratio.

Storyboard: Set of preliminary sketches showing how a motion sequence is intended to develop and give idea of timing and content without going into detail.

Straight or Upright Gobelin (Needlepoint): See figure below. This forms straight ridges across the work and may be worked over trame stitches if necessary.


Straight Repeat: A pattern where the image or motif forms straight vertical and horizontal lines.

Strapwork: Ornamentation imitating plaited straps.

Strength of a Fiber: Fiber Property: The strength of the fiber is defined as the ability to resist stress and is expressed as tensile strength (pounds per square inch) or tenacity (grams per denier); Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to molecular structure of the fiber polymer system (e.g. degree of polymerisation, orientation, crystallinity etc.).Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects the fabric's: (i) durability; (ii) tear strength; (iii) sagging characteristics; (iii) extent of pilling; (iv) fabric weight.

Stretch Fabrics: Elastane is a stretch fiber that can extend up to five times its length, helping to create freedom of movement for wearer. Lycra, a brand named stretch fiber, is often woven or knitted into fabrics to create an overall stretch effect and is used for sportswear in particular.

Stretch Terry: A single knit loop pile fabric.

Grey port zipped stretch French terry dress.

Striations: Lengthwise grooves on a fiber.

Striped Tabaret (Compound Weave): The stripes (which can, but need not be of different colors) being of different weaves, typically satin and a vertical rib.

Stripping: The removal of unwanted dye from a fiber by chemical means.

Stuffed or “Trapunto” Quilting: Here the design is stitched first, then certain areas are stuffed with padding from behind to make them stand out.

Sublime: The ability of a substance to go from the solid to a gas state, when applying heat, without needing to go through a liquid state (e.g. dry ice). These process are reversible at certain pressure-temperature regimes only; that is, on cooling the substance will go from a gas into a solid state without passing through a liquid state.

Sublimation Printing: What is termed "transfer printing" in reality should be termed sublimation printing. Sublimation describes a process that goes from a solid state to a gas state without passing though a liquid state. Dry ice has this property. In sublimation or transfer printing once the dye has been painted on a paper and is dry, the painted side of the paper is placed on top of the fabric surface that is to be dyed. Then heat is applied via an iron or a heat press to the back of the dry dyed paper. The dye vaporizes from the paper and infuses into the surface of the target fabric. The vapor dye reacts with the target fabric surface and adheres to it via dispersion forces and hydrogen bonding. The heat of the iron serves a dual purpose: (a) it vaporizes the dye; (b) it assists the dye to infuse into the fabric surface and adhere to it. That is why the temperature of the iron or heat press is so important since it determines the amount of dye that sublimates and that is finally adhered. The adhesion that the dye forms with the fabric surface is why the fabric automatically becomes color fast, wash fast, light fast and moreover, why it cannot change the hand of the fabric. Furthermore, it is a surface technique and so the reverse side of the fabric is unaltered. Also, image creating objects such as stencils, resist items etc. can be inserted between the paper and fabric surface as well as painted images that were resident on the surface of the original paper can be transferred directly onto the fabric surface.

Substantivity: The attraction between fiber polymers and dye molecules.

Substrate: (i) A material or fabric to which dyes or chemicals may be applied; (ii) Sheet of material (such as paper, plastic or clear PVC) which may be screen-printed, or which may be used for making positives.

Subu (Hungary): Traditional Hungarian dress.


Suede: Leather with a fizzy surface produced by brushing the flesh side of the hide with emery-coated rollers.

Brown lace up suede tight mini skirt for women.

Suede Cloth: Woven or knit of cotton, rayon or wool and closely napped to resemble chamois leather. Use for sports coats, gloves and slippers.

One pair of suede cloth heat resistant oven and barbecue gloves.

Suffolk (Fleece): (i) Count: 56s; (ii) Staple Length: 10-12 cm; (iii) Handle: Soft; (iv) Color: Creamy.

Sugar Soap: Alkaline degreasing agent - a type of cleaner that can be applied to a surface before work starts. It needs to be thoroughly rinsed afterwards.

Sugar Syrup: The use of sugar syrup in fabric painting has only recently been introduced by the French. A syrup of sugar and water is cooked up and then painted onto silk, which is usually painted on a pale background or on a white background. Paint is then applied next to the sugar, or onto it or both. The sugar acts like an antifusant, thereby preventing the paint from bleeding evenly. Where the paint meets the sugar syrup, it eats away at it and enters the fabric in unpredictable ways. Different effects can be achieved depending on how hot and how thick the syrup is, how it is applied (in lines, splattered etc.), where the paint is placed (next to it, or on it etc.) and how many layers of sugar and paint have been applied.

Sunburst Circles (Dye Pattern): Circles and especially “sunburst” patterns are always effective and can be varied in size and complexity according to the number and position of the string bindings. A part of the fabric should be chosen to form a peak (this will be the center of the circle) and the fabric should be arranged into even folds as it falls away. For circle measuring 2.5 cm in diameter, the fabric should be bound tightly 1.5 cm from the top of the point and for one measuring 5 cm it should be bound 2.5 cm from the point and so on. To create specific design, mark out the position of each circle beforehand. Add more circles with each dyeing or alter the bindings to create a more colorful pattern. Two evenly spaced sets of bindings will produce a circle within a circle and by developing this technique a stage further, it is possible to create large radian circles called “sunbursts”. The fabric is picked up to form a pearl and furled like a closed umbrella and bound tightly at regular intervals. The bindings are re-folded or re-positioned through several dyeings. Note: The effect on the fabric is shown in the background.


Sunlight Resistance: Fiber Property: Sunlight resistance is the ability of a fiber to withstand degradation from direct sunlight (usually the UV component); Reason For Fiber Property: This is due to the chemical composition of the fiber polymer system; Translation Into Fabric Property: It affects the durability of outdoor cloths, swim wear, curtains and draperies etc.

Sunproof (light-fast) Colors: A modern synthetic pigment that is of superior resistance to fading. It is a manufacturer's description and so care must be taken in terms of its actual permanence.

Superwash: Denotes wool that has been shrink-proofed sufficiently to withstand washing without damage.

