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Glossary of Garment Manufacturing & Construction Terms

(Courtesy of FabricLink and Fruit of the Loom)

For more information on fabrics, we recommend visiting FabricLink  http://www.fabriclink.com/

Allen Solley Placket
A one piece placket that is hidden after sewing. This process utilizes the existing fabric for the outside placket face.

Anti-pill
A treatment applied to fabric to resist pilling.

Backing Yarn
The yarn normally found on the inside of a fleece garment. Usually napped to create the soft lining of fleece.

Bar Tacked
A group of closely sewn stitches that reinforces the areas in garments that experience greater wear such as button holes, pockets, etc.

Basket Weave
A variation of the plain weave construction, formed by treating two or more warp yarns and/or two or more filling yarns as one unit in the weaving process. Yarns in a basket weave are laid into the woven construction flat, and maintain a parallel relationship. Both balanced and unbalanced basket weave fabrics can be produced. Examples of basket weave construction include monk cloth and oxford cloth.

Binding
A sewing method that encases an edge or seam with fabric.

Carding
A process which eliminates fibers too short for inclusion in the spun yarn. The process also removes dirt and foreign matter still remaining in the fiber mass, and arranges the fibers into a very thin layer.

Combing
The combing process is an additional step beyond carding. In this process the fibers are arranged in a highly parallel form, and additional short fibers are removed, producing high quality yarns with excellent strength, fineness, and uniformity.

Compaction
A process used to control fabric shrinkage by compressing fibers into a smaller area.

Contoured Collar
A sport shirt collar construction where the back portion of the collar is wider than the front tips.This construction helps cover the back neck seam.

Cotton
A unicellular, natural fiber that grows in the seed pod of the cotton plant. Fibers are typically 1/2 inch to 2 inches long. The longest staple fibers, longer than 1 1/2 inch, including the Pima and Egyptian varieties, produce the highest quality cotton fabrics.

Course
The horizontal row of loops in knit fabric.

CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act)
Government agency that monitors the safety of children's clothing.

Cut
The number of needles utilized per inch when knitting fabric.

Denier
A system of measuring the weight of a continuous filament fiber. In the United States, this measurement is used to number all manufactured fibers (both filament and staple), and silk, but excluding glass fiber. The lower the number, the finer the fiber; the higher the number, the heavier the fiber. Numerically, a denier is the equivalent to the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of continuous filament fiber.

Dobby Weave
A decorative weave, characterized by small figures, usually geometric, that are woven into the fabric structure. Dobbies may be of any weight or compactness, with yarns ranging from very fine to coarse and fluffy. Standard dobby fabrics are usually flat and relatively fine or sheer. However, some heavyweight dobby fabrics are available for home furnishings and for heavy apparel.

Double Knit
A weft knit fabric in which two layers of loops are formed that cannot be separated. A double knit machine, which has two complete sets of needles, is required for this construction.

Double Needle Hem
Hem with a double row of stitches.

Double Weave
A woven fabric construction made by interlacing two or more sets of warp yarns with two or more sets of filling yarns. The most common double weave fabrics are made using a total of either four or five sets of yarns.

Drop Tail
A decorative construction technique where the back portion of the garment is longer than the front.Assists in keeping the garment tucked in during activity.

Embroidery
An embellishment of a fabric or garment in which coloured threads are sewn on to the fabric to create a design. Embroidery may be done either by hand or machine.

Face Yarn
The yarn normally found on the outside of a fleece garment.

Facing
A piece of fabric that is sewn to the collar, front opening, cuffs, or arms eye of a garment to create a finished look.

Fiber
The basic entity, either natural or manufactured, which is twisted into yarns, and then used in the production of a fabric.

Fleece
A thick, multi-yarn fabric characterized by a smooth outer surface and a napped inner surface.

Gauge
A measurement most commonly associated with knitting equipment. It can mean the number of needles per inch in a knitting machine. However, in full fashioned hosiery and sweater machines, the number of needles per 1-1/2 inches represents the gauge.

Grams per Square Meter
A fabric weight measurement. Estimated by multiplying ounces per square yard by 34.

Hand
The way the fabric feels when it is touched. Terms like softness, crispness, dryness, silkiness are all terms that describe the hand of the fabric.

Hank (Cotton)
A length of measurement equaling 840 yards.

Heather
A yarn that is spun using pre-dyed fibers. These fibers are blended together to give a particular look. (For example, black and white may be blended together to create a grey heathered yarn.) The term, heather, may also be used to describe the fabric made from heathered yarns.

Herringbone
A variation on the twill weave construction, in which the twill is reversed, or broken, at regular intervals, producing a zig-zag effect.

