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Fabric Dictionary

Fabric Dictionary

Waffle Knit

A type of fabric that is prized for its thermal retention, which features a waffle (square) or honeycomb (hexagonal) pattern that traps warm air between its yarns. It is typically used for warm garments in colder climates, as well as towels that have impressive absorbency. Often made of cotton or wool.

Uses:

  • • cardigans
  • • sweaters
  • • thermals

Pros:

  • • good thermal retention
  • • elasticity
  • • fast drying
  • • highly absorbent
Wale

A ridge or raised line in the weave of a fabric. A striation that adds texture to a weave. Gets its name from the word walu, which means ridge. One example of where one can find a wale is in corduroy.

Warp

The yarns in the weaving process that run parallel to the selvage (along the lengthwise grain) which are held on a loom at high tension when weft yarns are run through.

Pros:

  • • stronger than the weft
Warp Knitting

The fastest method of producing fabric from yarn. The process involves yarns being looped in a zig-zagging fashion where parallel strands of yarn are connected side by side. Examples of warp knits include tricots, raschel lace, crochet lace, and Milanese knits.

Warp-Print Taffeta

A plain-woven taffeta where the warp yarns have a design printed on them before the fill yarn is added. The design is then distorted and fuzzy in the weaving process.

Uses:

  • • evening gowns
  • • dresses
  • • skirts

Pros:

  • • durable
  • • crisp
  • • voluminous drape
  • • lightweight

Cons:

  • • requires a lot of maintenance
  • • prone to creasing
  • • not breathable
Washed Silk

A form of silk with an organic wrinkled texture. The material gets its soft hand and wrinkled texture from being washed with stones, sand, or more recently silicone balls. This material is used by designers all over the world due to its suede-like appearance and ability to be machine washed and dried.

Uses:

  • • tops
  • • dresses
  • • skirts
  • • blouses

Pros:

  • • soft
  • • lightweight
  • • machine washable
  • • machine dryable

Cons:

  • • prone to shrinkage
  • • fades in sunlight
Waterproof

A trait of fabrics in which the material is resistant to or repels water. This trait is often referred to as being hydrophobic.

Pros:

  • • less likely to mildew
  • • better for colder weather
Waxed Cotton

A form of cotton that is impregnated with paraffin or natural beeswax by way of coating the material or with fibers being woven into it making it somewhat breathable and waterproof. Originally, this type of material was not very breathable and very heavy, but thanks to modern technology, waxed cotton is lighter and more breathable today.

Uses:

  • • jackets
  • • coats
  • • hats
  • • bags

Pros:

  • • waterproof
  • • durable

Cons:

  • • doesn't breathe well
  • • needs yearly maintenance
  • • should be dried slowly
Weasel

A mammal from the family mustelidae, which is also home to minks and stoats. Often sought for their winter pelts and are referred to as Ermine in the fashion world.

Uses:

  • • trims
  • • accessories

Pros:

  • • heat retention

Cons:

  • • only available one time a year
Web Printing

A variation of rotary printing in which multiple dye-bearing cylinders are used instead of a singular one. The dye passes from the cylinders to the fabric in all places except where the impermeable stencil is placed. The size of the pattern's vertical repeat is based on how large the circumference of the roller is; a smaller roller will have a shorter repeat whilst a larger will have a longer repeat.

Webbing

A strong, narrow, closely-woven trim designed for bearing weight. Can be made from cotton, nylon, or polypropylene. Typically used in straps for bags and upholstery. Also seen as seat belts, pet collars, and much more.

Uses:

  • • bag straps
  • • uphostery
  • • seatbelts
  • • pet collars

Pros:

  • • versatile
  • • durable
Weft

The perpendicular threads in the weaving process, differing from warp yarns in the respect that weft yarns run left to right from one selvage to another (along the crosswise grain) whilst warp yarns run the length of the fabric.

Pros:

  • • often more flexible than the warp

Cons:

  • • less durable than the warp
Weft Knitting

A fabric created by a machine or by hand with the yarn running cross-wise, along the weft or in a circular pattern. Often used in the process of creating tubular knit materials. Differing from warp knits as those are flat running along the length of the material, whereas weft knits run along the width.

Pros:

  • • typically stretch easily
  • • easy to launder

Cons:

  • • more suited for casual wear
  • • tend to shrink
  • • can cling to the wrong areas of the body
Whipcord

A strong worsted or cotton fabric made of hard-twisted yarns with a twill weave that involves a steep angle very similar to a Cavalry Twill or Gabardine. The yarns tend to be bulkier and more visible than a gabardine, making the material very durable, rugged and long-lasting.

