TEXTILE TERMINOLOGY

TYPES of TEXTILES

TEXTILE
Abbreviation
Material Description
Advantages
Disadvantages
Acetate
AC CA

Acetate fabrics are spun filaments of cellulose derived from wood pulp. Acetate flakes are generated by a reaction of the wood pulp to a variety of acetic acids. Acetate is a synthetic textile material, usually mixed with silk, wool, or cotton to strengthen it.

  • Drapes and hangs well.
  • Available in multiple sheens and colors.
  • Is quick drying.
  • Resists shrinking.
  • Moth and mildew resistant
  • Material has low static
  • High luster
  • Doesn’t pill.
  • No elasticity
  • Not a strong material — rips easily
  • Melts when heated
  • May require dry cleaning, based on care tag
  • Wrinkles easily.
Acrylic
PC PAN

“Acrylic fabric is a wool like synthetic material that can either be wet or dry spun. They use solvents to dissolve the polymer and then solidify them for their spinning process to make this fabric.”

Retains color well, has a woollike texture, and is resistant to wrinkling.

The makeup of Acrylic fabric means it has relatively poor insulation, and it melts as it burns.

Alpaca
WP

Alpaca fibers come from an Alpaca which is a camelid and the fibers themelf have different thicknesses depending on how they are spun which result in different uses. The hairs themselves have tiny air pockets that enhance its breathability and insulating properties. Additionally it is one of the few animal fiber that has no lanolin that results in the fibers being hypoallergenic

High breathability, High moisture wicking, High heat retention capabilities, Somewhat stretchy, Softer than sheep wool, Fairly fire retardant, Highly water resistant, Hypoallergenic

Prone to pilling and bubbling, Expensive, Special care instructions

Angora
WA

Angora is a specific type of wool produced by the heavy down of an Angora Rabbit. Angora fiber is its own distinct fiber that should not be confused with mohair which comes from an Angora Goat. It is much warmer and lighter than regular wool due to the hollow core in the fibers that also provides it with a floating characteristic in its lightness.

Takes decades to break down, Has almost no breathability traits, For garment purposes it is uncomfortable becomes the lack of breathability leads to trapped heat and moisture, Although he fabric itself is waterproof as soon as it has a seam it is no longer waterproof and water can get through the seams,

Beaver
WB

Beaver is a heavy, napped, twill weave, double cloth made from wool or cotton. Beaver cloth originally from England and is commonly sheared on one side to resemble Beaver fur.

Extremely warm, Extremely light, Provides a silky texture, Extremely soft, Very thin fibers, Creates a halo effect

Can felt very easily, Is very expensive, Can easily felt when exposed to abrasion or humidity, Not very elastic

Camel Hair
WK

Camel hair specifically refers to the hair fibers collected from a camel. The hairs are separated between fine and course hairs for their different purposes and from there are washed away of dirt and debris. The last step is then to spin the hairs into a yarn or thread.

Warm, High heat retention capabilities, Mildly breathable, Mild moisture wicking traits, Isn’t prone to pilling or bubbling, Can be woven into extremely thin garments, Can be easily blended with cashmere to bring down garment cost while providing the same luxurious quality, Entirely biodegradable, Due to the small amount of camel hair harvested and it being centralized in Mongolia there is very little negative environmental impact

Most expensive textile in the worled ranging from $1,500-$3,000 USD per yard, Can only be harvested from the animal once every three years, Sensitive to chemical treating, Extremely careful care instructions, The animal cannot be help in captivity so it has to be captured and returned to the wild

Cashmere
WS

Hair of the Indian cashmere goat that is made into a fabric by spinning either by hand or with a machine. Cashmere is a soft lightweight material often used to make delicate clothing

Cashmere is soft and silky in touch as well as it is lightweight

As cashmere is only made from the wool of one breed of sheep it is expensive. It also must be taken care of carefully as it is lightweight and less durable then other wool like fabrics

Cotton
CO

Cotton is a flower that is made into fabric after it has been cleaned, spun into threads, and then woven. The process is fairly complicated and is mostly done by machine.

Cotton is breathable, cost effective, and it can withstand high heat.

Cotton is prone to shrinking and stretching with usage.It also dries slowly, and it is not wrinkle resistant.

Cotton/Linen
HL Elastane is the generic term for Lycra or spandex. Its primarily used for its elasticity traits. It is entirely synthetic and is composed of a long chain of polymer known as poly eurethene.

