Aubusson Fine, hand-woven tapestry used for wall hangings or carpets. Named after the famous French village where they were originally made.
Batik An ancient Japanese resist printing technique. Wax is blocked on the cloth to cover the design before dyeing and after the wax is removed by a washing procedure the design takes shape.
Batiste A translucent plain-weave sheer fabric made with fine long staple cotton.
Block Printing A hand-printing process where the motifs have been carved on wooden blocks. The dye is applied to the fabric from these blocks in a procedure similar to the rubber stamp technique.
Border A border is a gimp, but wider. This trim is sometimes woven in plain patterns, such as stripes or chevrons.
Boucle A novelty yarn that is looped and crimped to produce a pebbly surface.
Brocade A figured fabric often of silk with an embroidered look. The motifs are frequently floral and elaborate. They are raised on the surface of the cloth. It cannot be used on the reverse side but is easily identified by the floating yarns that appear there. Origin: Medieval Latin; broccare - to embroider.
Brocatelle A heavy fabric similar in appearance to a damask. The filler yarns (often linen) give it an embossed look. Originally it was made to imitate 19th century Italian tooled leather.
Brush Fringe A brush fringe is a cut fringe that has a flat skirt made of thin yarns.
Bullion Fringe Bullion Fringe is made of cords, rather than yarns. The heading can be plain or decorative.
Burn-out Printing The application of an acid solution to dissolve an opaque fiber from a translucent sheer of blended yarns. After this process, the desired motifs appear in silhouette on the surface of the fabric.
Calendering The procedure of pressing fabric between heated and rotating cylinders to give a smooth glossy surface.
Casement Cloth A light-weight textile made in a combination of fibers usually dyed in light neutral colors.
Cashmere A fine fiber obtained from the undercoat of the Himalayan Cashmere goat.
Chenille Derived from the French word for "caterpillar". A special yarn with pile protruding on all sides, produced by first weaving a fabric, which is cut lengthwise between each of these groups of warp yarns, each cutting producing a continuous chenille which is then twisted.
Chiffon Plain weave, soft, sheer fabric - often silk or rayon yarns.
Chinoiserie A Chinese decorative style that was extremely popular in France and exemplified by its vogue in England especially during the reign of Queen Anne.
Chintz A cotton fabric, with or without a printed pattern, with a glaze created by applying resin and calendaring
Cord Cords consist of plied yarns (plies) that have been twisted together. Cords are frequently used in place of fabric welting.
Cotton A vegetable fiber composed of pure cellulose. It is soft and absorbent, and takes dyes and special finishes extremely well. Strong and durable, it has excellent resistance to piling and abrasion. Mercerization enhances all these inherent qualities.
Crewel Embroidery An embroidery made with colored wool yarns stitched on unbleached cotton or linen, usually in a vine or leaf formation with floral details added. Its popularity began in England during the late 17th century.
Damask A patterned fabric with a reversible design of contrasting satin and dull surfaces. Most commonly woven in silk, cotton or linen, it may, however, consist of a combination of these or other fibers. Origin: Damascus in Asia Minor.
Dimensional Stability The degree to which a fabric will retain its original shape in various atmospheric conditions.
Duck A broad term for a wide range of plain weave fabrics, duck is usually made of cotton, although sometimes linen is used. The terms canvas and duck are often interchangeable, but "canvas" often is used to refer to the heavier constructions.
Dupion A silk reeled from double cocoons or dupions. This yarn has excellent tensil strength.
Figured Velvet A patterned velvet formed by contrast in cut and uncut loops.
Filling (Weft) An element carried horizontally through the open shed of the vertical warp in a woven fabric.
Flame Resistant Fabric A fabric whose fiber content or topical finish makes it difficult to ignite and slow to burn.
Flannel A woolen fabric whose surface is slightly napped in finish.
Flax The plant from the stem of which bast fiber is extracted by retting to produce linen. An erroneous term for linen fiber, particularly in blends.
Frieze or Frise Firm fabric with pile of uncut loops on the surface. Origin: French; frisé - curled.
Gimp Gimps are flat, narrow, woven textiles made in many styles. One or both edges of a gimp can be plain or cut or have scalloped loops.
Greige Goods Plain fabric coming directly off the loom before it has been bleached or finished. Used mainly for printing.
Gros Point A non directional pile fabric that is warp-looped. It is hard-wearing and extremely resilient. Made of wool or synthetic fibers, it has larger loops than a frieze and resembles the ground area of needlepoint.
Herringbone A twill weave that reverses direction across the fabric to form a chevron.
Houndstooth A pointed check effect produced by a two up, two down broken twill with four ends and four picks in a repeat.
Imberline An effect produced by laying a variety of colors in the warp which reveals a stripe running through the overall design of the fabric. Origin: Adapted from cloth of the uniforms worn by the Swiss Guard, who serve the Vatican.
