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Fabric Dictionary

Fabric Dictionary

Fabric

A cloth made of natural and/or manmade fibers that are either woven or knit together.

Uses:

  • • fashion applications
  • • home applications
  • • crafts
Fabric Paint

Dating back to 3,000 B.C., the origins of painting fabric stem from India and China. Blocks were painted with natural dyes made from plants, clays and insects, and then stamped onto fabric to create a pattern. Today's technological advancements have led to fabric paints that do not chip, scuff, crack or peel, and come in an unimaginable amount of colors.

Faconne

French for "Fashioned", faconne is a fabric with a pattern woven into it and is typically presented over a sheer background.

Uses:

  • • evening wear
  • • bridal
  • • dresses
Faconne Velvet

Patterned velvet made by a burn-out print process or fancy weave.

Faille

A tightly woven fabric that features a defined ribbed design made using thicker weft yarns. It is mostly seen made of silk, but may be made of cotton and wool, and has a sheen to it. Finer than grosgrain but in that family - ribs are also flatter than in grosgrain.

Uses:

  • • evening wear
  • • bridal

Pros:

  • • luster
  • • texture
  • • body

Cons:

  • • difficult to launder
Faux Fur

A fabric that is made to look and feel like real fur. The origin of faux fur dates back to 1910 when low-pile fabrics were made to give the appearance of fur. It wasn't until the 1950's that synthetic fibers were used to create furs that resembled animals such mink. Because of the activism of the 1960's, faux furs gained popularity in fashion and continue to today. (see Faux Suede, Faux Leather)

Uses:

  • • outerwear
  • • trim

Pros:

  • • hydrophilic
  • • thermal retention
  • • good resilience
  • • moderate abrasion resistance

Cons:

  • • fuzzy hand
  • • can cause irritation
Faux Leather

Sometimes referred to as leatherette, it is a fabric that is made to look and feel like real leather. Mostly seen with a fabric base and a PVC coating over its face, it is used in both fashion and home applications. (see Faux Suede, Faux Leather)

Uses:

  • • upholstery
  • • fashion applications
  • • book binding
Faux Suede

A fabric made from synthetic fibers to look and feel like suede. A brushed finish gives the woven a soft, lightly fuzzy hand that is similar to real suede. (see Faux Suede, Faux Leather)

Uses:

  • • fashion applications
  • • trim
  • • home applications
Feathers

A distinct covering found in birds. Real feathers used for decorative purposes may date back as far as 40,000 years ago. Its rich history includes Native American headdresses to the feather boas of old Hollywood. Today, feathers are mostly seen made of synthetic materials.

Uses:

  • • fashion applications
  • • crafts
Featherwale Corduroy

A corduroy whose thin wales can measure from 18 to 21 wales per inch. (see corduroy)

Uses:

  • • light outerwear
  • • shirts
  • • pants
  • • skirts

Pros:

  • • lightweight
  • • textured
  • • durable
  • • thin
  • • warm
Felt

One of the oldest known textiles known to man, felt is produced by the matting, condensing and pressing together of fibers. Since creating the fabric does not require a loom or threads to be spun into yarns, it is relatively easy to make. Felt is mostly seen as a wool, but may also be made from synthetic fibers and fur as well. The fabric stems from nomadic cultures and has been used to make everything from slippers to rugs and textile art. In fashion, felt is mainly used in outerwear, hats, and shoe insoles.

Uses:

  • • crafts
  • • hats
  • • outerwear
  • • shoes

Pros:

  • • dense
  • • durable
  • • doesn't fray
  • • warm
  • • body

Cons:

  • • can be coarse
  • • may shrink
  • • drape
Fiber

Any tough substance, natural or manmade, composed of thread-like tissue capable of being made into yarn. The first step in fabric manufacturing is to cultivate the chosen fiber, either staple or filament, which is then turned into yarns and later woven or knit into a fabric.

Fiberglass

A manufactured mineral fiber comprised of a combination of plastic and glass fibers that are flattened into a sheet or woven into a fabric. They are primarily used for industrial purposes.

Uses:

  • • industrial uses

Pros:

  • • high tenacity
  • • non-flammable
  • • high chemical resistance

Cons:

  • • allergic potential
  • • poor abrasion resistance
  • • poor elasticity
  • • hydrophobic
  • • heavy weight
Filament Fibers

A single, continuous hair-like strand of a natural or manufactured fiber with infinite length. Silk is the sole natural filament fiber in existence, but several man-made filament fibers have been created to replicate it.

