Dictionary Terms

Acetate: A manufactured fiber in which the fiberforming substance is cellulous acetate.

Acrylic: A manufactured fiber that is silklike in appearance in feel, and springs back when crushed. The fiber-forming substance is any long chain of synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of acrylonitrile units.

Air Jet: Technique for bulking filament yarns by treating them with pressurized air from a miniature spout. Most commonly used in Taslan process.

Allen Solley Placket: A one-piece placket that is hidden after being sewn.

Anti-Pilling: A treatment applied to the garment to prevent pilling, or the formation of the little balls of fabric due to wear.

Back Pleats: Small folds in the back of a garment to allow for greater movement.

Backed Cloth: Single textile material with additional of an extra warp or filling added for weigh and warmth.

Batiste: Amedium-weight, plain weave fabric, usually made of cotton or cotton blends. End-uses include blouses and dresses.

Birdseye: Cotton or linen cloth woven to produce a small pattern that has a center dot resembling a bird's eye.

Bleeding: The running of color from wet dyed material onto a material next to it or the running of colors together.

Blend: A term applied to a yarn or a fabric that is made up of more than one fiber.

Broadcloth: Tightly woven cotton cloth with fine imbedded crosswide ribs that resembles poplin.

Cashmere: Fine downy undercoat hair of the Cashmere goat from Tibet; produces luxuriously soft garments.

Chambray: A plain woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns.

Chino: Classic all-cotton "Army twill" fabric made of combed two-ply yarns. At one time chino was traditionally for army uniforms, but it's now finding popularity in mainstream apparel.

Collar: The upright or turned-over neckband of a coat, jacket or shirt.

Colorfastness: A term used to describe a dyed fabric's ability to resist fading due to washing, exposure to sunlight, and other environmental conditions.

Combed Cotton: Cotton that has been combed to remove short fibers and straighten long fibers for a smooth, finer hand.

Combing: The combing process is an additional step beyond carding. In this, 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.

Cool Knit: A pique variation with a defined surface texture resembling a "waffle" pattern.

Cord Locks: A stopper or toggle on a draw cord that keeps the cord from retracting into the garment.

Corduroy: A cut filling pile cloth with narrow to wide ribs. Once corduroy was a cotton fabric, now it can be found in polyester, and man-made blends.

Cotton: Soft vegetable fiber obtained from the seedpod of the cotton plant and one of the major fashion fibers in the textile industry. The longer the fiber, the better the quality. Lengths vary from less than one-half inch to more than two inches. Cotton is currently grown in 19 states and is a major crop in 14 states.

Custom: Designing a specific garment to fit the needs of a client.

Denim: A durable cotton twill traditionally a shade of blue. Once denim was strictly used for jeans or work pants; now it's popular in all modes of apparel.

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.

Double Knit: A circular knit fabric knitted via double stitch on a double needle frame to provide a double thickness. Most double knits are made of polyester.

Double-Needle: Two rows of parallel stiching at the sleeve and/or bottom hem for a cleaner, more finished look.

Double-Stitched: A finish used on a sleeve and/or bottom hem that uses two needles to create parallel rows of visible stitching. It gives the garment a cleaner, more finished look and adds durability.

Down: The soft fluffy under feathers of ducks, and geese, primarily used as insulation in outerwear.

Drop Tail: A longer back than front for the purpose of keeping the shirt tucked in during activity.

Duck: Aheavy, closely woven material, often cotton, used for heavyweight shirts or outerwear.

End-on-End: A 2-ply weave of different color yarns that run parallel each other so that both colors are visible, creating a soft contrast in the garment.

Extended Tail, also called Dropped Tail: The back part of the garment is longer than the front, making it easier to tuck in.

Face: The right side or the better-looking side of the fabric.

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

Findings: Pockets, linings, zippers and other sundry and supplementary items used in the manufacture of garments.

Gabardine: A firm durable cloth used in both men's and women's apparel.