Supima Cotton: A long staple fiber that, on average is between 1.25 and 2 inches in length. They are silkier and smoother than many other cotton fibers.

Supplex Nylon: Supplex nylon is made by DuPont®. It is a cottony soft nylon that offers the performance benefits of a man-made fabric with the look of cotton.

Surah: Slightly firmer than foulard. Silk, nylon, acetate or rayon in twill weave plain or printed. May also be called "tie silk".

Bowknot flower floor length Surah silk bridesmaid dress strapless long slim party gowns.

Surface-Active Agent (also called Surfactant): Usually an organic compound which, when added to aqueous solutions, reduces the surface tension of water. This allows the water to wet fibers and other materials more efficiently and quickly. The three types of surfactants most commonly used in textiles are: (i) ionic (e.g. soaps and anionic synthetic detergents); (ii) cationic (e.g. fabric conditioners and softeners); (iii) non-ionic (e.g. the non-ionic synthetic detergents). A fourth type called amphoteric is less commonly used.

Surplice: Loose-flowing white outer robe, sometimes worn over a cassock.


Suzani: A fabric pattern that originated in Central Asia and often features large, intricate medallions that were originally created through needlework. Fabrics that feature suzann prints usually include round floral designs.

Blue Suzani print blouse.

Sverigedrakten: Swedish national costume.


Swaledale (Fleece): (i) Count: 48/56s; (ii) Staple Length: 12-18 cm; (iii) Handle: Reasonably Soft; (iv) Color: Fairly Good.

Swatch: A small piece of cloth used as a sample. In computer programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, a pattern swatch is a tillable, rectangular unit of a repeat pattern.

Pattern swatches (snapshots) in Artlandia SymmetryMill.

Swiss: See dotted swiss. A sheer, very fine cotton.It can be plain or decorated with dots or other designs.


Sweater Knits: Unlike pre-knit goods, sweater knits are made on special machines that knit the pattern pieces to their intended shapes. These are then assembled to form the garment.

Alexander Wang Sweaters/Knits - white lattice bobble.

Synthetic Detergent: A cleaning agent synthesized from by-products of petroleum refining. Synthetic detergents are surface-active agents.

Synthetic Fibers: Fibers made from chemicals that were never in fibrous form; also, defined as man-made fibers (e.g. polyester, polyamide {nylon} and acrylic etc.)

Tabby (Plain Weave): The simplest way warp and weft can be interlaced consisting of alternate interfacing of warp and weft yarns. Note: The weave is characterized by the repeating of one warp and one weft.


Tactel: Tactel nylon is made by DuPont. It is a silkier softer nylon with a crinkle finish. It is lightweight and quick drying.

Tactile cami.

Tactile: Pertaining to the sense of touch; in painting, the use of textured materials or the treatment of surfaces to induce the sensations of touch. “Tactile Values”: an expression of the connoisseur Berenson to designate the convincing or authentic qualities of a painting.

Taffeta: Closely woven shiny plain weave crisp fabric with faint weft rib. That is, a crisp, closely woven cloths of silk or silk-like fibers such as rayon. Some bleeding effects can occur on this silk when painted or printed. It may vary in weight from fine, lightweight (tissue) to medium-weight fabric. The term taffeta is confusing as it may refer to a balanced plain-weave fabric as well as ribbed fabrics. Used for formal gowns.

Sweeping Taffeta ball gown.

Tailor’s Buttonhole Insertion Stitch (Embroidery): Regular groups of buttonhole stitch are worked alternatively on both edges of the fabric. The effect of the stitch will vary according to the amount of space left between each group.


Talc: Hydrate magnesium silicate. Often used as a resist in the dyeing of fabric. Its slippery or soapy effect is useful as a filler for various industrial purposes.

Tam O' Shanter: Low brimless Scottish hat or cap, often having a pompom on top.


Tanning: The treatment of hides to preserve them and keep them permanently supple.

Tapestry: A weft-faced fabric in which the pattern is woven with colored weft threads.

Tapestry Needle: Large needle with blunt point and large eye. Suitable for use with needlepoint.

Tapestry Weave: Tapestry weave is a variation of plain weave. In this weave there are more weft picks than warp ends per cm. The weft slides down over the warp and completely covers it. Tapestry weave may be done as two over, two under up to four or five over and under.

Tapis (Indonesia): Traditional weaving style that is used for woman sarong in Indonesia.

A Lampungese woman (right) wearing a tapas sarong, with old coins hanging from the bottom.

Tappet Loom: Loom in which the frames are raised and lowered by the action of cams on levers.

Targhee (Fleece): (i) Count: 58-64s; (ii) Staple Length: 7.5 – 12.5 cm; (iii) Handle: Medium; (iv) Color: Fair.

Tarlatan: A low count, plain weave cotton cheese cloth with a starched finish. About as coarse as cheesecloth but stiff. White or colored. Does not launder well. Used for costumes and Christmas stockings.

White cotton tarlatan with woven stripes; set of bodice and skirt; worn over crinoline; ribbon of red silk satin and cotton lace; belt of silk satin ribbon; rosette at centre front; bow at center back.

Tarnish-Resistant Flannel: It is a solid-color cotton fabric, which is impregnated with chemicals to absorb sulfur fumes. It is used for silverware cases and chest linings.

Tarpaulin: A waterproofed canvas sometimes made of nylon or other man-made fiber.

Tarpoon Cloth: Trade name for a yarn-dyed woven pattern poplin. Usual design is small tartan plaids. Used or children's snowsuits, men's golf jackets, walking shorts and general sportswear.

Tarpon golf shirts.

Tartan: A woolen twill cloth in a check pattern.

Tartan mini with zips.

Tatting: Tatting is a form of lace making with a shuttle and thread.

Tatted back wedding dress.

Tear Strength: The force necessary to tear a fabric, usually expressed in pounds or in grams. The most commonly used method for determining tear strength is the Elmendorf tear test procedure.

Teasel: A tool constructed from natural burrs used to nap (pulls) fibers from the body of the fabric.

Tea (Stains): As per coffee.

