Fabric Dictionary


Fiber: Cotton, linen, nylon.

Weave: Plain, some made with a crosswise rib.

Characteristics: A strong canvas or duck. The weights vary, but most often the count is around 148 x 60. Able to withstand the elements (rain, wind and snow). Sailcloth for clothing is sold frequently and is much lighter weight than used for sails.

Uses: Sails, awnings, and all kinds of sportswear for men, women, and children.


Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Its name is French for wild boar. It was named for its texture which is compact and wiry. It also has a very rough finish. It is usually created with mohair and worsted fibers.


Fiber: Cotton, some also made in rayon.

Weave: Sateen, 5-harness, filling-face weave.

Characteristics: Cotton fabric woven like satin with a glossy surface. Lustrous and smooth with the sheen in a filling direction. Carded or combed yarns are used. Better qualities are mercerized to give a higher sheen. Some are only calendared to produce the sheen but this disappears with sashing and is not considered genuine sateen. May be bleached, dyed, or printed. Difficult to make good bound buttonholes on it as it has a tendency to slip at the seams.

Uses: Dresses, sportswear, louses, robes, pajamas, linings for draperies, bedspreads, slip covers, satin, on the pattern of velveteen


A fabric of silk or various man-made fibers, with a glossy surface on one side produced by a twill weave with the weft-threads almost hidden.

Characteristics: Originated in China (Zaytoun, China - now Canton - a port from which satins were exported during the Middle Ages). Became known in Europe during the 12th, and 13th Centuries in Italy. Became known in England by the 14th Century. It became a favorite of all court life because of its exquisite qualities and feel. Usually has a lustrous surface and a dull back. The luster is produced by running it between hot cylinders. Made in many colors, weights, varieties, qualities, and degrees of stiffness. A low grade silk or a cotton filling is often used in cheaper cloths.

Uses: Slips, evening dresses, coats, capes, and jackets, lining fabrics, millinery, drapes, covers, and pillows, From Latin seta Silk

Satin Faconne

Jacquard figured fabric with an all-satin weave background. Various types of striping effects are obtained. Jacquard figure on a satin ground.


Satin on one side and anything on the other. e.g. very good velvet ribbon has velvet on one side and satin on the other.

Satin-Back Crépe

A reversible cloth with satin on one side and Crépe on the other


a satin-like fabric made partly or wholly of cotton or synthetic fiber


a fine woollen yarn for knitting, etc or a cloth made from this yarn. Originally made from the wool of sheep from the district of Saxony in Germany.


Fiber: Cotton, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Plain, slack tension weave.

Characteristics: A fabric usually striped cotton with alternate stripes crinkled in the weaving. Crépe-stripe effect. colored stripes are often used. Dull surface. Comes in medium to heavy weights. The woven crinkle is produced by alternating slack and tight yarns in the warp. This is permanent. Some may be produced by pressing or chemicals, which is not likely to be permanent - called plisse. Durable, gives good service and wear. May be laundered without ironing. Can be bleached, yarn dyed, or printed. Some comes in a check effect.

Uses: Summer suits for men, women, and children, coats, uniforms, trims, nightwear, all kinds of sportswear, dresses, blouses, children's wear of all kinds, curtains, bedspreads, slipcovers. Hind. Pers, alteration of shir o shakkar Lit Milk and Sugar.


Narrow edge of woven fabric (warp direction) usually of stronger yarns or denser construction than body of cloth.


Weave: Worsted - also unfinished worsted, wool, cotton, silk, rayon, and synthetics. A very distinct twill (2 up 2 down) which shows on both sides of the fabric.

Characteristics: On the face, the distinct diagonal runs from the lower left to the upper right - piece dyed. Has a smooth, hard finish that wears exceptionally well but will shine with use. The shine cannot be removed permanently. It is a good cloth in tailoring as it drapes and clings very well. Made in various weights. Unfinished worsted and wool are not quite as clear on the surface. French Sere is made of very fine soft yarns and has a very fine twill. It is used for dresses or very soft suits.

Uses: Coats, suits and sportswear.

