Textile Glossary

The ABC of Quality

"You don't need to know everything. You just need to know where to find it."

The world of textiles is full of technical and quality-related jargon, complicated processing methods and production types. To help you come to terms with the different product and quality terms, we have put together a summary of the most important terms from the textile industry. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask for assistance. We are here to help!

B

Barley Corn

Fabric with good, coarse structure. Based on plain weaves in that the thread floats cross over each other several times in weft and warp. It is easy to recognise: look for its typical weave structure of 2 warp and 2 weft threads making a cross float giving the material its grain. This weave is principally used for cotton towels, linen and half linen. Barley corn fabrics are very absorbent. Their "scarred" surface structure makes them well-suited as towelling.

Batiste

Fine to extremely fine thread, plain weave basic fabric made of cotton, linen or half-linen. Today, it is often used for fine, chemical fibre weaves (cellulose and synthetic fibres) and mixed weaves. Batiste is available untreated, bleached, dyed and printed. Batiste woven with coloured threads is known as zephyr. Batiste fabrics woven from Egyptian mako cotton are referred to as mako batiste. Linen batiste is produced using fine hackled linen. Batiste bed linen is particularly light and soft.

Bleaching

Bleaching is used to give products (e.g. white products) a pure white appearance. It is also used for light pastel colour products. Bleaches are used to remove the natural pigment or dye (either wholly or partially).

Bone Lace

Bone lace is handmade or imitated (convincingly well) by machines. Bone lace by winding and intercrossing thick threads in a pattern.

Brocade Damask

Originally silk weaves with gold and silver threads sewn woven throughout, today this term refers to particularly thin fibre, densely woven mako damasks and high-quality colourful damasks. Brocade damask is produced using cotton sourced from the finest origins. The yarns are combed, the weave is mercerised and has a particularly high thread count. When used for bed linen, a jacquard weave is used. Mako brocade damask is one of the most valuable and sought-after bedding and tableware fabrics.

Broderie Anglaise

This type of embroidery uses hole-motifs to create the desired pattern effect. First, a crude base cloth (predominantly batiste) is inserted into a large knitting machine. The hole contours are then stitched with crude twine, bored with drills, and subsequently embroidered/bordered with a firm stitch (satin stitch). The stitched perimeter becomes clean and smooth only after gassing (the burning off of small, protruding fibres). Finally, the fabric is bleached or coloured, but sometimes also printed.

Burnt Pattern

Term for textiles with transparent, dot-like see-through spot effects made of two or more types of fibres that react differently to chemicals (e.g. polyester/viscose or polyamide/cotton). The pattern is achieved by chemically destroying one of the fibre types by applying a corrosive liquid to where the pattern is to be seen, or alternatively, by applying protective chemicals where the pattern is to be seen and then treating the entire textile with corrosive chemicals. 

C

Calendering

The process of pressing woven or knitted fabrics to make them smoother, shinier, denser or more flexible. This is done mechanically using a calendering machine in which the material passes through two or more rollers under high pressure, one of which is heated.

Calmuc

Heavy, double weft cotton fabric with twisted weft materials. Roughed on both sides, making the weave invisible. Calmuc is often used as bed, table and ironing board covers.

Chenille

is a satin-like fabric, the weft threads of which are made of a special kind of yarn (chenille yarn). Woven chenille starts as linen cloth or gauze weave which is then cut in warp direction. These strips of fabric sport caterpillar-like loops (hence the name: chenille is French for caterpillar) which become the weft of the gauze weave product. Chenille weaves are very voluminous and are soft to the touch. In patterned products, the patterns and colour effects on the top and bottom are the same. Woven chenille is often used as a finishing touch on towels and cloths. Chenille products are expensive because of the high costs involved with the production of chenille yarn.

Cladding

Term for a production technique for knitted fabrics, where two threads of different type or colour are processed so that one (the cladding thread) appears on the right side of every stitch. Cladding allows improved quality (different textile fabric) and patterns. Single-Jersey, cladded (quality used for fitted sheets)

Coating

This refers to the method of applying a "coating" agent (e.g. plastics such as PVC, polyurethane etc) onto a textile (woven, knitted fabrics etc). PVC coatings can be washed and ironed (indirectly through the other side of the fabric) at up to 30° C. They are not dry-cleaning proof.

