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Glossary

Absorbency
The ability of a fabric to take in moisture. Absorbency is a very important property, which affects many other characteristics such as skin comfort, static build-up, shrinkage, stain removal, water repellency and wrinkle recovery.

Blend
A term applied to a yarn or a fabric that is made up of more than one fibre. In blended yarns, two or more different types of staple fibres are twisted or spun together to form the yarn. An example of a typical blended yarn or fabric is polyester/cotton.

Brocade
A heavy, exquisite Jacquard type fabric with an all-over raised pattern or floral design. Common end-uses include such formal applications as upholstery, draperies and bedspreads.

Calico
A tightly woven cotton type fabric with an all-over print, usually a small floral pattern on a contrasting background colour. Commonly used for quilts.

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

Chenille
A thick, soft, tufted weft yarn of cotton, silk and wool.

Colana
A fabric woven with a blend of 70% cotton and 30% pure wool. Can be used in blankets, bedlinen and quilts.

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

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

Cotton
A unicellular, natural fibre that grows in the seedpod of the cotton plant. Fibre’s are typically 1/ 2 inch to 2 inches long. The longest staple fibres, longer than 1 1/2 inch, including the Pima and Egyptian varieties, produce the highest quality cotton fabrics.

Damask
A glossy Jacquard fabric, usually made from linen, cotton, rayon, silk, or blends. The patterns are flat and reversible. The fabric is often used in tablecloths, draperies, bedlinen and upholstery.

Dobby Weave
A decorative weave characterised 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.

Durability
The ability of a fabric to resist wear through continual use.

Embossing
A calendering process in which fabrics are engraved with the use of heated rollers under pressure to produce a raised design on the fabric surface.

Emroidery
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.

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

Griege Goods
An unfinished fabric, just removed from a knitting machine or a loom. Also called grey goods.

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

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.

Linen
A fabric made from linen fibre’s obtained from inside the woody stem of the flax plant. Linen fibres are much stronger and more lustrous than cotton. Linen fabrics are very cool and absorbent, but wrinkle very easily, unless blended with manufactured fibres. Linen is one of the oldest textile fibres.

Loom
A machine used for weaving fabrics.

Matelassé
A medium to heavyweight luxury fabric made in a double cloth construction to create a blistered or quilted surface. Common end-uses are upholstery, draperies, and bedlinen.

Muslin
An inexpensive, medium weight, plain weave, low count (less than 160 threads per square inch) cotton sheeting fabric. In its unfinished form, it is commonly used in fashion design to make trial garments for preliminary fit and bedlinen.

Percale
A medium weight, plain weave, low to medium count (180 to 250 threads per square inch) cotton-like fabric. End-uses include bedlinen and casual apparel.

Pigment Printing
Also known as Dry Printing. The process engages pigment pastes, not dyes, which are applied to the fabric, which then use a heat curing process to set the print onto the fabric.

Pilling
A tangled ball of fibre’s that appear on the surface of a fabric, as a result of wear or continued friction or rubbing on the surface of the fabric.

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

Polyester
A manufactured fibre 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 fibre to dry quickly.

Quilting
A fabric construction in which a layer of down or fiberfill is placed between two layers of fabric, and then held in place by stitching or sealing in a regular, consistent, all-over pattern on the goods.

Reactive Printing
A process, which employs fabric dyes rather than pigments. The dyestuffs permeate deep into the fabric, rather than sitting on the surface.

Repellency
The ability of a fabric to resist such things as wetting and staining by water, stains, soil, etc.

Resiliency
The ability of a fabric to spring back to its original shape after being twisted, crushed, wrinkled, or distorted in any way.

Sateen Fabric

A fabric made from yarns with low lustre, such as cotton or other staple length fibres. The fabric has a soft, smooth hand and a gentle, subtle lustre. Sateen fabrics are often used for draperies, home furnishings and bedlinen.

Sateen Weave
A variation of the satin weave, produced by floating fill yarns over warp yarns.

Satin Fabric
A traditional fabric utilising a satin weave construction to achieve a lustrous fabric surface. Satin is a traditional fabric for evening and wedding garments. Typical examples of satin weave fabrics include: slipper satin, bridal satin, and antique satin.

Satin Weave
A basic weave, characterised by long floats of yarn on the face of the fabric. The yarns are interlaced in such a manner that there is no definite, visible pattern of interlacing and, in this manner; a smooth and somewhat shiny surface effect is achieved. The shiny surface effect is further increased through the use of high lustre filament fibres in yarns, which also have a low amount of twist. A true satin weave fabric always has the warp yarns floating over filling yarns.

Supima
Supima is an abbreviation for Superior Pima, and is the trademark used to promote products made with 100% American Pima cotton, grown in very limited production. The fineness and greater strength of this extra-long staple (ELS) cotton mean it can be woven into softer, finer and more luxurious fabrics. Less than half a percent of the world's cotton can carry the Supima name, a label that assures optimum quality, softness and durability.

Taffeta
A lustrous, medium weight, plain weave fabric with a slight ribbed appearance in the filling (crosswise) direction. It provides a crisp hand, with lots of body.

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.

Thread Count
Generic term for the number of threads per unit length of fabric. The numbers represent the number of threads counted in the warp and the weft, expressed in inches.

Twill Weave
A basic weave in which the fabrics are constructed by interlacing warp and filling yarns in a progressive alternation which creates a diagonal effect on the face, or right side, of the fabric. In some twill weave fabrics, the diagonal effect may also be seen clearly on the back side of the fabric.

Velour
A medium weight, closely woven fabric with a thick pile. It can be made using either a plain weave or a satin weave construction. It resembles velvet, but has a lower cut pile.

Velvet
A medium weight cut-pile constructed fabric in which the cut pile stands up very straight. It is woven using two sets of warp yarns; the extra set creates the pile. Velvet, a luxurious fabric, is commonly made with a filament fibre for high lustre and smooth handle.

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.

Wool
Usually associated with fibre or fabric made from the fleece of sheep or lamb. However, the term "wool" can also apply to all animal hair fibre’s, including the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat.

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.

Wrinkle Recovery
Similar to resiliency. It is the ability of a fabric to bounce back after it has been twisted, wrinkled, or distorted in any way.

Yarn
A continuous strand of textile fibre’s created when a cluster of individual fibres are twisted together. These long yarns are used to create fabrics, either by knitting or weaving.

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