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Thetraditional table covering for protection and decoration. Tablecloths range from informal ones made, for example, of checked fabrics, to formal, such as double damask. Napkins are usually rnatched to the tablecloth. See double damask and napkin.


Treating a fabric so that it will not shrink or stretch more than a certain percentage, perhaps 2%.

stable knit

Any knit unlikely to stretch excessively. Double knits are usually stable knits.


A small flap that often has a buttonhole at its end.

table linen

Any fabric, regardless of fiber content, suitable for a table covering.

art linen

A medium-weight linen or blended fabric which is plain-woven. Normally used for embroidery, dresses, uniforms, table linens, and other types of embroidered items.

billiard doth

Billiard cloth is the cloth used on billiard tables. It is always dyed green. This is traditionally a very fine twilled fabric consisting of quality wool. Nowadays also other fibers are used for billiard cloth.


A term used to describe a fabric suitable for outerwear, such as coats, as in coating fabric. Also, something applied to a finished fiber or fabric, such as a rubber coating to make a fabric impervious to water. Coating suggests a thicker layer of the substance than does the word finish. A rubber-coated fabric is probably more resistant to water than one that has been treated with a water-resistant finish.


A white or yellowish white vegetable fiber from a plant related to the hollyhock, and grown in the United States, Russia, China, India, and other countries. Cotton is the name of the fiber and also the fabric made from the fiber. Different types of cotton plants produce cotton of higher or lower quality, usually associated with staple length and fineness of the fiber. Certain names for these plants are occasionally seen in advertising-Sea Island, Egyptian, and Pima-to indicate quality of the fiber.

cotton knits

Cotton knits are made by the same methods as other knits, although they often are of finer gauge than wool and man-made fiber knits. They are the traditional underwear fabric, but recently have become popular for shirts, dresses, and sportswear. Many cotton knits today include some man-made fiber to reduce shrinkage and give the knit greater stability.


A glossy, heavy, firm-textured Jacquard weave fabric, similar to brocade, but lighter, with flat and reversible patterns. It is made of silk, linen, cotton, rayon or a combination of fibers in double or single damask. It is used for tablecloths, napkins, home furnishings, draperies and upholsteries, and occasionally clothing, such as afternoon and evening dresses.

double damask

A rich traditional tablecloth, made in a heavier weight than ordinary damask.


A heavy, strong, durable twilled fabric of cotton or man-made fibers, similar to denim, that has a diagonal 2x1 weave running up to the left selvage. When strength of fabric is essential, drill is suitable for slacks, uniforms, overalls, and work shirts. See twill


"An overall term that usually refers to all processes, with the exception of coloring, to make fabric more acceptable (some experts also include coloring). Much of the look, feel, and behavior of a fab ric is determined by the finishing steps taken. Finishing can be mechanical (as in calendering) or chemical, or both. Special treatments are applied to fabrics during finishing to make them perform better, shrink less, resist flarnes, and repel water. Calendering refers to a process in which the fabric is passed through heated cylinders. This gives the fabric a lustrous surface and can also emboss it. Another important step in finishing, and usually the final process, is tentering


Near Eastern oriental fabric woven with a shuttle or needle, with no pile. Kilims are used by the Orientals as portieres, couch covers, and table covers.


A vegetable fiber obtained from the inside of the woody stalk of the flax plant. It is one of the oldest fabrics known. It is strong, and todays man-made fibers are often blended with it to improve its wrinkle resistance and give the fabric other desirable qualities. Linen is woven in various weights for different purposes and is occasionally used in knit blends. The following entries are common linen names.


A rectangular piece of fabric or paper used to wipe the mouth and hands in the course of eating. Napkins are often matched to the tablecloth or placernats.


A piece of cloth or other material (often foam-backed plastic) placed on a table between the table and the place setting to protect the table and to decorate it during meals. Placemats are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.