Iridescent A color effect created by weaving warp ends of one color and a weft of another color. The taffeta weave creates the best iridescent effects.
Jacquard Loom A weaving device that manipulates a series of perforated cards that are attached to the top of the loom. The lifting or lowering of the warp that results make the most intricate designs possible. This revolutionary technique was developed in France by Joseph Jacquard at the turn of the 19th Century.
Leno Construction used in all good quality open mesh casement cloths. The warp yarns arranged in pairs twist one around the other over the filling yarn making the figure eight. The interlocking (chain) prevents the yarns from slipping. Origin: French; lin - flax.
Linen A cellulose yarn made from natural flax fibers. It is especially noted for its strength, texture and luster. Cool to the touch although lacking in resilience, it easily creases.
Lisere The design is created by coloured warp threads brought up on the face of the fabric, leaving loose yarns on the back woven vertically, which gives it a vertical stripe effect. Liseres are Victorian in appearance and have embroidered style patterns.
Loomstate Goods as they come off the loom before converting/finishing. Called gray or griege.
Mercerized A high-quality finishing process to cotton yarn where the application of caustic soda and tension develop a smooth lustrous surface.
Meter A universally accepted measurement based in hundreds. It is equivalent to 39.37'. This measurement is used in the majority of the world.
Mohair A long, white, lustrous hair obtained from the Angora goat. Mohair plush is a fabric with a cut pile of mohair yarns. It is lustrous and extremely strong and will hold a permanent embossing.
Organza A thin, transparent silk, rayon or nylon fabric made in a plain weave and given a stiff, wiry finish.
Pill A fuzzy ball caused by the rolling up of abraded surface fibers.
Plain Weave The most basic method of interlocking warp and weft threads to form a cloth. Each filling thread passes alternately under and over the warp yarn to make a balanced construction. Also known as a Tabby, this is a strong weave and generally inexpensive to produce.
Ply The number of yarns twisted together to make a composite yarn.
Polished Cotton A combed and carded fabric in satin construction which has been calendered to give a high luster to the surface.
Railroad To turn a fabric in a direction where the selvages are in a horizontal position. In a plain fabric or when the design is non directional, you can avoid making seams when the width of the goods will accommodate the height required. Some upholstery fabrics are designed in this manner to be used exclusively for furniture.
Rayon The first synthetic fiber, rayon is derived from cellulose (a substance forming the framework of plants). Produced in 1884 by de Chardonnet, a French scientist, it has the basic characteristics of both silk and cotton. Viscose rayon which is used in many decorative fabrics is of a superior quality and is considered the best silk substitute.
Rep or Repp A plain weave fabric produced by weaving large filling yarns through fine warp threads which result in distinct ribs running from selvage to selvage.
Repeat One complete pattern of the fabric measured vertically and/or horizontally.
Sateen A satin weave fabric usually made of mercerized cotton in a light weight construction that is primarily used for drapery linings.
Satin Very smooth, lustrous face with duller back on a fabric created by majority of warp yarns showing on the surface. Origin: China; zaytun (tzutíing) - silk.
Selvage The edge on either side of a woven or flat-knitted fabric, often of different threads and/or weave, so finished to prevent raveling.
Shantung A lightweight silk cloth woven in a plain weave with doupioni yarn.
Sheers Light weight translucent fabrics used mainly for undercurtains and casement treatments.
Silk The natural protein fiber unwound from the cocoon of the silkworm. Silk is noted for its resilience, affinity for dyes and strength when woven into a fabric. It has a fine luxurious appearance but is very sensitive to light and is the most costly natural yarn.
Strie A very fine irregular streaked effect made by a slight variance in the color of warp yarns. Origin: French - streaked.
Tabby A plain weave construction in which one warp thread passes over and under a single weft thread. The threads of the warp and weft are of the same size and set with the same number per square inch thereby resulting in a balanced weave.
Taffeta A plain weave that is reversible because the same size yarns are used for the warp and filler. The firm construction is light weight which gives the resulting fabric a crisp hand (feeling). Origin: Persian; taftan - to twist.
Tapestry An intricate weave employing several sets of heavy filler yarns on a single warp which produce a multi-colored pattern. Originally made with large scale scenic designs that frequently illustrated a tale. They were used as decorative wall hangings but also provided insulation. Origin: Greek; tapíes - rug.
Tassel Tassels come in all sizes, shapes and forms. A hanging ornament consisting of a head and a skirt of cut yarn, looped yarns, or bullion fringe.
Tassel Trim A plain or decorative gimp with attached tassels.
Toile A French word for cloth or fabric, describes a one color, fine line printed design that resembles a pen and ink technique. Toiles are printed by various methods, but the most beautiful are still created by engraved plates or rollers.
