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lusion Bodice - A bodice made of sheer material giving the illusion of no bodice.

Illusion Sleeve - A sleeve made of sheer material giving the illusion of no sleeve.

Intarsia - A colored design knitted on both sides of a fabric.

Interlining - An insulation, padding, or stiffening fabric, either sewn to the wrong side of the lining or the inner side of the outer shell fabric. The interlining is used primarily to provide warmth in coats, jackets, and outerwear.

Interfacing - Fabrics used to support, reinforce and give shape to fashion fabrics in sewn products. Often placed between the lining and the outer fabric., it can be made from yarns or directly from fibers, and may be either woven, nonwoven, or knitted. Some interfacings are designed to be fused (adhered with heat from an iron), while others are meant to be stitched to the fashion fabric.

Interlock - The stitch variation of the rib stitch, which resembles two separate 1 x 1 ribbed fabrics that are interknitted. Plain (double knit) interlock stitch fabrics are thicker, heavier, and more stable than single knit constructions.

Ixtle - Made from linen or cotton with a dobby or basket weave.  It is strong. Rough in the surface finish but finer, shinier than cotton huckaback. Has variation in weaves but most have small squares on the surface that stand out from the background.  It comes in white, colors, or colored borders, and stripes. The motif is made from a series of floats, some of them rather long, which gives a loose effect in certain areas. This, if well spaced, acts as a good absorbing agency.

 

Jacquard - Woven fabrics manufactured by using the Jacquard attachment on the loom. This attachment provides versatility in designs and permits individual control of each of the warp yarns. Thus, fabrics of almost any type or complexity can be made. Brocade and damask are types of jacquard woven fabrics. The loom produces elaborate cloth weaves such as tapestries, brocades, and damask fabrics.

Jacquard Knit - A weft double knit fabric in which a Jacquard type of mechanism is used. This device individually controls needles or small groups of needles, and allows very complex and highly patterned knits to be created.

Jersey - The consistent interlooping of wool, worsted, silk, cotton, rayon, and synthetics yarns in the jersey stitch to produce a fabric with a smooth, flat face, and a more textured, but uniform back.  Jersey fabrics may be produced on either circular or flat weft knitting machines.  Right side has lengthwise ribs (wales) and wrong side has crosswise ribs (courses).  Jersey is very elastic with good draping qualities and has special crease-resistant qualities due to its construction.  It is knitted plain or has many elaborate tweed designs and fancy motifs as well as printed designs.  It can look very much like a woven fabric. Jersey wears very well and, if washable, it washes very well. Jersey was first made on the Island on Jersey off the English coast and used for fisherman's clothing. Stretch as you sew.

Jersey Fabric - The consistent interlooping of yarns in the jersey stitch to produces a fabric with a smooth, flat face, and a more textured, but uniform back. Jersey fabrics may be produced on either circular or flat weft knitting machines.

Jersey Stitch - A basic stitch used in weft knitting, in which each loop formed in the knit is identical. The jersey stitch is also called the plain, felt, or stockinet stitch.

Jewel Neck - A high round neckline resting simply at the base of the neck.

Jusi Banana Fabric - Not all Jusi is made out of banana leaves.  Some Jusi is made from silk worm cocoons.

Jute and Burlap
Jute is used in textiles for interiors, especially for wall hangings and a group of bright, homespun-effect draperies and wall coverings. Natural jute has a yellow to brown or gray color, with a silky luster. It consists of bundles of fiber held together by gummy substances that are pectinaceous in character. It is difficult to bleach, so many fabrics are bright, dark, or natural brown. Jute reacts to chemicals in the same way as do cotton and flax. It has a good resistance to microorganisms and insects. Moisture increases the speed of deterioration but dry jute will last for a very long time. Jute works well for bagging, because it does not extend and is somewhat rough and coarse. This tends to keep stacks of bags in position and resist slippage.

 

Kangaroo Pocket - A pocket formed by sewing a piece of cloth over the garment leaving two open ends.

Kapok - A short, lightweight, cotton-like, vegetable fiber found in the seed pods of the Bombocaceae tree. Because of its brittle quality, it is generally not spun. However, its buoyancy and moisture resistance makes it ideal for use in cushions, mattresses, and life jackets.

Kasha (Casha) - Made from either a blend of cashmere and wool or a very fine wool.