Colour (Woven) Fabrics

Fabrics which are given their colour and pattern alternating using coloured weft or warp threads.

Colour Fastness

This term relates to dyes' and colours' resistance to washing, chemical cleaning, light, weather, etc.. Different dyes can be used to adjust the fabric's colourfast to ensure that it meets any applicable requirements.

Course Knit Fabric

Consist of a single thread which runs across the fabric and is knitted into a mesh using needles. The fabric can be unravelled and may start to come undone with drop stitches if the thread is broken.

Crêpe

Collective term for fabrics with an twisted yarns, weaves or special additions with an irregular, grainy surface. The following terms may be used based on the manner of production: Crêpe (real crêpe) = crêpe yarns in weft and/or warp; Woven crêpe = smooth yarns, crêpe effect given through weaving Gaufré crêpe = embossed Steeped crêpe = crêpe prepared by steeping in caustic soda. In practice, in Germany, the word "Krepp" is often used to refer to "fake" crêpe weaves that get their crêpe-like characteristics through the binding or through some other kind of treatment.

Cretonne

Smooth, plain weave made out of thick to medium-fine cotton yarns (coarser than renforcé). Available untreated, bleached, dyed and printed. Cretonne can withstand high wash and ironing temperatures.

Cutting – Shearing – Combing

The additional thread system intended for the pile in materials such as terry velours, velveteen velour, etc. is cut open. The length of the pile is made level by clipping once or multiple times. Combing raises the pile and removes the yarn loosened by clipping.

D

Damask

High quality, usually floral or ornamental patterned satin weave base. The term "damask" was originally a purely technical word (multiple fibre, contoured fabrics). Today, it is often used to refer to jacquard patterned damask-look fabrics. Due to the use of alternating between warp and weft floats and the resulting reflective effects, a contrasting pattern that clearly stands out from the backing emerges. Large repeats (e.g. large-format images and patterns) can be achieved when large jacquard machines are used. Special processes (calendering) can be used to intensify the silky shine. Multi-thread, contoured and zigzagged pattern contours are characteristic of real damask. In contrast, "fake" damask (or half damask) used on bedding and tableware textiles only has single thread contours and smooth pattern edges. When it comes to bed linen, a number of terms have emerged to indicate the different products.

Imitation Damassé
Single warp and weft weave which only bears a visual similarity to real damassé due to its rich patterning. These products are widely distributed under the name "damassé".

Damassé

Collective term for richly-patterned jacquard fabrics, mostly made from silk or rayon inspired by real damasks. Real damassé weaves are double weft weaves. The patterns are considerably raised above the weft satin base. Just like with real damask, the edge of the patterns is zigzag shaped. In order to achieve weft floats in addition to the base warp satin effect, tringles are used in addition to the jacquard machine.

Dobby Weaving

is a technique using dobby machine-controlled shafts. As opposed to jacquard weaving (single lift), multiple warp threads are raised and lowered together by a shaft to form the shed. This manufacturing technique is usually used for small designs in the weave (e.g., faconné).

Double Piqué

Weave with top and bottom warp. Both surfaces are "outside" surfaces. The fabric is similar to hollow double cloth. The base warps and the base wefts form a plain weave The filling wefts lie loose in the hollow of the fabric, filling it up. The binding threads (e.g. binding warps, binding weft or alternations) hold the layers of fabric together, creating a raised pattern on both sides of the fabric.

Dyeing

There are three main types of dyeing: - Yarn dyeing, garment dyeing, printing. Depending on the type of thread being used, different dyeing or printing methods may be required. Where using blended fabrics, it may be necessary to dye the fabric twice. Multicoloured textiles are either yarn-dyed and woven in the colours, or printed. Yarn dyeing is relatively expensive, but guarantees a certain level of colour fastness from the outset. Single colour textiles are usually garment dyed, with some exceptions, including bedding damasks. Depending on the colour fastness, some home textiles may withstand washing temperatures of up to 60°C or 95°C.

