Acetate: A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is cellulous acetate.
Acrylic: A manufactured fiber that is silklike in appearance in feel, and springs back when crushed. The fiber-forming substance is any long chain of synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of acrylonitrile units.
Anti-bacterial: Fabric treatment to control odor.
Anti-Pilling: A treatment applied to the garment to prevent pilling, or the formation of the little balls of fabric due to wear.
Applique: Shaped pieces of fabric sewn onto one another for decoration that adds dimension and texture. Designs with appliqué are economical because they reduce the amount of embroidery stitches needed to fill the design areas.
Backing: A woven or non-woven support material added to the back of the fabric being embroidered. It can be hooped with the item or placed between the machine throat plate and the hooped garment. It comes in various weights in three types—tear-away, cutaway and wash-away.
Batiste: A medium-weight, plain weave fabric, usually made of cotton or cotton blends. End-uses include blouses and dresses.
Bean Stitch: Three stitches placed back and forth between two points. Often used for outlining because it eliminates the need for repeatedly digitizing a single-ply running stitch outline.
Birdseye: Cotton or linen cloth woven to produce a small pattern that has a center dot resembling a bird’s eye.
Blend: A term applied to a yarn or a fabric that is made up of more than one fiber.
Bobbin: Spool or reel that holds the bobbin thread, which forms secure stitches on the underside of the fabric.
Breathability: A garment that is woven or sewn to allow air to pass through for added comfort.
Broadcloth: Tightly woven cotton cloth with fine imbedded crosswide ribs that resembles polin.
Buckram: Coarse cotton woven fabric treated with a glue substance to stabilize fabric for stitching. It is commonly used for caps to hold the front panel in place.
Cashmere: Fine downy undercoat hair of the Cashmere goat from Tibet; produces luxuriously soft garments.
Chambray: A plain woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk or manufactured fibers, but is commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarn.
Chenille: A form of embroidery in which a loop stitch is formed on the top of the fabric. Heavy yarns made of wool, cotton, or acrylics are used.
Chino: Classic all-cotton “Army twill” fabric made of combed two-ply yarns. At one time chino was traditionally for army uniforms, but it’s now finding popularity in mainstream apparel.
Colorfastness: A term used to describe a dyed fabric’s ability to resist fading due to washing, exposure to sunlight, and other environmental conditions.
Column Stitch: A series of zig-zag stitches placed closely together to form a column. Also known as Steil Stitch or Satin Stitch.
Combed Cotton: Cotton that has been combed to remove short fibers and to straighten long fibers for a smooth, finer hand.
Combing: The combing process is an additional step beyond carding. In this, the fibers are arranged in a highly parallel form, and additional short fibers are removed, producing high-quality yarns with excellent strength, fineness, and uniformity.
Cool Knit: A pique variation with a defined surface texture resembling a “waffle” pattern.
Copy: Lettering imprinted on an item. Can be an advertiser’s name, slogan or trademark.
Cord Locks: A stopper or toggle on a draw cord that keeps the cord from retracting into the garment.
Corduroy: A cut filling pile cloth with narrow to wide ribs. Once corduroy was a cotton fabric, now it can be founding polyester, and man-made blends.
Cotton: Soft vegetable fiber obtained from the seedpod of the cotton plant and one of the major fashion fibers in the textile industry. The longer the fiber, the better the quality. Lengths vary from less than one-half inch to more than two inches. Cotton is currently grown in 19 states and is a major crop in 14 states.
Deboss: Machine presses a dye into the surface of the material, resulting in a depressed imprint.
Denim: A durable cotton twill traditionally a shade of blue. Once denim was strictly used for jeans or work pants; now it’s popular in all modes of apparel.
Digitizing: A method of programming a design. Artwork is converted into a series of digital commands to be read by an embroidery machine’s computer.
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.
Double Knit: A circular knit fabric knitted via double stitch on a double needed frame to provide a double thickness. Most double knits are made of polyester.
Double-Needle: Two rows of parallel stitching at the sleeve and/or bottom hem for a cleaner, more finished look.
Double-Stitched: A finish used on a sleeve and/or bottom hem that uses two needles to create parallel rows of visible stitching. It gives the garment a cleaner, ore finished look and adds durability.
Down: The soft fluffy under feathers of ducks and geese, primarily used as insulation in outerwear.
Drop Tail: A longer back than front for the purpose of keeping the shirt tucked in during activity.
Duck: A heavy, closely woven material, often cotton, used for heavyweight shirts or outerwear.