Tenacity: The breaking strength of a fiber, expressed as the maximum load it can support, usually in g/tex (where tex is a measure of the linear mass density of fibers).

Tencel: It is a viscose fiber produced from wood pulp. It may be recovered by mixing it with a solvent and so recycled. Fabrics produced using tencel fibers can be made stronger than cotton, with a handle lie velvet and the drape quality of silk. It is a green artificial fiber.

Tendering: The deterioration in mechanical strength, which develops in cotton goods dyed with certain dyes, specifically with sulfur dyes (blacks).

Tensile Strength: The ability of a fiber to withstand a lengthwise pull, tenacity.

Tent Stitch: A common counted thread stitch that can be worked in either horizontal or diagonal rows. Each stitch is taken diagonally over one thread of both warp and the weft at the intersection of the two.

Terry Cloth: A woven fabric with a looped warp pile. French terry cloth is looped on one side and sheared pile on the other. Hence it is a highly absorbent fabric made from cotton or rayon yarns with loops on one or both sides. Fabric does not have an up or down direction as the cut pile does. Needs very little ironing. Used for bath towels, beach robes and sportswear.

Terry cloth is made by an uncut pile method, which permits great absorption of moisture.

Terry Towelling: Towelling made of cotton can be painted on one or both sides, depending on the quality. It can be purchased in a variety of different colors as well as white. It can be dyed successfully, and printing, splashing and hand painting can be used to decorate it.

Terry Velvet: A densely looped cloth, originally silk.

tex: The mass in grams of 1000 meters of fiber, filament, sliver, roving or yarn. It is the universal system of describing liner density, mass per unit length of fibers, filaments, slivers, rovings, or yarns.

Textile Art: Artwork that utilizes textiles as its medium (see definition of Artwork and ArtCloth). Note: Textiles also embraces all woven media.

Textile Design: The art and science of designing for fabrics. Typically (but not always) involves the creation of repeat patterns. Specifications differ drastically depending on application (contract, apparel, home furnishings, etc.), technology (printed, woven, etc.), and other considerations. Commonly done with software.

A textile design based on the George F. Angas painting created in Artlandia SymmetryMill.

Textiles: They are fabrics or cloth materials obtained from yarn by weaving, felting, knitting, braiding, netting, knotting, or other interlacing process. The fabrics may be made of natural fibers or synthetic or man made fibers. Fibers are classified into animal types (e.g. wool, silk, vicuna); vegetable types (e.g. linen or cotton); synthetic types (e.g. nylon, orlon, Dacron, polyesters); mineral (fiberglass) and combinations of the above.

Texture: A pattern creating the appearance, feel, or illusion of a structure of a surface. Often depicts fabric, earth, wood, or building, granular, and other materials.

A gravel texture created in Artlandia SymmetryMill.

Texturing of Yarns: The heat setting or distortion of filament yarns to impart bulk and elasticity. They may give greater warmth with less weight and are resistant to pilling and abrasion because of fewer fiber ends.


Before and after texturing on a multifilament yarn. Magnified sections yarns are shown in the inserts.

Taslan yarn before and after texturing.

Texturized Yarns: Filament yarns that feel and look much like the spun variety, although they have a rougher texture than regular filament yarns. See post on Textured Filament Yarns.

Thermostat: A synthetic fiber with a hollow core to keep you warmer and drier by wicking moisture away.

Thermal Setting Effects: All synthetic fibers will melt at certain temperatures, but below this point they will often heat set into a different form. By tying, stitching, or clamping fabrics into folds before heating features various can be imparted to the fabric.

Thermolite: A fabric made from inter-locked polyester that is coated to be slippery and durable.


Thermoplastics: Materials that when heated become soft and pliable and can be molded into a desired shape before being cooled and becoming hard again, but now set into the desired shape.

Thermoplastic dog toys.

Thick and Thin Yarns: These yarns are produced in the form of filament yarns by varying the pressure forcing the polymer solution through the spinneret.


Thinsulate: A thermal insulation that can’t be dry-cleaned. It provides twice the insulation of similar thicknesses of polyester, down, or wool.


Thread: The term is used when a yarn is firmly twisted. In everyday usage, any yarn of fine diameter is called a thread.

Thread Count: The thread count is always given as the number of threads per sqaure inch of fabric. A high count fabric will keep its shape better, shrink less, be stronger, and usually look smoother than a low count fabric. For example, a cotton percale that has 60 warp and 60 filling threads per square inch will not be as durable as one that has 80 threads each way.

Three-ply Thread: Three single strands of yarn twisted together to form the thread. A two-ply thread would have two strands twisted together etc.


Thrown Yarn: A twisted filament yarn.

Tiara: A headband or semicircle, typically decorated with diamonds or other jewels, worn by a woman on formal occasions.

Beautiful champagne colored fabric tiara with crystals hanging.

Ticking: A plain twill satin or figure-weave of cotton. The warp yarns float in such a manner that it results in a lustrous twill. Stronger and heavier than sateen because of the higher warp count. Heavy weights used for mattress and pillow covers. Other weights used for sportswear.

Ready-made mattress made from ticking fabric.

Ticking Stripe: A narrow two-color stripe reminiscent of a design typically used in old style mattress covers (ticking).

Tie and Dye (Tie Dyeing): A process in which the cloth is tied in knots or wrapping parts of it with thread in order to make these tied sections a resist to the dye, when the fabric is placed in the dye pot. See plangi.

Tiffany: A sheer, mesh fabric constructed in plain weave, originally made of silk but now often made of cotton or synthetic fibers.

Tiffany blue sequin silk swing dress.

Tippet: Long stole.

Traditionally styled extra long Tippet is self-lined and features center back pleats, with each panel measuring 50” long.

Tippy: An adjective describing the variations in depth of shade in wool dyeing caused by differences in the fiber itself (i.e. between the lower or root portion and outer end or tip).

Tissue (Compound Weave): It is a lampas weave in which the cloth has an extra coloring weft.

Tissue Pick: Term which describes supplementary filling yarn or yarns which "float"along the back of fabric in bands, and are brought up in selected areas for added color detail on the face of a fabric. Sometimes tissue picks are referred to as "dead picks" because the fabric on the loom doesn't advance while the extra pick is applied.