E

Easy to Clean

There is no consistent, internationally recognised definition for this term. Used today in the Federal Republic of Germany as the general name for finishing processes which make textiles easy to clean. This is understood to mean that they can be fairly easily washed, dried quickly with little creasing, and require either very little or no ironing. In a broader sense, the term 'easy to clean' also includes, for example, the easy removal of stains (stain and dirt-resistant finishing). See also 'Scotchgard' and 'Teflon'.

Embroidery

Fabrics where embroidery threads are passed by hand or machine through an embroidery base, for example, cloth or knitted fabric. Certain techniques allow the embroidery base to be subsequently fully or partially removed.

Embroidery Base Material

Collective term for all materials to be decorated through embroidery.

F

Fabric

Descriptions of how fine yarns and twines are. The conventional measure of fineness Nm (‘number metric’) is gradually being replaced by the tex system. The Nm system uses numbering according to length, calculated by dividing length in metres by weight in grams. Nm = length m / weight g. Fifty metres of a yarn with an Nm of 50 weighs 1 gram, 100 metres of a yarn with an Nm of 100 also weighing 1 gram. The higher the Nm, the finer the yarn. The metric twine number is written after the yarn number, separated from it by a slash, e.g., 70/2. This represents two yarns twisted together with a fineness of Nm 70. As the slash stands for division, the twine Nm 70/2 actually corresponds to 70 : 2 = Nm 35 (without taking into consideration the length lost as a result of twisting the yarns). The tex system is an international numbering system using weight to describe the fineness of textile fibres, intermediate goods, yarns, twines and related products. It is to replace the more than 30 systems currently in use. The unit 1 tex = 1g : 1000m (1000m weigh 1 g). Twenty tex means that 1000m of yarn weighs 20g, and 10 tex therefore that 1000m weighs 10g. The smaller the number, the finer the yarn. The unit dtex is also used. This corresponds to ten times the tex value. For twine fineness, the slash is replaced by a multiplication sign (x). 20 tex x 2 denotes two threads twisted together, each with a tex value of 20, giving 40 tex (without taking into consideration the length lost as a result of twisting). Ne = Number English This unit of measurement is mentioned only in connection with the 'inch' measurements.

Faconné

This term describes fabrics (often fashionable materials) featuring small weave patterns produced by the shaft. Other relevant terms include: rayé -striped long ways or diagonally; quadrillé -chequered.

Finishing

A large number of processes are required to give the unfinished goods (in their post-loom/knitting machine state) the appearance and usage/cleaning properties requested by the consumer. Textile refining or finishing refers to all chemical or physical processes used to make the raw materials ready for use. The processes applied depend on the intended use.

Flammé

Flammé fabrics are inspired by the appearance of linen. The rough surface structure is a result of the use of "effect yarns" with irregular thicknesses (mottled/flammé/slub yarn, two-ply flammé yarn).

Flannel

This term refers to all linen or twill weave fabrics which are roughed on one or both sides. Flannel is known for its short, clear pile and soft feel. The weave is very tight, leaving the weave pattern visible. Very light flannel bed linen is often marketed under the invented name "fine flannel". Finette: Twill weave roughed on both sides. Used in shirts, linen etc..

For fabrics: Weave-related term for a yarn path of unwoven warps on wefts or wefts on warps.

Flannelette

Twill weave (although, occasionally also a plain weave) cotton weave with voluminous weft yarn (mule-spun yarn). The weave is so strongly roughed on both sides that it creates a fluffy, thick fibre cloth (rough pile). Flannelette materials are available bleached, dyed and printed as bed sheets (bed sheet flannelette) and as bed linen accessories.

Float Plush

A knitted fabric which is produced using a circular loom or circular knitting machine. It is known for its long, even thread loops on the one side (plush floats) which are connected to the basic knit. The loop pattern is visible on the other side. The fabric is elastic.   

Frotté Crêpe

(Bed linen) Invented term for a material with the appearance and feel of a frotté or crêpe fabric. The rough surface structure of this 1/1 weave fabric is achieved using frotté yarn. Warp = alternating frotté yarn; weft = frotté yarn. This type of fabric does not crease and only needs light ironing occasionally.