High breathability; High heat retention; Very light; relatively high tensile strength; Very absorbent while also being able to dry quickly; Naturally white or slightly yellowish making it easy for dying processes; Withstands fairly high temperatures; Drapes well

Easily wrinkles; Shrinks in the wash unless it has gone through a pre treatment; Most cotton is not made sustainably and uses a lot of harmful pesticides and fertilizers
Cupro
CU CUP

Cupro is “regenerated cellulose” fabric made from cotton waste, specifically cotton linter. It is made in the same closed loop way as Lyocell and Tencel, meaning all the chemicals and water used to make the fabric can be repurposed to make more fabric. Cupro/cupra is actual slang for the actual textile name Cuprammonium rayon that originated in textile factories in China.

Biodegradable; Easily machine washable; Smooth; Drapes well; Vegan alternative to Silk; Extremely fine fiber; Extremely elastic;

Easily pills; Low fabric breathability; Doesn’t handle high heat; Chars when ignited, doesn’t burn cleanly like other natural fabrics; Is not a particularly sustainable option as it was created with mild disregard in china and as a result has disregard for proper disposal of toxic chemical used in its manufacturing process resulting in more toxic waste than it produces in biodegradable fabric; Cannot be manufactured in the USA due to environmental laws that don’t allow that much toxic waste and pollution to come from manufacturing something

Elastane
EA

Viscose is the term used for Rayon in the USA which came from the manufacturing process of Rayon. Viscose has become the generalized term for regenerated manufactured fiber, made from cellulose, through a viscose process.

Highly elastic; High breathability; High moisture wicking abilities; low heat retention abilities;

Very expensive; High pilling and bubbling; Lycra is trademarked

Flax/Linen
LI

Jute is a shiny, long, and soft Bast fiber that is spun into strong course threads. It’s fibers are primarily composed of cellulose and lignin. Jute is one of the most affordable and versatile fibers second to cotton. In some cases it can even replace cotton for the same effect.

High breathability, high moisture wicking capabilities, Low heat retention capabilities, Not prone to pilling or bubbling, Dried quickly, Ideal for garments worn in hot or humid climates, Has natural UV protectant qualities,

Not stretchy, Very expensive, Commonly made with toxic chemicals to reduce the manufacturing time, The dying Linen industry contributes to poor working conditions and results in what is considered slave labor in areas like Bangladesh and China

Jute
JU

Cotton is a soft fluffy staple fiber that grows as a protective case around the seeds of cotton plants. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The fiber is most commonly spun into yarn or thread to create a highly breathable material.

Durable, Strong, Holds color well, naturally UV protected, Sound and heat insulated, low thermal conduction, Anti static properties, Carbon dioxide neutral, Biodegradable, High breathability, Highly moisture wicking

Not stretchy, Not great for clothing applications and is primarily used for industrial purposes, Due to it being easily biodegradable it is not durable in long term outdoor applications,
Llama
WL

Soft, Insulating

Inflexible, Can only be handwashed cold, Expensive,

Lyocell
CLY

Lyocll is a form of rayon that is composed of cellulose precipitated from an organic solution in which no substitution of the hydroxyl groups takes place and no chemical intermediates are formed.

Soft; absorbent; very strong when wet or dry; resistant to wrinkles; drapes well; can be used to simulate textures such as leather, suede, and silk

More expensive to produce than cotton or viscose rayon,

Metal
ME

Metallic fibers are composed of varying metallic alloys, metal, plastic coated metal, metal coated plastic, or a core completely covered by metal.

Highly electrically conductive, Thermal resistant to high temperatures, Corrosion resistant in most cases depending on the metal used, High failure strain, High ductility, Shock resistant, Fire resistant, Sound insulating

Requires special care, Can only be dry cleaned, Cant be ironed

Metallicized Polyester
PM
Modacrylic
MA

Linen is similar to cotton but instead it is made from fiber derived from the stems of flax plants. Unlike cotton though, Linen has a very intensive and long manufacturing process. Since the cotton gin was invented the popularity for Linen has decreased but is still in demand due to its unique attributes and capabilities.

Soft, Strong, Dimensionally stable, Resistant to chemicals and solvents, Resistant to moths and mildew, Nonallergenic, Flame retardant and don’t combust. High durability, Resistant to abrasion, Very low tenacity, Arc flach protectant

Prone to pilling, matting and bubbling; Not heat resistant; Prone to shrinking; Have special care instructions for washing and drying;

Modacrylic
MAC

Modacrylic is a copolymer made from modified acrylic fibers made from acrylonitrile with large amounts of other polymers being added to create the copolymers. From this the copolymers are dissolved in acetones, dry spun and stretched while hot to create Modacrylic fibers.