Casual and formal tissue pick designs.

Tjanting (or Canting): Batik method characterized by fine detail. The tjanting tool is used for drawing fine lines in wax. It comes in various shapes and sizes but generally consists of a small copper cup on a wooden handle. The cup has a fine spout at the bottom, through which the wax flows onto the fabric. The cup is dipped into the hot wax to fill it, and then the spout is drawn across the fabric as the wax flows out to make a line or dots.

Tjanting Tool: A tool that is used to apply wax in the batik process. It consists of a small copper bowl, having one or more sprouts, attached to a wooden or bamboo handle. See above.

Tjap: A printing block that has been made entirely of strips of metal. It is used to stamp molten wax onto a cloth, producing an effect similar to hand-drawn batik.

Tobacco (Stains): As per grass.

Toile: A type of decorating pattern consisting of a white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, generally of a pastoral theme such as (for example) a couple having a picnic by a lake. The pattern portion consists of a single color, most often black, dark red, or blue. Greens and magenta toile patterns are less common but not unheard of. Also known as Toile De Jouy.

A toile de Jouy design created with Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

Tooth: Refers to the relative roughness of a material's surface.

Top: A loose untwisted, rope-like roll of staple fibers unsuitable for spinning, somewhat more attenuated and thinner or finer in diameter than carder sliver but less attenuated and thicker in diameter than a roving.

Top Grain: The surface layer of a cowhide, yielding the best quality leather.

Tops: The figures below give names and details of various top designs.



Toray®Ultraseude: Original trademarked micofiber synthetic substitute for suede. Completely machine washable and was introduced to the designer market by Halston in the 1970s.

Custom toray ski jackets for snow-wear.

Tornado: Trimming of twisted ribbon or cord for a hat. A beanie style hat.

Grey torsade hat.

Tow: The bundles of fibers produced from many spinnerets; flax, hemp or other long bast fiber prepared for spinning.

Tow Linen: A linen yarn made from short staple linen fibers that are carded but not combed before being spun.

Toxic Sign or Label: Safety measure – chemical can cause serious damage to health even at low levels. Unless professional trained to handle such chemicals, avoid them completely.

Tracing Paper and Drafting Film: Materials used to help re-create the effects of sheer translucent fabrics such as georgette, although paint effects may chip off if applied too quickly.

Trade Name: The name under which a product (e.g. fiber, cloth) trades.

Tramé or Tramming (Needlepoint): These long staggered horizontal stitches (see figure below) may be worked over the canvas before other stitching to “pad” the work or to help cover the canvas threads.


Transfer Crayons: They look like conventional crayons and are used in much the same way, but they are dull in appearance until they are transferred onto the fabric using an iron. When ironing, cover the iron with paper or fabric so that the soft crayons do not mark the surface of the iron.

Transfer Paints: These paints are only successful when used on man-made fabrics. When used on polyester cotton colors will be pale but on 100% polyester colors will be vivid. All colors can be mixed together and diluted to form other tones and colors, but they are not compatible with other fabric paints. Both can be used on separate areas of the one design. They appear much duller in appearance in the bottle and on the paper etc. than on the actual fabric.

Transfer Printing: There are four distinct processes by which transfer printing can be achieved: melt-transfer; film-release transfer; semi-wet processes; sublimation printing. See each for appropriate definitions. The dye adheres to the hydrophobic fiber molecules via dispersion forces and hydrogen bonding.

Trapunto: A type of quilting in which the fabric layers are stitched together with a design, after which some or all areas of the design are stuffed to create a bas-like relief.

Detail tristan trapunto quilt circa 1360-1400 AD.

Trews (Daywear): Tight tartan trousers.

Coat with trews.

Triacetate Fibers: Triacetate was developed to serve needs other than acetate. It is stronger, can withstand higher temperatures and is less likely to shrink or stretch. Originally it was used for tennis dresses because it washes well, stays white, and has a good body. It is well liked for knitted fabrics and many other easy-care garments.

Cloth made from triacetate fibers.

Triangle Repeat or Network: Connected lines yielding upside and up-side-down triangles. See figure below.


Tricot: A general name for warp-knit fabrics. It keeps it shape better than a filling knit. Usually made of filament yarns, it is a more compact fabric than jersey. Does not stretch or run as easily. Many warp-knit fabrics made of synthetic filament yarns as triacetate (Arnel) are wrongly called jersey as they are technically a heavy tricot fabric. Used for underwear, sleepwear, dresses (especially traveller) and as backing for many bonded fabrics.

Sketch of tricot knit fabric.

Vintage style nylon tricot panties with mushroom crotch and lace trim.

Tricotine: A clear finish twill weave fabric in cotton, wool or man-made fibers. It has a double twill line.

Tricotine's "Chantal" dress.

Tricot Lining: Tricot is usually made of acetate for lining bonded fabrics. Advantages of tricot-bonded fabrics are: controlled degree of stability with some elasticity or "give"; resiliency; crease-resistance improved; good drawability; easier to sew - less seam fraying and traveling or curling; can be pleated by heat setting when outer fabric may not allow such pleating; use of unusual fabrics such as loosely woven or knotted ones because the backing provides stability; garment has comfort of soft lining but is more easily made without need for separate lining, which can creep and bunch up; many fabrics have an improved hand and drape and a more elegant appearance.

Tritik Circles (Dye Pattern): Sewing or “tritik” is used to produce a precise and controlled design. To create a circle using this method, pencil the shape onto the fabric. Knot a length of strong thread firmly at one end and then stitch around the pencil outline on the fabric. The fabric is then gathered tightly along the stitches and secured with a knot. Random thread bindings are added to some of the gathered fabric and then dyed. The fabric is rinsed, the bindings are removed and the fabric is rinsed again. When dry, the stitches are removed and the fabric is rinsed and washed. Note: The effect on the fabric is shown in the background.