Kenaf - A bast fiber obtained from the Hibiscus cannabinus plant. The stalk of this plant varies in height from 8 to 12 feet and is about half an inch in diameter. Kenaf is mostly produced in India and Pakistan but also grows in Africa, South East Asia, Indonesia, Russia, Mexico, the Philippines, and Cuba.  Used as a substitute for Jute.

Keyhole Neck - A tear shaped or round cutout that fastens at the front or back neckline.

Kimono - A long Japanese robe with wide sleeves traditionally worn with a broad sash.

Knit - Fabrics made from only one set of yarns, all running in the same direction. Some knits have their yarns running along the length of the fabric, while others have their yarns running across the width of the fabric. Knit fabrics are held together by looping the yarns around each other. Knitting creates ridges in the resulting fabric. Wales are the ridges that run lengthwise in the fabric; courses run crosswise.

Knit-de-knit - A type of yarn texturizing in which a crimped yarn is made by knitting the yarn into a fabric, and then heat-setting the fabric. The yarn is then unraveled from the fabric and used in this permanently crinkled form.

Knit Fabrics - Fabrics made from only one set of yarns, all running in the same direction. Some knits have their yarns running along the length of the fabric, while others have their yarns running across the width of the fabric. Knit fabrics are held together by looping the yarns around each other. Knitting creates ridges in the resulting fabric. Wales are the ridges that run lengthwise in the fabric; courses run crosswise.

Knitted - Formed by interlacing yarn or thread in a series of connected loops with needles.

Lace - An ornamental braid for trimming.

Lambswool - This is the wool that is taken from sheep before they reach the age of 7 months.  It is soft, slippery, resilient and smooth and has superior spinning properties. It is used in fine grade woolen fabrics.

Lame like glotique - A woven fabric using flat silver or gold metal threads to create either the design or the background in the fabric.

Latex - Used to provide stretch to fabrics.  100% natural latex contains no synthetic ingredients.  Blended latex, also know as Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR), is produced with petrochemicals and doesn't not have the resilience properties that 100% natural latex has.  In Europe, anything that has at least 20% natural latex is considered natural.

Lawn - A light, fine cloth made using carded or combed linen or cotton yarns in a plain weave. The fabric has a crease-resistant, crisp finish.  The name derived from Laon, a city in France, where linen lawn was manufactured extensively. It is light weight, sheer, soft, and washable. It is crispier than voile but not as crisp as organdy. When made with fine high count yarns, it has asilky feel.  Comes in white or may be dyed or printed. When made with combed yarns with a soft feel and slight luster, it is called nainsook.

Leatherette - Simulated leather.

Leno Weave - A construction of woven fabrics in which the resulting fabric is very sheer, yet durable. In this weave, two or more warp yarns are twisted around each other as they are interlaced with the filling yarns; thus securing a firm hold on the filling yarn and preventing them from slipping out of position. Also called the gauze weave. Leno weave fabrics are frequently used for window treatments, because their structure gives good durability with almost no yarn slippage, and permits the passage of light and air.

Light Weight - Having an airy weave. Used as a light weight base layer in apparel for aerobic activities and cool weather.

Linen - A fabric made from linen fibers obtained from inside the woody stem of the flax plant.  Linen fibers are much stronger and more lustrous than cotton. Linen fabrics are very cool and absorbent, but wrinkle very easily, unless blended with manufactured fibers.

Linen (Non-crushable)  A specially treated linen that is washable, durable and  highly resistance to wrinkling. This finish provides greater resilience and elasticity.

Lining - A fabric that is used to cover the inside of a garment to provide a finished look. Generally, the lining is made of a smooth lustrous fabric.

Llama – Llamas are found mainly in South America and the color of their hair may vary from white to brown and black. This fiber has impressive luster and warmth and is very light weight.

Lock Stitch - A type of stitch consisting of two threads that are interlocked at short intervals. A lock-stitched terry does not pull easily.

Loft - High loft is thick and fluffy, low loft is thin and dense. The higher the loft, the better the insulation characteristic.

Longcloth – A soft, high quality cotton and cotton blend fabric with a moderate luster.

Loom - A machine used for weaving fabrics.

