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Fabric Dictionary

Fabric Dictionary

OEKO-TEX@

A worldwide union of independent research and test facilities, OEKO-TEX® sets and certifies standards for textile and leather production from raw materials to finished products while thoroughly covering chemicals, harmful substances, and precautionary parameters to make choosing safe, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible textiles simpler for consumers. Product labels include STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®, MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX®, and LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®.

Ogee

A pattern reminiscent of a form of architecture where two elongated "s" shapes are connected at one side, this effect occasionally causes the pattern on fabric to look similar to an onion.

Oil Affinity

Refers to whether a fabric holds oily stains (oleophilic) or resists oily stains (oleophobic). Variations of Teflon is oleophobic.

Oil Slick

A foil design on the surface of a fabric giving it a shiny and iridescent appearance reminiscent of a layer of oil floating on an expanse of water.

Oilcloth

Fabric treated with oil on one side to make it hydrophobic, or waterproof. Resins from plastics can also be used instead of oil.

Uses:

  • • overcoating
  • • camping gear
  • • tablecloths

Pros:

  • • waterproof
  • • flexible
  • • durable
  • • easy to clean

Cons:

  • • heavy
  • • reacts poorly in cold climates
  • • fades quickly in direct sunlight
Olefin Fiber

A synthetic fiber made from polypropelene or polyethylene. Originally formulated in 1957 in Italy by Giulio Natta. It is resistant to abrasion, soil, stains and deterioration from mildew, and damage from chemicals. It is also quick drying and colorfast.

Uses:

  • • linings
  • • activewear
  • • thermal wear
  • • socks

Pros:

  • • durable
  • • quick drying
  • • colorfast
  • • abrasion resistance
  • • resistant to stains and mildew
  • • chemical stability

Cons:

  • • melts easily
  • • low absorbency
Ombre

A French word describing the gradual shift in shades of a color from one to another.

Ondule

A particular weaving pattern produced by a particular reed that simultaneously converges and separates warp threads, creating a wavy pattern. It is created in silk, cotton and manufactured fibers.

Opacity

The amount of light able to pass through a material. A fabric with a lesser or lowered opacity would be considered transparent, sheer or translucent whereas a fabric with a raised opacity would be opaque.

Opossum

A North American marsupial bearing fur often used for coats, hats and hood trimmings. The fur itself is grayish and white-tipped.

Uses:

  • • outerwear
  • • trim
  • • accessories

Pros:

  • • warm
  • • light

Cons:

  • • bristly
  • • fragile
Organdy

A fine, translucent cotton or nylon fabric typically made with tightly twisted yarns used in women's clothing when stiffened. Crispness is due to a finish with starch and calendering which washes out, or a permanent crispness obtained with chemicals (Heberlein process). Its crispness is aided by its composition of combed fibers. Wrinkles badly unless given a wrinkle-free finish. Also spelled 'organdie'.

Uses:

  • • dresses
  • • skirts
  • • blouses
  • • curtains

Pros:

  • • light weight
  • • crisp
  • • uniform weave pattern

Cons:

  • • prone to wrinkling
  • • very sheer
Organic Cotton

cotton fiber grown without the use of genetic modification or pesticides.

Uses:

  • • shirts
  • • pants
  • • loungewear
  • • home decor

Pros:

  • • softer than non organic
  • • safer to wear due to lack of toxins from processing

Cons:

  • • prone to wrinkling
Organic Linen

Linen fibers harvested from flax plants grown without pesticides for synthetic fertilizer.

Uses:

  • • shirts
  • • pants
  • • suiting
  • • dresses
  • • skirts

Pros:

  • • lack of toxins from processing
  • • enviromentally friendly to cultivate

Cons:

  • • a more expesive raw material than organic cotton
Organza

A stiff, full-bodied transparent fabric made of silk or a synthetic fiber, not unlike Organdy/Organdie, but utilizes a filament fiber instead of a combed staple fiber. Characteristically sheer, lightweight, crisp and voluminous.

Uses:

  • • bridalwear
  • • eveningwear
  • • drapery

Pros:

  • • lighter
  • • airy
  • • delicate

Cons:

  • • prone to wrinkling and other damage
Orlon

A crease resistant acrylic fiber or fabric used in activewear, home decor and more.

Uses:

  • • active wear
  • • home decor

Pros:

  • • crease resistant
  • • lightweight
  • • resilient

Cons:

  • • highly flammable
  • • has a tendency of pilling
Osnaberg

A medium to heavyweight coarse-weave fabric praised for its durability and tensile strength. If treated with a finish, it is also known as Hopsacking.

Uses:

  • • workwear
  • • industrial bags

Pros:

  • • strong
  • • durable

Cons:

  • • coarse
  • • uncomfortable unless treated or lined
Ostrich Feathers

Long, curly plume of an ostrich used for decoration and ornamentation.

Uses:

  • • hats
  • • accessories

Pros:

  • • adds texture and depth

Cons:

  • • cumbersome
  • • shedding
  • • garments with feathers no longer can be washed in their entirety
  • • spot clean only
Ottoman

A crosswise ribbed or corded fabric where the ribs are larger than both a faille or a bengaline. The 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. Can be comprised of most fibers.

Uses:

  • • formal wear
  • • dresses
  • • upholstery

Pros:

  • • easy to clean
  • • soft
  • • durable

Cons:

  • • cannot be too fitted or tailored
  • • cannot be gathered or shirred
Oxford

A basket woven fabric used in dress shirts. The warp is comprised of two fine yarns which travel as one and one heavier softly-spun bulky fill yarn which gives it a basket-weave look. When made with a yarn dyed warp and white weft, it is called oxford chambray. Usually made from cotton but sometimes produced with rayon.

Uses:

  • • dress shirts
  • • dresses

Pros:

  • • durable
  • • breathable
  • • abraision resistant
  • • lauders well

Cons:

  • • soils easily
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