Tritik Stitching (Dye Pattern): For more intricate designs, such as paisley shapes, flowers, geometric patterns, names or initials, draw onto the fabric in pencil either freehand or with the aid of s stencil. A double row of stitching is made around the outline, using strong thread. For an outline design, the fabric is gathered along the stitches and secured tightly. To produce a bolder relief design the gathered fabric is bound. After dyeing, rinse the fabric and remove the binding and rinse the fabric again. When dry, remove the stitches and rinse and wash the fabric. Note: The effect on the fabric is shown in the background.


Tropical Wool: Lightweight worsted wool commonly used for suiting during transitional seasons.

Three button mens suit in tropical wool.

Tropical Worsteds: Lightweight suiting made of highly twisted yarns that permit air circulation. One yard weighs 7 1/2 ounces to 10 ounces.


Tubular Edging: The most common finish used in machine knitting. Jersey is knitted twice the desired finish height, then folded and caught under on the inside to create a flat, clean finished edge.

The illustration above shows a 6-round reverse stockinette tubular edging on a 2x2 ribbing.

Tufted Fabric: It is one in which the pile is made by inserting the extra yarns into an already woven backing fabric. The yarns are punched through the fabric by needles and are locked in the fabric by the blooming or untwisting action of the yarn plus the shrinkage of the backing fabric. They are not held in by weaving as are the pile yarns in other pile fabrics. In carpeting, the back is given a coat of lastex to give stiffness and skid resistance to the carpet. Chenille bedspreads and robes are made with cotton yarns on a heavy muslin background. All kinds of fibers are used in carpeting on a canvas-based fabric.

Saint Augustine tufted fabric wallpaper.

Tufting: The addition of pile to a fabric in a step separate from the manufacture of the ground fabric.

Tulis: A hand-drawn batik method.

Tulle: A fine net used in bridal veils and ballet costumes. Interesting effects can be obtained by printing over a double layer of fabric.

Black tutu tulle skirt.

Tumble Dry: Instruction on the label of a garment indicating that the drying action of a washing machine or drier will not reduce the natural lifetime of the garment.

Tumpal: A band designed with triangles that run down the ends of a batik sarong.

Batik tumpal.

Tussah Silk (Wild Silk): Protein filament obtained from the cocoons of wild moths of a number of species related to the domestic silk worm. It is a thick textured fabric, not unlike hessian (burlap) with an uneven slub. It is a good fabric for printing.

Dolce & Gabbana tussah silk tank dress.

Tweed: A coarse heavy weather resistant woolen cloth. May be plain or twill weave of medium to heavy weight. Has a prickly texture and a hand-crafted appearance and usually mottled in color due to the use of mixtures of colored yarns or fibers. Used for coats, winter suits and skirts. May also be made from cotton and man-made fibers for lighter weight suits.

Basic t-neck, tweed mini skirt, thigh-high boots.

Twill: Woven fabric with a pronounced diagonal weave design which is produced by the warp (warp faced twill) or weft (weft face twill) or both, passing over more than one yarn at a time, but with the picking pattern moving one or more yarns across with successive passes. Note: The weave is characterize by three or more warps and wefts producing a diagonal pattern.

Twill pattern.

Fat-Face pocket utility twill skirt.

Twill Weave: The filling yarns interlace with the warp yarns in such a way that diagonal lines are formed on the face of the fabric. It is possible to pack many threads into the twill weave, making it very strong, wear resistant (e.g. gabardine, some flannels, serge etc.)


Twill weave fabric. A right-hand warp faced twill. The diagonal moves from the lower left to the upper right and the warp threads predominate on the surface.

Twist: It is to form yarn or a strand of fibers into a spiral shape by rotating one end; that is, spinning or twisting threads, the direction of which may be to the left - "S" - or to the right - "Z".


Twisted Insertion Stitch or Fagoting (Embroidery): This is one of the simplest and most quickly worked insertion stitch. The needle is brought up at the edge of the bottom piece of fabric and the thread is taken up diagonally through the top piece of the fabric. The thread is taken down and a little to the right, passing the needle under and over the thread as shown below.


UFAC: Acronym for Upholstered Furniture Action Council. An American association of furniture manufacturers and retailers. This association conducts research and disseminates information on voluntary guidelines for more fire resistant upholstery materials. Headquarters are in High Point, NC.

Ulster (overcoat): Heavy overcoat, typically with a half-belt at the back.

Navy ulster overcoat.

Ultra-suede: An imitation suede which is hard to distinguish from the real thing. Particularly exciting results can be obtained when it is decorated with transfer paints.

Ultra Suede Jacket (Ginger).

Union Dyeing: The simultaneous dyeing by different means of different fibers in a blend.

Unknown Stains: If the stain appears greasy, treat as per butter; otherwise treat as per dye.

Upland: A long staple fiber that, on average is between 0.5 and 1 inches in length. They are silkier and smoother than many other cotton fibers.

Upright or Straight Cross Stitch (Needlepoint): This has a knobby texture and can be stitched in two colors for a dotted effect.


Up-the-Roll: Describes the orientation of a pattern's direction. When looking at an up-the-roll pattern, the warp yarns are in the vertical direction, while the filling yarns are in the horizontal direction. Some industries and manufacturers prefer up-the-roll patterns, while others prefer railroaded patterns for their application. See also railroaded for illustration.

Urethane Foam: Foam laminated consisting of one sheet of foam, which may vary from 1/32 to 1/8 inch thick. The foam is applied by an adhesive or heat method. These fabrics may be washed or dry-cleaned. If pressing is needed, press on the fabric side with a low heat or steam setting. Advantages of foam bonded fabrics are: added warmth; lightweight' protection against stretching in knitted and loosely woven fabrics; added resistance to wrinkling; adds new feel and plumpness to the fabric.

3" Urethane foam.

Urine (Stains): As per dye unless color of fabric has changed. If it has, sponge with ammonia. If this does not work, treat with acetic acid or vinegar.

Utrecht Velvet: Pile fabrics with a pattern created by crushing areas of the pile.


Variegated Rib Knit: Uneven combination of knit and purl stitches; for example, 3 x 1 or 5 x 3 etc.

Variegated rib knit sweater dress.