A rectangular piece of fabric used with placemats to decorate and protect the dining table. It is placed in the center of the table under condiments (salt, pepper, mustard) and any decorations such as flowers or candles. Runners frequently match the placemats and are also used on chests of drawers to protect the top from spills.

silence cloth

A cloth put on a dining table to protect it and (as the name suggests) to prevent the clatter of dishes against the table. A silence cloth is usually a napped, fairly heavy fabric. Silence cloths are placed beneath tablecloths and are also called silencers.


Another name for silence cloth. See silence cloth and table pad.


Thetraditional table covering for protection and decoration. Tablecloths range from informal ones made, for example, of checked fabrics, to formal, such as double damask. Napkins are usually rnatched to the tablecloth. See double damask and napkin.


When linen and wool were woven together in the 18th century, the resulting coarse, loosely woven, and rather scratchy fabric, was called linsey-woolsey. Although linen and wool blends are occasionally made today, the use of finer finishing techniques makes them extremely comfortable and the name linsey-woolsey is limited to historical references.


A root from which a vegetable dye called Alizarin was obtained originally. It is now produced synthetically. See Alizarin dye.


1) Called Indian Madras. A fine, hand-loomed cotton imported from Madras, India. The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that it is deceptive to apply this term to a fabric that does not meet this description. In addition, the FTC definition requires that any dyes.used on this fabric must be vegetable dyes that will bleed (the col:ors run into each other). The fact that the FTC felt called upon to make such a definition is some indication of the popularity of Madras and imitation Madras fabrics in recent years. The authentic Madras and its imitations usually have checked or plaid designs


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.

ski wear

Clothing suitable to wear while skiing, such as warm, waterproof pants, jackets, and so forth.


The generic name of man-made fibers derived from a chemical substance called segmented polyurethane (resin). This man-made elastic fiber has a good deal of stretch and recovery for its weight. Spandex is used extensively in foundation garments and is much more comfortable than rubber because it is lighter in weight. Spandex is also found in some fabrics where stretch is considered desirable, such as in ski clothes. See polyurethane.

stable knit

Any knit unlikely to stretch excessively. Double knits are usually stable knits.

sulfur dye

A dye derived from chemicals containing sulphur. It is used mostly for vegetable fibers. It has fair resistance to washing and poor resistance to sunlight.

table linen

Any fabric, regardless of fiber content, suitable for a table covering.


A Jaquard woven fabric in cotton, wool, or man-made fibers. Traditionally, a decorative wall hanging woven to depict a scene. The filling threads are changed in color to fit the design. On the back, shaded stripes identify this fabric. It is used extensively for wall hangings, table covers, draperies, and upholstery. Some rugs are made in tapestry weaves. The word is also used for needlepoint, but this use is generally considered incorrect. Machine-made fabrics, also called tapestry, have regular designs on the surface and a slightly looped pile. They are used for such things as coats and handbags.

transparent velvet

A sheer-cut pile velvet usually all rayon or with rayon pile, suitable for evening dresses, wraps, and millinery.


A decorative cord accented by tassels. lt forms a decoration for the edge of such items as table cloths.

warp knit

A warp knit is made on a machine in which parallel yarns run lengthwise and are locked into the series of loops. It is a process that makes a more dimensionally stable fabric than weft knitting. Warp knits have a good deal of crosswise stretch. It is frequently run-resistant. Examples are tricot and Raschel.

water repellent fabric

The chemical treatment of a fabric to reduce its affinity for water. Pores of the fabric are open, and the degree of repellency varies. A water repellent fab ric will give protection in a shower, but not in heavy rain. Water repellency is often created with wax or silicone resin finishes that enable the pores of the fabric to stay open so that it is more comfortable to wear than waterproof fabrics. Another name for water repellent is water resistant. See waterproof fabric.


The term used for the fleece of lambs and sheep, but also applies to similar fibers from such animals as the angora and cashmere goats, the llama, and other animals used for clothing. lt is un like carpet wool, which is much coarser and unsuitable for clothing. Wool refers to fleece wool used for the first time in the complete manufacture of a wool product. Wool differs from hair and fur in that it has a natural felting ability. See felt, woolen, and worsted.