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Glossary

Abrasion Resistance
The ability of a fabric to withstand surface wear and rubbing.

Acetate Fiber
A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is cellulose acetate derived from cotton or wood pulp. Acetate is often used in lightweight apparel and garment linings.

Acrylic Fiber
A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any long chain of synthetic polymer comprised of at least 85% by weight of acrylonitrile units. Acrylic is a man-made version of wool.

Air Permeability
The porosity or the ease with which air passes through fabric.

Antibacterial Finish
A treatment of a textile material to make it resistant to, or to retard the growth, of bacteria.

Antisoiling Properties
The properties of textiles that resist soils and stains.

Antistatic Properties
The ability of a fabric to disburse an electrostatic charge and to prevent the build up of static electricity.

Backing
A knit or woven fabric, or a foam, bonded to a face fabric.

Baggy Cloth
A wavy condition caused by inconsistent tension in the yarns that prevents a fabric from lying flat.

Basis Weight
The weight of a unit area of a fabric. Examples are ounces-per-square-yard or grams-per-square-meter.

Bending Length
A measure of fabric stiffness based on how the fabric bends in one plane under the force of gravity.

Bleeding
The loss of color when a fabric is immersed in water. A fabric that bleeds can stain other fabrics that contact it when wet.

Bond Strength
The amount of force required to delaminate a fabric from its backing.

Bonding
A process of adhesive laminating together two or more fabrics, or a fabric to a foam.

Burn Rate
The speed at which a fabric burns.

Burn-Out Printing
Often used on velvet, this method obtains a raised design on a sheer ground. It is achieved with a special chemical which destroys selected areas to reveal the desired final design. Also called etching.

Bursting Strength
The ability of a fabric to resist rupture by pressure.

Char Length
In flammability testing, the distance from the edge of the sample exposed to flame to the upper edge of the charred or void area.

Circular Knit Fabric
A weft knit fabric produced on a circular knitting machine.

Coated Fabric
A fabric to which a substance such as plastic or rubber is applied to achieve certain properties, such as water impermeability.

Colorfastness
Resistance to fading when exposed to certain conditions, such as light, perspiration, or washing.

Course
The row of loops or stitches running across a knit fabric, corresponding to the filling in woven fabrics.

Cross Dyeing
A method of dyeing a fabric into 2 colors by using special dyes.

Cross-Section
The shape of an individual filament when cut at a right angle to its axis. Different cross-sectional shapes can create desirable fabrics characteristics.

Damask
A firm, glossy jacquard-patterned fabric used for upholstery, draperies, and mattresses.

Digital Printing
Refers to printing from a digital-based image directly to a fabric substrate. There is no need to replace printing rolls or inks in digital printing.

Direct Printing
A process where the colors for the desired designs are applied directly to the white or dyed cloth.

Discharge Printing
A method of printing where pastes containing a chemical are applied to the fabric to remove its color and replace it with a new ones according to a desired design.

Duplex Printing
A method of printing a pattern on both the face and back of a fabric with equal clarity.

Elasticity
The ability of a strained or stretched material to recover its original shape when in a relaxed state.

Embossing
A calendaring process for producing raised designs on fabric surfaces using engraved heated rollers.

Fabric
A textile structure produced by interlacing yarns, fibers or filaments.

Fabric Construction
The details of the structure of a fabric, including type of knit or weave, stitch density, weight, width and style.

Fatigue
The increasing inability of an elastic fabric to recover after stretching.

Fiber
A unit of matter, either natural or manufactured, that forms the basic elements of fabrics. It is characterized by having a length that is at least 100 times its diameter. It is consolidated into yarn for woven and knitted fabrics.

Filament
A fiber of extreme length.

Filament Yarn
A yarn composed of continuous filaments.

Filling Yarn
In a woven fabric, the yarn that runs from edge to edge. Also called warp yarn.

Finish
A substance added to a textile material to impart desired properties, such as flame retardancy or water resistance.

Flame Laminating
The process of combining fabric with other roll goods using melted foam as the adhesive agent.

Flame Test - Diagonal
A fabric is mounted in a 45-degree angle and is exposed to an open flame for a specific time. This test measures the ease of ignition and rate of burn.

Flame Test - Horizontal
A fabric is mounted on a horizontal holder and is exposed to an open flame for a specific time to measure burn rate and char-hole diameter.

Flame Test - Vertical
A fabric is mounted on a vertical frame and is exposed to an open flame for a specific time. The open flame is then extinguished and the continued flame time and char length are measured.

Fleece Fabric
A fabric with a thick, heavy surface resembling sheep's wool.

Float
1. In a woven fabric, the portion of a warp or filling yarn that extends over two or
more adjacent filling picks or warp ends.
2. In a knit fabric, a portion of yarn that extends for some length over the surface
without being knit into the fabric.

