STANDARD COTTON FABRICS


TEXTILE TERMS & DEFINITIONS

Armure
Fibre : Cotton, silk, wool, rayon, synthetics, and blends.
Weave : Plain, twill, or rib, background often has a small design either jacquard or dobby made with warp floats on surface giving a raised effect.
Characteristics : Design is often in two colours and raised. The name was derived from original fabric which was woven with a small interlaced design of chain armor and used for military equipment during the Crusades.
Uses : a rich looking dress fabric, draperies, or upholstery.
Batiste
Fibre : Cotton, also rayon and wool.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Named after Jean Baptiste, a French linen weaver. Light weight, soft, semi-sheer fabric which resembles nainsook, but finer. It belongs to the lawn family; almost transparent. It is made of tightly twisted, combed yarns and mercerized finish. Sometimes it is printed or embroidered. In a heavier weight, it is used for foundation garments and linings in a plain, figured, striped, or flowered design. Considered similar to nainsook but finer and lighter in weight. Now usually made of 100% polyester distinguished by slubs in filling direction.

Birdseye
Fibre : In cotton and Linen or blend of rayon staple and cotton.
Weave : Usually dobby
Characteristics : Very soft, light weight, and absorbent. Woven with a loosely twisted filling to increase absorbency. Launders very well. No starch is applied because the absorption properties must be of the best. Material must be free from any foreign matter. It is also called “diaper cloth” and is used for that purpose as well as very good towelling. Also “novelty” birdseye effects used as summer dress fabrics.

Broadcloth
Fibre : Cotton and silk, and rayon. Very different than wool broadcloth.
Weave : Plain weave and in most cotton broadcloths made with a very fine crosswise rib weave.
Characteristics : Originally indicated a cloth woven on a wide loom. Very closely woven and in cotton, made from either carded or combed yarns. The filling is heavier and has less twist. It is finer than poplin when made with a crosswise rib and it is lustrous and soft with a good texture. Thread count ranges from high quality 144 x 6 count down to 80 x 60. Has a smooth finish. May be bleached, dyed, or printed; also is often mercerized. Wears very well. If not of a high quality or treated it wrinkles very badly. Finest quality made from Egyptain or combed pima cotton – also sea island.
Uses : Shirts, dresses, particularly the tailored type in plain colours, blouses, summer wear of all kinds.

Brocade
Fibre : Cotton brocade often has the ground of cotton and the pattern of rayon and silk. Pattern is in low relief.
Weave : Jacquard and dobby
Characteristics : Rich, heavy, elaborate design effect. Sometimes with coloured or metallic threads making the design usually against a satin weave background. This makes the figures stand out. The figures in brocade are rather loose, while in damask the figure threads are actually bound into the material. The pattern may be satin on a twill ground or twill on a satin ground. Often reversible. The motifs may be of flowers, foliage, Scrollwork, Pastoral scenes, or other designs. The price range is wide. Generally reputed to have been developed from the latin name “brocade” which means to figure.
Uses : All types of after 5 wear, church vestments, interior furnishings, and state robes.

Buckram
Fibre : Cotton, some in linen, synthetics.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Cheap, low-textured, loose weave, very heavily sized and stiff. Also, 2 fabrics are glued together; one is open weave and the other much finer. Some is also made in linen in a single fabric. Also called crinoline book muslin or book binding. Name from Bokhara in Southern Russia, where it was first made.
Uses : Used for interlinings and all kinds of stiffening in clothes, book binding, and for millinery (because it can be moistened and shaped). Used to give stiffness to leather garments not as stiff and often coloured is called “tarlatan”. Softens with heat. Can be shaped while warm.

Calico
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain – usually a low count.
Characteristics : Originated in Calcutta, India, and is one of the oldest cottons. Rather coarse and light in weight. Pattern is printed on one side by discharge or resist printing. It is not always fast in colours. Sized for crispness but washes out and requires starch each time. Designs are often geometric in shape, but originally elaborate designs of birds, trees, and flowers. Inexpensive. Similar to percale. Very little on the market today, but the designs are still in use on other fabrics and sold as “calico print.”
Uses : Housedresses, aprons, patchwork quilts.

Cambric
Fibre : Cotton, also linen.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Soft, closely woven, light. Either bleached or piece dyed. Highly mercerized, lint free. Calendered on the right side with a slight gloss. Lower qualities have a smooth bright finish. Similar to batiste but is stiffer and fewer slubs. Launders very well. Has good body, sews and finishes well. Originally made in Cambria, France of linen and used for Church embroidery and table linens.
Uses : Handkerchiefs, underwear, slips, nightgowns, children’s dresses, aprons, shirts and blouses.

Candlewick Fabric
Fibre : Cotton – also wool.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : An unbleached muslin bed sheeting (also called Kraft muslin) used as a base fabric on which a chenille effect is formed by application of candlewick (heavy plied yarn) loops, which are then cut to give the fuzzy effect and cut yarn appearance of true chenille yarn. May be uncut also. (True chenille is a cotton, wool, silk, or rayon yarn which has a pile protruding all around at slight angles and stimulates a caterpillar. Chenille is the French word for caterpillar.)
Uses : Bedspreads, drapes, housecoats, beach wear.

Canton Flannel
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Four harness warp-faced twill weave.
Characteristics : The filling yarn is a very loosely twisted and soft and later brushed to produced a soft nap on the back, the warp is medium in size. The face is a twill. Heavy, warm, strong and absorbent. Named for Canton, China where it was first made. Comes bleached, unbleached, dyed, and some is printed.
Uses : Interlinings, sleeping garments, linings, coverings, work gloves.