Frottee

Unlike terry fabrics, this material is woven on normal looms. The term "frottee" is reserved for specific effect-yarn based fabrics. The weft consists of thick, loop-forming, plastic-like frotté yarn. The result: a rough, curled and uneven fabric surface.

Fruette

Twill weave roughed on both sides. Used in shirts, linen etc..

Fulled Terry

The loop chain of this terry fabric is made from simple (untwined) yarns. In addition, an especially soft and fluffy feel is achieved by fulling (a treatment involving moistening and boiling the cloth). Characteristic: high absorbency. Fulled terry is easily recognisable from its irregularly laid loops which do not stand upright.

G

German: Krepp

see Crêpe

Gmind Cotton

Brand name for a single-coloured, cotton plain weave from twisted yarns. The different quality types are categorised according to the yarn thickness: fine, medium fine and coarse. Its coarse structure makes it similar to linen or a fabric that used to be known as "Gmind Half Linen".

H

Handmade Materials

Fabrics marketed under the name "needlework fabrics" are plain weave fabrics that have a clear weave pattern, making them easy to use for needlework.

House Cloth

Very durable, thick threaded, densely woven, cotton fabric, in plain weave.

I

Inlet

Inlet is a 2/1 warp twill cotton weave. The weft yarn which is somewhat softer goes through under two warp threads and over the third. The smoother and harder warp threads determine the fabric's surface appearance. The softer weft threads, two thirds of which are on the inside of the product provide a cushioning effect, especially when the product contains feathers or down. This also increases the fabric's density.

Interlock

Fine, elastic knitted fabric or double-surfaced fabric (right-right cross). That means: interlock is a combination of two 1/1 rib knitted fabrics Both sides of the fabric look similar and only show outside stitches. The fabric is smooth and does not appear ribbed.

J

Jacquard Fabrics

Large, variation-rich weave patterns of the kind seen in damask bed linen and table linen. This style of fabric owes its name to its inventor, a Frenchman named J. M. Jacquard (1752-1834) who invented a control for weaving looms which employed punched cards to raise or lower individual warp threads during the weaving process. This made it possible to create fabrics with large, complicated woven patterns. Jacquard weaving is usually only used when nature of the product will guarantee that the costly process will pay off.

K

Knitted Fabrics

Consist of a single thread which runs across the fabric and is knitted into a mesh using needles. The fabric can be unravelled and may start to come undone with drop stitches if the thread is broken.

Knitted Fabrics

are fabrics which are produced from one or more threads or one or more thread systems by means of thread interlacing. Knitted fabrics are more pliable and elastic than cloth and exhibit a high stretch range in all directions. They are materials which are stable along the one or the other axis, however, can be made with the appropriate weaves.

Knitted Terry

Single or double-sided terry goods (warp-knitted goods) manufactured on a warp-knitting machine. The pile loops are firmly anchored in the base of the fabric (mostly made from polyamide). In the case of double-sided goods, the centre of the loops (with larger loops) is always on one side of the fabric. Patterns are can be made by printing, burning, or by the use of colourful warp material. For terry bedding, 75% cotton and 25% polyamide is frequently used. As a result of the amount of synthetic material used in the base fabric, these goods keep their form after undergoing a fixing process. Knitted terry goods have fixed loops and are used (dimensionally stable or elastic) for terry bedding, bathroom textiles, as well as bathing and leisure wear.

Knitted Terry-Velour

is knitted terry ware which has been cut open/shorn.

L

Lace

Term for transparent surfaces, whose threads join (in various ways depending on the technique used) to form an open-textured, net-like base or multiple patterns in such as way as to render the links unable to be shifted. The basic distinction to be made when dealing with lace is between hand-worked laces (also called ‘real laces’) and the mechanically manufactured knitted laces, which often look deceptively similar to real laces. The bases and patterns of machine-made laces exhibit particularly high regularity. All laces can be manufactured, corresponding to their layout, on bobbinet machines, lace machines, embroidery machines, or raschel machines.