Lycra - A DuPont trademark for its spandex fiber. Any time you see this fiber listed on a label, expect comfort, movement, and shape retention that won't wash away.  Lycra increases the life of a garment, making it more sustainable. It adds stretch and versatility and contributes to a wider array of fashion fabrications.

Lyocell Fiber - A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose. Lyocell has a similar hand and drape as rayon, but is stronger, more durable, and in many cases machine washable. It has a subtle luster and is rich in color. Lyocell possesses low shrinkage characteristics, as well as good absorbency and wrinkle resistant qualities.

Luster Fabric - Created using warp threads of cotton or synthetic fibers with high luster such as worsted or mohair yarn.

 

Mackinaw – Historically, it was made from an ordinary grade of wool that often had shoddy re-used or remanufactured wool mixed in.  A twill weave where the weave is concealed.  Mackinaw is heavily fulled or felted and napped on both sides to conceal the weave. Much of the fabric is in a plaid or large check design or brightly colored, or with different colors on each side.  Mackinaw is heavy and thick, very similar to melton.  It is named after MacKinac Island, Michigan and is also called snow cloth.  It was used by miners, lumbermen, hunters, trappers, fishermen, and cowboys in jackets, mackinaws and coats.  It was also used for blankets, shirts, and some heavy sportswear,  and windbreakers.  Mackinaw is another fabric that has been replaced by more modern, lighter and warmer synthetics and blends.

Macrame – A hand woven and knotted lace originally made in Arabia but later made in Italy.  Macrame was popular during the ‘60s and early 1970s for pot hangers, curtains, shawls and scarves.

Madras – A lightweight plain weave cotton fabric with a striped, plaid, or checked pattern. A true madras will bleed when washed. This type of fabric is usually imported from India. End-uses are men's and women's shirts and dresses. Generally cotton although can also be made from rayon and silk.  Plain weave or can be a dobby or jacquard weave used for designs.  Originated in Madras (now called Chenia), India and it is a very old cloth. Much of it has a plain colored background with stripes, plaid, checks, or designs on it. Has a high thread count.  Madras is made with combed or carded yarns depending on the quality. Some is mercerized to make it lustrous and durable. Often the dyes are not fast and with each washing, color changes take place.

Maillot - A woman's one-piece bathing suit.

Mandarin Collar - A short, stand-up collar, adopted from the close-fitting Asian collar.

Marabou - A thrown silk usually dyed in the gum or a fabric made of this silk.

Marble Cloth - Originally made of silk and wool. Today it is produced with natural and synthetic fibers

Marocain - A ribbed fabric from silk, wool or synthetics with a wavy look, resembling crepe.

Marquisette - Silk, cotton, rayon, or synthetic fibers in a gauze or lino weave that is a very lightweight, open, sheer, or mesh fabric. Wears very well and launders very well. Typically has a swivel dot or clip spot (marquisette).

Marseilles - Named after it's city of origin in France. It is identified by its raised woven pattern. This double-faced textile has a quilted appearance that is very elegant. Usually found in white, but other colors can also be used.

Matelasse French for "cushioned or padded" and is made on a jacquard or dobby loom, in double cloth weave.  This term refers to the type of weave. It is a triple-woven medium to heavyweight luxury fabric fabric made in a double cloth construction to create a blistered or quilted surface. The pattern stands out and gives a "pouch" or "quilted" effect to the goods. Crepe yarn in double weave shrinks during finishing causing a blistering effect.  Gives good wear and drapes well. If washable, it must be laundered with care. It is very attractive and suits quite plain styles.  Some cotton matelasse is used for bedspreads, dresses, suits, or ensembles.

Matte - Lacks luster or gloss and has a usually smooth even surface free from shine or highlights.

Melton - A heavyweight, dense, compacted, and tightly woven wool or wool blend fabric used mainly for coats.

Mercerization A finishing process of treating a cotton yarn or fabric, in which the fabric or yarn is immersed in a caustic soda solution (sodium hydroxide) and later neutralized in acid. The process causes a permanent swelling of the fiber, resulting in an increased luster on the surface of the fabric, an increased affinity for dyes, and increased strength.

Merino - A type of wool that originates from pure-bred Merino sheep. The best Merino wool comes from Italy.

Mermaid - This skirt hugs the body until it reaches the knees or just below and then ends in a dramatic flare.