Gray Goods: Cloth that has been woven but has received no dry or wet finishing instructions, including color.

Grommets: Found underarm or in the back neck, grommets are small holes that allow for air circulation and ventilation.

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

Harris Tweed: A trademark for an imported tweed made of virgin wool from the Highlands of Scotland, spun, dyed and hand woven by islanders in Harris and other islands of the Hebrides.

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

Houndstooth: A textile design of small broken checks woven into the fabric.

Hydrophilic Fibers: Fibers which absorb water readily, such as cotton, linen or rayon.

Hydrophobic Fibers: Fibers which are normally non-absorptive and repel water, such as nylon and polyester.

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 (with heat from an iron), while others are meant to be stitched to the 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.

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.

Jacquard Knit: A 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, typically using two or more colors.

Jersey Fabric: The consistent interlooping of 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. Jersey is comfortable and durable.

Jute: Also known as burlap, is a course fiber from the bark of an Asian tree. Lapel: Either of the two folded-back front edges of a jacket or shirt that are continuous with the collar.

Linen: A flax product, linen absorbs moisture quickly and doesn't soil easily.

Locker Loop: A looped piece of fabric in the neck of a garment for the convenience of hanging the garment on a hook. Can also be located at the center of the back yoke on the inside or outside of a garment.

Locker Patch (a.k.a. Half Moon Patch): An oval panel sewn into the inside back of a sportshirt, under the collar seam.

Lycra: INVISTA's trademark for a synthetic fabric material with elastic properties of the sort known generically as "spandex."

Madras: One of the oldest materials in the cotton family, Madras is made on a plainweave background, which is usually white; stripes, cords or minute checks may be used to form the pattern.

Melton: A smooth, heavy wool cloth used primarily in outerwear. Quality varies depending on the type of stock used.

Mercerizing: A finishing process used extensively on cotton yarn and cloth consisting of treating the material with a cold, strong sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) solution. The treatment increases the strength and affinity for dyes and gives the finished fabric a soft, silklike feel.

Merino: The highest, finest grade of wool.

Mesh: Any fabric, knitted or woven, with an open texture, fine or coarse for added comfort and ventilation.

Microfiber: A tightly woven fabric usually of fine poly thread. Microfiber has a soft hand and is comfortable to wear.

Micro Fleece: Alighter microfiber weight but still warm fleece made of knit microfibers brushed less than a regular fleece garment.

Mylar: A polyester film used to cover a metallic yarn. Often used in apparel decoration.

Nap: A fuzzy, furlike 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.

Nylon: A synthetic polymer, a plastic, durable fabric used in apparel and other everyday items.

Open-End Yarn: A cost-saving process that eliminates some manufacturing steps needed for ring-spun yarn.

Ottoman: A tightly woven plain weave ribbed fabric with a hard, slightly lustered surface. The ribbed effect is created by weaving a finer silk or manufactured warp yarn with a heavier filler yarn, usually made of cotton or wool.

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 for shirts.

Pattern: An outline of a garment on paper. It usually embodies all the pieces necessary to cut a complete garment from material. Percale:Asmooth, textured, closely woven cotton or polyester fabric.

Pigment: A substance that is added to give color to fabric.

Pill: A tangled ball of fibers that appears on the surface of a fabric, as a result of wear or continued friction or rubbing on the surface of the fabric.

Pima Cotton: A high-end yarn made by plying yarns spun from long combed staple. One of the best grades of cotton in the world. Pima cotton has extra long fiber lengths making it soft, yet strong.

Pique: A closely woven ribbed fabric produced from natural fibers, usually cotton. Pique is very poplar in polo-style shirts.

Placket: The opening of a shirt or jacket where the garment fastens or at a pocket. A reverse placket is the reversed opening for women's garments.

Plain Weave: A basic weave with a smooth surface for printing.

Ply: Two or more yarns that have been twisted together.