Lancé

This term refers to fabrics which are given a pattern by incorporating a second warp and/or weft system. This is visible in stripes throughout the fabric when the pattern itself is not a striped pattern. We differentiate between: Weft lancé = additional weft to add a pattern Warp lancé = special warp to add a pattern Chequered lancé= additional patterned weft and warp. The decorative threads which form the pattern on the top of the fabric and which are not needed on the bottom of the fabric float on the back between the binding points (where the patterns are) across the entire length/width of the fabric, or may be bound at points. If these "floating threads" are cut off, the fabric is called "lancé découpé" or "imitation broché" (or, in Switzerland: "scherli"). This can prevent free threads from being easily pulled out and also means that they will not be visible through the fabric in thin/transparent textiles. It also makes the fabric lighter. How to recognise it: lancé découpé is often confused with bronché, however it can easily be told apart from it due to the open-ended threads at the edge of the pattern.

Lawn

Smooth, plain weave cotton fabric. Differs from cretonne and renforcé in its shiny surface (an effect produced by calendering) and the non-wash-proof dressing.

Linen

Blended yarns produced using special spinning methods (e.g., polyester and flax).

Linen and Half-Linen

Materials woven mostly in plain weave, with the typical yarn irregularities of flax.

Linen Imitations

Common name in the trade for fabrics (e.g., cotton or spun rayon fabrics) where the linen texture (visual appearance of the fabric) is imitated by means of the thread structure (irregular yarn thickenings) and/or by the chosen weave.

M

Mako Damask

This warp-weft fabric is woven from high quality Egyptian and Sudanese cotton. The fabric is mercerised and has particularly thick threads.

Mattress Ticking

Strong linen, half-linen or cotton fabric for mattress covers in drill (also herringbone), twill or satin weave. Jacquard patterned mattress materials are known in the trade as mattress drill-jacquard or jacquard drill.

Mercerisation

Finishing process (treatment with voltage-induced lye), where cloth or yarn made from cotton is made firmer and more conducive to dying, and is given a satin-like and boil-proof shine resistant to cleaning.

Miner's Cloth

A towel fabric with a chessboard-like light/dark chequered pattern (often white/blue) made of cotton, linen or half-linen. The chequered effect is achieved through pattern alternation (warp and weft twill) and using different coloured yarns (light warp, dark weft). Due to its durability, miner's cloth is often used for kitchen towels.

Molton

Soft, plain woven cotton fabric – napped on both sides, of medium to heavy quality. Often produced with double weft techniques (over and under weft). Molton is used for fitted sheets, mattress protection, table mats, cotton blankets for children, etc.

N

Napping

Roughing of materials to create a fleecy, soft touch. Raised fabrics, for example, flannel, molleton, flannelette, etc., are passed through a napping machine once or multiple times. In doing so, fibre ends are transferred to the surface of the material. Raised fabrics, napped on either one or both sides, are more pliant, absorbent, and better at retaining warmth than smooth fabrics due to their increased ability to trap air.

Nicky-Velour / Velveteen Velour

Common name in the trade for shorn/cut plush (also knitted velour or knitted velvet). Nicky-velour is cut-loop plush. The raw fabric undergoes a shearing process when being finished, during which the loops are cut open or shorn off to produce a velvet-like surface.

P

Pattern Repeat

In weaving, the term for the total number of woven threads until the weave is repeated (weave repeat). This determines the warp and weft direction, joined together in an uninterrupted sequence, and thus overall image of the weave.

Percale

The description here refers to high-grade bedding. Finely threaded, tightly woven goods made from cotton, using plain weave. Thanks to its fineness and thickness, percale is especially suited for use as a basis for softly-coloured printed designs with fine drawings.

Pick/Density

This refers to how closed a weave is and indicates how many threads there are in a particular area (e.g. cm²) in the weft or warp. This number can be indicated using two numbers separated by a slash e.g. 28/23, where the first number indicates the warp count and the second the weft count.

Plain Weave

The plain weave uses the simplest and also the tightest interlacing of warp and weft threads. Every warp thread lies once above and once below the individual weft threads in an alternating fashion. Plain Weave L 1:1.

Print

One of the most important design processes for household textiles. Today, printing is an almost exclusively machine-based process. The most widely used printing methods are: - Roller printing - screen printing - hot transfer printing. Printed textiles should generally not be washed at temperatures higher than 60°C.