Serpentine Crépe

Weave: Plain

Characteristics: Its filling has a twisted thread therefore giving it an effect similar to Crépe. The size of the Crépe thread determines the texture. It is executed in a variety of fibers including manufactured ones.

Shadowy Organdy

Characteristics: It is lightweight, crisp and sheer. The shadowy effect is produced when one color is repeatedly printed on itself.


Fiber: Cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: It is a raw silk made from Tussah silk or silk waste, depending on the quality. It is quite similar to pongee, but has a more irregular surface, heavier, and rougher. Most of the slubs are in the filling direction. Wrinkles quite a bit. Underlining helps to prevent this as well as slipping at the seams. Do not fit too tightly, if long wear is expected. Comes in various weights, colors and also printed.

Uses: Dresses, suits, and coats. Shantung, Chinese province, where it was originally made.


Fiber: Worsted. Some wool. Also made in rayons and synthetics (particularly Arnel) but they are quite different.

Weave: 2 x 2 twill weave (1 white, 1 black up and same down).

Characteristics: The yarns in both the warp and filling are alternately white (or very light yarns) and colored. The combination of weave and color results in colored lines running diagonally to the left opposite to the twill lines in a "step" effect. Has a very sleek, smooth, feel and appearance. Although it is fairly light in weight, it has a very substantial feel. Gives excellent wear and sheds dirt readily. Has many variations.

Uses: Used for men's and women's suits, lightweight coats and sportswear.


This is one of the finest textiles. It is created from white, silver or gray hair of wild goats. The supply of this hair is very limited so the textile is very rare. It is one of the most expensive fabrics in the world.


Fiber: Any fiber.

Weave: Mostly plain but could be various weaves.

Characteristics: Any very light-weight fabric (e.g. chiffon, georgette, Voilé, sheer Crépe). Usually has an open weave, very thin; diaphanous. They mostly feel cool.

Middle English schere, probably via dialect shire 'pure, clear' from Old English


Fiber: Wool from Shetland sheep in Scotland. Sheep have a coarse outer coat and a very fine undercoat which gives added warmth. The best is the undergrowth. It is not shorn but pulled out by hand in the spring. Other wools sometimes called Shetland if they have a similar appearance.

Weave: Twill, plain, or knitted.

Characteristics: Has a very soft hand and a shaggy finish of protruding fibers. - a pulled wool; the soft undergrowth of the Shetland sheep. Very lightweight and warm. Much is made by hand and comes in distinctive soft coloring. Often the natural colors ranging from off-white, various grays to almost black and brown are used and not dyed. Real Shetland wools are expensive, high quality products. - In the same family group as homespun, tweed and cheviot.

Uses: Coats, suits, and sportswear for both men and women. Fine Shetlands are made into fine shawls, underwear crochet, work and hosiery.


Woven so as to show different colors at different angles.

Shot Taffeta

Usually plain weave, woven with one color in the warp and another color in the filling, which gives the fabric an iridescent look. If fabric is moved in the light this color changes. Silk version of chambray.


The boat-like device that carries the filling yarn wound on the bobbin, which sees in the shuttle from a shuttle box on one side of the faceplate of the loom through the shed. and into a shuttle box at the other side of the loom. Filling interlaces with the warp yarns to make weaving possible.


It is obtained from cocoons of certain species of caterpillars. It is soft and has a brilliant sheen. It is one of the finest textiles. It is also very strong and absorbent.

Silk is one of the oldest known textile fibers and, according to Chinese tradition, was used as long ago as the 27th century BC. The silkworm moth was originally a native of China, and for about 30 centuries the gathering and weaving of silk was a secret process, known only to the Chinese.

Simulated Linen Fabrics

Various rayons, cottons, synthetics, and blends are woven with threads of uneven thickness to simulate linen. They lack the cool, firm, yet soft feel of linen. Their irregularities are too even when seen beside real linen.


Sisal is one of a group of fibers obtained from the leaves of plants. It is obtained from a plant that belongs to the Agave family and is raised in Mexico, especially in the Yucatan peninsula. The fiber is also cultivated in Africa, Java, and some areas of South America. Sisal can be dyed bright colors, by means of both cotton dyes and acid dyes normally used for wool. It is important in the manufacture of such items as matting, rough handbags, ropes and cordage and carpeting.


