Textile, Bedding & Bath Glossary

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

Aegean Cotton - Grown in Turkey by the historic Aegean Sea. This long staple cotton is reknown for its superior absorbency, soft feel, and pure white color. Aegean Cotton is handpicked by local farmers to ensure high quality and purity.

Angora - The hair of the Angora goat.

Aromatherapy - The use of oils extracted from aromatic plants to enhance health and beauty.

Baffling - A "baffled" construction has fabric walls sewn between the top and bottom of the comforter cover, which both prevents the down from shifting and allows the down to fully loft.

Batting - Cotton, wool, or synthetic fiber used for stuffing furniture and mattresses and for lining quilts.

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

Calendering - A process for finishing fabrics in which such special effects as high luster, glazing, embossing, and moiré are produced.

Cashmere - Cashmere comes from a goat's downy fleece undercoat which grows under their coat of longer more coarse guard hairs. The goats grow the undercoat in the winter to keep them warm; and shed it in the spring. The name cashmere comes from Kashmir, the mountainous region in Northern India and Pakistan, where Europeans first discovered it.

Comforter - Two pieces of fabric stitched along all four sides and filled with synthetic or natural filling.

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

Chambray - A plain-woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns. Pronounced "sham-bray".

Cellulose - A material derived from the cell walls of certain plants. Cellulose is used in the production of many vegetable fibers, as well as being the major raw material component used in the production of the manufactured fibers of acetate, rayon, and triacetate.

Compact Yarns - A spinning technology that increases the yarn quality. Compact yarns have better smoothness and uniformity, higher luster, less hairiness which results in less pilling and are stronger than conventional ring spun yarns.

Construction - Refers to the actual make-up of the weave: # of warp and weft yarns, # of picks in the weft, use of 2 ply yarns etc. The construction of a fabric determines its thread count.

Deep Pocket - Fitted sheets made to accomodate thick mattresses.

Dobby Weave - A decorative weave, usually geometric, that is woven into the fabric structure.

Down - The three-dimensional clusters that are found under the feathers of geese or ducks.

Duvet - A duvet is similar to a comforter and/or a quilt in that a duvet is also composed of two layers of fabric with an insulation substance between. However, the difference between a duvet and a comforter and/or quilt is that the duvet is to be placed inside a duvet cover. A comforter and/or quilt can be used as independent bed covers. Traditionally duvets were filled with down, but now are also filled with down alernatives like Comforel polyester fiber.

Duvet Cover - A giant pillowcase-like covering that fits over a duvet. It is open on one end, typically closed by buttons, ties or a zipper. The purpose a duvet cover is to protect the duvet and be decorative.

Egyptian Cotton - All cotton grown in Egypt is "Egyptian" cotton. However, the qualities of cotton that come from Egypt vary as do cottons from any other country. Egypt has designated certain regions or "lots" based on the fundamental fiber quality (strenth, length of staple and intrinsic fineness) of the cotton. Egypt's cotton grades generally fit into 2 categories: extra long staple and long staple. The extra long staple cottons come from the following Giza lots: Giza 87, Giza 45, Giza 88, Giza 86, Giza 76, Giza 70 and Giza 77. The long staple cottons come from the following Giza lots: Giza 86, Giza 89, Giza 85, Giza 83 and Giza 80. Extra Long Staple (ELS) Egyptian cotton compares to U.S. Pima cotton and is the premium quality that is commonly referred to generically as "Egyptian cotton". Use of ELS Egyptian cotton results in fabric with less linting, more durability, more luster and a softer feel.

Feather Bed - Feather-filled sacks made to fit under or on top of the fitted sheet.

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

Fill - The material used to stuff items such as comforters or pillows. Natural down and man-made synthetics are examples of fill materials.

Fill Power - A measure of how many cubic inches one ounce of down will loft and expand to fill an empty space. Fill power usually ranges from 500 to 800 cubic inches, with 625 or greater considered excellent. A higher fill power means that the down will loft more, insulate better and provide greater warmth and comfort.

Gingham - A plain woven cotton and/or synthetic fabric. Most common patterns include checks, stripes or plaids. Available in a variety of colors and pastels against a white or ecru background.

GSM - (Grams per Square Meter) A weight measure used to indicate the thickness of towels or other textile items.

Jacquard Weave - A weave structure that creates a variety of patterns, such as damasks, florals and geometric. Jacquard weave is the only type of weave that can create intricate woven patterns.

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

Loft - is the ability of down to fill an empty space; loft is measured by fill power.

Long Staple Cotton - Cotton fibers are typically 1/2 inch to 2 inches long. The longest staple fibers, longer than 1 1/2 inch, including the Pima and Egyptian varieties, produce the highest quality cotton fabrics.

Matelasse - French for "padded" or "cushioned". This type of fabric has a quilted or creped appearance and feel, this comes from the puckering effect of double weaving. Matelasse is very popular for bedspreads and coverlets.

Mercerization - Mercerizing is a special finish used on fabrics. This process actually improves the cotton fibers, by adding strength, luster, and an increased affinity for dyes. It also enhances fabric hand and drapability.

Merino - A type of wool that originates from purebred Merino sheep.