Flocking
A method of cloth ornamentation in which adhesive is applied to the fabric and covered with finely chopped fibers.

Geotextiles
Synthetic fabrics made in a variety of constructions for use in various civil engineering applications, including construction, drainage and erosion control.

Greige Fabric
An unfinished and undyed fabric just off the loom or knitting machine.

Hand
The qualities of a fabric perceived by touch, such as softness and elasticity.

Heat Transfer Printing
A method of printing polyester fabric where the design from a preprinted paper sublimates or transfers into the fabric under heat and pressure. This method produces a well-defined and durable print.

Heat-Setting
The process of imparting dimensional stability, width and weight by exposing the fabric to heat.

Hot-Melt Adhesive
Used in lamination, this is a solid sheet that melts quickly and sets a firm bond upon cooling.

Hydrophilic
The ability to absorb water.

Hydrophobic
Lacking the ability to absorb water.

Inherent Flame Resistance (IFR)
Flame resistance that derives from an essential characteristic of the fiber from which the textile is made. It provides long-lasting fire retardant properties.

Ink-Jet Printing
Non-contact printing that uses electrostatic acceleration and the deflection of ink particles released from small nozzles to form the pattern.

Inspection
The process of examining textiles for defects at any stage of manufacturing and processing.

Jacquard
A system of weaving that produces large, intricate designs.

Jet Dyeing
A method of dyeing synthetic fabrics under high pressure and temperature.

Knit Fabric
A fabric produced by interlooping one or more ends of yarn.

Laminated Fabric
A layered package comprised of two or more fabrics held together with an adhesive.

lightfastness
The degree of resistance of dyed textile materials to the color-destroying influence of sunlight.

Linen
Cellulosic fibers derived from the stem of the flax plant. Linen fibers are much stronger and more lustrous than cotton; they yield cool, absorbent fabrics that wrinkle easily.

Long Staple
A long fiber.

Loom
A machine for weaving fabric by interlacing a series of vertical, parallel yarns with a series of horizontal, parallel yarns.

Luster
The quality of shining with reflected light.

Manufactured Fibers
Chemically produced fibers.

Mending
A process in woven fabric manufacturing in which weaving imperfections and defects are repaired.

Mercerization
A chemical treatment of cotton yarns or fabric to increase luster and affinity for dyes.

Mesh Fabrics
A broad term for fabric characterized by open spaces between yarns. Mesh fabrics can be made on many kinds of looms and knitting machines.

Metameric Color Match
A color match between two materials in which the colors are identical under some lighting conditions but not under others.

Microdenier
Refers to very fine fibers that have less than one denier per filament. Resulting fabrics have very soft hand-feels. Also called microfiber.

Modacrylic Fiber
A synthetic fiber that offers superior resistance to chemicals and combustion.

Moiré
A wavy or watered decorative effect on textiles created by weighted cylinders pressing on the fabric surface.

Moleskin
A heavyweight fabric that is napped and sheared to create a dense suede effect.

Monofilament
Any single filament or strand of a manufactured fiber.

Mullen Bursting Strength
A test method to measure the ability of a fabric to resist puncture.

Multifilament
A yarn consisting of many continuous filaments. Most textile filament yarns are multifilament.

Napping
A finishing process that raises the surface fibers of a fabric by means of passage over rapidly revolving cylinders covered with metal needles. Flannel is an example of napped fabric.

Natural Fiber
A fiber that is derived from the natural world without extensive chemical additions that could change the inherent properties.

Necking
The narrowing in the width of a fabric when it is stretched lengthwise.

Netting
The process of knotting yarns into meshes that will not unravel.

Nonwoven Fabric
An assembly of textile fibers held together by mechanical interlocking in a random web or mat, achieved by a fusing or bonding process.

Novelty Yarn
Yarns produced for decorative effect. They are usually uneven in size, varied in color, or modified in appearance by the presence of irregularities.

Nylon Fiber
A manufactured fiber in which the fiber forming substance is any long chain of polyamide with recurring amide groups. Nylon offers superior strength, flexibility, abrasion resistance, washability and ease of drying.

Olefin Fiber
A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any long chain of synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of ethylene, propylene or other olefin units. Light weight and resistant to abrasion, this fiber is popular in lawn furniture upholstery and indoor/outdoor carpet.

Optical Brightener
A compound that when applied to fabric absorbs ultraviolet radiation and makes the color appear more brilliant.

Organza
A stiff, thin, plain-weave fabric used primarily for women's evening and wedding apparel.

Oxford Cloth
A soft but strong shirting fabric.

Ozone Fading
The fading of a dyed textile, especially blue shades, caused by atmospheric ozone.