Embossing: A surface effect achieved on fabric by means of passing cloth through a series of engraved rollers that impart figures or designs to its surface. Rollers work through heat and pressure.
Emblem: Logo or design with a finished edge, commonly an insignia of identification.
Embroidery: Decoration on fabric using thread to produce designs either by hand or machinery.
End-on-End: A 2-ply weave of different color yarns that run parallel to each other so that both colors are visible, creating a soft contrast in the garment.
Extended Tail (Dropped Tail): The back part of the garment is longer than the front, making it easier to tuck in.
Fill Stitch: A series of running stitches commonly combined to cover large areas.
Finishing: Processes performed after embroidery is complete. Included trimming loose threads, cutting or tearing away excess backing, removing topping, cleaning any stains, pressing or steaming to remove wrinkles or hoop marks, and packaging for sale or shipment.
Gabardine: A firm durable cloth used in both men’s and women’s apparel.
Grommets: Found underarm or in the back neck, grommets are small holes that allow for air circulation and ventilation.
Hand: The way the fabric feels when it is touched. Terms like softness, crispness, dryness and silkiness are all terms that describe the hand of the fabric.
Harris Tweed: A trademark for an imported tweed made of virgin wool from the Highlands of Scotland, spun, dyed and hand woven by islanders in Harris and other islands of the Hebrides.
Herringbone: A variation on the twill weave construction in which the twill is reversed, or broken, at rgular intervals, producing a zigzag effect.
Hoop: A round device made from wood, plastic or steel with which fabric is held in place for machine embroidering.
Houndstooth: A textile design of small broken checks woven into the fabric.
Hydrophilic Fibers: Fibers which absorb water readily, such as cotton, linen or rayon.
Hydrophobic Fibers: Fibers which are normally non-absorptive and repel water, such as nylion and polyester.
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 that single-knit constructions.
Jacquard knit: A double-knit fabric in which a Jacquard type of mechanism is used. This device individually controls needles or small groups of needles, and allows very complex and highly patterned knits to be created, typically using two or more colors.
Jersey Fabric: The consistent interloping of yarns in the jersey stitch to produce a fabric with a smooth, flat face and a more textured, but uniform back. Jersey fabrics may be produced on either circular or flat weft knitting machines. Jersey is comfortable and durable.
Jute: Also known as burlap, is a coarse fiber from the bark of an Asian tree.
Linen: A flax product, linen absorbs moisture quickly and doesn’t soil easily.
Locker Loop: A looped piece of fabric in the neck of a garment for the convenience of hanging the ferment on a hook. Can also be located at the center of the back yoke on the inside or outside of a garment.
Locker Patch (aka Half Moon Patch): An oval panel sewn into the inside back of a sportshirt, under the collar seam.
Lycra: INVISTA’s trademark for a synthetic fabric material with elastic properties of the sort known generically as “spandex.”
Madras: One of the oldest materials in the cotton family, Madras is made on a plain-weave background, which is usually white; stripes, cords or mintues checks may be used to form the pattern.
Melton: A smooth, heavy wool cloth used primarily in outerwear. Quality varies depending on the type of stock used.
Mercerizing: A finishing process used extensively on cotton yarn and cloth consisting of treating the material with a cold, strong sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) solution. The treatment increases the strength and affinity for dyes and gives the finished fabric a soft, silklike feel.
Merino: The highest, finest grade of wool.
Mesh: Any fabric, knitted or woven, with an open texture, fine or coarse for added comfort and ventilation.
Microfiber: A tightly woven fabric usually of fine poly thread. Microfiber has a soft hand and is comfortable to wear. (Microfiber garments can be made of many fibers, including polyester, nylon or acrylic. The true definition of Microfiber is that the fiber has less than one denier per filament. In English that means the fibers are very small and very strong, and the garment will have a softer hand.)
Micro Fleece: A lighter microfiber weight but still warm fleece made of knit microfibers brushed less than a regular fleece garment.
Moisture Management: A description for any fabric that wicks moisture away form the skin. This can be accomplished through chemically treating the fibers or fabric, or through a process of forming the yarns with channels for the moisture to travel.
Monogram: Embroidered design composed of one or more letters, usually the initials in a name.
Mylar: A polyester fimn used to cover a metallic yarn. Often used in apparel decoration.
Nap: A fuzzy, furlike feel created when fiber ends extend from the basic fabric structure to the fabric surface. The fabric can be napped on either one or both sides.