Chambray

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain weave or dobby designs on a plain-weave ground.
Characteristics : Made with a dyed warp and a white or unbleached filling. Both carded and combed yarns used. Has a white selvedge. Some woven with alternating white and coloured warp. “Faded” look. Has very soft colouring. Some made with stripes, checks or embroidered. Smooth, strong, closely woven, soft and has a slight lustre. Wears very well, easy to sew, and launders well. If not crease resistant, it wrinkles easily. Originated in Cobrai, France it was first made for sunbonnets.
Uses : Children’s wear, dresses, shirts and blouses, aprons, all kinds of sportswear.

Chamois Cloth
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Fabric is napped, sheared, and dyed to simulate chamois leather. It is stiffer than kasha and thicker, softer and more durable than flannelette. Must be designated as “cotton chamoise-colour cloth”.
Uses : Dusters, interlining, storage bags for articles to prevent scratching.

Chamoisette
Fibre : Cotton, also rayon and nylon.
Weave : Knitted, double knit construction.
Characteristics : A fine, firmly knit fabric. Has a vary short soft nap. Wears well. Nylon chamoisette is more often called “glove silk”.
Uses : Gloves.

Cheesecloth
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Originally used as a wrapping material for pressing cheese. Loosely woven, thin, light in weight, open in construction, and soft. Carded yarns are always used. It is also called gauze weave. When woven in 36″ widths it is called tobacco cloth, When an applied finish is added, it is called buckram, crinoline, or bunting.
Uses : In the grey cloth, it is used for covering tobacco plants, tea bags and wiping cloths.
Finished cloth is used for curtains, bandages, dust cloths, cheap bunting, hat lining, surgical gauze, fly nets, food wrapping, e.g. meat and cheese, costumes and basket tops.

Chenille Fabric
Fibre : Cotton and any of the main textile fibres.
Weave : Mostly plain weave.
Characteristics : Warp yarn of any major textile fibre. Filling of chenille yarns (Has a pile protruding all around at right angles). The word is French for caterpillar and fabric looks hairy. Do not confuse with tufted effects obtained without the use of true Chenille filling.
Uses : Millinery, rugs, decorative fabrics, trimmings, upholstery.

Chinchilla
Fibre : Cotton or wool, and some manmade and synthetics.
Weave : Sateen or twill construction with extra fillings for long floats.
Characteristics : Does not resemble true chinchillas fur. Has small nubs on the surface of the fabric which are made by the chincilla machine. It attacks the face and causes the long floats to be worked into nubs and balls. Cotton warp is often used because it cannot show from either side. Made in medium and heavy weights. Very warm and cozy fabrics. Takes its name from Chinchilla Spain where it was invented.
Uses : In cotton, used for baby’s blankets and bunting bags.

Chino
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Twill (left hand)
Characteristics : Combined two-ply warp and filling. Has a sheen that remains. Fabric was purchased in China (thus the name) by the U.S. Army for uniforms. Originally used for army cloth in England many years before and dyed olive-drab. Fabric is mercerized and sanforized. Washs and wears extremely well with a minimum of care.
Uses : Army uniforms, summer suits and dresses, sportswear.

Chintz
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Has bright gay figures, large flower designs, birds and other designs. Also comes in plain colours. Several types of glaze. The wax and starch glaze produced by friction or glazing calendars will wash out. The resin glaze finish will not wash out and withstand drycleaning. Also comes semi-glazed. Unglazed chintz is called cretonne. Named from the Indian word “Chint” meaning ” broad, gaudily printed fabric”.
Uses : Draperies, slipcovers, dresses, sportwear.

Corduroy
Fibre : Cotton, rayon, and other textile fibres.
Weave : Filling Pile with both plain and twill back.
Characteristics : Made with an extra filling yarn. In the velvet family of fabrics. Has narrow medium and wide wales, also thick n’thin or checkerboard patterns. Wales have different widths and depths. Has to be cut all one way with pile running up. Most of it is washable and wears very well. Has a soft lustre.
Uses : Children’s clothes of all kinds, dresses, jackets, skirts, suits, slacks, sportswear, men’s trousers, jackets, bedspreads, draperies, and upholstery.

Crepe
Fibre : Worsted cotton, wool, silk, man-made synthetics.
Weave : Mostly plain, but various weaves.
Characteristics : Has a crinkled, puckered surface or soft mossy finish. Comes in different weights and degrees of sheerness. Dull with a harch dry feel. Woolen crepes are softer than worsted. If it is fine, it drapes well. Has very good wearing qualities. Has a very slimming effect.
Uses : Depending on weight, it is used for dresses of all types, including long dinner dresses, suits, and coats.

Crettone
Fibre : Cotton, linen, rayon
Weave : Plain or twill.
Characteristics : Finished in widths from 30 to 50 inches. Quality and price vary a great deal. The warp counts are finer than the filling counts which are spun rather loose. Strong substantial and gives good wear. Printed cretonne often has very bright colours and patterns. The fabric has no lustre (when glazed, it is called chintz). Some are warp printed and if they are, they are usually completely reversible. Designs run from the conservative to very wild and often completely cover the surface.
Uses : Bedspreads, chairs, draperies, pillows, slipcovers, coverings of all kinds, beach wear, sportwear.

Denim
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Twill – right hand – may be L2/1 or L3/1.
Characteristics : Name derived from French “serge de Nimes”. Originally had dark blue, brown or dark grey warp with a white or gray filling giving a mottled look and used only for work clothes. Now woven in bright and pastel colours with stripes as well as plain. Long wearing, it resists snags and tears, Comes in heavy and lighter weights.
Uses : Work clothes, overalls, caps, uniforms, bedspreads, slipcovers, draperies, upholstery, sportswear, of all kinds, dresses and has even been used for evening wear.