Micro Modal - A natural fiber made from 100% beechwood cellulose. Micro modal fibers are softer, have more sheen, and are 50% more absorbent than cotton.

Percale Weave - A type of plain weave where each yarn alternately crosses over and under another, to produce a strong, even fabric.

Pick - Refers to the number of yarns in the weft. The weft in woven fabric may be single pick or sometimes multiple picks are used to acheive higher thread counts.

Pima Cotton - Pima cotton is a generic name for extra-long staple (ELS) cotton grown in the U.S., Australia, Peru and in very limited production in a few other locations around the world. In the U.S., cotton is considered to be ELS or Pima if it is 1 3/8 inches or longer. The name "Pima" was applied to ELS cotton (previously called American-Egyptian) being developed in the U.S. desert southwest in the early 1900's. The name was given in honor of the Pima Indians who were helping to raise the ELS cotton.

Piqué - A crisp medium-weight fabric, either knit or woven, with raised dobby designs. Pronounced "pikay".

Plain Weave - A weave structure that has horizontal and vertical threads woven in a simple over under pattern with no variations such as twists or knots.

Polyester - A manufactured fiber. It is second only to cotton in worldwide use. Polyester has high strength, excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fiber to dry quickly.

Quilt - Created by placing a layer of cotton batting or some other fill between two layers of fabric and held in place by quilted stitching in a regular, consistent, all-over pattern.

Rayon - A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters, or other vegetable matter.

Reactive Dyes - Are bond-in colorants that provide well saturated and bright colors on cottons. They are rated good to very good to light exposure and washing, but cannot be washed with chlorine bleaches. Reactive dyes are recommended for the best quality dyeing of dark colors.

Sateen Weave - A weave structure that has single vertical threads woven over four to eight horizontal threads and under one horizontal thread. This weaving method gives the fabric a smooth finish and shows off shiny threads. (also sometimes called satin weave)

Sea Island Cotton - A type of extra long staple cotton. The origin of true extra-long staple cottons can be traced to the introduction of Sea Island to the U.S. in 1786 from seed received from the Bahama Islands. The first successful crop of Sea Island was produced by William Elliott on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina in 1790. Although production of this ELS cotton later expanded into the interior regions of Georgia and Florida, the best Sea Island cottons were grown on the Sea Islands; James, Edisto, John and Wadmalaw. The crop continued until 1920, when a severe boll weevil infestation had made it unprofitable. Attempts to revive the Sea Island industry in the U.S. in the 1930's failed.

Shams - Similar to pillowcases, but generally intended to be decorative. Usually made with flanges on each side and an opening in the middle of the back to put the pillow inside.

Shea Butter - Derived from the oil-rich nut of the Karite tree. Shea Butter is prized for its incredible skin-nurturing and moisturizing properties.

Shearing - The process used to cut off surface fibers on fabrics.

Single Ply - A fabric construction made with single ply yarns and a single pick weft.

Stoneware - A heavy, nonporous, nontranslucent pottery, that is fired at a high temperature.

Supima Cotton - The name "Supima®" is a licensed trademark owned by Supima and its members. It is used to promote textile and apparel products made of 100% American Pima cotton, but is strictly controlled by the grower organization. The name "Supima" is an abbreviation for Superior Pima.

Terry Cloth - A typical uncut pile weave fabric. This fabric is formed by using two sets of warp yarns. One set of warp yarns is under very little tension; when the filling yarns are packed into place, these loose yarns are pushed backward along with the filling yarns, and loops are formed.

Terry Velour - A pile weave cotton fabric with an uncut pile on one side and a cut pile on the reverse side. Terry velour is valued for its soft, luxurious hand.

Thread Count - Measured by counting the number of threads per inch in the woven fabric in both directions of the weave (these directions are referred to as warp and weft).

Ticking - A tightly woven, very durable fabric, usually made of cotton, and used for duvets, pillows and featherbeds. Down filled pillows require closely woven ticking fabric and calendered finish to prevent the fine down fibers from coming through the top or bottom layers.

Two Ply Yarns - When 2 yarns that are twisted together and then woven into fabric. Using 2 ply yarns is a method used to acheive higher thread counts.

Viscose -The most common type of rayon.

Warp - In woven fabric, the vertical yarns that are interwoven with the horizontal (weft) yarns.

Weft - In woven fabric, the horizontal yarns that run perpendicular to the warp yarns.

Wool - Usually associated with fiber or fabric made from the fleece of sheep or lamb. However, the term "wool" can also apply to all animal hair fibers, including the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat or the specialty hair fibers of the camel, alpaca, llama, or vicuna.

Yarn Dyed - When the yarns of the fabric are dyed before the fabric is woven. Yarn dyeing allows the use of colors to create a design such as a plaid or check. Yarn dyeing creates a dramatic effect in a jacquard weave in particular, where the design created by the weave is shown in contrast.

Yarn Size - (also called yarn count) Refers to the thickness of single spun yarns. The higher the yarn size number, the finer the thread. The finer threads allow more yarns to be woven in a square inch and the more durable the fabric. High yarn sizes must come from long staple coton, otherwise the yarns would break during the spinning process. In synthetic fabrics, yarn size is called denier.