Panne Velvet
Velvet where the pile is flattened and laid in one direction. This is a lustrous, lightweight fabric.

PBI Fiber
A high performance fiber that does not burn in air. It is used in making firefighter protective apparel.

Peel Adhesion
The force required to delaminate a fabric structure or to separate the surface layer from a substrate. Peel adhesion is the measure of bond strength.

Permanent Finish
A term for various chemical and mechanical treatments that change a fabric's characteristics during normal wear and laundering.

Permeability
The state of being penetrable by fluids or gases.

Photographic Printing
A method of printing from rollers engraved with a photographic image. The resulting design looks like a photograph.

Pick Count
In woven fabrics, the number of filling yarns per inch or centimeter of fabric.

Pick Counter
A mechanical device with a magnifying glass used for counting picks and ends in finished fabrics.

Pick Yarn
A single filling yarn carried by one trip of the weft-insertion device across the loom. Also called end yarn. The picks interlace with the warp ends to form a woven fabric. (see Filling)

Pigment Printing
Printing by use of pigments instead of dyes. The pigments do not penetrate the fiber of the fabric but are affixed to the surface by resins. Colors are bright and durable.

Pile
A fabric effect formed by tufts, loops, or other erect yarns on the fabric surface.

Pill
A small accumulation of fibers on a fabric surface.

Pique
A circular knit fabric construction with an uneven surface often used in sport shirts.

Plain Weave
One of the basic woven constructions where each filling yarn passes successively over and under each warp yarn, alternating each row.

Plated Fabric
A term to describe a fabric that is produced from two yarns of different features, one which appears on the face and the other on the back.

Plied Yarn
A yarn formed by twisting together two or more singles yarns into one yarn.

Plush
A term to describe an upholstery fabric in which the pile yarns are dense and evenly sheared to create a velvet appearance.

Ply
The number of layers in a fabric.

Polyester Fiber
A manufactured fiber in which the fiber forming substance is any long chain composed of at least 85% by weight of an ester of dihydric alcohol and terephthalic acid. A versatile fiber, it has high strength and is resistant to shrinking and stretching. It is also quick-drying and wrinkle resistant.

Polymer
A high molecular weight, chain-like structure from which manufactured fibers are derived.

Polypropylene Fiber
An olefin fiber made with polymers of propylene. This fiber is widely used in industrial, carpet and geotextile applications.

Pongee
A fine, lightweight fabric with luster. It is used in intimate apparel.

Ponte Di Roma
A weft knit fabric that has a plain surface and looks the same on both sides.

Poplin
A plain-weave fabric with a rib effect in the filling direction.

Print
A fabric with designs applied by dyes or pigments on engraved rollers, blocks or screens.

Rayon
A manufactured fiber composed of processed cellulose. Rayon can be produced in many variations and as such is used in apparel, home textile and industrial applications.

Roll Goods
Fabric rolled up on a core after it has been produced.

Rotary Screen Printing
A method where a perforated roll or cylindrical screen is used to apply the color, which is forced from the interior of the screen onto the fabric.

Satin Weave
One of the basic woven constructions where the face of the fabric consists of mostly warp yarns or mostly filling yarns. This fabric is smooth and lustrous.

Scrim
A open-constructed fabric used as a backing in laminated fabrics.

Seam Slippage
A defect consisting of separated yarns occurring when sewn fabrics pull apart at the seams.

Seconds
Imperfect fabrics sold at a discount because of excess defects.

Selvage
The edge of a fabric.

Shearing
A process where projecting fibers are mechanically cut from the face of the fabric to create a consistent surface. Napped and pile fabrics, such as velvets, are sheared.

Sheers
Transparent, lightweight fabrics.

Shrinkage
Contraction of fabric in the width or length after wetting and redrying or after exposure to elevated temperature.

Silk
A fine, strong, continuous filament produced by the larva of certain insects, especially silkworms.

Singeing
The process of burning off protruding fibers from a fabric by passing it over a flame to make the surface smooth.

Skewness
The extent warp yarns move away from their intended direction across the width of the fabric. Also referred as bowing.

Sliver Knit
A type of knitting used to produce high-pile and fur-like fabrics.

Snag
A pulled yarn in a knit fabric.

Softener
A product applied in processing to impart a soft mellowness to the fabric.

Spandex Fiber
A manufactured fiber composed of at least 85% of the polymer polyurethane. Yarns and fabrics containing spandex have excellent stretch and recovery properties. There are many applications for spandex including bathing suits.

Spectrophotometer
An instrument used to measure the overall color of a textile sample and its component colors.

Spinneret
A metal disk containing numerous minute holes used to extrude manufactured fibers. The melted polymer is forced through the holes to form the fiber filaments.

Spun Yarn
A yarn consisting of staple fibers bound together by twist.