Fill Yarn

Also known as weft yarns, it runs through the width or crosswise grain of the fabric.

Finished Goods

Fabric that is in its finished stage of manufacturing and ready to be put on the market.

Finishing

A process given to fabric that enhances the look, performance or hand. Types of finished include: calendaring, anti-microbial finishing, and mercerization.

Flame Retardant

A finish given to textiles, such as cotton to prevent or slow ignition. The fiber often burns but will self-extinguish when removed from the flame. Created after World War II by the National Fire Protective Association, the finish is mainly applied to home upholstery, staging and drapery applications. Protein fibers are naturally flame-retardant. Also see flame resistant, inflammable and nonflammable.

Uses:

  • • jackets
  • • home decor
  • • staging
Flame Resistant

A fiber that will burn and melt in a direct flame, but self-extinguish when removed from the flame. Synthetic Fibers are often flame resistant. Also see flame retardant, inflammable and nonflammable.

Flame Stitch

A pattern consisting of waves of zig-zagged stripes with sharp jagged edges that rise sporadically giving the appearance of flames. This pattern is said to have originated in bargello embroidery and was seen throughout Florence during the 1600's. Although Missoni's staple pattern is not flame stitch, it shares a close resemblance.

Flannel

A woven with a twill or plain weave construction, typically made of wool or cotton, that is brushed to create a nap giving it its signature soft hand. It can vary in weight and thickness, and is primarily seen in the fall and winter months. The fabric dates back to the 17th century and during the 1970's it was a popular choice for trousers especially for cricket players. More recently, it has been associated with the grunge scene of the 1990's leading to the word being incorrectly synonymous with plaid patterned buttoned shirts.

Uses:

  • • pajama pants
  • • buttoned shirts
  • • outerwear

Pros:

  • • soft
  • • warm
Flannelette

A cotton fabric made of coarser weft yarns than warp yarn, which are made to feel and look like wool flannel. Its weft yarns are brushed to give the fabric a soft nap.

Uses:

  • • sleeping wear
  • • pocket linings
  • • quilts
  • • shirting
Flat Crepe

This type of fabric consists of tightly twisted yarns that form an "S" or "Z" shape depending on how tight they are. Once woven, the twisted yarns relax into the confined space provided giving the fabric its textured surface. Types of flat crepes include georgettes and chiffons.

Uses:

  • • dresses
  • • blouses
  • • tops

Pros:

  • • sheer
  • • crisp

Cons:

  • • prone to pulls and runs
Flats

A technical drawing of a garment that effectively communicates proportions, seam construction and materials. Flats are used by design houses and are primarily made using CAD and digital design applications for more accuracy, although hand-drawn flats may also be used.

Flax

A plant fiber that is used to make linen. This fiber is taken from the stalk of the Linum usitatissimum plant. It is a long, smooth fiber and is cylindrical in shape. Its length varies from 6 to 40 inches but on average is between 15 and 25 inches. Its color is usually off-white or tan, and due to its natural wax content, flax has excellent luster. It is considered to be the strongest of the cellulose fibers and is highly absorbent, allowing moisture to evaporate with speed. It conducts heat well and can be readily boiled. Its washability is great, however, it has poor elasticity and does not easily return to its original shape after creasing.

Uses:

  • • sportswear

Pros:

  • • good body
  • • texture
  • • retains water
  • • gets stronger when wet
  • • non-static
  • • good thermal conductivity
  • • high tenacity
  • • no pilling
  • • luster

Cons:

  • • poor drape
  • • loft
  • • poor resiliency
  • • attract mildew when damp
  • • susceptible to silverfish
  • • not flexible
  • • poor elasticity
  • • poor dimensional stability
  • • low luster
  • • catches fire easily
  • • wrinkles easily
Fleece

Fleece refers to a sheep's wool coat. When woven or knit, it refers to a soft, short or long pile fabrics made of either wool, cotton or polyester. Fleece has a deep, soft nap or pile, obtained by heavily napping with wire brushes or with a pile weave. It is known for its insulating properties and therefore is worn primarily during the colder months. The material is often cumbersome and bulky, therefore it may be difficult to manipulate. It can vary in weight and thickness.

