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fabric softeners

Chemical solutions added to the final rinse to improve the hand of terry cloths and infants fabrics.

soft fabrics

Fabrics that tend to drape in soft folds and to cling instead of standing away from the figure or item being covered. Soft fabrics is usually used as the opposite of crisp fabrics. Single knits usually are considered soft fabrics.

water softener

A chemical compound added to the rinse water or to the soap and the rinse water if the water is very hard. Its purpose is to prevent the formation of soap film that tends to gray the fabric.


The Alpaca is a domesticated member of the lama family, the so called South American camel. Alpaca fabric is one of the luxury fabrics for its silky, soft and fairly lightweight attributes. Today, the term alpaca is also used for fabrics made from a blend including some wools that have a similar appearance to true alpaca.


"(also Mohair ) On the one hand this term is used for fabrics made of hair of the Angora rabbit. On the other hand it is also used for fabrics made of the wool of the Angora goat. To set the record straight, the Wool Labeling Law requires that a fabric has to be marked as angora rabbit hair rather than angora or angora wool.Fabrics made of the long and soft fur of the Angora goat are called ""mohair""."


This term describes manufactured fibers made from regenerated natural proteins, such as casein, zein, soybean, and peanut. In a mixture with other fibers it gives the fabric a soft feeling.


Although the term broadcloth originally meant any fabric made on a loom of a certain width, it now means a fine, tightly woven fabric with a faint rib. Originally, it was made of mercerized cotton, but today the term is used to describe several dissimilar fabrics made with different fibers, weaves, and finishes. (1) Originally, a silk shirting fabric so named because it was woven in widths exceeding the usual twenty-nine inches. (2) A plainweave, tightly woven, high-count cotton fabric, with fillingwise rib finer than poplin. Best grades are made of combed pima or Egyptian cotton, usually with high thread counts (136x60 or 144x76). The fabrics are usually mercerized, sanforized, and given a soft lustrous finish, and are used for womens blouses, tailored summer dresses, and mens shirts. (3) A closely woven, medium-weight wool cloth with a smooth nap, velvety feel, and lustrous appearance. Wool broadcloth can be made with a two-up-and-two-down twill weave or plain weave. In setting up a loom to make the fabric, the loom is threaded wide to allow for a large amount of shrinkage during the filling process. The fabric takes its name from this wide threading. High-quality wool broadcloth is fine enough for garments that are closely molded to the figure or draped. Its high-luster finish makes it an elegant cloth. Wool broadcloth is ten to sixteen ounces per yard and is now being made in chiffon weights. (4) A fabric made from silk or man-made filament fiber yarns and woven in a plain weave with a fine crosswise rib obtained by using a heavier filling than warp yarn.

camels hair

Camels hair comes from the soft lustrous underhair of the Bactrian, a two humped, pack-carrying species of camel. The fabric is fawn to brown in color. Because it is a luxury fabric and therefor very expensive, camels hair is nowadays very often blended with other fibers, sometimes sheeps wool, sometime manmade acrylic fibers.

Canton flannel

Canton flanell is a heavy and warm cotton material. While it has a twilled surface there is a long soft nap on the back. It is named for Canton because thats where it was first made. Canton flanell is strong and absorbent.


Cashmere is the fine and soft undercoat hair of the cashmere goat which exists in Iran, India, Tibet, Mongolia, China and Iraq. Cashmere is one of the luxury fibers and today is usually blended with normal sheeps wool or man-made fibers to reduce the cost. Another reason for the widespread blending is the fact that it makes the finished fabric more durable for original cashmere fabrics are quite sensible. It is mainly used for clothing.


One of the softest fabrics made, it is named for the AngloIndian term shalee, meaning soft. lt is a fine, light-weight, plain-weave fabric, usually made of wool, cotton, or man-made fibers. Challis was traditionally printed with vivid floral patterns on dark grounds or with paisley designs, but now is produced in darker tones of allover prints and solid colors, in the finest quality fabrics. lt is normally used for neckties, dresses, blouses, scarves, bed jackets, and infants sacques.


Soft, pliable leather from the skin of the chamois goat, although other animal skins may be substituted. It is used for gloves and as a cloth for washing autos. Chamois cloth is woven to imitate the leather, usually has a slightly napped surface, and is usually yellow, as is the goat skin. It is also used in clothing.


Chiffon is an extraordinary lightweight and thin crepe fabric. Originally, chiffon was made of silk, but today also wool, rayon, nylon and other fibers are used for the production of chiffon. It is an open weave with slightly twisted yarns and can have both, a soft or stiff finish. Chiffon is often used for dresses and scarves.

chiffon velvet

A lightweight, soft, usually silk fabric with a dense pile.