Polyester: A strong, durable synthetic fabric with low moisture absorbency. Polyester is popular for its comfort and resistance to wrinkles.

Poly-filled: Awarm polyester lining used in outerwear.

Polymer: The chemical solution from which man-made fibers are spun.

Polynosic: A stable rayon fiber that has a soft silklike hand.

Poplin: A broad term to describe several fabrics made from various types of yarn. Usually a plain, strong fabric with fine ribbing creating a slight ridge effect; often made of cotton.

Pre-Shrunk: Fabrics or garments, that have received a pre-shrinking treatment. Often done on cottons to remove the tendency for cloth to shrink before cutting the fabric for use in a garment to prevent further shrinkage.

Raglan: This popular style of apparel is a loose-fitting garment with a sleeve extending to the collar of a garment instead of ending at the shoulder. A raglan sleeve is attached with slanting seams running from under the arm to the neck.

Rayon: A manufactured textile fiber composed of regenerated cellulose.

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 sleeve bands, neckbands, 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 Spun:Aprocess of spinning the yarn to make it softer and more durable.

Rip-Stop Nylon: A lightweight, wind-resistant, and water-resistant plain weave fabric. Large rib yarns stop tears without adding excess weight to active sportswear apparel.

Satin: The name originated in China. Satin cloths were originally of silk. Similar fabrics are now made from acetate, rayon and some of the other man-made fibers. The fabric has a very smooth, lustrous face effect while the back of the material is dull.

Shrinkage: The reduction in width and length, or both, that takes place in a fabric when it is washed or dry-cleaned. Residual shrinkage is the term used to indicate the percentage of shrinkage that occurs in the fabric at the time of its first washing. Side Vents: Fashion details allowing for comfort and ease of movement.

Silk: The only natural fiber that comes in a filament form. Spun from silkworms, this fine fabric is comfortable and soft but must be treated gently.

Single Knit: A fabric knitted on a single needle machine. This fabric has less body, substances and stability when compared with double knit.

Single Yarn: One that has not been plied; the result of drawing, twisting and winding a mass of fibers into a coherent yarn.

Sleeve: Part of the garment that covers part or the entire arm.

Soft Goods: Industry term sometimes applied to textile fabrics and products. Solution-Dyed: A type of fiber dyeing in which colored pigments are injected into the spinning solution prior to the extrusion of the fiber through the spinneret. Fibers and yarns colored in this manner are colorfast to most destructive agents.

Stability: That property of a bonded fabric that prevents sagging, slipping or stretching. This is conducive to ease of handling in manufacturing and helps to keep its shape in wear, dry cleaning and washing.

Stretch Yarns: Continuous filament yarns that have been textured or modified to give them elasticity. Use of these yarns gives fabrics a degree of elasticity and comfort.

Stone Washed: Fabric treatment to achieve a worn and faded effect, common in denim fabric.

Storm Flap: Astrip of fabric that covers the zipper or snap closure of a jacket to protect against wind and moisture. Storm flaps can also be sewn on the inside of the zipper.

Swatch: A small sample of material used for inspection, comparison, construction, color, finish and sales purpose.

Tartan: Wool, worsted or cotton cloth made in plain weave or in a twill weave. Tartan is popular in caps cloth, dresses, neckwear, shirts, sport coats and trousers.

Taslan: A registered trademark. Atextured yarn that is made on a bulking process developed by DuPont. Its hand, loftiness, covering power and yarn texture are such that these properties are permanent and do not require special handling or care.

Terry Cloth: This cloth has uncut loops on both sides of the fabric. Woven on a dobby loom with a Terry arrangement, various sizes of yarns are used in the construction. Terry is very popular in robes and towels.

Textile: Traditionally a textile is defined as a woven fabric made by interlacing yarns. Tencel:Afabric made from the fiber found in wood pulp which is processed into a silklike, delicate fabric.

Thread Count: The actual number of warp ends and filling picks per inch in a woven cloth. In knitted fabric, thread count implies the number of wales or ribs.