Dimity
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain weave with a crosswise or lengthwise spaced rib or crossbar effect.
Characteristics : A thin sheer with corded spaced stripes that could be single, double or triple grouping. Made of combed yarn and is 36” wide. Has a crisp texture which remains fairly well after washing. Resembles lawn in the white state. It is easy to sew and manipulate and launders well. Creases unless creaseresistant. May be bleached, dyed, or printed and often printed with a small rosebud design. It is mercerized and has a soft lustre.
Uses : Children’s dresses, women’s dresses, and blouses, infant’s wear, collar and cuff sets, basinettes, bedspreads, curtains, underwear. Has a very young look.

Domett Flannel
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain and twill
Characteristics : Also spelled domet. Generally made in white. Has a longer nap than on flannelette. Soft filling yarns of medium or light weight are used to obtain the nap. The term domett is interchangeable with “outing flannel” but it is only made in a plain weave. Both are soft and fleecy and won’t irritate the skin. Any sizing or starching must be removed before using. Outing flannel is also piece-dyed and some printed and produced in a spun rayon also.
Uses : Mostly used for infants wear, interlinings, polished cloths.

Pique
Fibre: Cotton, rayon, synthetics.
Weave: Lengthwise rib, English crosswise rib or cord weave.
Characteristics: Originally was a crosswise rib but now mostly a lenghtwise rib and the same as bedford cord. Ribs are often filled to give a more pronounced wale (cord weave). Comes in medium to heavy weights. It is generally made of combed face yarns and carded stuffer yarns. It is durable and launders well. Wrinkles badly unless given a wrinkle-free finish. Various prices. Also comes in different patterns besides wales. The small figured motifs are called cloque. Some of the patterns are birdseye (small diamond), waffle (small squares). honeycomb (like the design on honeycomb honey). When the fabric begins to wear out it wears at the corded areas first.
Uses : Trims, collars, cuffs, millinery, infants wear, particularly coats, and bonnets, women’s and children’s summer dresses, skirts and blouses, shirts, playclothes, and evening gowns.

Plisse
Fibre : Cotton, rayon, and others.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Could be made from any fine material, e.g. organdy, lawn, etc. Treated with caustic soda solution which shrinks parts of the goods either all
over or in stripes giving a blistered effect. Similar to seersucker in appearance. This crinkle may or may not be removed after washing. This depends on the quality of the fabric. It does not need to be ironed, but if a double thickness, such as a hem needs a little, it should be done after the fabric is thoroughly dry.
Uses : Sleepwear, housecoats, dresses, blouses for women and children, curtains, bedspreads, and bassinettes. Often it is called wrinkle crepe and may be made with a wax/shrink process (the waxed parts remain free of shrinkage and cause the ripples).

Point d’esprit
Fibre : Cotton – some in silk.
Weave : Leno, gauze, knotted, or mesh.
Characteristics : First made in France in 1834. Dull surfaced net with various sized holes. Has white or coloured dots individually spaced or in groups.
Uses : Curtains, bassinettes, evening gowns

Poplin
Fibre : Cotton, wool, and other textile fibres.
Weave : Crosswise rib. The filling is cylindrical. Two or three times as many warp as weft per inch.
Characteristics : Has a more pronounced filling effect than broadcloth. It is mercerized and has quite a high lustre. It may be bleached, or dyed (usually vat dyes are used) or printed. Heavy poplin is given a water-repellent finish for outdoor use. Originally made with silk warp and a heavier wool filling. Some also mildew-proof, fire-retardant, and some given a suede finish. American cotton broadcloth shirting is known as poplin in Great Britain.
Uses : Sportswear of all kinds, shirts, boy’s suits, uniforms, draperies, blouses, dresses.

Sailcloth
Fibre : Cotton, linen, nylon.
Weave : Plain, some made with a crosswise rib.
Characteristics : A strong canvas or duck. The weights vary, but most often the count is around 148×60. Able to withstand the elements (rain, wind and snow). Sailcloth for clothing is sold frequently and is much lighter weight than used for sails.
Uses : Sails, awnings, and all kinds of sportswear for men, women, and children.

Sateen
Fibre : Cotton, some also made in rayon.
Weave : Sateen, 5-harness, filling-face weave.
Characteristics : Lustrous and smooth with the sheen in a filling direction. Carded or combed yarns are used. Better qualities are mercerized to give a higher sheen. Some are only calendered to produce the sheen but this disappears with washing and is not considered genuine sateen. May be bleached, dyed, or printed. Difficult to make good bound buttonholes on it as it has a tendency to slip at the seams.
Uses : Dresses, sportswear, blouses, robes, pyjamas, linings for draperies, bedspreads, slip covers.

Seersucker
Fibre : Cotton, rayon, synthetics.
Weave : Plain, slack tension weave.
Characteristics : Term derived from the Persian “shirushaker”, a kind of cloth, literally “milk and sugar”. Crepe-stripe effect. Coloured stripes are often used. Dull surface. Comes in medium to heavy weights. the woven crinkle is produced by alternating slack and tight yarns in the warp. This is permanent. Some may be produced by pressing or chemicals, which is not likely to be permanent – called plisse. Durable, gives good service and wear. May be laundered without ironing. Can be bleached, yarn dyed, or printed. Some comes in a check effect.
Uses : Summer suits for men, women, and children, coats, uniforms, trims, nightwear, all kinds of sportswear, dresses, blouses, children’s wear of all kinds, curtains, bedspreads, slipcovers.

Shantung
Fibre : Cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics.
Weave : Plain.
Characteristics : It is a raw silk made from Tussah silk or silk waste, depending on the quality. It is quite similar to pongee, but has a more irregular surface, heavier, and rougher. Most of the slubs are in the filling direction. Wrinkles quite a bit. Underlining helps to prevent this as well as slipping at the seams. Do not fit too tightly, if long wear is expected. Comes in various weights, colours and also printed.
Uses : Dresses, suits, and coats.

