Term Description
Absorbency The ability of fabric to take in moisture. Very important in relation to skin comfort, but other factors important too, effect on static build up, staining and removal, water repellency, shrinkage and wrinkling.
Azo Dyes Potentially carcinogenic banned dyestuffs
Blend Yarn made up of two or more types of staple fibre twisted or spun together. Polyester cotton is a typical example
Breathability Popular misnomer which really should be Moisture Vapour Permeable. The ability of a fabric to transpire moisture vapour reducing condensation by physical or chemical means
Calendaring Heat and pressure finishing process to put a lustrous, glazed or embossed finish on one or both surfaces of a fabric
Carding Combing process of raw fibres to clean and sort, creates thin layer of fibre prior to spinning
Colourfastness A dyed fabric’s ability to resist fading due to light exposure and washing
Cotton Natural fibre from Cotton plant seed pod. Typically ˝ inch to 2inches long fibres. Highest quality is Egyptian variety with fibres longer than 1˝ inch.
Crocking This is when dye rubs off a fabric improperly dyed washed or finished.
Denier Measurement relating to weight of continuous filament fibre, Denier equals weight in grams of 9000 meters of that fibre. The finer the fibre, the lower the number and vice versa
Dobby weave Raised or textured weave available in many patterns
Elasticity The ability of a fabric to return to its original size after stretching
Facing Finishing fabric inside garments.
Gauge Normally refers to number of needles per inch in knitting machinery
GSM Fabric weight in Grams per square metre
GLM Fabric weight in grams per linear metre, fabric width must be known
Herringbone Zig zag weave effect variation of Herringbone
Hydrostatic Head Measured vertical column of water determines how waterproof a fabric is.
Interlining Padding or stiffening included between inner and outer shells for insulation or structural purpose to maintain shape.
Interlock Variation of rib stitch where two 1 x 1 ribbed fabrics are interknitted. Heavy and more stable than single rib.
Jacquard Loom attachment used in making woven fabrics to create any kind of design. Brocade and Damask are Jacquard weaves
Jersey fabrics Smooth flat faced fabrics with textured uniform back made by interlooped yarns on both flat and circular knitting machines.
Knit fabrics Fabric made from yarns running all in the same direction created by looping the yarns around each other.
Lining Covering fabric in garment inside, can be printed or have woven logo included.
Nylon Strong synthetic fibre with great resilience, the first ever developed.
Ottoman weave A raised rib often self coloured fabric
Pilling Unsightly balling of fibres on fabric surface due to friction worse on inferior fabrics
Pique Knit or woven medium weight fabric with raised dobby designs
Polyester Less strong than nylon but very resilient with lower water absorbency. Only cotton is more used.
Quilting A fabric constructed by layering and stitching together probably in a regular pattern. May include insulation material in the construction.
Reactive Dye Most permanent of dye types
Ring Spun A spinning process which results in smoother yarns
Rib Knit Highly elastic knit, used for special trims, sleeve, neck and waistbands and for close fitting knitwear
Rib Weave Plain weave fabric variations with raised ribs
Rip Stop Weave variation with multiple yarns creating various types of grid pattern which can stop tears, sometimes cosmetic only
Selvedge Created in construction of woven fabrics along warp edges to stabilise and prevent unravelling
Spandex Fibre Elastomeric synthetic fibre which will recover original size even after repeated stretching. Used in small percentages within fabrics to make close fitting garments. Lycra from DuPont is probably the best known brand.
Warp Lengthwise yarns in woven fabrics
Weft Crosswise Filler yarns in woven fabrics, perpendicular to warp.
Wickability The ability of fibres or fabrics to disperse and allow moisture to pass through to the surface where it can be evaporated. Normally used in base and mid layers.
Wrinkle resist Treatment applied to fabric to make easier to care for and require minimal ironing