Fabric Dictionary


Characteristics: Originally, textiles such as cotton were coated in oil to create resistance to moisture. Now, resins from plastics are used instead of oil. Olefin is a very versatile fiber with excellent flexibility.

Uses: Waterproof garments, book bags, belts, bibs, pencil cases, luggage, surgical supplies.

Olefin Fiber

Characteristics: It is very lightweight yet strong. It is resistant to abrasion, soil, stains and deterioration from mildew, and damage from chemicals. It is also quick drying and colorfast.

Uses: Various uses such as apparel, interior parts of automobiles, furniture and carpets.


A fabric woven with shades of one color from light to dark in the warp, usually creating a striped effect.


Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Its name is derived from a French word meaning wavy. This wavy effect is created by weaving the warp irregularly. It is created in silk, cotton and manufactured fibers.


Characteristics: Can be found in Australia, Southern USA and Argentina. white face and fur that is loose, grayish and white-tipped.

Uses: Pelting used chiefly as trimming for cloth coats.


A fine translucent cotton muslin, usually stiffened to form a durable crisp finish. Also US Organdy. French organdi, of unknown origin


Fiber: Cotton.

Weave: Plain. Some has lappet, swivel, or flocked designs.

Characteristics: Made with tightly twisted yarns. Crispness is due to a finish with starch and calendaring which washes out, or a permanent crispness obtained with chemicals (Heberlein process). Wrinkles badly unless given a wrinkle-free finish (bellmanizing). May be bleached, dyed, printed, frosted, flocked, embroidered, or plisse.

Uses: Fussy children's wear, trims, collars and cuffs, baby's wear, bonnets, artificial flowers, dolls clothes, millinery, summer formals, blouses, curtains, bedspreads, aprons.


Fiber: Silk, rayon.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: A thin stiff transparent silk or synthetic dress fabric. Fine, sheer, lightweight, crisp fabric. It has a very wiry feel. It crushes or musses fairly easily, but it is easily pressed. Dressy type of fabric, sometimes has a silvery sheen.

Uses: All types of after 5 dresses, trimming, neckwear, millinery, and underlinings for delicate, sheer materials, as well as an underlining for other fabrics that require a bit of stiffness without weight. probably from Lorganza (US trade name)


Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Osnaberg is characterized by its strength and durability. It is medium to heavyweight. It is coarse and varies in both color and print. May or may not be treated with a finish. If it is finished, it is also known as Hopsacking or Crash.


Fiber: Silk, rayon, wool or synthetics.

Weave: Crosswise rib.

Characteristics: A heavy silken fabric with a mixture of cotton or wool. Heavy in weight - larger rib than both faille and bengaline. Very pronounced flat ribs in the filling direction. Ribs are made by a cotton, worsted, silk, or rayon filling which does not show on either the face or the back, because the warp covers the filling entirely. Is called Ottoman Cord or Ottoman rib when a warp rib is employed. Fabric is stiff and cannot be gathered or shirred. Like other ribbed fabrics, it has a tendency to slip at the seams and crack, so it cannot be fitted too tightly.

Uses: Evening wraps, formal coats, dressy suits, dressy afternoon wear, and after 5 French ottomane, fem. of ottoman OTTOMAN


Fiber: Cotton - some in rayon.

Weave: Plain variations - usually basket 2 x 1.

Characteristics: Warp has two fine yarns which travel as one and one heavier softly-spun bulky filling which gives it a basket-weave look. Better qualities are mercerized. rather heavy. Usually is all white but some has a spaced stripe in the warp direction. Launders very well but soils easily. When made with yarn dyed warp and white weft, it is called oxford chambray. The one remaining commercial shirting material made originally by a Scotch mill which bore the names of four Universities - Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and Yale.

Uses: Men's shirts mostly. Also used for summer jackets, shirts, skirts,dresses, and sportswear.