Uses:

  • • outerwear
  • • coat linings

Pros:

  • • soft
  • • thermal retention

Cons:

  • • wears over time
Fleur de Lis

Fleur translates to flower from French to English, while 'lis' translates to lily. Fleur de lis is a pattern that is an interpretation of a lily and historically began as a symbol of the French monarchy. The shape has been used throughout Europe as a sign of nobility. The symbol has also been spotted in Christian religious art during the Middle Ages, as well as architecture like the Buckingham Palace's fence. Today the pattern is still seen in logos and apparel all over the world.

Flexibility

The ability of a fiber to repeatedly bend without breaking. The flexibility of a fabric directly correlates with the drapability of a fabric.

Flocked

This process applies tiny fibers to the top of a fabric. A pattern is created with glue, which holds the flock material to the base. The finish may be applied to almost any ground and can add texture, pattern, and dimension. (see finishing)

Floral

A pattern made up of images, realistic or otherwise, of flowers. Flowers culturally were used as symbolic imagery all over the world from Japan to China to India. These symbols made their way onto textiles and thus created floral patterns. Today, the pattern is a staple for many designers and has changed and grown over the years.

Fluorescent Paint

Originally created as DayGlo Pigments, fluorescent paints feature neon-bright hues that can be seen from afar. They have been used throughout history from signals to World War II planes to 1980's graffiti fashion.

Foulard

A thin silk or silk blended fabric of a plain or twill weave that usually has a printed design and is primarily used to make scarves and neckties. The word can also refer to a basic small-scale geometric pattern that has a simple blocked repeat.

Uses:

  • • dresses
  • • robes
  • • scarves
  • • neckties
  • • handkerchiefs
Fox Hides

A dense and heavy fur from a fox used for fashion applications. Considered one of the most desirable hides due to its natural color options.

Uses:

  • • hats
  • • gloves
  • • blankets
  • • fur collars
  • • trims

Pros:

  • • thermal retention
French Terry Cloth

A warp knitted fabric that has one smooth side and one side filled with cross loops. This knit is primarily used for sweatshirts, sweatpants, and athleisure garments. The longer the loops, the more absorbent this knit can be. (see Terry Cloth)

Uses:

  • • sweatshirts
  • • sweatpants
  • • athleisure

Pros:

  • • stretch
  • • soft
  • • absorbant
  • • flexible
  • • warm
  • • thick

Cons:

  • • pills
Fret

An interlocking geometric pattern that consists of right angles, sometimes referred to as a Greek Key pattern.

Frieze

A coarse wool that is plainly woven with a high twist rate and brushed on one side to create a nap. Historically, it was manufactured in England during the 17th century and traded to Ireland. It was primarily used for coats. Today, the term may refer to a similar process of production used to create carpets.

Uses:

  • • coats
  • • carpets

Pros:

  • • resilient

Cons:

  • • coarse
Fringe

Cut fabric or a series of yarns that fall from a trim or a garment's hem. The use of fringe started with a utilitarian purpose rather than ornamental. Many Native American tribes used fringe as a way to whisk away rain from the body. The trim then became a staple for the 1920's flapper girl and was later an influence in 1969 fashion in suede moto jackets.

Uses:

  • • trimmings
  • • apparel
  • • accessories
Frog Closures

An ornamental closure that features a braided or looped design. Mostly seen on the front of a garment, it has a round button and loop closure. It is widely seen in traditional Asian garments including shirts and jackets with mandarin collars. Between the 17th and 19th century, frog closures were primarily seen in military uniforms as well. There would be so many frogs on the uniforms that they became purely decorative with a hidden closure for easy wear.

Uses:

  • • decoration
  • • closures
Fulling

The process which increases the thickness and compactness of woven or knitted wool. The process consists of subjecting the material to moisture, heat, friction, and pressure until the shrinkage rate reaches the desired threshold.

Fusible Thread

A blend of synthetic fibers that melt with the touch of an iron and fuse from one piece of fabric to another. This thread may be used in a machine or hand stitched. It is great for attaching appliques, setting hems, attaching tags or binding quilts.

Fustian

Dating as far back as the 16th century, fustian originally referred to a fabric that consisted of cotton yarns throughout the weft and linen yarns threw the warp. Later, the term referred to a wool or a heavy cotton cloth. Its weave is a cross between a twill and a velvet on par with a corduroy. Now, the term refers to a process where a fustian loom cuts weft yarns to create a pile. This fabric was primarily used for stuffing, leading Shakespeare to use the word to describe "pompous and pretentious writing". During the 19th century, the fabric was used to create coats for workers.

Uses:

  • • coating
  • • stuffing
  • • undergarments
  • • linings
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