Terry cloth
Fibre : Cotton and some linen.
Weave : Pile, also jacquard and dobby combined with pile.
Characteristics : Either all over loops on both sides of the fabric or patterned loops on both sides. Formed with an extra warp yarn. long wearing, easy to launder and requires no ironing. May be bleached, dyed, or printed. Better qualities have a close, firm, underweave, with very close loops. Very absorbent, and the longer the loop, the greater the absorbency. When the pile is only on one side, it is called “Turkish towelling.”
Uses : Towels, beachwear, bathrobes, all kinds of sportswear, children’s wear, slip covers, and draperies.

Tiking
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Usually twill (L2/1 or L3/1), some jacquard, satin, and dobby.
Characteristics : Very tightly woven with more warp than filling yarns. Very sturdy and strong, smooth and lustrous. Usually has white and coloured stripes, but some patterned (floral). Can be made water-repellent, germ resistant, and feather-proof.
Uses : Pillow covers, mattress coverings, upholstering and some sportswear. `Bohemian ticking” has a plain weave, a very high texture, and is featherproof. Lighter weight than regular ticking. Patterned with narrow coloured striped on a white background or may have a chambray effect by using a white or unbleached warp with a blue or red filling.

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FLAX


Next to wool and cotton, flax is used most largely in our textile manufactures. The linen fiber consists of the bast cells of certain species of flax grown in Europe, Africa, and the United States. All bast fibers are obtained near the outer surface of the plant stems. The pith and woody tissues are of no value. The flax plant is an annual and to obtain the best fibers it must be gathered before it is fully ripe. To obtain seed from which the best quality of linseed oil can be made it is usually necessary to sacrifice the quality of the fibers to some extent.

A FIELD OF FLAX

The Flax Must Be Pulled Up by the Roots to Give Fibres with Tapered Ends.

  • Treatment of Flax

Unlike cotton, flax is contaminated by impurities from which it must be freed before it can be woven into cloth. The first process to which the freshly pulled flax is submitted is that of “rippling” or the removal of the seed capsules. Retting, next in order, is the most important operation. This is done to remove the substances which bind the bast fibers to each other and to remove the fiber from the central woody portion of the stem. This consists of steeping the stalks in water.

  • Retting

(1) Cold water retting, either running or stagnant water.
(2) Dew retting.
(3) Warm water retting.

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RETTING TANK
A—Inlet; B—Undisturbed Water; C—Bundles of Flax.

Cold water retting in running water is practiced in Belgium. Retting in stagnant water is the method usually employed in Ireland and Russia. The retting in stagnant water is more rapidly done, but there is danger of over-retting on account of the organic matter retained in the water which favours fermentation. In this case the fiber is weakened.

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RETTING FLAX IN THE RIVER LYS, BELGIUM

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FIBERS OF FLAX

In dew retting, the flax is spread on the field and exposed to the action of the weather for several weeks without any previous steeping. This method of retting is practiced in Germany and Russia. Warm water retting and chemical retting have met with limited success.

When the retting is complete, the flax is set up in sheaves to dry. The next operations consist of “breaking,” “scutching,” and “hackling” and are now done by machinery.

Breaking removes the woody center from the retted and dried flax by being passed through a series of fluted rollers. The particles of woody matter adhering to the fibers are detached by scutching.

  • Hackling

Hackling or combing still further separates the fibers into their finest filaments—”line” and “tow.” The “flax line” is the long and valuable fiber; the tow, the short coarse tangled fiber which is spun and used for weaving coarse linen.

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FLAX
A, Unthrashed Straw; B, Retted; C, Cleaned or Scutched; D, Hackled or Dressed.

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HACKLING FLAX BY HAND
The “Tow” Is Seen at the Left and a Bunch of “Flax line” on the Bench.

  • Characteristics of Linen

When freed from all impurities the chief physical characteristics of flax are its snowy whiteness, silky luster and great tenacity. The individual fibers may [Pg 50]be from ten to twelve inches in length; they are much greater in diameter than cotton. It is less pliant and elastic than cotton and bleaches and dyes less readily. Linen cloth is a better conductor of heat than cotton and clothing made from it is cooler. When pure, it is, like cotton, nearly pure cellulose.

  • Ramie

Besides the linen, there is a great number of bast fibers fit for textile purposes, some superior, some inferior. India alone has over three hundred plants that are fiber yielding. One-third of these furnish useful fibers for cordage and fabrics. The next in importance to linen is ramie or rhea, and China grass. China grass comes from a different plant but is about the same as ramie. The staple is longer and finer than linen. The great strength of yarn made from it is due to length of the staple.

The variety and great value of the ramie fibers has long been recognized, but difficulties attending the separation and degumming of the fibers have prevented its employment in the manufactures to any great extent. The native Chinese split and scrape the plant stems, steeping them in water. The common retting process used for flax is not effective on account of the large amount of gummy matter, and although easy to bleach it is difficult to dye in full bright shades without injuring the luster of the fibers.

  • Jute and Hemp

Jute and hemp belong to the lower order of bast fibers. The fiber is large and is unfit for any but the coarsest kind of fabrics. Jute is mainly cultivated in Bengal. The fiber is  separated from the plant by retting, beating, etc.

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JUTE GROWING IN LOUISIANA.

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DRYING HEMP IN KENTUCKY

  • Olona

Olona, the textile fiber of Hawaii, is found to have promising qualities. This plant resembles ramie and belongs to the nettle family also, but it is without the troublesome resin of the ramie. The fiber is fine, light, strong, and durable.

The Philippines are rich in fiber producing plants. The manila hemp is the most prominent, of which coarse cloth is woven, besides the valuable cordage. The sisal hemp, pineapple, yucca, and a number of fiber plants growing in the southern part of the United States are worthy of note. These fiber industries are conducted in a rude way, the fiber being cleaned by hand, except the pineapple.

