The manufacture of textiles is one of the oldest of human technologies. To make textiles, the first requirement is a source of fibre from which a yarn can be made, primarily by spinning. (Both fibre and fiber are used in this article.) The yarn is processed by knitting or weaving, which turns yarn into cloth. The machine used for weaving is the loom. For decoration, the process of colouring yarn or the finished material is dyeing. For more information of the various steps, see textile manufacturing.
Backstrap looms, as the name implies, are tied around the weaver's waist on one end and around a stationary object such as a tree, post, or door on the other. Tension can be adjusted simply by leaning back. Backstrap looms are very portable, since they can simply be rolled up and carried.
Baize is a coarse woollen or cotton cloth, often coloured red or green.
Ballistic nylon is a thick, tough synthetic fabric used for a variety of applications.
Barathea is an indistinct twill or broken rib - usually a twilled hopsack weave - with a fine textured, slightly pebbled surface. Often of silk or silk blended with wool, used for neckties, women's fine suits and coats, men's and women's evening wear.
Batik is an Indonesian traditional word and refers to a generic wax-resist dyeing technique used on fabric.
Combination of two kinds of Weave, Namely Plain and Drill.
The bias direction of a piece of woven fabric, usually referred to simply as "the bias", is at 45 degrees to its warp and weft threads. Every piece of woven fabric has two biases, perpendicular to each other.
In sewing, binding is used as both a noun and a verb to refer to finishing a seam or hem of a garment, usually by rolling or pressing then stitching on an edging or trim.
A blend is a fabric or yarn made up of more than one type of fiber.
Bobbin lace is a delicate lace that uses wound spools of thread (the bobbins) to weave together the shapes in the lace.
Bobbinet is a tulle netting with hexagonal shaped holes, traditionally used as a base for embroidery and lingerie.
Bombazine is a fabric originally made of silk or silk and wool, and now also made of cotton and wool or of wool alone. It is twilled or corded and used for dress-material.
To braid is to interweave or twine three or more separate strands of one or more materials in a diagonally overlapping pattern.
Forming patterns in cloth with a supplementary weft.
Buckram is a stiff cloth, made of cotton or linen, which is used to cover, and protect, a book, and although more expensive than its lookalike, Brella, is stronger and resistant to cockroaches eating it. Buckram can also be used to stiffen clothes.
Cotton is a soft fibre that grows around the seeds of the cotton plant, a shrub native to the tropical and subtropical regions of both the Old World and the New World. The fibre is most often spun into thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile.
Crash is a rough fabric made from yarns that are usually undyed. The coarsest type is called Russian crash. Linen is generally used for the warp yarn, while linen and jute are used for the filler.
Crepe is a silk fabric of a gauzy texture, having a peculiar crisp or crimpy appearance.
Damask is a fabric of silk, wool, linen, cotton, or synthetic fibers, with a pattern formed by weaving. Today, it generally denotes a linen texture richly figured in the weaving with flowers, fruit, forms of animal life, and other types of ornament.
A darning mushroom is a tool which can be used for darning clothes, particularly socks. The sock can be stretched over the top of the (curved) mushroom, and gathered tightly around the stalk.
Dimity is a lightweight, sheer cotton fabric having at least two warp threads thrown into relief to form fine cords.
Dobby loom is a loom in which each harness can be manipulated individually. This is in contrast to a treadle loom, where the harnesses are attached to a number of different treadles depending on the weave structure.
Double weave is a type of advanced weave. It is done by interlacing two or more sets of warps with two or more sets of filling yarns.
Dowlas is the name given to a plain cloth, similar to sheeting, but usually coarser.
Embroidery is an ancient variety of decorative needlework in which designs and pictures are created by stitching strands of some material on to a layer of another material. See also: Machine embroidery.
Ends per inch (EPI)
Ends per inch like Threads per inch is a measure of the coarseness or fineness of fabric, displaying the number of (warp) threads per inch of woven fabric.
A type of velvet fabric woven on a wire loom or épinglé loom. The épinglé velvet is notable in that both a loop pile and a cut pile can be integrated into the same fabric. The art of épinglé weaving in Europe originated from Lucca (Italy) and later came to Venice and Genua, which is where the term Genua velvet comes from. The technique of épinglé weaving is still used today in the Flemish region of Kortrijk and Waregem. The fabric finds it application mostly in upholstery, although in medieval times it was used as apparel for princes and kings as well as for bishops, cardinals, and the Pope.