R

Raschel Lace

Warp-knitted lace manufactured using a raschel machine (warp-knit machine). Raschel laces are an imitation of woven lace.

Renforcé

Smooth cotton quality of medium fineness in plain weave. More finely threaded and therefore of higher grade than cretonne. Available untreated, bleached, dyed and printed.

S

Sanfor

"Sanfor" – protected trademark for fabrics finished using a special treatment to be shrink-proof, and inspected in accordance with the standard regulations of the licensor. The Sanfor Standard of +/- 1% means that fabrics with the Sanfor label may not shrink or stretch more than 1% in length or width when washed. The name 'Sanfor' or 'Sanfor Standard' refers to only the fabric, not the process itself. This is referred to as controlled, compressive shrinking (Cluett System), a purely mechanical process (compressing) using special machines.

Satin Downproof

Downproof satin is a weft-satin (atlas/satin weave), where the weft thread passes over four warp threads and under the fifth. As a result of the open weave, the fabric must be structured in such as way that even more weft and warp threads are used per cm² than with inlet and cambric.

Satin Stripe-Dot-Cube

Fabric patterned by warp and weft satin weaves stuck together.

Satin Weave

Unlike twill weave, satin weave leaves a smooth, closed and seemingly structure-less surface. The binding points are equally spread out and do not have any side-on or corner contact. The smallest repeat for satin weave is 5 warp/5 weft. Like twill weave, the term satin weave is usually based on which thread system (warp or weft) is (predominantly) to be seen on the upper side of the fabric. If there is only one warp thread raised per weft in each weave repeat, the product is known as weft satin. If only one warp thread is lowered, the product is known as warp satin. Weft satin is usually woven with a high weft ratio. Satin weave A 1:4 (3) (weft satin) Satin weave A 4:1 (2) warp satin

Satin/Atlas

(see also 'Atlas Weave') 'Satin' is the French term for atlas. Characteristic for satin is the smooth, closed mesh surface with a matt to strong shine. Warp and weft atlas, or warp and weft satin, differ in that warp satin has more warp threads on the right side of the fabric, whereas weft satin has more weft threads. Atlas/satin fabrics always have thread floats of more than four threads at the very least. Each side of the fabric will always exhibit a different structure pattern from the other. In practice, mostly light, finely threaded fabrics in satin weave are termed 'satin', whereas strong, heavy fabrics are called 'atlas'.

Satining

A shiny finish (calender effect) without mercerisation, especially for bed wear in satin weave. The shine is generally not wash-proof.

Scotchgard

Protected term for a stain-resistant fluorine-based finish. Materials finished with Scotchgard (oleophol) exhibit oil, grease and water repellant properties. Oils, fats, milk, cream, sauces, coffee, fruit juices, alcohol, ink and similar stains are generally able to be removed by dabbing the material with an absorbent cloth or paper towel.

Seersucker

Material with crêpe-like crinkles which run in stripes. There are two different manufacturing methods:

1. During weaving, threads of differing yarn tension are used, or threads which, due to their differing structures, shrink to differing extents when being washed as part of the finishing process. This produces the typical crêpe-effect.

2. A lye is applied to the fabric during the printing or finishing process. This can also produce the desired crêpe-effect.

Shrinking

This is a process by which textiles are "pre-shrunk" to ensure that they do not shrink later (shrinking treatment). Products which have been pre-shrunk and, in accordance with the relevant guidelines or in line with their intended purpose, will not shrink when wet, or will only do so to a limited extent, are known as “shrink proof” (see, also Sanfor).

Singeing

The burning off of protruding fibre ends, with the aim of creating a smooth yarn or a particularly smooth surface. As a result, the finished product is more beautiful in appearance and not as easily soiled.

Single Jersey

Term for fine, smooth knitted fabric or single-surfaced weft knitted fabric. It is produced on machines with a row of needles. The other common name for single jersey, ‘knit-purl-wear’, is particularly accurate, as one side of the fabric shows only knit stitches, and the other only purl stitches.

Single-Weft Damassé

Single warp and weft weave which only bears a visual similarity to real damassé due to its rich patterning. These products are widely distributed under the name "damassé".