Mesh - A type of fabric characterized by its net-like open appearance, and the spaces between the yarns. Mesh is available in a variety of constructions including wovens, knits, laces, or crocheted fabrics.

Metallic Fiber - An inorganic fiber made from minerals and metals, blended and extruded to form fibers. The fiber is formed from a flat ribbon of metal, coated with a protective layer of plastic, which reduces tarnishing. Metal used in apparel fabric is purely decorative.

Microclimate - The temperature and humidity of the space between your skin and the base layer of clothing.

Microfibers - Generic term for any synthetic fiber finer than silk. Fabrics made with micro fibers are soft, lightweight, breathable and durable.  Currently popular in outdoor activewear. Fibers made using microfiber technology, produce fibers which weigh less than 1.0 denier. The fabrics made from these extra-fine fibers provide a superior hand, a gentle drape, and incredible softness. Comparatively, microfibers are two times finer than silk, three times finer than cotton, eight times finer than wool, and one hundred times finer than a human hair. Currently, there are four types of microfibers being produced. These include acrylic microfibers, nylon microfibers, polyester microfibers, and rayon microfibers.

Microfleece - A soft, luxorous fabric with a velvety feel.

Microporous - A coating on a fabric that breathes through microscopic pores.

Modacrylic Fiber - A manufactured fiber similar to acrylic in characteristics and end-uses. Modacrylics have a higher resistance to chemicals and combustion than acrylic, but also have a lower safe ironing temperature and a higher specific gravity than acrylic.

Mohair - From the clipped angora goat. Some mohair fabric has a cotton warp and mohair filling (sometimes called brilliantine). Imitation mohair is made from wool or a blend.  The weave can be plain or twill or knitted.  The Angora goat is one of the oldest animals known to man. It is 2 1/2 times as strong as wool. Angora goats are raised in South Africa, Western Asia, turkey, and neighboring countries. Some are in the U.S.A. but give a fabric that is smooth, glossy, and wiry. The angora goat has long wavy hair. Mohair is also made in a pile fabric of cut and uncut loops similar to frieze with a cotton and wool back and mohair pattern.  It is similar to alpaca.

Moire - Silk, rayon, or cotton in a plain or crosswise rib weave.  It has a watermarked finish that is fairly stiff with body in most cases. It is produced by passing the fabric between engraved cylinders which press the design into the material, causing the crushed and uncrushed parts to reflect the light differently. The pattern is not permanent, except on acetate rayon.

Moisture Regain - The amount of water a completely dry fiber will absorb from the air at a standard condition of 70 degrees F and a relative humidity of 65%. Expressed as a % of the dry fiber weight.

Moisture Transport - The movement of water from one side of a fabric to the other, caused by capillary action, wicking, chemical or electrostatic action.

Monk's Cloth – Made from wool, cotton, linen, silk, rayon, or synthetics. In a basket weave.  Monk’s cloth is heavy due to its construction. It is difficult to sew or manipulate as the yarns have a tendency to slide, stretch and fray. It may sag in time depending on the compactness of the weave. It can also be made in other basket weaves. Monk’s cloth is rough in texture.

Monofilament - A single filament of a manufactured fiber, usually made in a denier higher than 14. Monofilaments are usually spun singularly, rather than extruded as a group of filaments through a spinneret and spun into a yarn. End-uses include hosiery and sewing thread.

Montagnac - This luxurious textile is soft and lustrous. It is mainly created with Cashmere or Camel hair.

Mousseline de Soie A silk muslin that is sheer, open, and lightweight. It is something like chiffon but with a crisp finish produced by sizing. It does not wear well and it does not launder. Used in evening wear, and bridal wear.

Muslin - Cotton sheeting fabric with thread count of less than 180 threads per square inch.

Nainsook A fine, lightweight cotton in a plain weave that is produced in the finishing processes from the same gray goods as used for batiste, cambric, lawn. Soft and has a slight luster in the better qualities (mercerization).  It is slightly heavier than batiste. Like lawn but not as crisp. Soft, lacks body. Usually found in white but also comes in pastel colors and some printed.  Often tucked or embroidered, in blouses, night wear, lingerie, and infant's wear.

Nano-fiber - Nano refers to 1 billionth of a meter, or 1 x 10-8 centimeter. 150,000 strands of a nano-fiber can fit across a human hair.