A kind of weaving machine whereby steel rods are inserted in a top shed which is formed over the bottom shed in which the weft is inserted. The steel rods are inserted into the fabric every second or third pick by a separate mechanism that is synchronised with the weaving motion. The same mechanism also extracts the rods from the fabric . If the rod carries a cutting blade at the tip the warps that are woven over the rods are cut, creating a cut pile effect. In case the rod has no blade, then the warp ends from a loop pile. Alternating cut and loop wires create cut and loop pile in the fabric. This weaving technology is used for weaving velvets for furnishing and apparel applications. These fabrics are known as 'moquette' or "épinglé' fabrics. This kind of weaving machine is also used for weaving carpets where it is known as a 'Wilton loom'.
Even-weave or evenweave fabric is used in counted-thread embroidery and is characterized by Warp and weft threads of the same size.
Grommets and eyelets are metal, plastic, or rubber rings that are inserted into a hole made through another material. They may be used to reinforce the hole, to shield something from the sharp edges of the hole, or both.
Fiber or fibre (see spelling differences) is a class of materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to pieces of thread. Fibers are often used in the manufacture of other materials. They can be spun into filaments, thread, or rope. They can be used as a component of composite materials. They can also be matted into sheets to make products such as paper or felt.
A filament is a fine, thinly spun thread, fiber, or wire.
Finishing refers to any process performed on yarn or fabric after weaving to improve the look, performance, or "hand" (feel) of the finished textile.
Fishnet is a material with an open, diamond shaped knit.
Flannel is a cloth that is commonly used to make clothing and bedsheets. It is usually made from either wool, wool and cotton, or wool and synthetic fabric.
Flax fiber is soft, lustrous and flexible. It is stronger than cotton fiber but less elastic. The best grades are used for linen fabrics such as damasks, lace and sheeting. Coarser grades are used for the manufacturing of twine and rope.
Frieze is a coarse woollen cloth with a nap on one side, that was raised by scrubbing it to raise curls of fibre (French: frisé). In the 19th century rough cheap frieze was made of wool mixed with shoddy (see Shoddy).
Fulling is a step in clothmaking which involves the cleansing of cloth (particularly wool) to get rid of oils, dirt, and other impurities.
A type of heavy twilled woven cotton fabrics, chiefly prepared for menswear. Usually dyed in a dark shade. Declined in popularity from 1813, being replaced by harder wearing and better quality wool cloths.
Gabardine is a tough, tightly woven fabric often used to make suits, overcoats and trousers. The fibre used to make the fabric is traditionally worsted (a woolen yarn), but may also be cotton, synthetic or mixed. The fabric is smooth on one side and has a diagonally ribbed surface on the other.
A gauge is a set number of rows per inch (in knitting) or the thread-count of a woven fabric that helps the knitter determine whether they have the right size knitting needles or a weaver if the cloth is tight enough.
Gante is a cloth made from cotton or tow warp and jute weft. It is largely used for bags for sugar and similar material, and has the appearance of a fine hessian cloth.
A very light, sheer, fine woven fabric.
A type of velvet where in Jacquard patterns are woven into the ground fabric and where the pile is made of a combination of cut and uncut (loop) pile. This fabric is also known as Venetian velvet, or more generally, as épinglé velvet. In the actual terminology of furnishing fabrics it is mostly named with its French name "velours de Gênes".
Common component of a loom used to separate warp threads for passage of the weft. Commonly made of cord or wire.
To hem a piece of cloth (in sewing), a garment worker folds up a cut edge, folds it up again, and then sews it down. The process of hemming thus completely encloses the cut edge in cloth, so that it cannot ravel.
A hem is also the edge of cloth hemmed in this manner.
The main uses of hemp fibre are rope, sacking, carpet, nets and webbing. Hemp is also being used in increasing quantities in paper manufacturing. The cellulose content is about 70%.
Huckaback is a type of coarse absorbent cotton or linen fabric used for making towels.
Ikat is a style of weaving that uses a tie-dye process on either the warp or weft before the threads are woven to create a pattern or design. A Double Ikat is when both the warp and the weft are tie-dyed before weaving.
Imberline is a woven fabric with various colored stripes in the warp, often separated by gold thread. The fabric is often used in upholstery and drapery manufacture.
Intarsia is a knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours.