Sisal is one of a group of fibers obtained from the leaves of plants. It is obtained from a plant that belongs to the Agave family and is raised in Mexico, especially in the Yucatan peninsula. The fiber is also cultivated in Africa, Java, and some areas of South America. Sisal can be dyed bright colors, by means of both cotton dyes and acid dyes normally used for wool. It is important in the manufacture of such items as matting, rough handbags, ropes and cordage and carpeting.

Slipper Satin

Strong, compactly woven with quite a bit of body. It is used chiefly for footwear. Textures are high and the material comes colored, black or white, or richly brocaded effects. - Shiniest satin.

  1. verb To draw out and twist slightly after carding or silvering, as wool or cotton.
  2. noun The partially twisted wool or the like produced by slubbing.
  3. noun Yarn made with bunches of untwisted fibers at intervals.

See Slub.


See Slub.


Fiber: Wool, also rayon and silk.

Weave: any weave - usually a novelty - plain warp, novelty filling or reverse.

Characteristics: Derived from the French term eponge for "spongy". Very soft and sponge-like in a variety of novelty effects with loose weave of about 20 x 20. Also known as ratine in cotton. Rayon and silk is soft, loose, and spongy, something like terry cloth. Does not have surface loops. Many stores now call eponge "boucle".

Uses: Suits, dresses, coats, sportswear, and summer suits.


It is an elastomeric fiber (a type of polyurethane) that can be stretched up to five times its original length without being damaged. It is lightweight and flexible. It resists deterioration from perspiration, detergent and body oils. It is characterized by its strength and durability.

Uses: Main uses are athletic wear and foundation garments.

Arbitrary formation from EXPAND


This final operation in yarn manufacture consists of the drawing, twisting, and the winding of the newly spun yarn onto a device such as a bobbin, spindle, cop, tube, etc. Spinning requires great care by all operatives involved. Mule and ring spinning are the two major methods today, and in addition to being spun on these methods, worsted yard is also spun on the cap and flyer flame methods of producing finished spun yarn.

Spun Rayon

Fiber: Rayon.

Weave: Plain.

Characteristics: Simulated cotton or wool made with staple fibers in a continuous strand to give this effect. Wears well and is washable. Made in different weights. Comes in plain colors and prints. Has soft, fuzzy surface. Blends well with cotton.

Uses: Dresses, suits, sportswear, men's shirts.

Suede Cloth

Fiber: Wool, cotton, rayon, synthetics and blends.

Weave: Plain, twill, or knitted.

Characteristics: Napped on one side to resemble suede leather. Short, close nap gives a soft, smooth hand. When made in cotton, it resembles duvetyne, but heavier.

Uses: Cleaning cloths, gloves, linings, sportcoats.

French (gants de) Suéde '(gloves of) Sweden'

Suede Leather
  1. Leather, esp. kidskin, with the flesh side rubbed to make a velvety nap.
  2. (also suede-cloth) a woven fabric resembling suede.

French (gants de) Suéde '(gloves of) Sweden'


It is a nonconductive fiber that is retardant to flame. It has excellent resistance to a variety of damaging chemicals and severe temperatures. This high-performance fiber retains its supreme strength, even in unfavorable conditions.


This bast fiber is obtained from the Crotalaria juncea plant. The fibers grow from 4 to 5 feet long and are retted and prepared like other bast fibers. Sunn contains over 80% cellulose and is highly resistant to moisture and mildew. This fiber is mainly produced in India although small amounts are grown in Uganda. It is mainly used for cordage, rug yarns, and paper. In India it is also used for fish nets and is sometimes used as a substitute for jute in bagging cloths.


Fiber: Silk, rayon, and synthetics.

Weave: Twill (2 up and 2 down).

Characteristics: Soft and flexible. Lightweight and lustrous. Has a decided twill on the fabric. Wrinkles fairly easily. Underlining helps to prevent this, as well as to prevent slipping at the seams. Some have a tendency to water spot. Very similar to "foulard", but heavier.

Uses: Dresses, suits, ensembles, dresses and coats, cravats, ties, scarves, blouses, jacket and coat linings.