Nano-technology - Complex technology that involves nano-size materials and combines science such as biology, chemistry and physics and engineering.

Napped Fabrics - Cotton fabrics which have been dry finished by raising fibers on the surface to produce a fuzzy fur-like feel and appearance created when fiber ends extend from the basic fabric structure to the fabric surface. The fabric can be napped on either one or both sides. Cotton flannel is an example.

Natural Fibers - Materials that grow in nature such as cotton, flax, hemp, alpaca, wool and silk.  The processing natural fibers into organic clothing is done with as few chemicals and harmful impact on the environment as possible.

Natural Waist - A seam or waistband that secures or falls at the natural curve of the body, which is the indentation between the hips and the ribcage.

Net - An open fabric of silk, rayon, cotton, synthetics, or nylon, that is created by connecting the intersections in a woven, knitted, or crocheted construction to form a mesh-like appearance that won't ravel.  It is a knotted, mesh fabric made on a lace machine or gauze or leno weaves in a variety of geometric-shaped meshes of different sizes and weights. It is very open and light. It forms the foundation for a great variety of laces, curtains, millinery, fancy pillows, trims, evening and bridal wear.

Ninon - A lightweight, plain weave, made of silk or manufactured fibers, with an open mesh-like appearance. Since the fabric is made with high twist filament yarns, it has a crisp hand. End uses include eveningwear and curtains.

Nonwoven Fabric - Fabrics made directly from individual fibers that are matted together by forming an interlocking web of fibers either mechanically (tangling together) or chemically (gluing, bonding, or melting together).

Nylon - The first completely synthetic fiber developed in 1938. Known for its high strength and excellent resilience, nylon has superior abrasion resistance and high flexibility. Known for its high strength and excellent resilience, nylon has superior abrasion resistance and high flexibility.

Nytril - A manufactured fiber, most often used in sweaters or pile fabrics, where little or no pressing is recommended, as the fiber has a low softening or melting point. However, it has also been successfully used in blends with wool for the purpose of minimizing shrinkage and improving the shape retention in garments.

 

Off-The-Shoulder Neck - A neckline that lies gently hovering across the top of the bust-line with the shoulders uncovered or able to be seen through the sheer yoke of net or organza attached to a high collar.

Oilcloth - 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. In the past, oilcloth was used for waterproof garments.  Oilcloth is another historical fabric that has been replaced by synthetics and more modern fabrics.

Olefin (also known as polyolefin and polypropylene) - A manufactured fiber characterized by its light weight, high strength, and abrasion resistance. Olefin is also good at transporting moisture, creating a wicking action. End-uses include activewear apparel, rope, indoor-outdoor carpets, lawn furniture, and upholstery.

Ondule - The 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.

Organdy Plain cotton 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).  Organdy wrinkles badly unless given a wrinkle-free finish (bellmanizing). May be bleached, dyed, printed, frosted, flocked, embroidered, or plisse.

Organza - A crisp, sheer, lightweight plain-weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count, made of silk, rayon, nylon, or polyester. The fabric is used primarily in evening and wedding apparel for women.  It has a very wiry feel. It crushes or musses fairly easily, but it is easily pressed.  Organza is a dressy type of fabric that sometimes has a silvery sheen.

Osnaberg - A medium to heavyweight coarse fabric that is characterized by its strength and durability.  May or may not be treated with a finish. If it is finished, it is also know as Hopsacking or Crash.

Ottoman Originated in Turkey, this is a tightly woven, plain-weave, ribbed fabric with a hard, slightly shiny surface. The ribbed effect is created by weaving a finer silk or manufactured warp yarn with a heavier filler yarn, usually made of cotton, wool, rayon or waste yarn that is completely covered by the warp yarn, thus creating the ribbed effect.  It is characterized by horizontal ribs and is heavier in weight and with a larger rib than both faille and bengaline. It has 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. It 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.  Another type of Ottoman with heavy ribbing is also found in Satin Weave.  

Oxford Cotton, or sometimes rayon in a plain weave.  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 of oxford cotton are mercerized.  It is a rather heavy fabric that is usually all white but some has a spaced stripe in the warp direction. Oxford 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.  Well known for men's shirts, but is also used for summer jackets, shirts, skirts, dresses, and sportswear.