Velour: Fabric with short pile, heavier than velveteen, usually of cotton and used for upholstery purposes. Wool velour is heavily napped to resemble a pile fabric and is used for coats. Another velour is a felt, which has a close nap and is used for hats.

Mens Beige Florentino velour jacket.

Velvet: Velvet comes from the Latin "villus" meaning a fleece or tufted hair. A warp pile fabric formed by weaving of two fabrics together with the 5th set of yarns. The two fabrics are cut apart and the pile brushed up. Pile is usually 1/16 inch or shorter.

2015 Burgundy velvet mermaid long evening dress.

Velveteen: A woven fabric with a cut weft pile.


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.

White Witch blouse. scalloped gothic Venice lace blouse in ivory.

Vest and Bodies: The figure below gives names for the designs of various vests and bodies.


Vicuña or Vicugna Fibers: The vicuña and vicugna are wild animals of the South American camel family. They are not common and moreover, because they are wild, the animal must be killed to obtain the fiber. Both are smaller in size than the alpaca and live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. The overall color of the soft wooly coat is ochre, light cinnamon, or reddish brown, with the under-parts, insides of the legs, and underside of the head being dirty white. On the chest, at the base of the neck, is a peculiar, pompon-like “mane” of silky white hairs which may be 20 - 30 cm / 8 - 12 inches in length. The average yield per animal per year is 0.08 – 0.5 kg per year. It’s fiber diameter and length is of the order of 7 – 14 micron and 1 – 6 cm, respectively. Its fiber is very soft, strong, lusterous and resilient. Nevertheless, it is sensitive to chemicals. See post - Speciality Hair Fibers

The vicuña or vicugna is one of two wild South American camelids, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes.

Virgin Wool: Implies wool that has never been used in any other way, not even converted into yarn.

Viscose Rayon: (i) Regenerated cellulose fiber (a rayon) made by converting cellulose to a viscous xanthate solution then extruding into a neutralizing bath. It absorbs dye better than cotton and is colorfast with most inks and dyes, but does not dry as quickly. Its disadvantages are that the fibers are not very strong, especially when wet, and it is highly flammable; (ii) Textile Inks And Dyes For Viscose Rayon: reactive; direct; vat; multi-purpose dyes; discharge printing; cellulose devoré; natural dyes.

Viscose A-line long evening dress.

Viyella Flannel: It is part wool, part cotton flannel similar to outing flannel, but with a till weave. The cotton content makes it more washable than all-wool flannel. It is used for shirts and baby clothes.

Viyella flannel "Country" shirt.

Voile: A lightweight transparent plain weave fabric, usually of cotton. Its texture gives a pleasing surface effect when printed. The cream background color has little effect on the printing color. Slightly crisp feel due to tightly twisted yarns. Best quality made from 2-ply combed yarns with hard twist; poor quality yarns become fuzzy. Used for summer dresses and blouses.

Layered voile mini skirt.

von Bezold Effect (Spreading Effect): The phenomenon in which by adding or changing one color in a design, alters the total color effect.


Waffle Cloth: Waffle cloth, or sometimes honeycomb fabric is fabric, usually cotton or microfiber, woven in a way which makes it very absorbent. The waffle weave also allows air to flow through the towel so that it dries quickly. Waffle fabrics are made in a range of weights.


Wale: Lengthwise row of loops in a knitted fabric.

Warp: The yarn that runs lengthwise in a woven fabric; that is, the vertical threads of a textile that are stretched on a loom.

Warp-Faced Weave: An unbalanced weave (more warp ends per inch than weft ends) in which only the warp shows on the surface of the fabric for example, inkle weaving.

Warp Knit: Knitted fabric made with a separate yarn for each needle going the length of the fabric.

Warp knit (two bar tricot) fabric under magnification.

Warp Knitting: Hundreds of parallel yarns are each passed through a separate needle on the knitting machine. Each needle creates interlocking loops along the length of the fabric. Warp-knit fabrics stretch primarily in width.

Wash Fastness: The fastness to laundering of colors of dyed or printed textile materials. Wash fastness ratings: 1 - very poor wash fastness; 2 - poor; 3 - moderate; 3 to 4 - fair; 4 - good; 4 to 5 - very good; 5 - excellent or no fading at all.

Wash and Wear: Statement on a garment label suggesting that the fabric is made for everyday use and that its natural lifetime will not be significantly reduced due to wash and wear.

Wash 'n Wear Synthetics.

Washing Off: To wash off surplus dye or ingredients out of cloth, which will interfere with further dyeing of the cloth or the natural finished texture.

Water-borne Stains: Stains due to the absorption of water.

Waterproof: Statement found on garment labels, indicating the garment has been given a finish to resist soakage (e.g. oil-skin coats). Note: this does not imply that the fabric is waterproof with respect to heavy downpours.

Water-Repellent: Statement found on the label of garments indicating the garment has been given a finish to resist wetting and can only be penetrated by water with continuous exposure. Note: Water repellent fabrics will also resist water-based stains such as tea, coffee etc.

Effect of water spilled on a loosely woven fabric (such as net) treated with a water-repellent finish.

Wave Stitch Filling (Embroidery): The needle is brought up through the fabric and a diagonal stitch is made up over four threads and two along the right. The thread is passed under four threads to the left, and then a second diagonal stitch is made back to the starting place to form a V shape. The thread is passed under four threads to the left and the procedure is repeated along the row as shown in (a). The fabric is turned around to complete the diamonds in the same way as shown in (b).


Wax – Floor, Furniture, Car (Stains): As per butter.

Wax Prints: Wax prints are produced by covering the patterned areas of the fabric with a wax resist and subsequently dyeing the areas left free. The resist agent is usually a rosin obtained from certain pine trees and, like wax, it must be applied in a molten state.

Wax used in Art Marking: For batik or for any resist method, wax may be used as the resist medium. Wax obtained from candles or paraffin wax may be used so long as a brush or implement can apply the wax to a fabric surface. Using a tjanting tool or similar drawing implement, beeswax is often employed since it does not crackle. Most batik is done using mixtures of paraffin and beeswax. For example, a pre-mixed crackling wax will contain 30 percent beeswax and 70 per cent paraffin wax and for a non-crackling wax it is approximately 40 per cent beeswax and 60 per cent paraffin wax. More recently, environmentally friendly soy wax has been used as the preferred resist medium by several ArtCloth artists.

