Fabric Glossary

Broadcloth - Gets its name from the fact that it was woven on broad-width looms. In old times most fabrics were woven on 27 inch wide looms. Broadcloth was woven on looms more closely resembling the modern 44 and 60" widths. Broadcloth is also a generic term for a smooth, plain-weave fabric that is used for clothing and quilting.

Cambric - Delicate, lightweight and finely woven fabric first made in Cambria, France.  Best used for light weight garments, quilts and embroidery projects due to it's smooth and soft surface.  Similar to batiste.

Corduroy - The width of the cord is commonly referred to as the size of the "wale". The lower the "wale" number, the thicker the width of the wale (i.e., 4-wale is much thicker than 11-wale). Wide wale is more commonly found on trousers; medium, narrow, and fine wale fabrics are usually found in garments used above the waist. Pincord is the finest cord around with a count that’s right at the upper end of the spectrum (above 16) and has a feel that’s as soft as velvet and super light.

Crock - Dye of fabric may transfer to other surfaces.  Example is a new pair of denim jeans will turn your skin blue by wearing them without washing first.

Double Rub - A durability rating used on fabrics.  A testing method that uses a special machine that passes a testing pad back and forth over the fabric until it is worn out. Each back and forth pass is known as a double-rub.  The greater the double rub rating, the higher the textile's ability to wear. In residential design, it's a good idea to stay at or above 15,000. It's not unusual to see residential ratings into the 30,000 range.

The Wyzenbeek and Martindale tests are the two methods commonly used to predict fabric wear-ability. 

A Wyzenbeek machine is used for allowing a sample of the test fabric to be pulled tight in a frame and held stationary. Individual test specimens cut from the warp and weft direction are then rubbed back and forth using an approved fabric abradant. The number of double rub cycles achieved before two yarn breaks occur or noticeable wear is observed is recorded as the fabric’s abrasion rating.

Martindale uses an oscillating test. Fabric samples are mounted flat and rubbed in a figure eight like motion using a piece of worsted wool cloth as the abradant. The number of cycles that the fabric can endure before fabric shows objectionable change in appearance (yarn breaks, piling and holes) is counted. The number of cycles determines abrasion rating.

Duck Cloth - A medium to heavy weight cotton fabric commonly called "canvas".  Duck is classified according to weight in a numerical system, with grade 1 the heaviest and grade 12 the lightest variety.  The grades refer to the weight and thickness of the cotton. Like other textiles made from cotton, it is relatively easy to care for. In most cases, it can be washed and dried at any temperature. It will become more soft and flexible with time, ultimately breaking down at areas of high stress. When used as a garment, cotton can be stiff and unwieldy at first, but it will settle within a few washings and wearings.

First Quality Fabric Definition - NON PILE FABRICS: First-quality merchandise is merchandise in which the occurrence of flaws or defects is no more than an average of one flaw in every 9 linear yards, for a total of no more than 5 flaws in any 50 yard piece.  PILE FABRICS: First-quality merchandise is merchandise in which the occurrence of flaws or defect is not more than an average of one flaw in every 7 linear yards, for a total of no more than 7 flaws in any 50 yard piece. Second quality merchandise doesn't adhere to these guidelines. 

Kiss Coat Backing - Latex backing applied to upholstery fabrics to make them more stable.

Lawn is a lightweight, sheer cloth, crispier than voile but not as crisp as organdy. Lawn is known for its semi transparency. Lawn cloth is commonly used to produce dresses, blouses, nightwear, underwear, lingerie, curtains, collar cuffs, shirting, infant wear and handkerchiefs.

PFD - Fabric that has been "prepared for dying".  No whiteners have been added so the fabric will usually be slightly off-white. This type of fabric can be dyed right off the bolt without washing first.

Pique - A woven or knit fabric usually made of cotton, rayon or silk. Medium- or heavyweight, it's characterized by raised cords, or ribs, in all-over waffle, honeycomb or diamond patterns.

Railroaded Fabric - Refers to the way the pattern on a fabric is printed or woven onto the roll. Normally, fabric has the pattern running up and down the roll (vertically). A railroaded fabric will have the pattern running side to side (horizontally). A railroaded fabric is commonly used on furniture pieces like sofa cushions that are very long and exceed the width of a normal 54" to 60" fabric. This type of fabric would also work on sofa backs. 

D/R - When a fabric is cut and shipped D/R that means it is doubled (folded) and rolled on a reel or short cardboard bolt.

ROT - When a fabric is cut and shipped "ROT" that means it is rolled on a long cardboard tube rather than folded.

Slub Fabric - Textured fabric created by using slightly irregular yarn.  Slightly irregular yarn is produced by knotting or twisting or using different lengths of raw fiber during the spinning process. The result is small nubs of raised yarn throughout the fiber that creates a visually appealing effect.

Ticking (stripe) - Historically, ticking fabric was a sturdy and tightly woven fabric used for feather bed pillows to keep feather or straw shafts from working their way through and poking the skin. Most modern uses of the term "ticking" refer to a cotton or cotton\linen blend fabric that has printed narrow, vertical stripes — darker colors on a white or beige background. The ticking pattern is popular because it is a clean, neat design, and easily matched with solid color accessories.

Plisse - Plisse refers to cotton that has been specially treated in order to give it a unique appearance. Plisse is created by applying a paste of sodium hydroxide to the fabric. The paste causes the fabric it touches to shrink, creating puckers. It can be used create patterns, such as stripes or dots. Plisse is also referred to as a crepe effect. Plisse has a variety of uses. Manufacturers commonly use it to make household items like curtains and bedspreads. Plisse is also used for clothing, particularly pajamas and dresses. 

PUL (polyurethane laminated) - PUL fabric can be used for diaper covers and other diaper styles, bibs. changing pads, wet bags, drawstring socks, diaper pail liners, breastfeeding pads and much more.  It  is a polyurethane laminated fabric that is waterproof yet breathable. Because of its leak proof properties, it is perfect when sewing for babies and toddlers. PUL has a fabric side and a laminated side. 

Shibori - A Japanese manual resist dyeing technique which produces patterns on fabric.  This method of tie dyeing typically involves folding, twisting or bunching cloth and binding it. Whatever is used to bind the fabric will resist the dye, resulting in areas of the cloth that take the distinctive dye in patterns created by the resistance, and other areas of the cloth that remain white.
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