100 ESSENTIAL TERMS
GABARDINE
Durable, closely woven fabric with definite ridges caused by the warp-faced twill weave. Two major types are Cotton and Wool. Cotton Gabardine is made with carded or combed yarns- with singleyarns used in the filling and single or two-ply yarns in the warp direction. Wool gabardine has a firm hand, is made with worsted yarns, and given a clear finish.
GATHERING
Drawing up fullness by tightening of several threads in a row of stitching.
GEORGETTE
Fine sheer silk fabric made in the plain weave with twisted or creped yarns in both the warp and filling. Yarns may be two-ply with one made in Z-twist and the other in an S-twist, or two alternating yarns of S-twist may be followed with two Z-twist yarns. Most often used for dresses, evening gowns and blouses.
GOLD LEAF
Pure Gold hammered so thin it takes 300,000 units to make a stack 1" high. Most often used for jewelry and gold leather.
GOSSAMER
Veiling fabric made of fine sheer silk, originated in the 19th Century. Also refers to Coated lightweight fabric made of cotton, silk, or wool treated with a rubber composition to make it waterproof.
GRAIN
Leather term for the markings which appear on the skins and hides when the hair or feathers are removed.
GROSGRAIN
Made originally in silk, now made mostly with rayon or acetate warp and cotton or rayon filling. Can also be made entirely of cotton . Used for ribbons, sashes, trim on dresses, neckwear and millinery trimming.
HERRINGBONE
Pattern made of short, slanting parallel lines adjacent to other rows slanting in reverse direction, creating continuous V-shaped design like the bones of a fish. Most often used in tweeds, embroidery, and in working of fur skins.
HONEYCOMB
Fabric made in honeycomb weave which forms a series of recessed squares similar to a waffle. Made on the dobby loom of carded or combed yarns either plied or single in a variety of weights. Cotton fabrics are frequently called waffle cloth.
IRIDESCENT FABRIC
Any fabric made of yarn-dyed rayon, silk, cotton or man-made fibers woven with one color in the warp and another color in the filling. This causes the fabric to reflect both colors in the light.
JABOT
Ruffle of lace, embroidery, or sheer fabric made in a cascade, attached to front of dress, blouse, or a cravat-like neckpiece. This style first became popular in the 18th Century for men and was revived for women in the late 19th Century and again in the 1930's, 1940's and again revived in the 1980's and 2000's.
JACQUARD
Elaborate woven or knitted pattern made on Jacquard loom. Each warp yarn is controlled separately by use of a pattern on a punched card. Fabrics may have a background of plain, rib, satin, or sateen weave with design usually in satin weave. Some fabrics have specific names such as Brocade, Damask, and Tapestry. These are refered to by their name, but others with no specific name are simply called by the name of the weave. Also may be knitted and then called Jacquard knit.
JERSEY
Classification of knitted fabrics that are knitted in a plain stitch without a distinct rib. Originally made of wool but now made of many natural and man-made yarns, some textured. Made by circular or warp knitting processes, they may be printed, embroidered or napped. The name for this fabric is derived from the Isle of Jersey, off the coast of England, where it was first made.
JODHPURS
Riding breeches popular after World War I, wide and loose at hips, tight from knees to ankles. Name is derived from Jodhpur, a city in India.
LA BELLE EPOQUE
Period of time between 1871 and 1914 when peace prevailed in Western Europe. Social life was especially carefree and clothes were elegant. Also a period noted for progress in literature, the arts, and technology. This term is derived from French: "the beautiful epoch."
LAMÉ (LAH- MAY)
Textile fabric with metallic yarns woven to form either the background or the pattern. May be made in Jacquard or rib weave. Also refers to knitted fabric made with metallic yarns. Derived from French: "Leaves of silver or gold."
LATTICE
Decorative openwork made from crossed pieces of fabric, leather, or bias binding. Pieces are crossed at right angles to look similar to "lattice work" on old houses. Used for decorative trimming on clothing and shoes.
LONGUETTE
Term coined by the fashion-industry newspaper, Women's Wear Daily, January 1970, to describe the radically longer coats, skirts, and dresses reaching from below-the-knee to ankle-length that were an abrupt change from the miniskirts of the late 1960's. Styles were introduced simultaneously in Paris and New York. Derived from French diminutive for "long."
LUCITE
Trademark of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company for transparent acrylic plastic material used for handbags, sandals, shoe heels, and jewelry.
MALTESE CROSS
Cross with four arms of equal length shaped like arrowheads decreasing in size as they approach the center.Used as a motif for jewelry, particularly for necklaces and pins. Derived from the Emblem of the Knights of Malta.
MAXI
Term coined in 1968 for daytime wear reaching the ankles. This length is found in Capes, Coats, Dresses, and Skirts.
MEDICI SLEEVE
Full sleeve, puffed to elbow and tight from there to wrist worn by women starting in the 1830's. Phrase derived from the fashions inspired by clothes worn by Marie de'Medici.
MERCERIZATION
Finishing process with caustic soda applied to cotton yarn, fabric, or thread to make fibers more nearly parallel and to increase the luster. Term is derived from the name of John Mercer, calico printer in Lancashire, England, who discovered this process in 1844.
MERINO WOOL
High- Quality wool yarn made from fleece of merino sheep which is short, fine, strong, resilient, and takes dyes well.
MESH
Metal links joined together to form a flat flexible unit. Found in bracelets, chain mail, mesh belts, and handbags. Term also refers to knitted or woven fabric in an open weave, such as leno, producing a net or a screen-like effect.
MICRO
Fashion term coined in late 1960's as a synonym for tiny or very short. Used in reference to skirts and dresses.
MIDI
Originally a French term for a skirt length coming to the mid-calf of the leg, later applied to anything that length. Also used in reference to Capes, Coats, Dresses, Ponchos and Skirts. Derived from French, midi- meaning "midday".
MILLINERY
Any covering for the head, specifically hats.
MOHAIR
Hair of the angora goat. Also refers to Fabric made of 100% mohair or of mohair and other fibers; the fiber must be indicated by percentage on the label. Term is derived from Arabic: mukhayyar, meaning "Goat's hair".
MUSLIN
Plain weave fabric made in many weights from very fine and sheer to coarse and heavy. Fine qualities have combed mercerized yarns which may be dyed and printed. Fabrics are lustrous, long wearing, very washable, and soft to the touch. Lightweight fabrics are used for summer dresses and blouses.