Wearable Art: It is “Art” when placed in an art context, but when it is not placed in an art context, its functionality obscures the act of engagement and so may only satisfy the first and third necessary conditions of artwork (see definition of Artwork).

Marie-Therese Wisniowski's 2013 Finalist @ Australian Craft Awards.
Velvet ArtCloth Scarf 2.
Technique: Hand dyed and Hand printed by the artist. Dyed, discharged, overdyed, silk screened, hand painted and foiled employing dyes and foil on silk rayon velvet. Printed both sides.
Size: 28 cm (width) x 185 cm (length).

Weave: Two interlacing system of threads passing at right angles to one another. Weaves can be divided into three categories – simple, dobby and complex.

Weaving: The loom is prepared with lengthwise (warp) yarns. Crosswise yarns are then inserted so they go over and under the warp to form a fabric. These crosswise yarns are called either woof or weft, but may also be called filling, since they fill the fabric. As these yarns go back and forth, they go around the outer warp yarns at each edge and form a self-edge or selvage.

Weaving the Corners (Embroidery): A space is formed at the corner, where two bands are drawn threads meet at right angles. The ends of the drawn threads are woven under and over the fabric (as shown) the edges are made neat with close buttonhole stitch.


Weaving Stitch (Embroidery): There are a number of different weaving stitches.


Weft Knit: Knitted fabric with the yarn going across the width of the fabric.

Strapless rib knit dress.

Weft-Faced Weave: An unbalanced weave (more weft ends per inch than warp ends) in which only the weft shown on the surface of the fabric for example, traditional tapestry.

Weft (filling yarn; woof yarn; picks): The yarn that goes from side to side of woven fabric; that is, the horizontal threads of a textile that interface at right angles to the warp.

Weft Knit: Knitted fabric with the yarn going across the width of the fabric.

Weighted Silk: Silk treated with salts of tin to improve its drape.

1950 Creamy-ivory heavy weighted silk satin cocktail dress with hand screened floral designs.

Weighting: The addition of substances (such as metallic salts) to silk fabrics in order to increase their weight so as to overcome weight losses due to the removal of natural gums from the silk. The latter removal is required to ensure that the luster of the fiber is exposed. However, this often resulted in a lightweight weak fabric with poor durability and so to overcome this flaw the silk fabric is weighted. Note: Any silk fabric labeled – all silk, pure silk, or pure dye silk does not have excessive weighting.

Welts: A textured weave in which an extra warp element is use as detaining backing float to force the woven face of the cloth into straight, raised ribs that run horizontally to the cloth.

Wensleydale (Fleece): (i) Count: 50s; (ii) Staple Length: 25 – 30 cm; (iii) Handle: Medium; (iv) Color: Good.

Wet Development (Fixation): This method of fixation is used with hand painting and resist techniques such as batik. Some specialist dye systems require a liquid fixer into which the dyed fabric is immersed, before being washed and dried. Other dyes, like Azoic dyes use one bath to apply a color salt to the fabric and another to form the dye. Soluble vat dyes are often developed and fixed in a bath of sulfuric or hydrochloric acid.

Wet-on-Wet: Printing technique in which one color is printed on another, whilst the first one is still wet.

Wetting Agent (Auxiliary): A specific surface-active agent primarily formulated to assist water to wet out more efficiently. A wetting agent is not a cleaning agent. There are a number of wetting agents such as glycerols, ethylene glycerols and ethoxylated alcohols that are included to aid the penetration of the discharge paste on various low absorbency fiber types.

Wetting Out: The full penetration of a solution into a fiber in order that dyeing or printing will take place evenly. That is, to assure more even and level color the cloth is dampened before dyeing.

Whipcord: Twill fabric of cotton or worsted yarns, of various qualities. It is a strong fabric with a diagonal round cords which can also be produced in wool. It is similar to gabardine but heavier. Worsted, woolen or heavy cotton; solid color; for riding habits, uniforms and outdoor garments.

Pair of man's tan wool whipcord jodhpur-style breeches (1927).

Whipped Back Stitch (Embroidery): The back stitch is worked around the design and then whipped over each stitch without entering the fabric.


Whipped or Ribbed Spider Stitch (Needlepoint): This is done over other needlepoint stitches to produce a raised rosette effect. Stitch spokes first to cover six to eight canvas threads each way, then the yarn is woven around them from the center outward, without passing the needle through the canvas, until the “spider” is padded out.


White Discharges: The print paste is usually clear and if the basic fabric is a dark color it is hard to visibly trace where the discharge paste was placed. Hence to avoid this problem, a white pigment such as zinc oxide can be added to the paste to add visibility and also to improve the whiteness of the discharge areas.

Wideawake: Soft hat with a low crown and very wide brim.

1860s Bollman collection wide-awake by Bollman Hat Company.

Wild Silk: Protein filaments from the cocoons of certain species of wild moths; tussah silk. Because it is made from pierced cocoons, wild silk is always spun.

Wild silk 1980s ballgown.

Wilton: It is a pattern woven carpet.


Wimple: Cloth covering the head and neck, worn by some nuns.


Winceyette: A plain-weave cotton fabric with slightly raised two-sided nap.

Cotton winceyette flannel dress fabric - Lemon Yellow.

Wine Stains: Both red and white wine stains can be removed by smearing a solution of lemon juice and salt over the stain, rinsing the material, and then washing it in a biological soap powder. Red wine stains can be treated by sponging the stain with generous quantities of white wine. Alternatively, a red wine stain can be treated by pouring salt over it, since the wine will migrate to the salt and be captured by it.

Withdrawing the Threads (Embroidery): The fabric is placed on a flat surface, with the grain straight so that you can accurately measure, where the drawn thread bands are to be positioned. The required number of threads - at the center of the band - are snipped and are pulled out gradually toward the edges with the point of a needle.


Women's Hats: See figure below.



