Fabric Dictionary


More commonly known as manila hemp.


One of the first manufactured fibers. It has the lustrous appearance of silk. Acetate is not a strong fiber, as its resistance to abrasion is poor. Resists shrinkage, moths and mildew, and does not absorb moisture readily. Its yarns are pliable and supple and will always spring back to their original shape. Fast-drying and when heated becomes more pliable. Used in clothing, uniforms, lingerie, carpets, bathing suits, draperies, automobile upholstery, fillings for pillows, interlinings.


Acrylic is a durable fiber with a soft, woolly feel. It has an uneven surface, making it different from most manufactured fibers. It comes in a variety of colors, and can be dyed easily. It is resistant to sun and chemicals. Often used as a replacement for wool.


A black woolen fabric with a very long nape, and is coarse and heavy. When stretched the fibers tighten and become water resistant.

Albert Cloth

A double layer of wool (double cloth); reversible. Faces and backs may vary in color and pattern. Provides additional warmth and body. Used for outer wraps, coats and jackets.


Alginate was first produced from seaweed in 1940. It is a product of a neutralizing reaction between alginic acid and caustic soda. Nonflammable. When combined with other fibers, it takes on a sheer appearance. Used for accent pieces, camouflage and netting.


True alpaca is hair from the Alpaca animal, a member of the llama family. Fine, silk-like, soft, lightweight and warm. It is very rich and silky with considerable luster and resembles mohair; it’s also strong and durable. Often combined with other fibers or imitated by other fibers. Used for men's and women's suits, coats and sportswear, linings and sweaters. Some fine alpaca used for women's dresses. Also in pile or napped fabric for coating.


The clipped fiber from angora goats is called mohair. (Angora wool comes from angora rabbits.) Scoured mohair appears smooth and white. It varies in fineness and is highly resilient, very strong and has high luster. Mohair is very warm, and can be combined with other fabrics, such as cotton. It is used in winter accessories, sweaters and coats, as well as in home decor.

Angora wool is long, very fine, lightweight, extremely warm and fluffy. Used mostly in knitwear—gloves, scarves, sweaters, etc. Also comes blended with wool.


Made from wool to resemble Persian lamb fur. Used for coats, cloaks, trimmings and accessories. Durable and warm.