Houndstooth Check
A variation on the twill weave construction in which a broken check effect is produced by a variation in the pattern of interlacing yarns, utilizing at least two different colored yarns.

Inset/Set-In Placket
A placket that is constructed from a separate piece of fabric and sewn in seperately. This placket is visible after it is sewn into the garment.

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.

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.

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.

Loftex
An enhanced open-end spinning process which creates a bulkier, softer yarn.

Melange
Different coloured yarns knitted together to form a heathered look.

Mercerization
Mercerization is a fabric treatment process, through which the fabric or yarn is immersed in a caustic soda solution and later neutralized in acid. This 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.

Nap
A fuzzy, fur-like feel 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.

Open-End Spinning
A yarn spinning technique which uses a combing roll and rotor to create the yarn.

Optical Brightner
A fabric brightening additive.

Ounces per Square Yard
A fabric weight measurement.

Oxford
A fine, soft, lightweight woven cotton or blended with manufactured fibers in a 2 x 1 basket weave variation of the plain weave construction. The fabric is used primarily in shirtings.

Pilling
When fibers collect around an exposed point. This is fiction induced and characterized by small lint balls on the surface of a garment.

Piqué
A medium-weight fabric, either knit or woven, with raised dobby designs including cords, wales, waffles, or patterns. Woven versions have cords running lengthwise, or in the warp direction. Knitted versions are double-knit fabric constructions, created on multi-feed circular knitting machines.

Plain Weave
A basic weave, utilizing a simple alternate interlacing of warp and filling yarns. Any type of yarn made from any type of fiber can be manufactured into a plain weave fabric.

Polyester
A manufactured fiber introduced in the early 1950s, and is second only to cotton in worldwide use. Polyester has high strength (although somewhat lower than nylon), excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fiber to dry quickly.

Raglan Sleeves
The sleeve seam sewn from the armpit to the neck (in a diagonal direction).

Reactive Dyes
Dyestuffs that form chemical bonds with cotton fibers.

Reinforced Pocket
An additional fabric taping applied to the interior seam of a pocket for strength and durability.

Rib Knit
A basic stitch used in weft knitting in which the knitting machines require two sets of needles operating at right angles to each other. Rib knits have a very high degree of elasticity in the crosswise direction. This knitted fabric is used for complete garments and for such specialized uses as sleeve bands, neck bands, sweater waistbands, and special types of trims for use with other knit or woven fabrics. Lightweight sweaters in rib knits provide a close, body-hugging fit.

Ring Spinning
A yarn spinning technique which stretches the yarn between rollers.

Seamless Collar
A collar that is knit in a circle and set circular. The are no "joining" seams on the collar.

Self Trim
Trim made from the same fabrics as in the body of the garment.

Single Needle
Single row of stitching at seam, see "Top Stitching".

Singles
One yarn.

Spandex Fiber
A manufactured elastomeric fiber that can be repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking, and will still recover to its original length.

Spun Yarn
A yarn made by taking a group of short staple fibers, which have been cut from the longer continuous filament fibers, and then twisting these short staple fibers together to form a single yarn, which is then used for weaving or knitting fabrics.

Taping
A decorative sewing technique where seams are covered by a piece of fabric.

Terry Cloth
A typical uncut pile weave fabric. This fabric is formed by using two sets of warp yarns. One set of warp yarns is under very little tension; when the filling yarns are packed into place, these loose yarns are pushed backward along with the filling yarns, and loops are formed. Typical uses include towels, robes, and apparel.

Three-End Fleece
A fleece fabric constructed from three separate yarns: face, tie-in and backing.

Tie-In Yarn
The yarn normally found joining the face and backing yarns in fleece garments.

Top Stitching
A decorative sewing technique where a seam is folded under and sewn down away from the original sewing line.

Tubular Knit
Cloth manufactured in a circular form.

Tunnel Draw Cord
A draw cord formed without breakpoints. Assists in keeping the cord attached to the garment.

Twill
Fabric that features diagonal ridges. Common twills include khakis, chinos and denims.

Wale
The vertical column of loops in knit fabric.

Warp
In woven fabric, the yarns that run lengthwise and is interwoven with the fill (weft) yarns.

Weft
In woven fabric, the filling yarns that run perpendicular to the warp yarns.

Welt
A fabric characterized with a sharp, crisp edge normally found on sport shirt collar and cuffs.

Woven Fabric
Fabrics composed of two sets of yarns. One set of yarns, the warp, runs along the length of the fabric. The other set of yarns, the fill or weft, is perpendicular to the warp. Woven fabrics are held together by weaving the warp and the fill yarns over and under each other.

Yarn Size
A gauge of the weight of yarns. The higher the number the lighter the yarn, i.e. an 18/1 is heavier than a 20/1.