Toile de Jouy Printed fabric made at Jouy in France by Philippe Oberkampf from 1760 to 1815. They were usually printed on white or off-white grounds in monotone red, blue, green or black.
Tussah A rough silk extruded from the cocoons of uncultivated silkworms. Slubs appear in the yarn as it is spun which leave uneven depths of color especially after dyeing. Therefore fabric woven with tussah will have an irregular surface.
Tweed A homespun effect created by multi or monochromatic colored yarns woven on plain looms. The fabric is usually wool or worsted and often has a rough texture.
Velvet There are 2 types of velvets: cut loop velvets (wire looms that form thread loops, the loops are then cut to form the pile) and double-faced velvets. (2 fabrics are woven, face to face, joined by the weft yarns, which are then cut forming the pile on both faces.)
Weft or Filling The horizontal yarns in a cloth which run selvage to selvage across the fabric.
Wool The fiber made from the fleece of sheep. Noted for its elasticity and luster, it has an affinity for accepting rich color when dyed. Wool fibers vary in crimp, length and thickness. Wool fabrics are good insulators. The yarns are frequently spun from fleece of several breed of sheep.
Bamboo Treelike tropical and semitropical grasses with woody stems that are typically hollow. Bamboo has a rapid growth and harvest cycle, typically does not require fertilizers or pesticides and requires little irrigation with sufficient rainfall. Last but not least, bamboo takes in more greenhouse gases than an equivalent stand of timber trees and releases more oxygen into the atmosphere. Although the process of turning bamboo into a viscose yarn requires significant chemical input, bamboo has many eco-friendly characteristics that make it a sustainable fiber.
Biodegradable Biodegradable products are the perfect solution for reducing a large percentage of the waste products that pollute our environment. These products are ideal because when immersed into an ecosystem, they are broken down by the action of living organisms.
Certified Organic Items that have been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations.
Closed-loop A type of manufacturing process that utilizes a cyclical material flow in order to minimize waste.
Cradle-to-cradle A term used in life-cycle analysis to describe a material or product that is recycled into a new product at the end of its defined life.
Eco-efficiency Reducing the ecological impact of goods and services while at the same time producing and delivering desirable, competitively priced goods and service.
Environment The complex of physical, chemical and biotic factors (such as climate, soil and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival.
Flax See Organic Linen.
Green An adjective used to describe something that is perceived to be beneficial to the environment.
Heavy Metal Any metallic chemical element that has a relatively high density and is toxic at low concentrations. (Examples are mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, thallium and lead). Semi-metallic elements (such as antimony, arsenic, selenium and tellurium) are often included in this classification.
Jute A coarse, brown fiber from the stalk of the bast plant, grown in India.
Organic The process of treating and processing fibers and yarns without the use of any synthetic harmful chemicals or pesticides. The fabrics are processed using organic compounds, which are not harmful to the environment. Organic textiles are naturally hypoallergenic, healthy, and non-irritating. Fibers that fall into this category include organic cotton, organic hemp and organic linen. All of our organic fabrics are made from certified organic fibers.
Organic Cotton Traditional cotton production uses more chemicals per unit than any other crop. Organic cotton reduces this chemical use because it is grown without pesticides or chemical additives to fertilizer, relying instead on methods with less ecological impact.
Organic Hemp Hemp grown without pesticides or chemical additives to fertilizer, relying instead on methods with less ecological impact. Hemp replenishes soil with nutrients and nitrogen which also makes it an eco-friendly fiber.
Organic Linen A natural fiber made from the flax plant and grown without pesticides or herbicides. Organic linen is one of the most ecological of natural fibers as no irrigation is necessary, the flax plant purifies the soil, and is biodegradable and recyclable.
Recycled Fibers Fibers made from post-consumer and post-industrial material. Post consumer fiber is made from material left over once a product has been used by a consumer. Post industrial fiber is from material generated by an industrial process before the material has been used by a consumer. Recycled fiber lessens our dependence on resources, reduces waste and produces less pollution. Our post-industrial recycled fibers come from petroleum byproducts, recycled cotton, corn derivatives, recycled silk, and soybean husks.
Renewable Capable of being replaced by natural ecological cycles or sound management practices. A natural resource qualifies as a renewable resource if it is replenished by natural processes or by re-planting at a rate comparable or faster than its rate of consumption.
Silk The only natural fiber that comes in a filament form; from 300 to 1600 yards in length as reeled from the cocoon, cultivated or wild.
Sustainable A method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. A sustainable product refers to a product that can be sustained with limited exhaustion of natural resources. Sustainable fibers come from rapidly renewable resources with growth and harvest cycles of five years or less. Fibers that fall into this category include alpaca, bamboo, cotton, linen, mohair, hemp, wool, cork.
Wool The fine, soft, curly hair that forms the fleece of sheep and certain other animals, wool is characterized by minute, overlapping surface scales that give it its felting property. Wool is a renewable resource.