Stretch

Refers to particularly elastic materials (due to the weave or knit). This elasticity is achieved in a variety of ways, for example, with the use of textured yarns, elastomeric threads or finishing processes. The construction of the particular fabric plays an important role here.

T

Terry

Terry fabrics are produced using special terry weaving machines (employing shaft or jacquard techniques). The fabric contains 3 thread systems: a taut base warp, a loose pile warp (pile, loop or terry warp) and the weft. Depending on the quality of the product, the weft groups (3 or 4 wefts) can be set at a suitable distance for the length of the loops. The weft group takes the pile warp, creating loops, alternating on the top and bottom. When the tops of the loops are cut off, the product is a terry velour weave.

Terry Velours

Name for thick terry weaves with loops with the tops cut off. Products which are tumbled and cut to produce a plush, satin-like surface with loops on the back.
A few tips on how to easily tell these products apart:

Frottee: fabric made on a normal loom:

  • The frotté yarn used on the weft gives it a looped surface 
  • Loops cannot be pulled out 


Terry Fabric:
Fabric woven on a terry weaving machine:

  • Loops formed from pile warp
  • Loops can be pulled out in warp direction.
Textile Fibres

All materials start with fibres. Fibres form the basis for the manufacture of textile structures. The later properties of the finished product are largely decided by the fibre. In principle, fibres are categorized as belonging to one of two types: either natural, or chemical. All types of fibres can be processed to produce textiles of high quality, assuming the construction, finishing/refinement and processing of the yarn and fabric are appropriate for the intended purpose.

Textile Finishing

A method of improving a product's appearance (shine), texture, stature and weight. When finishing a material, the material is either soaked or coated on one side with a finishing agent. Materials finished in this way have smooth surfaces, making them dirt resistant. Non-permanent (starch) finishing agents improve the appearance of lower quality surfaces. This kind of coating is not wash proof. Permanent finishes may be wash resistant to a limited extent.

Threads

Describes the fibres/threads.

The following threads are the ones most used in home textiles:

I. Natural fibres

Cotton: the fibres from the seeds of the cotton plan are the key fibres in the home textiles industry (with a market share of 64%). The key quality indicator is the fibre length (staple length).

  • Very absorbent (water retention of 45-65%)
  • Can absorb up to 10% of its weight in water without becoming noticeably wet. This is why it is the most popular material for any application in which the fabric comes in direct contact with the skin.
  • Skin-friendly: does not scratch or chafe. Does not trigger allergies.
  • Creases easily: easy creasing can be easily countered through a number of treatment processes 
  • Can be bleached or dyed. Wash proof and lightfast.
  • Can withstand rough washing and high wash and ironing temperatures.

Linen (flax): Bast fibres extracted from the stem of the flax plant are made up of cellulose.

  • More tear-resistant than cotton, however has less elasticity
  • Very durable, heat and wash resistant
  • Lint-free (ideal for glass and dish cloths)
  • Creases easily; often finished processed to reduce creasing

Pure Linen: Pure linen (100% linen) warp and weft.
Half Linen: Pure cotton warp, pure linen weft; proportion of linen must not exceed 40%

II. Viscose Synthetic Fibres (Rayon): Regenerated cellulose fibres. Sourced from timbers such as beech wood (includes products marketed under names such as "Modal").

  • Not as strong as cotton
  • Creases easily
  • Cannot withstand high wash and ironing temperatures.
  • This fibre is usually only used in combination with cotton for household linen
  • High shine effect

Used in blends with cotton in bed linen to achieve better shine, flexibility and smoothness.

Polyester Fibres: One of the most commonly used synthetic fibres on the market.

  • Strong
  • Quite resistant to light, weather and acidity
  • Poor absorbance (water retention of 3-5%)
  • Quick-drying
  • Is almost completely un-biodegradable
  • Easily forms lint
Tufting

Term for needle punched materials produced on special machines (multi-needle chairs), where a multitude of needles is used to pull the pile yarn, in the form of loops, through a textile basis material. The closed loops can be cut open to produce a velvet or velour-like surface.