The Jacquard loom was the first machine to use punched cards. It uses punched cards to control the pattern being woven. It is a form of dobby loom, where individual harnesses can be raised and lowered independently.
Knitting is the Process of inter-looping of yarns or inter-meshing of loops
Knit fabrics are fabrics that were produced through the process of knitting.
Knitting needle gauge
A knitting needle gauge is used to determine the size of a knitting needle. Some also double for crochet hooks. Most needles come with the size written on the needle, but many needles (like double-pointed needles) tend to not be labeled. Also, with wear and time the label often wears off.
Needle gauges can be made of any material, and are often made for metal and plastic. They tend to be about 3 by 5 inches. They contain holes of various sizes, and often have a ruler along the edge for determining the gauge of a sample.
Lace-making is an ancient craft. A lace fabric is lightweight openwork fabric, patterned, either by machine or by hand, with open holes in the work. The holes can be formed via removal of threads or cloth from a previously woven fabric, but more often lace is built up from a single thread and the open spaces are created as part of the lace fabric.
Lamé is a type of brocaded clothing fabric with inwoven metal threads, typically of gold or silver, giving it a metallic sheen.
Lucet is a method of cordmaking or braiding which is believed to date back to the Viking era. Lucet cord is square, strong, and slightly springy. It closely resembles knitted I-cord or the cord produced on a knitting spool. Lucet cord is formed by a series of loops, and will therefore unravel if cut.
Mercerization is a treatment for cotton fabric and thread mostly employed to give cotton a lustrous appearance.
Merino is the Spanish name for a breed of sheep, and hence applied to a woolen fabric.
A mesh is similar to fabric or a web in that it has many connected or weaved pieces. In clothing, a mesh is often defined as fabric that has a large number of closely spaced holes, such as is common practice for modern sports jerseys.
Metallic fiber (fibre)
Metallic fibers are fibers used in textiles which are either composed of metal, or fibers of other materials with a metal coating.
Nap is the raised surface of certain cloth, such as flannel.
Needlepoint is a form of canvas work created on a mesh canvas. The stitching threads used may be wool, silk, or rarely cotton. Stitches may be plain, covering just one mesh intersection with a single orientation, or fancy, such as Bargello. Plain stitches, known as Tent stitches, may be worked as basketweave or half cross.
Needlework is another term for the handicraft of decorative sewing and textile arts. Anything that uses a needle for construction can be called needlework.
Non-woven textiles are those which are neither woven nor knit, for example felt. Non-wovens are typically not strong (unless reinforced by a backing), and do not stretch. They are cheap to manufacture.
Oil cloth was, traditionally, heavy cotton or linen cloth with a linseed oil coating: it was semi-waterproof. The most familiar use was for brightly printed kitchen tablecloths. Dull-colored oilcloth was used for bedrolls, sou'westers, and tents. By the late 1950s, oilcloth became a synonym for vinyl (polyvinyl chloride) bonded to either a flanneled cloth or a printed vinyl with a synthetic non-woven backing.
Organdy or organdie is the sheerest cotton cloth made. Combed yarns contribute to its appearance. Its sheerness and crispness are the result of an acid finish on greige (unbleached) lawn goods. Because of its stiffness and fiber content, it is very prone to wrinkling.
Organza is a thin, plain weave, sheer fabric traditionally made from silk, the continuous filament of silkworms. Nowadays, though many organzas are woven with synthetic filament fibers such as polyester or nylon, the most luxurious organzas are still woven in silk.
Patchwork is a form of needlework or craft that involves sewing together small pieces of fabric and stitching them together into a larger design, which is then usually quilted, or else tied together with pieces of yarn at regular intervals, a practice known as tying. Patchwork is traditionally 'pieced' by hand, but modern quiltmakers often use a sewing machine instead.
Percale refers to a closely woven, high thread count, cotton fabric often used for sheets and clothing.
A steel rod which is inserted in between the base fabric and the pile ends in a pile fabric woven on a wire loom or épinglé loom. The height and thickness of the rod determine the size of the loop. A pile wire can be a simple rod - in which case the pile yarns will form a 'loop' pile. If the pile wire is equipped with a blade holder and cutting blade at the tip it will cut the pile loops during extraction thus producing cut pile.
