Glossary of terms


Acrylic - A manufactured fiber derived from polyacrylonitrile. Its major properties include a soft, wool-like hand, machine washable and dryable, excellent color retention.


Anti-Bacterial (Anti-Microbial) - A fabric that has been chemically treated or a fiber that is created by incorporating the anti-bacterial chemical agent into the fiber formula, making the finished fiber or fabric resistant to, or inhibiting the growth of micro-organisms.


Basket Weave - A variation of the plain weave construction, formed by treating two or more warp yarns and/or two or more filling yarns as one unit in the weaving process. Yarns in a basket weave are laid into the woven construction flat, and maintain a parallel relationship.


Banded Cuffs - A piece of single-ply material, usually ribbed, which is added to the ends of sleeves to form a cuff.


Brushing - A finishing process for knit or woven fabrics in which brushes or other abrading devices are used on a loosely constructed fabric to permit the fibers in the yarns to be raised to create a nap on fabrics or create a novelty surface texture.

Carding - A process which eliminates fibers too short for inclusion in the spun yarn. The process also removes dirt and foreign matter still remaining in the fiber mass, and arranges the fibers into a very thin layer.


Chambray - A plain woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns.


Chino - Classic all-cotton "Army twill" fabric made of combed two-ply yarns. Usually vat dyed, mercerized, and given a compressive shrinkage finish. Used traditionally for army uniforms, chino is now finding popularity sportswear and work clothes.

Collarette - A crewneck collar shaped as a single piece with no vertical seam.

Combed Cotton - Raking a comb-like device over cotton fibers captures only the longest, strongest fibers, which are then spun into a very durable thread.

Dobby Weave - A decorative weave, characterized by small figures, usually geometric, that are woven into the fabric structure. Dobbies may be of any weight or compactness, with yarns ranging from very fine to coarse and fluffy.


Flame Resistant - Fabrics treated with special chemical agents or finishes to make them resistant to burning. A fabric is considered flame resistant if it passes federal specifications for specific end-uses.


Flame Retardant - A chemical applied to a fabric, or incorporated into the fiber at the time of production, which significantly reduces a fabric's flammability.


Flannel - A medium-weight, plain or twill weave fabric that is typically made from cotton, a cotton blend, or wool. The fabric has a very soft hand, brushed on both sides to lift the fiber ends out of the base fabric and create a soft, fuzzy surface. End-uses include shirts and pajamas.

Flash - Flashing is necessary when screen printing light color over dark fabric. A layer of white must be laid down first and "flashed" or dried before adding secondary colors.


Gabardine - A tightly woven, twilled, worsted fabric with a slight diagonal line on the right side. Wool gabardine is known as a year-round fabric for business suiting. Polyester, cotton, rayon, and various blends are also used in making gabardine.

Garment Washed - A process applied to a garment after manufacturing to impart a weathered, or "washed", look.


Greige Goods - An unfinished fabric, just removed from a knitting machine or a loom. Also called grey goods.

Hand - Describes the relative softness of a fabric.

Heather - A yarn that is spun using pre-dyed fibers. These fibers are blended together to give a particular look. The term heather may also be used to describe the fabric made from heathered yarns.


Herringbone - A variation on the twill weave construction in which the twill is reversed, or broken, at regular intervals, producing a zigzag effect.


High Visibility Fabrics - Fabrics that contain fluorescent materials in order to make the wearer visible in dim and dark lights. These fabrics have the ability to reflect on-coming lights, which cause them to glow in the dark.


Inseam - The distance from the bottom of a trouser leg to the crotch. The measurement is taken along the inside leg seam that joins the front and the back leg panels.


Interlock - The stitch variation of the rib stitch, which resembles two separate 1 x 1 ribbed fabrics that are interknitted. Plain (double knit) interlock stitch fabrics are thicker, heavier, and more stable than single knit constructions.


Jacquard - Any number of a myriad of patterns that appear in polo shirt fabrics. Collars can have a jacquard pattern also.


Jersey Fabric - The consistent interlooping of yarns in the jersey stitch to produces a fabric with a smooth, flat face, and a more textured, but uniform back.


Jute - A bast fiber, chiefly from India, used primarily for gunny sacks, bags, cordage, and binding threads in carpets and rugs.