The Burn Test to Identify Textile Fibers


The burn test is a simple, somewhat subjective test based on the knowledge of how particular fibers burn. Be prepared to note the following when testing your fibers:
• Do the fibers melt and/or burn?
• Do the fibers shrink from the flame?
• What type of odor do the fumes have?
• What is the characteristic(s) of any smoke?
• What does the residue of the burned fibers look like?

The burn test is normally made on a small sample of yarns or thread which are twisted together. Since the fiber content of yarns used in one direction of a fabric are not always made up of the same fibers used in the other direction, warp and filling yarns should be burned separately to determine the entire fiber content of the fabric. This test is very helpful in determining whether a fabric is made from synthetic or natural fibers, but it is not foolproof and the characteristics observed during the burning test can be affected by several things. If the fabric /yarn contains blends of fibers, identification of individual fibers can be difficult. Two or three different kinds of fibers burned together in one yarn may also be difficult to distinguish. The odor and burning characteristics exhibited may be that of several fibers, thus making your results difficult to analyze. Finishes used on the fabric can also change the observed characteristics.

  • Pull a small sample of at least six to eight yarns from your fabric about 4 inches long, and twist them together into a bundle about 1/8 inch in diameter. You can also use a small snippet of the fabric if you only need to determine whether it is a synthetic or natural fiber fabric and you are not seeking to determine the specific fiber(s) that make up the fabric.
  • Hold one end of the bundle with tweezers over a sink or a sheet of aluminum foil (about 10 to 12 inches square) to protect your working area. If the sample ignites it can be dropped into the sink or on the foil without damage. Use either a candle or a match (automatic lighters work well) as your flame.

Potential Test Results

Natural, Organic & Manmade Fibers

In general, if the ash is soft and the odor is of burning hair or paper, the fabric is a natural fiber. Cellulosic fibers (cotton, linen and rayon) burn rapidly with a yellow flame. When the flame is removed, there is an afterglow, then soft gray ash.

Cotton: Ignites on contact with flames; burns quickly and leaves a yellowish to orange afterglow when put out. Does not melt. It has the odor of burning paper, leaves, or wood. The residue is a fine, feathery, gray ash.
• Hemp: Same as cotton
• Linen: Same as cotton
• Ramie : Same as cotton
• Rayon : Same as cotton, but burns slowly without flame with slight melting; leaves soft black ash.
• Silk: Burns slowly, but does not melt. It shrinks from the flame. It has the odor of charred meat (some say like burned hair). The residue is a black, hollow irregular bead that can be easily to a gritty, grayish-black ash powder. It is self-extinguishing, i.e., it burns itself out.
Tencel : Same as Rayon
• Wool, and other Protein Fibers: Burns with an orange sputtery color, but does not melt. It shrinks from the flame. It has a strong odor of burning hair or feathers. The residue is a black, hollow irregular bead that can be easily crushed into a gritty black powder. It is self-extinguishing, i.e., it burns itself out.

Synthetic Fibers

Most synthetic fibers both burn and melt, and also tend to shrink away from the flame. Synthetics burn with an acrid, chemical or vinegar-like odor and leave a plastic bead.
Other identifying characteristics include:
• Acetate: Flames and burns quickly; has an odor similar to burning paper and hot vinegar. Its residue is a hard, dark, solid bead. If you suspect a fabric is acetate, double-check by placing a scrap of it in a small amount of fingernail polish remover-if you’re correct, the fabric will dissolve
• Acrylic: Flames and burns rapidly with hot, sputtering flame and a black smoke. Has an acrid, fishy odor. The residue is a hard irregularly-shaped black bead.
• Nylon: It will shrink from the flame and burn slowly. Has an odor likened to celery. Its residue is initially a hard, cream-colored bead that becomes darker gray.
• Olefin/Polyolefin: Has a chemical type odor. The residue id a hard, tancolored bead. The flames creates black smoke.
• Polyester: It will shrink from the flame and burn slowly giving off black smoke. Has a somewhat sweet chemical odor. The residue is initially a hard cream-colored bead that becomes darker tan.
Spandex: It burns and melts, but does not shrink from the flame. It has a chemical type odor. Its residue is a soft, sticky black ash.

 

STANDARD COTTON FABRICS


  • Armure

Fibre : Cotton, silk, wool, rayon, synthetics, and blends.
Weave : Plain, twill, or rib, background often has a small design either jacquard or dobby made with warp floats on surface giving a raised effect.
Characteristics : Design is often in two colours and raised. The name was derived from original fabric which was woven with a small interlaced design of chain armor and used for military equipment during the Crusades.
Uses : a rich looking dress fabric, draperies, or upholstery.

  • Batiste

Fibre : Cotton, also rayon and wool.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Named after Jean Baptiste, a French linen weaver. Light weight, soft, semi-sheer fabric which resembles nainsook, but finer. It belongs to the lawn family; almost transparent. It is made of tightly twisted, combed yarns and mercerized finish. Sometimes it is printed or embroidered. In a heavier weight, it is used for foundation garments and linings in a plain, figured, striped, or flowered design. Considered similar to nainsook but finer and lighter in weight. Now usually made of 100% polyester distinguished by slubs in filling direction.

  • Birdseye

Fibre : In cotton and Linen or blend of rayon staple and cotton.
Weave : Usually dobby
Characteristics : Very soft, light weight, and absorbent. Woven with a loosely twisted filling to increase absorbency. Launders very well. No starch is applied because the absorption properties must be of the best. Material must be free from any foreign matter. It is also called “diaper cloth” and is used for that purpose as well as very good towelling. Also “novelty” birdseye effects used as summer dress fabrics.