China silk

China silk is a lightweight and soft fabric. This plain-weave silk fabric is used for lingerie and soft suits. Nowadays, China silk has been replaced almost completly with lining fabrics of man-made fibers.


A method of coloring fabrics made from more than one kind of fiber, for example, a wool and cotton blend. Each fiber in a fabric designed for cross-dyeing takes a specific dye in a different color or in variations of a color. A fabric that is crossdyed is more than one color. Cross-dyeing is often used to create heather effects (soft, misty colorings), but strongly patterned fabrics can also be achieved, depending on the fibers used in the fabric.


A cotton twill weave fabric made of single hard-twisted yarns. The staple type has colored warp and white or undyed filling thread. When the fabric (and the look) became popular, the name denim was given to many other types of fabric, including cross-dyed fabrics and brushed fabrics, both knit and woven, that resemble true denim. Most jeans are made of denim and the most popular and traditional denim color is blue. Sports denim is softer and lighter in weight. It is now available in many colors, and in plaids and stripes. Woven-in stripes and plaids are popular for draperies, upholstery, and bedspreads.


A soft, slightly glossy silk, rayon, acetate, cotton, wool, or a mixture of these, in a rib weave, that has a light, flat, narrow crosswise rib or cord. It is made by using heavier yarns in the filling than in the warp, and has more ribs to the inch than bengaline. Ottoman is similar to faille but has a wider rib. Faille is considered a dressy fabric, and is used for evening clathes, tailored dresses, coats, suits, ties, handbags, shoes, and draperies. See ottoman.

flat crepe

A firm, medium-weight silk crepe with a soft, almost imperceptible crinkle. It has creped fillings alternating with two S and two Z twists. The surface is fairly flat. Flat crepe may also be made of man-made fibers. It is used for dresses, negligees, and blouses. See crepe de chine,


A lightweight, soft, plain- or twill-weave fabric made of silk, mercerized cotton, rayon, acetate, or thin worsted wool. Foulard has a high luster on the face and dull on the reverse side. It is often printed, and the patterns range from simple polka dots to small, allover elaborate designs on light or dark grounds. It is also made in plain and solid colors. Foulard has a characteristic hand that can be described as light, firm, and supple. It is used for spring and summer dresses, scarves, robes, and neckties, and frequently sold as surah.


A soft, sheer dull-textured silk fabric, similar to chiffon, made with a crepe yarn to give the fabric a crepe appearance. The crepy surface is obtained by alternating right-hand and left hand twist yarns in warp and filling. It is used for summer and evening dresses. See chiffon and crepe.


Soft, lightweight silk dress fabric originally woven in the gum on hand looms in Japan. It is sometimes confused with China silk, which is technically lighter in weight.


In theory, a sturdy, solid-colored or striped twill-weave cotton fabric, softer and finer than denim and drill. In practice, the term denim is almost always used for the fabric, whereas the term jeans is used for pants made of denim. Jean is used for sport blouses, work shirts, womens and girls pants and shorts, and childrens overalls and playclothes.

knit terry cloth

Terry cloth is a soft, absorbent fabric with loops on one or both sides. When this fabric is knit rather than woven, it is called knit terry. Knit terry is especially popular for bathrobes and beach wear because of its absorbency. Stretch knit terry (usually made stretchable by the addition of a synthetic elastic fiber) is popular for baby clothes because of its absorbency and comfort.

lambs wool

Soft, resilient wool clipped from sheep less than eight months old. It is used in fine-grade woolen fabrics.


A light, well-hackled linen fabric first made in haon, France. Now, it is a lightweight, fairly sheer, fine, plain-weave cotton or linen muslin fabric generally more sheer and with a higher count than nainsook. It can be given a soft or crisp finish and is sized and calendered to produce a soft, lustrous appearance. Linen lawn is synonymous with handkerchief linen. Cotton lawn is a similar type of fabric. Lawn is slightly stiffer than batiste, but can be used for similar purposes. [t is white, solid colored, or printed and is used tot dresses, blouses, curtains, lingerie, and as a base for embroidered items. See batiste, nainsook, and handkerchief linen.

limp fabric

A fabric that is too soft because of inadequate amounts or improper application of finishing materials.

Linton tweed

The trademark of Linton, Ltd., Carlisle, England. These tweeds are noted for their softness and subtle or vivid calorings.


A fine, soft, cotton cloth woven of softly twisted yarns. It is similar to nainsook but slightly heavier, with a duller surface. Longcloth is so called because it was one of the first fabrics to be woven in Iong rolls. lt is also a synonym for muslin sheeting af gaod quality. The fabric is used for underwear and linings. See nainsook and muslin sheeting.