Poplin is a heavy, durable fabric that has a ribbed appearance. It is made with wool, cotton, silk, rayon, or any mixture of these. The ribs run across the fabric from selvage to selvage. They are formed by using coarse filling yarns in a plain weave.
Rayon is a transparent fibre made of processed cellulose. Cellulose fibres from wood or cotton are dissolved in alkali to make a solution called viscose, which is then extruded through a nozzle, or spinneret, into an acid bath to reconvert the viscose into cellulose. A similar process, using a slit instead of a hole, is used to make cellophane.
Sateen is a fabric formed with a satin weave where the floats are perpendicular to the selvage of the goods.
A Satin is a cloth that typically has a glossy surface and a dull back. It is formed by a sequence of broken twill floats in either the warp or weft system, which respectively identify the goods as either a satin or a sateen.
A satin is a broken twill weaving technique that forms floats on one side of the fabric. If a satin is woven with the floats parallel to the selvedge of the goods, the corresponding fabric is termed a "satin." If the floats are perpendicular to the selvedge of the goods, the fabric is termed a 'sateen.'"
A seam, in sewing, is the line where two pieces of fabric are held together by thread.
The woven edge portion of a fabric parallel to the warp is called selvage.
Serge is a type of twill fabric that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides, made with a two-up, two-down weave. The worsted variety is used in making military uniforms, suits, great and trench coats. Its counterpart, silk serge, is used for linings. French serge is a softer, finer variety. The word is also used for a high quality woolen woven.
Sewing is an ancient craft involving the stitching of cloth, leather, animal skins, furs, or other materials, using needle and thread. Its use is nearly universal among human populations and dates back to Paleolithic times (30,000 BC). Sewing predates the weaving of cloth.
Shag (fabric) is typically used to make a deep-pile carpets. This is the oldest use of the term. Shag carpet is sometimes evoked as an example of the aesthetic from the culture of the U.S. 1970s. Also used to make carpets for mariners.
In weaving, the shed is the gap between yarns on a loom when one or more, but not all, of the harnesses are raised.
Recycled or remanufactured wool. Historically generated from loosely woven materials. Benjamin Law invented shoddy and mungo, as such, in England in 1813. He was the first to organise, on a larger scale, the activity of taking old clothes and grinding them down into a fibrous state that could be re-spun into yarn. The shoddy industry was centred on the towns of Batley, Morley, Dewsbury and Ossett in West Yorkshire, and concentrated on the recovery of wool from rags. The importance of the industry can be gauged by the fact that even in 1860 the town of Batley was producing over 7000 tonnes of shoddy. At the time there were 80 firms employing a total of 550 people sorting the rags. These were then sold to shoddy manufacturers of which there were about 130 in the West Riding. Shoddy is inferior to the original wool; "shoddy" has come to mean "of poor quality" in general (not related to clothing), and the original meaning is largely obsolete.
The opal effect achieved on a fabric by dyeing the warp and weft threads different colours. The yarns are dyed first and then woven. When looking at the fabric from various angles it appears to alter in colour, this is more obvious in lustrous fabrics and more so in certain types of weaves.
A shuttle in weaving is a device used with a loom that is thrown or passed back and forth between the threads of the warp to weave in the weft.
Silk is a natural protein fiber that can be woven into textiles. It is obtained from the cocoon of the silkwormlarva, in the process known as sericulture, which kills the larvae. The shimmering appearance for which it is prized comes from the fibre's triangular prism-like structure, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles.
Sisal or sisal hemp is an agaveAgave sisalana that yields a stiff fiber used in making rope. (The term may refer either to the plant or the fiber, depending on context.) It is not really a variety of hemp, but named so because hemp was for centuries a major source for fiber, so other fibers were sometimes named after it.
Skein is when a length of yarn is bundled in a loose roll rather than put on a cone (as you would purchase from store)- usually done if yarn is going to a dye vat or needs a treatment in a manufacturing/knitting mill environment.
Spandex or elastane is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity (stretchability). It is stronger and more durable than rubber, its major plant competitor. It was invented in 1959 by DuPont, and when first introduced it revolutionized many areas of the clothing industry.
Spinning is the process of creating yarn (or thread, rope, cable) from various raw fiber materials.
Spread Tow Fabrics
Spread Tow Fabrics is a type of lightweight fabric. Its production involves the steps of spreading a tow of higher count, e.g. 12k, into thin-and-wide spread tow tape (STT) and weaving them into a lightweight fabric by employing the novel tape-weaving technique.