Mercerization - Is a treatment for cotton fabric and thread mostly employed to give cotton a lustrous appearance.


Microfiber - The name given to ultra-fine manufactured fibers and the name given to the technology of developing these fibers. Fibers made using microfiber technology, produce fibers which weigh less than 1.0 denier. The fabrics made from these extra-fine fibers provide a superior hand, a gentle drape, and incredible softness.

Ottoman Knit - Also known as "cool knit" or "cool weave", this state-of-the-art fabric has a miniscule box-like pattern and certain wicking properties to keep moisture away from the skin.


Oxford - A fine, soft, lightweight woven cotton or blended with manufactured fibers in a 2 x 1 basket weave variation of the plain weave construction.


Performance Fabrics - Fabrics made for a variety of end-use applications, which provide functional qualities, such as moisture management, UV protection, anti-microbial, thermo-regulation, and wind/water resistance.


Permanent Press - Term used to describe a garment which has been treated to retain its fresh appearance, crease, and shape throughout the life of the garment, Permanent press can be a misleading description, because no finish is completely permanent.


Piqué - A medium-weight fabric, either knit or woven, with raised dobby designs including cords, wales, waffles, or patterns. Woven versions have cords running lengthwise, or in the warp direction.

Placket - The material at the front of a polo or golf shirt that contains buttons on one side, and button holes on the other.


Polyester - A manufactured fiber introduced in the early 1950s, and is second only to cotton in worldwide use. Polyester has high strength (although somewhat lower than nylon), excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fiber to dry quickly.


Poplin - A fabric made using a rib variation of the plain weave. The construction is characterized by having a slight ridge effect in one direction, usually the filling. Poplin used to be associated with casual clothing, but as the "world of work" has become more relaxed, this fabric has developed into a staple of men's wardrobes, being used frequently in casual trousers.


Pre-shrunk - Does NOT mean "pre-washed". Instead, the term refers to a manufacturing process whereby the fabric is compressed before a garment is sewn from it. The fabric de-compresses during washing, compensating for any natural shrinkage.

Print Platform - The outer weave of a garment which provides the platform for inks.


Rayon - A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters, or other vegetable matter. Today, various names for rayon fibers are taken from different manufacturing processes.


Reinforced Placket - Stitching in the shape of a rectangle at the bottom of a placket, for reinforcement.

Resort Cuff - Also known as a "logo cuff", describes a cuff that has a small blank space in the pattern to provide a spot for embroidering.

Ringspun Cotton - A process that spins the cotton prior to knitting, creating a softer feel to the fabric. Found in more expensive tees and polos.

Ringer - A t-shirt with collar and sleeve cuffs of a different color than the body of the tee.

Satin Weave - A basic weave, characterized by long floats of yarn on the face of the fabric. The yarns are interlaced in such a manner that there is no definite, visible pattern of interlacing and, in this manner, a smooth and somewhat shiny surface effect is achieved.

Single Needle - Found in better polos, a single stitch provides a more comfortable seam for the wearer.

Singles - A gauge used in fabric descriptions to denote the size of the yarn used to make the fabric. Expressed as "18/1" or "16/1", the smaller number, the denser (generally) the fabric.


Sizing - The application of a size mixture to warp yarn. The purpose of this is to make the yarn smoother and stronger to withstand the strain of weaving, to provide an acceptable hand in the woven gray goods, and to increase fabric weight.

Soil Release - A finish that has the purpose of increasing the absorbency of a fabric. on durable press blends. The finish allows the stain to leave the fabric faster, increases the wicking action for improved comfort, and therefore imparts greater ease in cleaning.


Spandex Fiber - A manufactured elastomeric fiber that can be repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking, and will still recover to its original length.

Taping - Additional pieces of fabric sewn over a finished seam, adding comfort and durability to a garment.


Water Repellent - A term applied to fabrics that have been treated with a finish which causes them to shed water, but are still air-permeable.


Water Resistant - A degree by which water is able to penetrate a fabric. Not to be confused with water-repellent. However, the terms are often used interchangeably.

Welt Cuffs - Additional pieces of fabric, usually ribbed then folded and sewn to create a 2-ply



Yarn Dye - Dyeing of the yarn into solid colors before weaving or knitting.



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