Modal
CMD

Is this meant to be a double?

Modal
MO

A cellulose fiber made by spinning reconstituted cellulose, often from beech trees.

Modal is 50% more water-absorbent than cotton, can be dyed like cotton and is colorfast, resistant to shrinkage and fading, lightweight, appearance of silk, soft and smooth.

Modal is not very durable over time as it is prone to stretching and pilling.

Mohair
WM

Hair of the North African Angora goat that is then made into a soft to the touch fabric.

Soft and easier to dye, light, absorbent, non-flammable, absorbs moisture, resistant to creases.

Nylon
PA

Nylon is a thermoplastic silky material made of synthetic materials. The makeup of this fiber also allows it to have a elastic quality and be semi water resistant. It is also widely used as plastic for making machine parts.

Nylon is extremely versatile in its uses from stockings and bauthing suits to carpets. It is also resistance to; fungi , insects and animals. The synthetic make up of the material means that it can easily withstand different tempertures and melts instead of burns at high tempetures

“Nylons synthetic make up means that the fabric experiences high shrinkage in molded sections and a lack of stability. There are also pollution problems associated with the mass production of this material. The unique makeup of Nyong means it does not absorb a large amount of water.”

Other Fibers
AF

Other fibers is also referred to as Altre Fiber. Almost all garments are made up of a mix of synthetic and natural fibers, and it is not always practical to list them all out. Other Fibers is used to account for the additional fibers included in a garment that only make up a small percentage of the overall fabric content.

Retains color well, has a woollike texture, and is resistant to wrinkling.

Doesn’t explicitly identify the “other fibers” being used which can lead to misconceptions about expectations of a fabric.

Polyester
PL PES

Polyester is a synthetic fiber derived from coal, air, water, and petroleum. Polyester fibers are formed from a chemical reaction between an acid and alcohol.

Polyesrer is a no wrinkle fabric! It is also hard to stain and holds its shape over time.

As polyester is hard to stain it is also subsequently doesn’t absorb dyes,. It doesn’t feel as soft as cotton does, and is a highly shrinkable material.

Polyurethaneelastomere
PU
Ramie
RA

Ramie is chemically classified as a cellulose fiber like cotton and linen. It originates from eastern Asia and was used long before cotton was introduced to eastern Asia. The manufacturing process of Ramie is similar to that of Linen, as it’s fiber are produced from the stalk of the plant and the process so very long and intensive.

It is one the strongest natural fibers, It is stronger when wet, Hold shape well, Can reduce wrinkling when mixed with other fibers, Has a natural silky texture, Resistant to mildew, moths and bacteria; Extremely absorbent, Dyes easily, Can withstand high heat when being washed or dried, The smooth lustrous texture and appearance increase the more its washed, Doesn’t easily shrink, Easily bleachable

Silk
SE

Silkworms are a type of caterpillars that naturally produce silk fibers. The silk fibers are then harvested by heating with steam, and the fibers are then spun to make long threads, which are treated, dyed and woven together to make silk fabric.

Silk is a strong but lightweight material. It is soft and smooth to touch, and is stain resistant

Not extremely durable, Low elasticity, Not very resilient overall, Wrinkles easily on its own, Low abrasion resistance, Stiff, Brittle

Sisal
SI

Sisal refers to a special type of agave plant. Sisal fibers are extracted through a process known as decortication, where leave are crushed, beaten and brushed away by a spinning wheel set with knives that results in the remains only being the plants fibers. From there the fibers are dried which has varying levels of quality depending on the drying method with artificial drying providing the best quality of fibers.

High strength, High durability, Some stretch, Affinity for certain dyestuffs, Resistant to deterioration in salt water,

Silk is very expensive to produce and purchase, and it degrades over time- making it hard to preserve.

Terry Rayon
TR

Terry Rayon refers to a specific fabric made from a blend of polyester and viscose yarn. It is considered a premium grade fabric due to the effect that weaving the two fibers together creates, where it provides a strong yet super comfortable and lux appearance that is ideal for tailored suits. Its texture and appearance has that of wool while retaining the positive attributes of Rayon and Polyester.