Staple is the raw material, or its length and quality, of fiber from which textiles are made.
A stitch is a single turn or loop of the thread or yarn in sewing, knitting, and embroidery.
Stuff is a coarse cloth, sometimes made with a linen warp and worsted weft.
The Super grading system is used to grade the quality of wool fabric. The higher the number, the more yarn is packed in per square inch, therefore all things being equal a super 120s yarn is better than super 100s.
Tablet weaving is a process of weaving where tablets, also called 'cards', are used to create the shed that the weft is passed through. It is generally used to make narrow work such as belts or straps.
Tactel is the brand name of a man-made fibre made from nylon.
Taffeta is a type of fabric, often used for fancy dresses.
Tapestry is a form of textile art. It is woven by hand on a weaving-loom. The chain thread is the carrier in which the coloured striking thread is woven. In this way, a colourful pattern or image is created. Most weavers use a naturally based chain thread made out of linen or wool. The striking threads can be made out of silk, wool, gold or silver, but can also be made out of any form of textile.
Tarlatan is a starched, open-weave fabric, much like cheese cloth. It is used to wipe the ink off a plate during the intaglio inking process. The open weave allows for the tarlatan to pick up a large quantity of ink. The stiffness imparted by the starch helps prevent the fabric from taking the ink out of the incised lines.
A tassel is a ball-shaped bunch of plaited or otherwise entangled threads from which at one end protrudes a cord on which the tassel is hung, and which may have loose, dangling threads at the other end.
Tatting is a technique for handcrafting lace that can be documented approximately to the early 19th century.
Twill tape is a flat twill-woven ribbon of cotton, linen, polyester, or wool.
Twill is a type of fabric woven with a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs. It is made by passing the weft threads over one warp thread and then under two or more warp threads. Examples of twill fabric are gabardine, tweed and serge.
Velour is a textile, a knitted counterpart of velvet.
It combines the stretchy properties of knits such as spandex with the rich appearance and feel of velvet.
Velvet is a type of tufted fabric in which the cut threads are very evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it its distinct feel. Velvet can be made from any fiber. It is woven on a special loom that weaves two piece of velvet at the same time. The two pieces are then cut apart and the two lengths of fabric are wound on separate take-up rolls.
Velveteen is a cotton cloth made in imitation of velvet. The term is sometimes applied to a mixture of silk and cotton. Some velveteens are a kind of fustian, having a rib of velvet pile alternating with a plain depression. The velveteen, trade varies a good deal with the fashions that control the production of velvet.
Viscose is an artificial cellulose-based polymer, sometimes used as a synonym for Rayon
Weaving is an ancient textile art and craft that involves placing two sets of threads or yarn made of fibre called the warp and weft of the loom and turning them into cloth. This cloth can be plain (in one color or a simple pattern), or it can be woven in decorative or artistic designs, including tapestries.
The weft is the yarn that is woven back and forth through the warp to make cloth.
Wilton carpet is produced on a specific type of weaving machine called wire loom. Wilton carpets are pile carpets whereby the pile is formed by inserting steel rods in the pile warps of the fabric. After extraction of the rods the pile is looped (in case straight wires have been used) or cut (in case cutting wires are used). Wilton carpet is generally considered as high quality and is used for heavy duty applications.
Weaving machine for pile fabrics or velvets whereby the pile is made by weaving steel rods or wires into the fabrics. When the wires are extracted the warp ends that have been woven over the wires remain as loops on top of the fabric or will form cut pile if the wire is equipped with a cutting blade. This technique is also known as "épinglé weaving". A wire loom in a much wider version (up to 5 meters of width) and in heavier construction is used for the manufacturing of carpets is called a "WILTON" loom, and the carpets made on such a loom are known as "Wilton Carpets"
Woolen or woollen is the name of a yarn and cloth usually made from wool.
Worsted is the name of a yarn and cloth usually made from wool. The yarn is well twisted and spun of long staple wool (though nowadays also medium and short fibres are used). The wool is combed so that the fibres lie parallel.
A woven fabric is a cloth formed by weaving. It only stretches in the bias directions (between the warp and weft directions), unless the threads are elastic. Woven cloth usually frays at the edges, unless measures are taken to counter this, such as the use of pinking shears or hemming.
Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibers, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving and ropemaking. Yarn can be made from any number of synthetic or natural fibers.