Nylon: a synthetic polymer, a plastic, durable fabric used in apparel and other everyday items. (Nylon is the second most popular man-made fiber. It was invented by DuPont Corporation in 1939 presumable because Lammot DuPont himself got caught on the golf course wearing cotton when it started to rain. Since 1939 nylon has become the biggest moneymaker for the DuPont Company. Today it’s used in many apparel items and is popular for its resistance to moisture and wrinkles, and unending durability.)
Open-End yarn: A cost-saving process that eliminates some manufacturing steps needed for ring-spun yarn.
Ottoman: A tightly woven plain weave ribbed fabric with a hard, slightly lustered surface. The ribbed effect is created by weaving a finer silk or manufacturer warp yarn with a heavier filler yarn, usually made of cotton or wool.
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. The fabric is used primarily for shirts.
Pad Printing: Pad printing utilizes a flexible silicone rubber transfer pad that picks up a film of ink from a photo-etched printing plate and transfers it to an item. Pad printing is usually used for three-dimensional items.
Percale: A smooth, textured, closely woven cotton or polyester fabric.
Pigment: A substance that is added to give color to fabric.
Pill: A tangled ball of fibers that appears on the surface of a fabric, as a result of wear or continued friction or rubbing on the surface of the fabric.
Pima Cotton: A high-end yarn made by plying yarns spun from long combed staple. One of the est gradesof cotton in the world. Pima cotton has extra long fiber lengths making it soft, yet strong.
Pique: A closely woven ried fabric produced from natural fibers, usually cotton. Pique is very popular in polo-style shirts.
Placket: The opening of a shirt or jacket where the garment fastens or at a pocket. A reverse placket is the reversed opening for women’s garments.
Plain Weave: A basic weave with a smooth surface for printing.
Ply: Two or more yarns that have been twisted together.
Polyester: A strong, durable synthetic fabric with low moisture absorbency. Polyester is popular for its comfort and resistance to wrinkles. (Polyester is the most popular of the man-made fabrics. It doesn’t wrinkle or fade, and seems to last forever. Polyester is often blended with cotton to produce a longer lasting garment that wrinkles less.)
Poly-filled: A warm polyester lining used in outerwear.
Polymer: The chemical solution from which man-made fibers are spun.
Polynosic: A stable rayon fiber that has a soft silklike hand.
Poplin: A broad term to describe several fabrics made from various types of yarn. Usually a plain, strong fabric with fine ribbing creating a slight ridge effect; often made of cotton.
Pre-Shrunk: Fabrics or garments, that have received a pre-shrinking treatment. Often done on cottons to remove the tendency for cloth to shrink before cutting the fabric for use in a garment to prevent further shrinkage.
Raglan: This popular style of apparel is a loose-fitting garment with a sleeve extending to the collar of a garment instead of ending at the shoulder. A raglan sleeve is attached with slanting seams running from under the arm to the neck.
Rayon: A manufacturer textile fiber composed of regenerated cellulose.
Registration: This refers to the ability to line up details and parts of designs with each other.
Rib Knit: A basic stitch used in weft knitting in which the knitting machines require two sets of needles operating at right angles to each other. Rib knits have a very high degree of elasticity in the crosswise direction. This knitted fabric is used for complete ferments and for sleeve bands, neckbands, sweater waistbands, and special types of trims for use with other knit or woven fabrics. Lightweight sweaters in rib knits provide a close, body-hugging fit.
Ring Spun: A process of spinning the yarn to make it softer and more durable.
Rip-Stop Nylon: A lightweight, wind-resistant, and water-resistant plain weave fabric. Large rib yarns stop tears without adding excess weight to active sportswear apparel.
Running Stitch: A series of single stitches forming a line.
Satin: The name originated in China. Satin cloths were originally of silk. Similar fabrics are now made from acetate, rayon and some of the other man-made fibers. The fabric has a very smooth, lustrous face effect while the back of the material is dull.
Satin Stitch: A digitizing technique that places shorter stitches in curves and corners to avoid unnecessary bulky buildup of stitches.
Shrinkage: The reduction in width and length, or both, that takes place in a fabric when it is washed or dry-cleaned. Residual shrinkage is the term used to indicate the percentage of shrinkage that occurs in the fabric at the time of its first washing.
Side Vents: Fashion details allowing for comfort and ease of movement.
Silk: The only natural fiber that comes in a filament form. Spun from silkworms, this fine fabric is comfortable and soft but must be treated gently.
