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Absorbency The ability of a fabric to take in moisture. This property affects many other characteristics such as skin comfort, static build up, shrinkage, stain removal, water repellence and wrinkle recovery.

Applique The stitching of design motifs to a continuous background such as another fabric. Applied designs are often outlined to create a three-dimensional effect.

Alpaca A luxurious, silky, natural fibre harvested from an Alpaca. Warm but light in weight, it is soft and durable. While similar to sheep’s wool, it has no lanolin content, which makes it hypoallergenic.

Bed Skirt A gathered, tailored or pleated piece of fabric that is placed between the mattress and the box spring. The bed skirt hangs to the floor on three sides of the bed. Also called a bed ruffle or valance.

Bedspread A decorative cover for a bed. Can reach to the floor on either side and is usually large enough to cover the pillows.

Blend A term applied to a yarn or fabric made up of more than one type of fibre. In blended yarns, two or more different types of staple fibres are twisted or spun together to form the yarn.

Breakfast Cushion A small rectangular pillow often used as a decorative accent. Also called a Boudoir Pillow. Dimensions are 30 x 40 centimetres.

Carding A process, prior to spinning, which eliminates fibres too short for inclusion in spun yarn. The process also removes dirt and foreign matter.

Cashmere Luxurious fibre made from the inner coat hair of the Asian Cashmere goat. Very warm and lightweight.

Chenille Fabric with a textured pile created by a thick, soft, tufted, weft yarn. Often silk and wool. Commonly used for decorative trimmings, shawls and throws.

Colourfastness A term used to describe a dyed fabric’s ability to resist fading due to washing, exposure to sunlight and other environmental conditions.

Combing The combing process is an additional step beyond carding. In this process, prior to spinning, additional short fibres are removed and remaining fibres are arranged in a highly parallel form, allowing production of very high quality yarns with excellent strength, fineness and uniformity.

Cotton A natural fibre that grows on the seedpod of the cotton plant. Fibres are typically 1.3 to 5.1 centimetres long. The longest staple fibres such as Egyptian cotton varieties produce the highest quality cotton fabrics.

Cotton Percale Quality combed cotton plain linen weave fabric with a thread count of 250 or higher per 10 square centimetres, normally used for sheeting. Percale has a smooth, crisp finish, medium weight and washes well.

Damask A highly traditional fabric, woven with large leaf or floral designs in contrasting matt and satin textures. It is similar to brocade but is flat and reversible. Usually used for quality table and bed linen.

Duvet Cover Decorative cover used to protect down comforters or quilts. Also called Quilt cover, Doona cover.

Egyptian Cotton Acknowledged as the best quality, longest staple cotton in the world. Although historically it originated in Egypt, today “Egyptian” cotton is also produced in other countries.

Embroidery Embellishment of a fabric or garment in which coloured threads are sewn on to the fabric to create a design. Embroidery may be done by hand or machine.

European Pillow A large square pillow, commonly 65 x 65 centimetres. These can be placed behind standard size pillows as a backdrop.

Fibre The basic entity, either natural or man made, which is twisted into yarn and then woven into fabric.

Flannelette Medium weight, cotton fabric made to resemble traditional wool flannel. Cotton yarn is woven together and usually brushed on both sides to give a soft, warm, felted finish.

Flax the raw material used in the production of Linen, one of the oldest textile fibres known. Very strong and lustrous fibres are obtained from inside the woody stems of the Flax plant.

Grosgrain A cloth recognised by the pronounced ribbed effect across its surface. Often used for ribbons and trims to add texture and interest.

Handle The way a fabric feels when it is touched. Words such as softness, crispness, dryness and silkiness are all terms used to describe the handle of the fabric.

Herringbone A diagonal weave fabric often used in wool suiting and upholstery fabrics. The distinctive pattern is achieved by using different yarn colours for warp and weft

Ikat A textile, usually silk or cotton, where the yarn is tie-dyed before weaving to create softly outlined patterns.

Jacquard Describes a type of loom as well as an intricate fabric woven on a jacquard loom. The jacquard loom allows individual control of each of the warp yarns and means that complex self patterns with contrasting silky and matte textures may be created. Brocade and Damask are types of jacquard woven fabrics.

Jacquard Border Trim made from fabric woven on a jacquard loom. Often used to introduce colour and texture interest to bed and table linens.

Jacquard Stripes A fabric which features alternating stripes of plain and jacquard weave. A way of introducing extra colour and/or texture to the woven cloth.

Knits Knit fabric is made from a continuous thread with a process of interlocking stitches. Compared to woven fabrics, knits have more stretch, which accounts for their historical use in clothing. Also used for throws, cushion covers and some blankets.

Linen Long lasting, strong and lustrous, Linen fabric is woven from fibres obtained from the woody stems of the Flax plant. Linen fabrics are very cool and absorbent, making them ideal for use in hot and humid climates but wrinkle easily.

