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Fabric Glossary | Definitions | A - C

Welcome to Muldoon's Men's Wear fabric glossary, where we have made a lengthy list of different fabrics with an explanation as to what they are.  If you found a fabric or term on our website that you are unsure of, chances are it has ended up here.  However, if you don't see the fabric definition you are looking for, you can contact us during normal business hours and we will gladly help explain what certain fabrics are.  This list is alphabetical to make finding the fabric you want much quicker.
 
A

Acetate

Acetate is made from pulverized wool pulp or waste cotton reconstitutes as an extruded fabric. Acetate is used in everything from coat linings to slack, either straight or as a blend.

 
Acrylic

Acrylic is a generic term for important, big volume synthetic fiber. It is made from chemicals that are capable of forming fibers.

 
Alpaca

From the llama family, alpaca can only be found in the Andes mountain range. The hair is five to ten inches longer and stronger than wool.

 
Angora

A very long curly fleece from an ancient breed of goats originally from the province of Angora, Turkey. When woven, angora is called "mohair" and classified as a wool fiber.

 
Argyle

From the district of Argyll, Scotland, this popular knit design consists of diamond shapes usually alternating in three colors.

 
B
Backed Fabric

Cloth that has been woven an extra set of yarns in either warp or filling but not both. Fairly inexpensive construction used in coats, suits, vests and trousers.

 
Bale
Standard bulk package for shipping fibers, a bale of cotton averages 567 pounds, a bale of silk only 132 pounds.
 
Balmacaan
Called "Bal" for short, a design term for the classic raglan-sleeve and top coat design from Balmacaan, Scotland.
 
Balmoral
Term used for heavy, striped woolen
 
Barathea
A broken rib weave with an interesting pebbly surface currently enjoying a revival as a quality slack fabric.
 
Barleycorn
A heavy home-spun fabric with a bold texture. In woolens and blends for suits and slacks.
 
Basket Weave
Variation on the basic plain weave. The basket weave uses two or more yarns going both ways, instead of one yarn as a plain weave. Oxford shirting is a good example.
 
Bedford Cord
A sturdy wool or cotton fabric with a raised rib that runs up and down length of cloth. Very durable.
 
Bemberg
Registered trademark owned by Beaunit for cuprammonium rayon yarns produced in regular or special novelty texture from. Used primarily for coat linings.
 
Bangaline
A fine rib effect in worsted blend fabrics for slacks and suits. Durable and decorative with interesting texture Originally from Bengal, India.
 
Blanket
Preliminary woven sample used by fabrication stylists to show new combinations of pattern and color
 
Bleaching
Unfinished cloth straight off the loom is a light cream color. This natural color must be removed chemically - bleached.
 
Bleeding
When dye comes out in the wash, it is called "bleeding".
 
Bonding
Building a non-woven fabric by pressing fibers together into sheets with an adhesive.
 
Botany
Interchangeable with the word "merino" in describing the finest Australian wools. The name comes from Botany Bay, Australia.
 
Box Loom
Mechanical loom with a movement that allows several shuttles to work. Used to weave cloth requiring more than one kind of filling yarn.
 
Broadcloth
A high-grade dense woolen woven of the best quality wool in a twill rib weave and glossy finish. Usually mercerized and sanforized.
 
Brushed
Produced by knitting with loosely spun yarn or by putting fabric through a machine with steel brushes. This effect results in a fuzzy surface knitted or woven fabric.
 
Burling
After weaving and prior to finishing, any lumps (burls), knots, or loose threads are removed by hand.
 
C
Calendaring
Finish process that removes wrinkles and gives cloth a smooth look. Fabric is run through heated rollers.
 
Camel Hair
Fine wool-like coat of the two humped Bactrian camel. Fleece is collected as it falls off in clumps in Spring. Camel hair coats are especially warm, soft and light-weight.
 
Carbonizing
Mechanical process for getting rid of burrs, seeds, twigs, etc..., from raw wool and fabric
 
Carding
Process of cleaning, untangling, and strengthening fiber.
 
Cashmere
Very fine, soft wool (about 90's quality) from the overcoat of the long hair Kashmir goat of the High Himalaya county.
 
Chalk Stripe
White stripes with resemble chalk lines usually done on a dark garment.
 
Cavalry Twill
A tough, hard finish worsted with a steep diagonal rib design. Used by the army and adopted by civilians who needed a sturdy fabric.
 
Challis
A soft, light-weight worsted currently popular as tie fabric. Originated in England in the 1830's.
 
Chambray
A cotton that looks like a denim but is a light-weight. Plain weave fabric with colored warp and undyed fillings. The famous blue working man's shirt is Chambray.
 
Cheviot
Cheviot is a rough woolen of the tweed family. Originates for the Cheviot sheep from the Cheviot hills between England and Scotland.
 
Chevron
Clear-finish worsted or blend with a wide inverted "V" twill that is reminiscent of a sergeant's insignia stripes.
 
Chino
Cotton twill used first (U.S. Army) for uniforms. Now used in casual slacks.
 
Chintz
Glazed cotton fabric often printed with figuratives and large flower designs name from the Hindu word meaning "sport".
 
Clear Finish
Fabric surface in which the weave pattern has no nap or fuzz to hide the weave. Very common in worsted suitings.
 
Combing
Next step after carding. Combing consists of running steel comb devices through fibers to straighten them and separate out the shorter fibers. Done only to higher grades of cotton and wool.
 
Corduroy
Soft-fibers gathered from the seed pod of the cotton plant. This is man's oldest cloth-making material first used by people of India and Egypt 3,000 years ago.
 
Crepe
A variety of light-weight fabrics characterized by a greasy surface obtained via use of hard twist yarns, chemical treatments, weave or some form of embossing or surface treatments.
 
Crimp
The accordion fold of natural fabrics that makes it easier to spin these fibers into yarn. Gives yarn its bulk and elasticity. Synthetic fibers must be given an artificial crimp to establish stretchability.
 
Crocking
When dye from suit fabric smudges off on your shirt, that is a crock. Caused from improper dyes.
 
Crofting
The ancient method of widening linen.  After being soaked in an alkaline solution, the linens are separated on the grass over the sun.
 
Curing
Resins or other chemicals added to fabrics to make them wrinkle resistant or to establish permanent press.