Soft and Simple texture, Strong, High durability, High breathability, Superior to cotton when used for tailored suits, Insulates heat

Triacetate
CTA

Triacetate is made by combining acetate with a cellulose pulp which enhances some of the properties present in acetate and diminishes some of the weaknesses as well. Triacetate is used to commonly mixed with other fibers to decrease its weaknesses and cost. Triacetate is used to make a variety of different textile texture and is best known for its ability to hold pleats and folds.

  • Shrink and wrinkle resistant.
  • Easily washable.
  • Can be washed at high temperatures.
  • Can be ironed at higher temperatures than acetate.
  • Resistant to grease, oil, aromas, and other general solvent.

Easily marred by pinholes, seam ripping, and water spots; Tends to pucker along seam lines;

Triacetate
TA

Sisal farming contributes to deforestation as Sisal is an invasive species, Creates a lot of waste with no purpose for reuse,

True Hemp
CA/HA

True hemp is made from a specific Cannabis Sativa plant that is used for multiple industrial purposes and is one of the oldest spun fibers in history. Pure hemp has a texture similar to linen and for clothing purposes it is commonly mixed with lyocell.

Has many versatile uses for industry purposes, the fibers themselves are very strong so it can be used for making things like canvas and chords

Due to the fact that its derived from a Cannabis plant, although the industry hemp plant commonly used is a specific strain with low THC, the legality of growing it between countries varies greatly because of the possible THC content.

Vicuna
WG

Vicuna fibers come from a Vicuna that originates in the Andes and resembles a Llama. It is coveted for it luxurious extremely fine hairs, that are finer than cashmere, that are covered in tiny interlocking scales that trap air. It is the most luxurious fabric in tailoring due the fine hairs ultra lightweight insulating properties. Due to the shortness of the fine hairs, it is only suitable for scarves and accessories and is almost impossible to use for garment purposes like a suit.

Extremely soft, Extremely lightweight, High insulating properties,

Vinyl
VY

Vinyl in textile is a plasticized version of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Although commonly PVC is hard, but by adding plasticizers it allows the PVC to become pliable enough for textile purposes. It was created by accident in 1926 and was found to provide many useful and varying purposed from waterproofing to coating of electrical wires.

Acts as an insulator, Waterproof, Can be used to coat other textiles to provide those textiles with the enviable waterproof property, Can create matte or textured surfaces to imitate fabrics like leather, Can be produced in any imaginable color, Can be recycled and converted into new applications

Viscose is not environmentally friendly. The fabric also creases very easily.

Virgin Wool
WV

Virgin wool refers to sheep wool that comes from either a baby lamb’s first shearing or wool that has not been recycled. Sheep’s wool becomes more course as the sheep ages, so by shearing a baby lambs wool its the softest the wool will ever be.

Very Breathable, High moisture wicking capabilities, Some stretch ability, High heat retention, Strong, High durability, Can last decades, Very water absorbent, Fairly fire retardant,

Prone to bubbling and pilling, Very expensive for sheep’s wool, Can have a negative environmental impact if the sheep’s aren’t raised properly

Viscose
CV

Is this meant to be a double?

Versatility when it comes to blending fibers together; High breathability; Drapes well; Excellent color retention; Highly absorbent; Very smooth; Doesn’t trap body heat; Light material; Strong and robust; Very soft and comfortable; Inexpensive; No static build up

Can shrink when washed; Wrinkles easily; Deteriorates when exposed to light; Susceptible to mildew; Fibers easily weaken when wet

Viscose
VI

Viscose is a organic liquid used to make rayon and cellophane. Viscose is becoming synonymous with rayon, a soft material commonly used in shirts, shorts, coats, jackets, and other outer wear.

Viscose rayon has a silky appearance and feel, breathable similar to cotton, inexpensive.

Has very specific care instructions, Cannot be machine washed, Very costly, Not great for summer months

Wool
WO

Wool fabric is sheared from sheep, then its quality is checked and it is prepared for spinning. The wool is spun into long strands. Then the strands are woven into fabric. Wool is naturally very thick and provides good insulation.

Wool holds moisture without feeling wet and, it is a great thermal insulator.

Wool can be scratchy and uncomfortable to wear directly on the skin. As well it can felt overtime form heat and moisture.

Yak
WY

Yak fiber is the wool produced by the hair from a Yak. Yaks are sheared then sorted into three types of fibers. The fibers are washed and then spun to make a fine thread.

Yak Fiber is valued for its warmth, breathability and durability. Naturally soft. Odor resistant, Very absorbent,