A soft double or compound fabric with a quilted appearance. One of the fabrics that, like cloque, has a blistered or quilted look to the design. Officially, the word matelasse implies the use of two different yarns that, when finished, react differently to the finishing resulting in a puckered effect in the fabric. In practice, the term matelasse is usually applied to luxury fabrics for evening wear, while a word such as cloque is used for a similar fabric made from cotton. The heavier type is used in draperies and upholstery, whereas crepe matelasse is popular in dresses, semiformal and formal suits and wraps, and trimmings.

moleskin finish

A cotton fleece lined with close, soft, thick nap that is used in underwear for cold climates.

rabbit hair

"Angora rabbits fur. The hair of rabbits often is mixed with ""normal"" fibers to give softness or an more illustrious texture to the finished fabric."


The first successful man-rnade fiber, rayon was originally called artificial silk. It is made from ceilulose and is weak when wet. Rayon is soft and comfortable and dyes well, but is weakened by exposure to sunlight. ecause of its low wet strength, rayon may shrink or stretch unless treated. fwo main processes are used in this country to produce rryon: viscose process and cuprammonium process. Several different rnodificatiorrs of these types of rayon are being made and consist of the following. See cellulose.

safari bag

A soft leather purse with a curved rectangular shape, a buckled center strap, two outside pockets with buckled flaps, and two strap handles.


Soft fabric or a ribbon tied at the waist as a heil.


Literally, shadow or outline. Silhouette refers to the shape of a garment. When the silhouette is soft, soft drapeable fabrics are popular.

silk broadcloth

A soft spun-silk fabric in plain weave, used for shirts, blouses, and sports dresses.

soft fabrics

Fabrics that tend to drape in soft folds and to cling instead of standing away from the figure or item being covered. Soft fabrics is usually used as the opposite of crisp fabrics. Single knits usually are considered soft fabrics.

Roman stripes

Narrow, multicolored stripes that cover an entire fabric. The colors may be as vivid as those of blazer stripes or as subtle as soft ombre shadings. See blazer stripes and ombre.


A common name in leather for the hide of a cow with the fur removed. Soft, tanned leather with the flesh side buffed into a nap.


A word used to describe fibers that are heat-sensitive. Most man-made fibers are thermoplastic. A thermoplastic fiber has the property of softening or fusing when heated and of harderring agaln when cooled. With the application of heat and pressure, it can be molded and remolded. This can be both an udvarrtaKe and a disadvantage. lt is advantageous because in fabrics made of thermoplastic fibers, certain features like pleats can be made permanent through heat-setting. However, care must be taken in drying und ironiog fabrics made of thermoplastic fibers because of their sensitivity to heat. See man-made fibers and heat-setting.

tufted fabric

"A fabric ornamented with soft, fluffy, slackly twisted ply yarns (usually cotton). Most tufts are inserted by needles into a woven fabric, such as unbleached muslin, textured cotton, and rayon plain-weave cloth. When tufts are spaced (as coin dots), a bedspread is called candlewick


A soft, fine, transparent silk net. Formerly made only of silk, tulle is now made of nylon or rayon, and is a favorite for evening dresses and bridal veils. See net.


A synonym for padding or rug cushion. It usually describes the layer of fabric of sponge rubber or hair placed underneath a carpet or rug to provide it with longer life, to give it a more luxurious appearance and feeling, to prevent the rug from slipping, and to make the rug softer and more cushiony. Carpet padding is made of cattle hair, rubberized hair, rubber, and combinations of jute and cattle hair, as well as some man-made fibers. Sec: rugs and carpets, padding, and rug cushion.

unpressed pleat

A pleat (folds) the edges of which have not been set by pressing. The rounded edges create a look that is softer than pressed pleats. The term unpressed pleats is usually used for wide unpressed pleats, whereas cartridge pleats, also unpressed, describe narrower, decorative pleats.


The generic name for a man-made fiber derived from polyvinal alcohol. Vinal fibers soften at low temperatures, but resist chemicals. Although vinal is no longer made in the United States, it is made in Japan and is found in tires, some home furnishings, and industrial products.


The generic name for a man-made fiber derived from polyvinyl chloride, a derivative of natural salt, water, and petroleum. Vinyon fibers soften at low temperatures and resist chemicals. Vinyon is often referred to as polyvinyl chloride. Its primary use is in commercial products.


A sheer, transparent, low-count, crisp or soft, lightweight, plain-weave muslin with a thready feel, made of highly twisted yarns. lt can be comprised of wool, cotton, silk, rayon, polyester, or other man-made fibers. Voile is especially popular when made of cotton or blends for summer wear and is often printed to match heavier fabrics. Voile is used for clothing, especially for blouses and summer dresses, and for curtains and similar items.

zephyr yarn

A fine, soft yarn with a low twist popular for hand knitting. Originally made from wool, zephyr is usually made of acrylic and often has other fibers such as silk added to it.