Uses:

  • • coats
  • • suits
  • • uniforms
  • • sportswear

Pros:

  • • excellent insulation
  • • durable

Cons:

  • • starts to shine as it wears
  • • dryclean only
  • • prone to rot and mildew
Wicking

The ability of a material to remove excess moisture from the wearer from the inside of the material to the surface. Often seen in activewear.

Uses:

  • • activewear

Pros:

  • • helps fabrics dry quickly
Width

The measurement of a fabric from one selvage to another. The weft-wise measurement of a textile remains in opposition to the length of the roll.

Windowpane Check

A pattern of intersecting lines that often resemble a window. Often in one color with a solid background. A wider-spread form of gingham.

Windproof

A property of fabric that does not allow wind to travel through it. This quality is most sought after for cold weather garments to keep the wearer warm.

Uses:

  • • active outerwear

Pros:

  • • resistant to wind
Wired Cord

A form of trim that is used to add structure and stability to garments. Composed of a thin wire being wrapped within the core of a rattail cord.

Uses:

  • • structured necklines or hems

Pros:

  • • sturdy
  • • holds shape

Cons:

  • • does not move fluidly
Wool

A protein fiber made from the hair of various animals such as sheep, llamas, camels, rabbits, and goats. A staple fiber, wool typically results in a slightly fuzzier and more matte surface than silk. Resiliant and resistant to wrinkling, wool is renewed by moisture and known for its warmth even when wet. The earliest woven wool garments date to circa 3000 BCE, though felted textiles were likely produced earlier and woolly sheep had been in existance since 6000 BCE. Types of wool include merino, cashmere, angora, mohair, and alpaca.

Uses:

  • • sweaters
  • • accessories
  • • blazers
  • • suits
  • • coats
  • • sportswear

Pros:

  • • texture
  • • loft
  • • resilient
  • • absorbs water
  • • stronger when wet
  • • non-static
  • • retains body heat
  • • good elasticity
  • • abrasion resistant
  • • flame retardant
  • • good drape
  • • resists wrinkles

Cons:

  • • poor dimensional stability
  • • can not use bleach
  • • attracts moths
  • • weakest natural fiber
  • • pills
  • • no luster
Woolen Wool

A form of wool yarn and the resulting fabric created from carded (rather than combed, as with worsted wools) wool fibers. Ideal for shorter staple wool fbers, carded fibers do not lay parallel to each other, resulting in a fluffier and often fuzzier yarn which contains more air and is therefore better for insulation in cold-weather garments. Woolen wool fabrics are often fulled, which compacts the fabric and makes it denser.

Uses:

  • • sweaters
  • • scarves
  • • hats
  • • knitwear

Pros:

  • • good heat retention

Cons:

  • • not as strong as worsted wool
  • • prone to pilling
Worsted Flannel

A form of worsted wool suiting constructed with a twill weave and slightly napped surface on one side, thus considered flannel. Its worsted wool properties give the material less texture but also makes it lighter in weight, and due to these facts, it is often overlooked by flannel suit enthusiasts.

Uses:

  • • suits
  • • pajama sets
  • • button downs

Pros:

  • • soft
  • • lightweight
  • • slightly fuzzy hand
  • • tailors well
  • • holds a hard crease

Cons:

  • • prone to pilling
  • • less popular than woolen flannel
  • • not entirely common
  • • sags with wear
  • • the nap flattens if pressed too hard
  • • low luster
Worsted Wool

A form of wool yarn that yields a slicker, smoother yarn than woolen wools due to its combed fibers, which allow the fibers to lay parallel to each other. More commonly created with longer staple fibers, worsted wool is the most common type of wool used in menswear.

Uses:

  • • suits
  • • pants
  • • blazers

Pros:

  • • lightweight
  • • drapes well
  • • smooth hand

Cons:

  • • dry clean or hand wash only
  • • prone to shrinking
Woven

A fabric formed by way of the weaving process. The process involves warp and weft threads being intertlaced on a loom to create a flat material. Woven fabrics are used for a plethora of applications from fashion fabrics to upholstery, carpeting and more.

Uses:

  • • upholstery
  • • apparel
  • • footwear
Wrinkled

Having organic or mechanically made irregular creases or ridges creating the shrinking or contracting of a surface.

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