Stability
The tendency of a fabric to return to its original shape after being subjected to an external influence, such as tension or heat.

Stabilized Fabric
Fabric that is chemically or heat treated to set its properties and to prevent shrinkage.

Staining
The undesired pickup of color by a fabric.

Staple Yarn
Yarn produced from strands of natural or manufactured fibers cut to specified lengths.

Static
An accumulation of an electrical charge on a fabric. Static can impede certain textile processing operations.

Stiffness
The property of a fabric to resist bending.

Streak
A discoloration, such from rust or grease, that extends as an irregular stripe in a fabric.

Sublimation
Occurs when a dye passes from directly from a solid to a vapor without passing through the liquid phase. This process is the basis of heat-transfer printing.

Substrate
A fabric to which coatings or other fabrics are applied.

Suede Fabric
Woven or knitted fabrics finished to resemble suede or leather, usually by napping, shearing and sanding techniques.

Swatch
A piece of fabric used as a representation of overall quality.

Taffeta
A plain-weave fabric with a fine, smooth, crisp hand and usually a lustrous, silk-like appearance.

Tear Strength
The force required to begin or to continue a tear in a fabric under specified conditions.

Tensile Strength
The strength of a fabric subjected to tension.

Tensile Test
A method of measuring the resistance of a fabric to a force stretching it in one direction.

Tenter Frame
A heat-setting machine that dries the fabric and creates a specified width and weight.

Terry Cloth
A fabric with uncut loops on one or both sides. Used in towels.

Textile
1. Staple fibers and filaments suitable for yarns.
2. Yarns made from natural or manufactured fibers.
3. Fabrics made from these fibers and yarns.

Textile Processing
Any mechanical operation used in fabric manufacturing.

Texture
A term describing the surface of a fabric, such as dull, lustrous, wooly, stiff, soft, fine or course. It describes the structural quality of a fabric.

Thermoplastic
Describes the tendency of fabrics made from manufactured fibers to soften at higher temperatures.

Thread Count
The number of ends and picks per inch in a woven fabric or the number of wales and courses per inch in a knit fabric.

Toile
A broad term describing many simple plain-weave twill fabrics, especially those made from linen and cotton.

Tricot
A generic term for the most common types of warp-knit fabrics.

Twill Weave
A basic weave construction characterized by diagonal lines on the surface produced by a series of floats staggered in the warp direction.

Twist
The twist added to yarn to give it strength or other desirable properties.

Ultraviolet Resistance
The ability to retain strength and resist deterioration from sunlight exposure.

Uneven Dyeing
A fabric dyeing that shows variations in shade from incorrect processing or faulty dyes-stuffs.

Uneven Shrinkage
A wavy condition from washing and drying that prevents a fabric from lying flat.

Uneven Surface
An irregular surface caused by a nonuniform presentation of the yarns and fibers.

Velour
A soft fabric with a short, thick pile.

Velvet
A fabric with a short, dense cut pile that produces a rich appearance, consistent surface and soft texture.

Wale
In knit fabrics, a column of loops lying lengthwise in the fabric. Wales are measured by the number per inch.

Warp Knitting
A type of knitting where the yarns run lengthwise down the fabric.

Warp Yarns
The yarns in all woven fabrics that run lengthwise and parallel to the selvage and that are interwoven with the filling yarns.

Washfastness
The resistance of a dyed fabric to a loss of color or a change in properties during home or commercial laundering.

Water-Repellent
A treatment applied to a fabric to make it shed water while remaining permeable to air and comfortable to wear.

Wavy Selvage
A fabric edge that has an inconsistent tension from the rest of the fabric preventing it from lying flat.

Wear Test
A test for fabric performance, such as abrasion resistance, wear, or washfastness, when it is sewn into the finished product.

Weave
A system or pattern of intersecting warp and filling yarns. The three basic woven constructions are plain, satin and twill.

Weaving
The process of interlacing two yarns so that they cross each other at right angles to produce the fabric. The warp yarns, or ends, run lengthwise on the fabric, and the filling yarns (also called weft yarns or picks) run side to side.

Weft Knitting
A type of knitting in which the yarns run continuously crosswise in the fabric.

Wicking
The dispersing or spreading of moisture or liquid through a given area.

Width
A horizontal measurement of fabric from edge to edge.

Wool
The fleece from sheep, or other related animals like the Cashmere goat, that is converted into yarn and fabric.

Working Loss
The unusable waste that occurs during textile processing.

Worsted Yarns
Wool yarns that are smooth-surfaced and spun from long staple fiber resulting in a richer fabric.

Xenon-Arc Lamp
A type of light used to test a fabric's lightfastness properties.

Yarn
A generic term for a continuous stand of textile fibers or filaments that can be used for weaving or knitting.