Tricot: A type of warp knitted fabric that has a thin texture made from very fine yarn.

Tubular Knit: A golf shirt with no side seams; a cost advantage because there is less cutting and sewing. Tubular products are at greater risk for body torquing (twisting).

Twill: A type of fabric woven with a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs. It is made by passing the weft threads over one warp thread and then under two or more warp threads. Examples of twill fabric are gabardine, tweed and serge.

Ultra Suede: Registered trademark of Spring Mills Inc. for a fabric marketed under its Skinner brand. Fabric is not woven or knitted and has tiny polyester fibers embedded in its soft lush surface.

Velour: A term loosely applied to cut pile cloths in general; also to fabrics with a fine raised finish. Velour has a soft, comfortable hand.

Virgin Wool: New wool that has never been used before, or reclaimed from any spun, woven, knitted, felted, manufactured or used products.

Water-Repellent: Ability of a fabric to resist penetration by water under certain conditions. Various types of tests are used, and these are conducted on sample before and after subjection to standard washing and dry cleaning tests.

Water-Resistant: Fabric treated chemically to resist water. Not to be confused with water-repellent.

Welt: A stripe of material seamed to a pocket opening as a finishing as well as a strengthening device, or a covered cord or ornamental strip sewed on a border or along a seam.

Wickability: The ability of a fiber or a fabric to disperse moisture and allow it to pass through to the surface of the fabric, so that evaporation can take place.

Wool: Fibers that grow on the sheep fleece. Wool products may also include fibers from lamb, angora or Cashmere goat.

Worsted: Smooth, uniform, well-twisted yarns. Little finishing is necessary in these clear surface materials. Plain or fancy weaves are used and the cloth is usually yarn-dyed, but piece-dyed fabrics are also popular.

Yoke Back: A piece of fabric that connects the back of a garment to the shoulders. This allows the garment to lay flat.

Something to think about

We all love the look and feel of natural, organic fabric. But when it rains, or it's 92 degrees on the golf course, we tend to appreciate the benefits of the man-made fabrics. Here's the lowdown on some popular types:

• The most popular and the one that gets a bad rap is polyester. Polyester doesn't wrinkle or fade, and it seems to last forever. Polyester is often blended with cotton to produce a longer, lasting garment that wrinkles less.

• Nylon is the second most popular of the man-made fibers. It was invented by DuPont Corporation in 1939 presumably because Lammot DuPont himself got caught on the golf course wearing cotton when it started to rain. Since 1939 nylon has become the biggest moneymaker for the DuPont Company. Today it's used in many apparel items and is popular for its resistance to moisture and wrinkles, and unending durability.

• Microfiber is one of those terms we see in supplier catalogs that seem to mean really small fibers, but how does that translate into benefits of a garment? Micro fiber garments can be made of many fibers, including polyester, nylon, or acrylic. The true definition of Microfiber is that the fiber has less than one denier per filament. In English that means the fibers are very small and very strong, and the garment will have a softer hand.

• Spandex is another popular man-made fiber. Its ability to stretch and snap back to its original form makes spandex ideal for a blend used in garments designed to hold their shape. Spandex was developed in 1959, but made famous in 1999 when Brandi Chastain whipped off her shirt to revel her spandex sports bra at the 1999 Women's World Cup Championship. We'll never look at spandex the same way again. ALook At Man-Made Fabrics

When you think of the term Performance Fabric, does it conjure up images of fabric that wicks away moisture? Or fabric that protects you from the sun's harmful UV rays? Or is it a super-fabric that does all that and more?

Most apparel suppliers offer some form of performance fabric. But how to navigate the vast array of products to come up with the best performance fabrics suited to your clients' needs?

Sales representative Mark Kreger, with Creative Promotional Products (asi/170669), works with several apparel suppliers and is also an avid golfer. "When I looked into performance apparel, I was really hoping for something that would improve my golf game,:

Kreger jokes. "But realistically, my clients are willing to spend the money on a better garment that is more comfortable and has better features, especially if it's being given to their better customers," he says.