Silk Screening: Also known as screen-printing, photographic process that transfers artwork onto a porous nylon screen, which allows a custom color ink to flow onto the garment.
Single Knit: A fabric knitted on a single needle machine. This fabric has less body, substance and stability when compared with double knit.
Single yarn: One that has not been plied; the result of drawing, twisting and winding a mass of fibers into a coherent yarn.
Soft Goods: Industry term sometimes applied to textile fabrics and products.
Solution-Dyed: A type of fiber dyeing in which colored pigments are injected into the spinning solution prior to the extrusion of the fiber through the spinneret. Fibers and yarns colored in this manner are colorfast to most destructive agents.
Spandex: Popular man-made fiber with the ability to stretch and snap back to its original form. It is ideal for blended fabrics used in garments designed to hold their shape, and was developed in 1959.
Stock Designs: Digitized common embroidery designs that are commercially available for general use by embroidered.
Stretch Yarns: Continuous filament yarns that have been textured or modified to give them elasticity. Use of these yarns gives fabrics a degree of elasticity and comfort.
Stone Washed: Fabric treatment to achieve a worn and faded effect, common in denim fabric.
Storm Flap: A strip of fabric that covers the zipper or snap closure of a jacket to protect against wind and moisture. Storm flaps can also be sewn on the inside of the zipper.
Swatch: A small sample of material used for inspection, comparison, construction, color, finish and sales purposes.
Tackle Twill: Letters or numbers cut from polyester or rayon twill fabric that is commonly used for athletic teams and organizations.
Tartan: Worsted wool or cotton cloth made in plain weave or in a twill weave. Tartan is popular in caps, dresses, neckwear, shirts, sport coats and trousers.
Taslan: A registered trademark. A textured yarn that is made on a bulking process developed by DuPont. Its hand, loftiness, covering power and yarn texture are such that these properties are permanent and do not require special handling or care.
Tension: The tautness of thread when forming stitches.
Terry Cloth: This cloth has uncut loops on both sides of the fabric. Woven on a doby loom with a Terry arrangement, various sizes of yarns are used in the construction. Terry is very popular in robes and towels.
Textile: Traditionally a textile is defined as a woven fabric made by interlacing yarns.
Tencel: A fabric made from the fiber found in wood pulp which is processed into silklike, delicate fabric.
Thread Count: The actual number of warp ends and filling picks per inch in a woven cloth. In knitted fabric, thread count implies the number of wales or ribs.
Tricot: A type of warp knitted fabric that has a thin texture made from very fine yarn.
Trimming: The action of cutting loose thread, removing backing, etc…, from the final embroidered product.
Tubular Knit: A golf shirt with no side seams; a cost advantage because there is less cutting and sewing. Tubular products are a greater risk for body torquing (twisting).
Twill: 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.
Ultra Suede: Registered trademark of Spring Mills, Inc. for a fabric marketed under its Skinner brand. Fabric is not woven or knitted and has tiny polyester fibers embedded in its soft lush surface.
Underlay Stitching: The stitching action that will attach the backing to the fabric being embroidered. It also supports the top embroidery for a more lofty, dimensional look.
UV (Ultraviolet) Protection: Garments that have been woven in such a way or that have been chemically treated to help block out harmful rays from the sun.
Velour: A term loosely applied to cut pile cloths in general; also to fabrics with a fine raise finish. Velour has a soft, comfortable hand.
Virgin Wool: New wool that has never been used before, or reclaimed from any spun, woven, knitted, felted, manufacturer or used products.
Water-Repellent: Ability of a fabric to resist penetration by water under certain conditions. Various types of tests are used, and these are conducted on samples before and after subjection to standard washing and dry cleaning tests.
Water-Resistant: Fabric treated chemically to resist water. Not to be confused with water-repellent.
Welt: A strip of material seamed to a pocket opening as a finishing as well as a strengthening device, or a covered cord or ornamental strip sewn on a border or along a seam.
Wickability: The ability of a fiber or a fabric to disperse moisture and allow it to pass through to the surface of the fabric, so that evaporation can take place.
Wool: Fibers that grow on the sheep fleece. Wool products may also include fibers from lamb, angora or Cashmere goat.
Worsted: Smooth, uniform, well-twisted yarns. Little finishing is necessary in these clear surface materials. Plain or fancy weaves are used and the cloth is usually yarn-dyed, but piece-dyed fabrics are also popular.
Yoke Back: A piece of fabric that connects the back of a garment to the shoulders. This allows the garment to lay flat.