  • Broadcloth

Fibre : Cotton and silk, and rayon. Very different than wool broadcloth.
Weave : Plain weave and in most cotton broadcloths made with a very fine crosswise rib weave.
Characteristics : Originally indicated a cloth woven on a wide loom. Very closely woven and in cotton, made from either carded or combed yarns. The filling is heavier and has less twist. It is finer than poplin when made with a crosswise rib and it is lustrous and soft with a good texture. Thread count ranges from high quality 144 x 6 count down to 80 x 60. Has a smooth finish. May be bleached, dyed, or printed; also is often mercerized. Wears very well. If not of a high quality or treated it wrinkles very badly. Finest quality made from Egyptain or combed pima cotton – also sea island.
Uses : Shirts, dresses, particularly the tailored type in plain colours, blouses, summer wear of all kinds.

  • Brocade

Fibre : Cotton brocade often has the ground of cotton and the pattern of rayon and silk. Pattern is in low relief.
Weave : Jacquard and dobby
Characteristics : Rich, heavy, elaborate design effect. Sometimes with coloured or metallic threads making the design usually against a satin weave background. This makes the figures stand out. The figures in brocade are rather loose, while in damask the figure threads are actually bound into the material. The pattern may be satin on a twill ground or twill on a satin ground. Often reversible. The motifs may be of flowers, foliage, Scrollwork, Pastoral scenes, or other designs. The price range is wide. Generally reputed to have been developed from the latin name “brocade” which means to figure.
Uses : All types of after 5 wear, church vestments, interior furnishings, and state robes.

  • Buckram

Fibre : Cotton, some in linen, synthetics.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Cheap, low-textured, loose weave, very heavily sized and stiff. Also, 2 fabrics are glued together; one is open weave and the other much finer. Some is also made in linen in a single fabric. Also called crinoline book muslin or book binding. Name from Bokhara in Southern Russia, where it was first made.
Uses : Used for interlinings and all kinds of stiffening in clothes, book binding, and for millinery (because it can be moistened and shaped). Used to give stiffness to leather garments not as stiff and often coloured is called “tarlatan”. Softens with heat. Can be shaped while warm.

  • Calico

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain – usually a low count.
Characteristics : Originated in Calcutta, India, and is one of the oldest cottons. Rather coarse and light in weight. Pattern is printed on one side by discharge or resist printing. It is not always fast in colours. Sized for crispness but washes out and requires starch each time. Designs are often geometric in shape, but originally elaborate designs of birds, trees, and flowers. Inexpensive. Similar to percale. Very little on the market today, but the designs are still in use on other fabrics and sold as “calico print.”
Uses : Housedresses, aprons, patchwork quilts.

  • Cambric

Fibre : Cotton, also linen.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Soft, closely woven, light. Either bleached or piece dyed. Highly mercerized, lint free. Calendered on the right side with a slight gloss. Lower qualities have a smooth bright finish. Similar to batiste but is stiffer and fewer slubs. Launders very well. Has good body, sews and finishes well. Originally made in Cambria, France of linen and used for Church embroidery and table linens.
Uses : Handkerchiefs, underwear, slips, nightgowns, children’s dresses, aprons, shirts and blouses.

 

Fibre : Cotton – also wool.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : An unbleached muslin bed sheeting (also called Kraft muslin) used as a base fabric on which a chenille effect is formed by application of candlewick (heavy plied yarn) loops, which are then cut to give the fuzzy effect and cut yarn appearance of true chenille yarn. May be uncut also. (True chenille is a cotton, wool, silk, or rayon yarn which has a pile protruding all around at slight angles and stimulates a caterpillar. Chenille is the French word for caterpillar.)
Uses : Bedspreads, drapes, housecoats, beach wear.

 

  • Canton Flannel

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Four harness warp-faced twill weave.
Characteristics : The filling yarn is a very loosely twisted and soft and later brushed to produced a soft nap on the back, the warp is medium in size. The face is a twill. Heavy, warm, strong and absorbent. Named for Canton, China where it was first made. Comes bleached, unbleached, dyed, and some is printed.
Uses : Interlinings, sleeping garments, linings, coverings, work gloves.

 

  • Canvas

see Duck
Chambray
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain weave or dobby designs on a plain-weave ground.
Characteristics : Made with a dyed warp and a white or unbleached filling. Both carded and combed yarns used. Has a white selvedge. Some woven with alternating white and coloured warp. “Faded” look. Has very soft colouring. Some made with stripes, checks or embroidered. Smooth, strong, closely woven, soft and has a slight lustre. Wears very well, easy to sew, and launders well. If not crease resistant, it wrinkles easily. Originated in Cobrai, France it was first made for sunbonnets.
Uses : Children’s wear, dresses, shirts and blouses, aprons, all kinds of sportswear.

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Fabric is napped, sheared, and dyed to simulate chamois leather. It is stiffer than kasha and thicker, softer and more durable than flannelette. Must be designated as “cotton chamoise-colour cloth”.
Uses : Dusters, interlining, storage bags for articles to prevent scratching.

  • Chamoisette

Fibre : Cotton, also rayon and nylon.
Weave : Knitted, double knit construction.
Characteristics : A fine, firmly knit fabric. Has a vary short soft nap. Wears well. Nylon chamoisette is more often called “glove silk”.
Uses : Gloves.

 

  • Cheesecloth

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Originally used as a wrapping material for pressing cheese. Loosely woven, thin, light in weight, open in construction, and soft. Carded yarns are always used. It is also called gauze weave. When woven in 36″ widths it is called tobacco cloth, When an applied finish is added, it is called buckram, crinoline, or bunting.
Uses : In the grey cloth, it is used for covering tobacco plants, tea bags and wiping cloths.
Finished cloth is used for curtains, bandages, dust cloths, cheap bunting, hat lining, surgical gauze, fly nets, food wrapping, e.g. meat and cheese, costumes and basket tops.