Twill Weave

Twill weave fabrics are usually immediately recognisable due to their diagonal twill grain. This grain is a result of the diagonal offsetting of the binding points. The grain direction is indicated by the letters Z or S. The smallest repeat for twill weave is 3 warp/3 weft. Twill is usually identified according to the thread system which is predominantly seen on the top of the fabric: in weft twill, it is the weft threads that are most noticeable on the top of the fabric. Every warp thread lies once above and twice below the individual weft threads in an alternating fashion, giving a predominance to the weft. Twill weave K 1:2 Z - in warp twill, it is the warp threads that are most noticeable on the top of the fabric. Every warp thread lies twice above and once below the individual weft threads in an alternating fashion. Twill weave K 2:1 S.

Two-Ply Terry

Manufactured mostly from twined yarns. As a result of the harder pile loops, a stronger terry appearance is achieved (as opposed to fulled terry). Special characteristics: firm touch, great durability.

W

Wadding

This thick, downy weave is a plain weave fabric. Typically, only high quality, combed, finely spun cotton threads of between Nm 70 and Nm 100 (or exceptionally, up to Nm 135) are used. Printed fabrics such as cambric or down percale may also fall into this category.

Waffle Cloth / Honeycomb Cloth

This term is derived from the type of weave used. Cloths using a waffle weave display a quadratic, textured pattern on both sides, reminiscent of a waffle biscuit. This appearance is achieved by a group of warp and weft floats. The floated threads result in good moisture absorption. In the area of home textiles, this weave is used for towels, bedspreads and waffle blankets.

Warp-Knitted Fabrics

consist of a number of threads (warp threads) which run the length of the fabric and form stitches The product cannot be pulled apart and is not likely to drop stitches. In addition to this, weft threads can be worked in across the fabric, as can non-stitch-forming warp threads. This term is often used as an additional description for knitted fabric.

Woven Fabrics

are textiles that are formed by weaving warp and weft threads across each other at right angles. Warp = threads going long ways; Weft = threads going across. The "weave" is the way in which the warp and weft are crossed over. The weave, yarn fineness and thread density are the key defining characteristics of a fabric. The three basic weaves are: Cotton plain weave/linen weave = Calico weave for wool = Towel fabric for silk = Tafetta weave twill weave, warp or weft twill, satin weave (from the French) warp or weft satin. In addition to the three basic weaves, there is a wide range of variations and special weaves which are based on these basic weaves.

Y

Yarns

Yarns and twisted threads are produced based on natural and synthetic fibres. A single-ply yarn is a single-fibre textile product which consists of fibres or filaments. Fibre yarns consist of fibres which are spun together. Filament yarn is based on one or more filaments and is produced with or without spinning. Cabled yarn: two or more single-ply yarns or twisted threads which are added to each other but not spun. Twisted thread: this term refers to all string-like textile materials which are formed by twisting one-ply or simple yarns and/or other twisted threads of the same or different types together. Single-ply twisted threads are made in a single twisting process and may contain one or more types of yarn. Multi-ply twisted threads are made in one or more twisting processes and may contain one or more types of yarn, including single-ply yarns. Spinning/twisting the thread increases the thread's strength and regularity. Twisted threads are stronger and more durable than yarns of the same thickness. Twisted threads can be finished to give them special pattern effects. The most well-known effect threads of this kind are frotté, flammé, slub, crimped, loop and caterpillar yarn. The word twisted thread or yarn indicates a strong and durable material that is made of twisted or spun yarn. Special Yarns: Combed and super combed yarns consist of long, high-quality fibres, the shorter fibres having been removed using a combing machine. The percentage of fibres combed out determines the quality designation. While this process makes the material more expensive, it also makes it incredibly smooth, shiny and durable. Textured Yarns: Endless synthetic fibres which are processed into a permanent shape are known as textured yarns, crimped or stretch yarns. The countless different types of textures that can be applied give the yarns special properties e.g. crimping, greater elasticity, increased volume and softer feel, higher absorbance, better breathing, etc.. Blended Yarns: (blends spun threads) are made of blends of different types of fibres.

Z

Zuechen Bed Sheeting

Colourfully woven (chequered or striped) cotton materials (cretonne, renforcé or lawn) in plain weave and used for bed covers. "Farmer’s Check" in blue/white and red/white.