Loom A device or machine used for weaving threads or yarn into textiles. Looms can range from small hand-held frames to huge automatic devices. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of weft threads.

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Marcella Traditional style of textured, cotton fabric with a self-coloured woven design. Often used for bed covers and pillow shams.

Merino Wool Merino is a breed of sheep prized for its wool which is regarded as the finest and softest of any sheep. Soft, yet durable, merino wool is prized by designers and textile manufacturers for its warmth and versatility.

Natural Fibre Any fibre manufactured from natural plant or animal sources as opposed to synthetic materials which are largely derived from petrochemicals. Some examples include cotton, flax, bamboo, hemp, silk, wool, angora, mohair and alpaca.

Oxford Border A simple and elegant tailored flange that frames pillow cases, quilt covers or other bed linen.

Percale Quality combed cotton plain linen weave fabric (simple alternate interlacing of warp and weft yarns - one thread over, one thread under) with a thread count of 250 per 10 square centimetres or higher, normally used for sheeting. Percale has a smooth, crisp finish, medium weight and washes well.

Pillowcase This is a removable, washable, cover for the pillow used directly for sleeping on. Most often made from cotton it usually has a flap of fabric, sometimes buttoned, to help enclose the pillow. Sometimes called pillow slip.

Pillow Sham A decorative pillow cover. Unlike regular pillow cases Pillow shams are mainly decorative and are used to add texture or colour when dressing the bed. Not usually directly used for sleeping on.

Pintuck Stitch These narrow sewn rows of tiny stitched pleats, traditionally running in close parallel rows, add a tailored finish to clothing or bed linens.

Plain Weave A basic weave with simple alternate interlacing of warp and weft yarns - one thread over, one thread under. Sometimes known as Linen weave. Any type of yarn can be manufactured into a plain weave fabric.

Quilt A bed cover made of two layers of fabric stitched together, enclosing cotton padding or feathers.

Quilting A fabric construction in which a layer of fill is placed between two layers of fabric, and then held in place by stitching in a regular, all over pattern.

Quilt Cover Removable, washable cover for a quilt to be used on a bed. Usually features a buttoned flap at one end to help enclose the quilt. Also known as a Doona cover, Duvet cover.

Resiliency The ability of a fabric to spring back to its original shape after being twisted, crushed or distorted.

Sateen A variation of the satin weave, achieved by floating fill (weft) yarns over warp yarns. This places more threads on the surface of the fabric, giving a softer and more lustrous feel.

Satin Fabric A very smooth fabric which can be made from silk, cotton or synthetic fibres. Satin is very shiny with a matte reverse side.

Satin Stitch A continuous series of straight, uniform, raised stitches very close together which give a satin effect. Used as a finishing detail around oxford bordered pillowcases and on other bed linen.

Sham A decorative pillow cover. Unlike regular pillow cases Pillow shams are mainly decorative and are used to add texture or colour when dressing the bed. Not usually directly used for sleeping on.

Silk Continuous filament fibre spun from cocoons of silk moths. The shimmering appearance of silk cloth is due to the prism shaped structure of the fibres which allow light to be refracted at different angles.

Standard Pillow Case A rectangular pillow case usually used as a the main pillow for sleeping on. Moss River dimensions are generally 50 x 75 centimetres.

Terry Cloth A cotton fabric with moisture – absorbing loop pile covering the entire surface on one or both sides. Used for towels and bathrobes as well as some fashion items. Also called terry towelling.

Thread Count is a measure of how many threads – warp (lengthwise) and weft (widthwise) are woven into a measured 10 square centimetres of fabric. Sometimes used as an indicator of quality for sheeting fabric. See additional thread count information section elsewhere on this site.

Twill Weave A type of fabric woven with a pattern of diagonal lines, creating an interesting surface texture. Often used for upholstery fabrics.

Velour A medium weight, closely woven fabric with a thick pile. It can be made using either a plain or satin weave construction. It resembles velvet but has a lower cut pile.

Velvet A luxurious medium weight cut-pile constructed fabric in which the cut pile stands up very straight. Woven using two sets of warp yarns, the extra set creating the pile. Usually made with high lustre filament fibres.

Warp In woven fabric, the yarns that run lengthwise and are interwoven with the fill (weft) yarns.

Weft In woven fabric, the crosswise filling yarns.

Wool usually associated with the fibre or fabric made from the fleece of sheep. However the term “wool” can also apply to all animal hair fibres, including the hair of the Alpaca or the Cashmere or Angora goat.

Woven fabric A woven fabric is produced by interlacing two or more sets of yarns, which pass each other at right angles. One set of yarns, the warp, runs along the length of the fabric. The other set, the weft (or fill) runs across the width of the fabric

Yarn A continuous strand of textile fibres created when a cluster of individual fibres are twisted together. These long yarns are used to create fabrics, either by weaving or knitting.

Yarn-Dye In yarn-dyed fabrics the yarn is dyed before the fabric is woven, allowing different-coloured threads to create a pattern.

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