 

  • Chenille Fabric

Fibre : Cotton and any of the main textile fibres.
Weave : Mostly plain weave.
Characteristics : Warp yarn of any major textile fibre. Filling of chenille yarns (Has a pile protruding all around at right angles). The word is French for caterpillar and fabric looks hairy. Do not confuse with tufted effects obtained without the use of true Chenille filling.
Uses : Millinery, rugs, decorative fabrics, trimmings, upholstery.

 

  • Chinchilla

Fibre : Cotton or wool, and some manmade and synthetics.
Weave : Sateen or twill construction with extra fillings for long floats.
Characteristics : Does not resemble true chinchillas fur. Has small nubs on the surface of the fabric which are made by the chincilla machine. It attacks the face and causes the long floats to be worked into nubs and balls. Cotton warp is often used because it cannot show from either side. Made in medium and heavy weights. Very warm and cozy fabrics. Takes its name from Chinchilla Spain where it was invented.
Uses : In cotton, used for baby’s blankets and bunting bags.

 

  • Chino

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Twill (left hand)
Characteristics : Combined two-ply warp and filling. Has a sheen that remains. Fabric was purchased in China (thus the name) by the U.S. Army for uniforms. Originally used for army cloth in England many years before and dyed olive-drab. Fabric is mercerized and sanforized. Washs and wears extremely well with a minimum of care.
Uses : Army uniforms, summer suits and dresses, sportswear.

 

  • Chintz

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Has bright gay figures, large flower designs, birds and other designs. Also comes in plain colours. Several types of glaze. The wax and starch glaze produced by friction or glazing calendars will wash out. The resin glaze finish will not wash out and withstand drycleaning. Also comes semi-glazed. Unglazed chintz is called cretonne. Named from the Indian word “Chint” meaning ” broad, gaudily printed fabric”.
Uses : Draperies, slipcovers, dresses, sportwear.

  • Corduroy

Fibre : Cotton, rayon, and other textile fibres.
Weave : Filling Pile with both plain and twill back.
Characteristics : Made with an extra filling yarn. In the velvet family of fabrics. Has narrow medium and wide wales, also thick n’thin or checkerboard patterns. Wales have different widths and depths. Has to be cut all one way with pile running up. Most of it is washable and wears very well. Has a soft lustre.
Uses : Children’s clothes of all kinds, dresses, jackets, skirts, suits, slacks, sportswear, men’s trousers, jackets, bedspreads, draperies, and upholstery.

 

  • Crepe

Fibre : Worsted cotton, wool, silk, man-made synthetics.
Weave : Mostly plain, but various weaves.
Characteristics : Has a crinkled, puckered surface or soft mossy finish. Comes in different weights and degrees of sheerness. Dull with a harch dry feel. Woolen crepes are softer than worsted. If it is fine, it drapes well. Has very good wearing qualities. Has a very slimming effect.
Uses : Depending on weight, it is used for dresses of all types, including long dinner dresses, suits, and coats.

 

  • Crettone

Fibre : Cotton, linen, rayon
Weave : Plain or twill.
Characteristics : Finished in widths from 30 to 50 inches. Quality and price vary a great deal. The warp counts are finer than the filling counts which are spun rather loose. Strong substantial and gives good wear. Printed cretonne often has very bright colours and patterns. The fabric has no lustre (when glazed, it is called chintz). Some are warp printed and if they are, they are usually completely reversible. Designs run from the conservative to very wild and often completely cover the surface.
Uses : Bedspreads, chairs, draperies, pillows, slipcovers, coverings of all kinds, beach wear, sportwear.

 

  • Denim

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Twill – right hand – may be L2/1 or L3/1.
Characteristics : Name derived from French “serge de Nimes”. Originally had dark blue, brown or dark grey warp with a white or gray filling giving a mottled look and used only for work clothes. Now woven in bright and pastel colours with stripes as well as plain. Long wearing, it resists snags and tears, Comes in heavy and lighter weights.
Uses : Work clothes, overalls, caps, uniforms, bedspreads, slipcovers, draperies, upholstery, sportswear, of all kinds, dresses and has even been used for evening wear.

 

  • Dimity

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain weave with a crosswise or lengthwise spaced rib or crossbar effect.
Characteristics : A thin sheer with corded spaced stripes that could be single, double or triple grouping. Made of combed yarn and is 36” wide. Has a crisp texture which remains fairly well after washing. Resembles lawn in the white state. It is easy to sew and manipulate and launders well. Creases unless creaseresistant. May be bleached, dyed, or printed and often printed with a small rosebud design. It is mercerized and has a soft lustre.
Uses : Children’s dresses, women’s dresses, and blouses, infant’s wear, collar and cuff sets, basinettes, bedspreads, curtains, underwear. Has a very young look.

 

  • Domett Flannel

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain and twill
Characteristics : Also spelled domet. Generally made in white. Has a longer nap than on flannelette. Soft filling yarns of medium or light weight are used to obtain the nap. The term domett is interchangeable with “outing flannel” but it is only made in a plain weave. Both are soft and fleecy and won’t irritate the skin. Any sizing or starching must be removed before using. Outing flannel is also piece-dyed and some printed and produced in a spun rayon also.
Uses : Mostly used for infants wear, interlinings, polished cloths.