Workwear: Most work wear fabrics are designed to protect the wearer from contamination, and is also non-linting. This means that it does not shed fibers, important in areas like police work.

New Jumpsuit Coveralls - Factory Uniforms Safety Workwear.

Woof: See weft.

Wool: (i) Natural fiber, from sheep, in any form. The term applies equally to raw fleece and finished cloth; pure wool has no other additives, but wool yarn may or may not have sizing applied to it when it is factory spun or dyed. Wool is often blended with more expensive animal fibers such as cashmere in order to make the latter cheaper. Wool challis is an ideal surface for fabric paint, as it is fine and smooth. Thicker wools are suitable for dyeing, but are too textured for painting and printing, although knitting yarn takes dyes very well; (ii) Textile Inks And Dyes For Wool: pigment; acid; natural dyes; multi-purpose dyes; protein devoré. See post on wool.

Ladies Woolen Jacket.

Wool Covert: Wool covert is made from woolen or worsted yarns. It may be mottled or solid color and may be suit or coat weight. It may be napped slightly or have a clear finish. The mottled effect is obtained by using two different colored plus or by blending different fibers.

Crombie Lovat covert wool coat.

Wool Crêpe: A lightweight worsted fabric with a more or less crinkly appearance, obtained by using warp yarns that are tightly twisted in alternate directions. The term is often applied to lightweight worsted fabrics for women's wear that have little or no crêpe surface.

Ralf Lauren wool crêpe dDress.

Woolen Yarns: A hairy yarn made from wool fibers; fabric made from wool.

Woolen yarns have a fuzzy appearance. Compare them to worsted yarns, the latter being far more orderly.

Wool Jersey: Medium to heavy weight, 100 percentage wool knit with a subtle drape. Works well for autumn/winter in casual separates and dresses.

Black wool jersey pleated mini-skirt.

Wool Plaids and Checks: They are often made with a 2/2 twill weave. They may be made with woolen or worsted yarns; they may be napped or smooth; they are always yarn dyed. They are named according yo the arrangement of the colored yarns; for example, shepherd's check, hound's tooth check, Glen plaid.

Zara ecru black houndstooth check dress.

Worsted Yarns: A smooth yarn made from closely aligned wool fibers; fabric made from these, which is made smoother still by the cropping of any protruding hairs.

Worsted yarns have parallel fibers. Compare this to woolen yarns that appear to be more fuzzy and less orientated.

Woven: Woven fabrics are made from two pieces of yarn that are stretched out over a loom and woven together in both horizontal and vertical directions. Woven fabrics do not stretch because their fibers run at 45-degree angles to one another. Woven fabrics include linen, denim, twill, satin, chiffon, corduroy, tweed and canvas.

Woven Bars: Withdraw an even number of threads and weave under and over through the remaining threads.


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-Resistant (or Crease Resistant): Describes a textile material or garment which resists being wrinkled, but will wrinkle when crushed and then tend to remain wrinkled.

Wrinkle-Shedding: Describes a textile material or garment, which may wrinkle when crushed, but when allowed to relax will tend to shed or lose the imposed wrinkles and recover its former unwrinkled appearance.

Writing Ink (Stains): (i) Fabric: Washable; (ii) Method: Sponge with water first then try soap or detergent. Further treatment with chlorine or peroxygen bleach if necessary. Inks vary, and the particular stain may require several attempts before the right treatment is found; (iii) Fabric: Non-Washable; (iv) Method: Spot clean with water and/or soap or detergent. Remove soap with alcohol.

Wyzenbeek Tester: An abrasion testing machine used in ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) tests for fabric abrasion resistance.

X-Static Silver Fiber: X-Static silver fiber has a layer of pure silver permanently bonded to the surface of a textile fiber. It can be used in knits, wovens and non-wovens as either a filament or spun yarn. The addition of silver creates an anti-door, anti-bacterial fiber.

X-static silver fiber in a mens compression ribbed dress sock.

Yarn: Spun fiber, of any content; available in various sizes and weights, from one-ply (singles) to two; three; four; or five-ply.

Yarn Dyeing: Yarn is often dyed before being made into cloth. Yarn dyed fabrics also tend to have a high degree of colorfastness because the dye easily penetrates the yarn. This method is often used for plaids and checked fabrics. Yarn dyeing is less costly than stock dyeing, but more expensive than piece dyeing.

Yarn Size: The term denier is used to describe the size of the yarn; that is, its thickness or diameter. The finer the yarn the smaller the denier number (e.g. nylon hosiery of 10 denier yarn is more sheerer than 30 denier hosiery).

Yashmak: Veil worn by Muslim women in public.

Yashmak - bended face veil.

Yeast Black: See vine black.

Yellow, Brown Stains: Treat in the following order as necessary: (i) wash; (ii) Use mild bleach treatment; (iii) Use oxalic acid treatment; (iv) use strong bleach treatment.

Yuzen: Yuzen is a start resist dyeing technique that was invented by Miyazaki Yuzen, a famous Kyoto fan-painter during the Genroku era (1688-1704) of the Edo period. The technique uses glutinous rice as the resist. It is a particular fine dye painting style, contained by resist-paste outlines.

A court carriage Yuzen kimono curtains.

Zari: An even thread that is usually gold or silver, commonly found in brocades that adds a metallic sheen to fabric.

Real gold Zari threads.

Zephyr: A thin kind of cashmere made in Belgium. The term also refers to a waterproof wool fabric.

Peak Performance, waterproof wool Zephyr jacket. Women, wild orchid purple.

Zibilene (Zibeline): A heavy coating fabric with a long shabby nap laid in one direction. The fabrics sometimes have crosswise ridges caused by a longer nap in those areas. Often a lustrous appearance.

A-line silk Zibeline gown with boat neckline and embroidered bust.

Zigzag Hemstitch (Embroidery): The first row is worked as for the simple hemstitch over groups containing an even number of loose threads. In the second row, over half the threads from one group are stitched together with half from the next group so as to divide and stagger the threads in each group.



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[31] Artlandia SymmetryWorks.

[32] M-T Wisniowski, personal communication (2013).