• Golfers in particular want that fabric that keeps you dry and protects you from the sun, and they recognize that the price may be a bit higher,� he adds. Here's a rundown of features to consider when looking at performance fabrics:

• Moisture management: Any kind of fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin.
• UV protection: Helps block out harmful rays from the sun.
• Breathability: A garment that is woven or sewn to allow air to pass through.
• Anti-bacterial: A fabric treated to control odor.

Performance Fabric: What Does It Really Mean?

Mother nature's contribution to the apparel industry comes in many different options. Combed, ring spun, single and double ply or pique, the options available in simple cotton are endless and can be confusing for clients.

Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting cotton apparel:

• Prices of cotton shirts vary from an inexpensive cotton T-shirt to a more costly mercerized cotton that's been processed to produce a soft, silklike product used in higher end garments.
• Distributors who once turned up their collective noses at jersey fabric because of its long association with everyday T-shirts are now giving jersey another look. The newer jersey garments are well made and the fabric is soft and durable, which makes it popular with the consumer.
• Looking to reduce shrinkage? Carded cotton is commonly used in most pique fabric; it has been cleaned, separated, straightened and formed into a long untwisted strand.
• Got your eye on quality? Consider combed cotton — a process of combing the fibers to make them parallel. The short, less desirable fibers are removed in this process. Many garments, particularly polo-style shirts, use combed cotton to produce a better shirt and (like carded) cotton help reduce shrinkage.
• Most clients recognize Pima cotton as a higher end, better cotton. Retail stores tout Pima cotton as the finest available. The longer cotton strands produce fabric that has a soft hand but is durable, making Pima a popular choice with better brands.
• If you're looking for a long-wearing garment, take a look at ring spun cotton — it is processed using a continuous system of staple fibers. Ring spun cotton tends to wear better and shrinks less.

The Cotton Confusion

When your best client comes to you and needs a waterproof garment for the next company golf outing, do you drop everything and look for a windshirt suitable for scuba diving or do you look for a water-resistant piece that would work just as well?

Many customers may ask for waterproof items when actually they mean water resistant or water-repellent.

Waterproof means the garment is seam-sealed and able to withstand a specific amount of water pressure. It will keep the wearer completely dry by completely blocking water from coming in. But because waterproof garments must be completely sealed, you must find an embroiderer who can work with waterproof garments and seal the embroidery when it's finished. Waterproof apparel also means a bigger budget.. Often a water-resistant garment will do just fine. Water-resistant means the fabric has been chemically treated to resist water and is usually perfect for a rain storm or bad weather. It isn't seam-sealed and embroidery won't be a problem. Water-repellent fabrics are made from material that naturally resists water. Remember your yellow raincoat you wore as a kid? That was water-repellent.

Does It Really Need To Be Waterproof?

Most mid- to high-end industry suppliers offer some form of a mercerized garment. Everyone knows that such fabrics are soft and silky. But how do we translate those features to benefits for the end user and justify the additional cost?

Michael Stein, vice president of merchandising for the Greg Norman Collection, gives seminars all over the U.S. on the technical aspects of mercerized apparel. Stein describes mercerization as the process of burning off the short fibers or fuzz that make the fabric rough to the touch. "The fabric is run through an oven then through a caustic soda bath," Stein says. "This process takes the shrinkage out of the yarn and leaves a smoother shinier fabric."

According to Stein, the mercerization process started in Italy as an alternative to silk, which is much less durable. But Stein says offering mercerized products alone may not clinch the deal.

"It isn't enough to offer a well-designed mercerized shirt," says Stein. "Consumers are demanding mercerized products that offer moisture-wicking, UV and anti-bacterial protection. So distributors would be wise to show clients a product that not only looks and feels better, but also performs better."

Mercerization: Worth the Extra Money?