 

  • Pique

Fibre: Cotton, rayon, synthetics.
Weave: Lengthwise rib, English crosswise rib or cord weave.
Characteristics: Originally was a crosswise rib but now mostly a lenghtwise rib and the same as bedford cord. Ribs are often filled to give a more pronounced wale (cord weave). Comes in medium to heavy weights. It is generally made of combed face yarns and carded stuffer yarns. It is durable and launders well. Wrinkles badly unless given a wrinkle-free finish. Various prices. Also comes in different patterns besides wales. The small figured motifs are called cloque. Some of the patterns are birdseye (small diamond), waffle (small squares). honeycomb (like the design on honeycomb honey). When the fabric begins to wear out it wears at the corded areas first.
Uses : Trims, collars, cuffs, millinery, infants wear, particularly coats, and bonnets, women’s and children’s summer dresses, skirts and blouses, shirts, playclothes, and evening gowns.

  • Plisse

Fibre : Cotton, rayon, and others.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Could be made from any fine material, e.g. organdy, lawn, etc. Treated with caustic soda solution which shrinks parts of the goods either all
over or in stripes giving a blistered effect. Similar to seersucker in appearance. This crinkle may or may not be removed after washing. This depends on the quality of the fabric. It does not need to be ironed, but if a double thickness, such as a hem needs a little, it should be done after the fabric is thoroughly dry.
Uses : Sleepwear, housecoats, dresses, blouses for women and children, curtains, bedspreads, and bassinettes. Often it is called wrinkle crepe and may be made with a wax/shrink process (the waxed parts remain free of shrinkage and cause the ripples).

 

  • Point d’esprit

Fibre : Cotton – some in silk.
Weave : Leno, gauze, knotted, or mesh.
Characteristics : First made in France in 1834. Dull surfaced net with various sized holes. Has white or coloured dots individually spaced or in groups.
Uses : Curtains, bassinettes, evening gowns

 

  • Poplin

Fibre : Cotton, wool, and other textile fibres.
Weave : Crosswise rib. The filling is cylindrical. Two or three times as many warp as weft per inch.
Characteristics : Has a more pronounced filling effect than broadcloth. It is mercerized and has quite a high lustre. It may be bleached, or dyed (usually vat dyes are used) or printed. Heavy poplin is given a water-repellent finish for outdoor use. Originally made with silk warp and a heavier wool filling. Some also mildew-proof, fire-retardant, and some given a suede finish. American cotton broadcloth shirting is known as poplin in Great Britain.
Uses : Sportswear of all kinds, shirts, boy’s suits, uniforms, draperies, blouses, dresses.

 

  • Sailcloth

Fibre : Cotton, linen, nylon.
Weave : Plain, some made with a crosswise rib.
Characteristics : A strong canvas or duck. The weights vary, but most often the count is around 148×60. Able to withstand the elements (rain, wind and snow). Sailcloth for clothing is sold frequently and is much lighter weight than used for sails.
Uses : Sails, awnings, and all kinds of sportswear for men, women, and children.

 

  • Sateen

Fibre : Cotton, some also made in rayon.
Weave : Sateen, 5-harness, filling-face weave.
Characteristics : Lustrous and smooth with the sheen in a filling direction. Carded or combed yarns are used. Better qualities are mercerized to give a higher sheen. Some are only calendered to produce the sheen but this disappears with washing and is not considered genuine sateen. May be bleached, dyed, or printed. Difficult to make good bound buttonholes on it as it has a tendency to slip at the seams.
Uses : Dresses, sportswear, blouses, robes, pyjamas, linings for draperies, bedspreads, slip covers.

 

  • Seersucker

Fibre : Cotton, rayon, synthetics.
Weave : Plain, slack tension weave.
Characteristics : Term derived from the Persian “shirushaker”, a kind of cloth, literally “milk and sugar”. Crepe-stripe effect. Coloured stripes are often used. Dull surface. Comes in medium to heavy weights. the woven crinkle is produced by alternating slack and tight yarns in the warp. This is permanent. Some may be produced by pressing or chemicals, which is not likely to be permanent – called plisse. Durable, gives good service and wear. May be laundered without ironing. Can be bleached, yarn dyed, or printed. Some comes in a check effect.
Uses : Summer suits for men, women, and children, coats, uniforms, trims, nightwear, all kinds of sportswear, dresses, blouses, children’s wear of all kinds, curtains, bedspreads, slipcovers.

  • Shantung

Fibre : Cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics.
Weave : Plain.
Characteristics : It is a raw silk made from Tussah silk or silk waste, depending on the quality. It is quite similar to pongee, but has a more irregular surface, heavier, and rougher. Most of the slubs are in the filling direction. Wrinkles quite a bit. Underlining helps to prevent this as well as slipping at the seams. Do not fit too tightly, if long wear is expected. Comes in various weights, colours and also printed.
Uses : Dresses, suits, and coats.

 

  • Terry cloth

Fibre : Cotton and some linen.
Weave : Pile, also jacquard and dobby combined with pile.
Characteristics : Either all over loops on both sides of the fabric or patterned loops on both sides. Formed with an extra warp yarn. long wearing, easy to launder and requires no ironing. May be bleached, dyed, or printed. Better qualities have a close, firm, underweave, with very close loops. Very absorbent, and the longer the loop, the greater the absorbency. When the pile is only on one side, it is called “Turkish towelling.”
Uses : Towels, beachwear, bathrobes, all kinds of sportswear, children’s wear, slip covers, and draperies.

 

  • Tiking

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Usually twill (L2/1 or L3/1), some jacquard, satin, and dobby.
Characteristics : Very tightly woven with more warp than filling yarns. Very sturdy and strong, smooth and lustrous. Usually has white and coloured stripes, but some patterned (floral). Can be made water-repellent, germ resistant, and feather-proof.
Uses : Pillow covers, mattress coverings, upholstering and some sportswear. `Bohemian ticking” has a plain weave, a very high texture, and is featherproof. Lighter weight than regular ticking. Patterned with narrow coloured striped on a white background or may have a chambray effect by using a white or unbleached warp with a blue or red filling.

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