Contract Textile Glossary

The ACT Glossary of Textile Terms has been compiled by members of the ACT Education Committee as a guide for interior designers, specifiers, ACT members, and other interested parties to most of the terminology commonly used in the contract textile industry.

The Glossary is being posted on the ACT website to enable the addition of new terms and definitions as they come into use. Members of the ACT organization have reviewed and cross referenced the contents of this document for accuracy and completeness. ACT however is not responsible or liable for the interpretation or use of any terms published herein.

A - H


AATCC: See American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists.

abrasion resistance: Ability of a fiber, yarn, or fabric to maintain physical properties or appearance despite surface friction. Such friction may result from rubbing against another material or against itself. Abrasion resistance is an important element in the durability of fabric. Common methods for testing fabric abrasion resistance include Wyzenbeek, Martindale, and Taber test methods. See also durability and pilling.

acetate: A fiber manufactured by treating purified cellulose refined from cotton linters or wood pulp. The resulting flakes are dissolved in acetone to make a spinning solution that can be made into continuous filament or staple fiber. Acetate fabrics are wrinkle-, shrink-, moth-, and mildew-resistant. They have a luxurious feel and appearance, as well as excellent drapabilty.

accreditation: Official authorization to conduct certification activities against a standard (i.e., for organic textiles).

acidification (acid rain): The release of materials that have been transformed by chemical processes in the atmosphere and are then deposited on earth through rain, sleet or fog. These materials can cause damage to buildings and harm terrestrial, animal, plant and human health.

acrylic: A manufactured fiber composed of at least 85% acrylonitrile units; acrylonitrile is a long-chain, synthetic polymer. Acrylic fibers are either dry or wet spun. Acrylic is resilient, quick-drying, and resistant to sunlight, oil, and chemicals.

ACT®: Registered service mark owned by the Association for Contract Textiles. See Association for Contract Textiles.

ACT® Voluntary Performance Guidelines: In order to make fabric specification easier, ACT member companies adopted a body of popular tests that measure important performance criteria (abrasion, flame resistance, wet and dry crocking, etc.) for fabrics in the contract interiors market. The results of these specific tests are represented by graphic symbols used on ACT member company fabric samples to indicate that the fabric performs to contract standards for its recommended application. The marks are Registered Certification Marks at the US Patent and Trademark Office and are owned by the Association for Contract Textiles, Inc. To see specific guidelines,

alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs): A class of chemical sometimes used in cleaning agents, detergents, scouring and dye processes, yarn lubricants and finishing agents. Toxic to aquatic organisms. Addressed in NSF/ANSI 336-2011, section 6.4.6.

American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC): The world’s largest society devoted to the advancement of textile chemists, particularly in textile wet processing. AATCC publishes a Technical Manual of test methods divided into six categories: Biological Properties, Colorfastness, Dyeing Properties, Evaluation Procedures, Identification and Analysis (fiber and chemical), and Physical Properties, with heavy emphasis on color-related textile properties.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM): A standards-development organization that serves as an open, consensus-based forum for the development of international standards. Committees developing the standards are composed of producers, engineers, academics, consumers, regulatory bodies, and other stakeholders. In the ASTM Annual Book of Standards, Volumes 7.01 and 7.02 contain the textile test methods and related standards.

angora: The soft hairs of the Angora goat or the Angora rabbit, often blended with wool for soft hand and added luxury.

animal fiber: Fibers of animal origin such as wool, alpaca, angora, camel hair, horsehair, silk, mohair, and cashmere.

antimicrobial finish: Chemical treatment applied to a fabric to combat growth of disease-causing microbes, general bacteria, infectious diseases, and various targeted organisms.

antimony: A silvery-white heavy metal found in the earth’s crust. Sometimes used in textile dyes and pigments. When combined with oxygen, it produces antimony trioxide. Addressed in NSF/ANSI 336-2011, section 6.4.1.

antimony trioxide: A compound used as a fire retardant and as a catalyst to manufacture polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It is a suspected human carcinogen.

aquatic toxicity: The use or release of substances that have a harmful impact on aquatic species. Addressed in NSF/ANSI 336-2011, section 6.5.9.

Association for Contract Textiles (ACT®): A not-for-profit trade organization made up primarily of companies that supply fabric to the contract interior design community.

ASTM: See American Society for Testing and Materials.

audit: To examine, verify, inspect or correct the manufacturing supply chain, or portions thereof, as part of a periodic examination of a company’s certification.



backing/back-coating: A polymer or resin treatment applied to the back of a fabric to provide enhanced performance characteristics, including stability, seam integrity, reduced fraying and curling, and better physical performance.

barrier cloth: 1. A nonporous layer of nonwoven material laminated to the back of a fabric during finishing; the layer will not allow fluids to pass through and is most commonly used in healthcare applications. 2. A flame-retardant material used to create an FR barrier between fabric and foam in upholstered furniture.

basket weave: A variation on plain weave in which two or more warp yarns interlace with two or more filling yarns, creating a fabric that resembles the surface texture of a woven basket.

bast fiber: Strong woody natural fibers derived from plants such as flax, ramie, jute, hemp, and sisal.

batch dyeing: A dyeing process in which textile materials, usually 100 to 1,000 kilograms by weight, are loaded into a dyeing machine and dyed together in a batch.

bath ratio: The mass of the dye bath as compared to the mass of the textile goods in the dye machine. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011. Also known as liquor ratio.

billiard cloth: A durable, heavyweight, fine-quality wool traditionally used for covering billiard tables. Applications now include upholstery and vertical surfaces. Woven at a wider width (72 inches) in a twill or plain weave construction, the goods are piece-dyed and then fulled to create an even and smooth surface.

bioaccumulation: An increase in the concentration of a chemical in a biological organism over time, either from exposure to a contaminated medium or by consumption of food containing the chemical.

biobased polymer: A general term for fibers that are manufactured through chemically and/or physically modifying natural biological materials. Examples include but are not limited to polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) but do not include regenerated cellulose fibers such as acetate, triacetate, cuprammonium rayon, viscose rayon, lyocell, and rayon from bamboo. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

biobased product: A commercial or industrial product (other than food or feed) that utilizes biological products or renewable domestic agricultural (plant, animal and marine) or forestry materials.

biodegradable: Exhibiting the capability of being broken down (or decomposed or metabolized) by microorganisms and reduced to organic or inorganic molecules which may be further utilized by living systems. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

blanket: A blanket, also called a sample blanket, is a selection of various warp and filling combinations woven in small sections for the purpose of selecting color combinations for a given yarn-dyed fabric design or construction.

bleed (bleeding): Migration of dye from fiber, yarn, or fabric when the dyed material comes in contact with a liquid medium—water, solvent, perspiration, etc. This dye migration can result in staining of adjacent, lighter-colored fiber or yarns in a fabric, or lighter fabrics or other materials that come in contact with the migrating dye. The use of poor-quality dyes, improper dye selection, or improper dyeing and finishing techniques are among the most common causes of this condition.

blend: A yarn created when two or more staple fibers are blended and spun into yarn or when two or more single-fiber yarns are woven together to form a fabric. Fibers are often blended to achieve desired performance characteristics.

bluesign®: An independent textile industry standard published in Switzerland that looks at consumer safety, the environment, resource consumption, and textile production processes.

bonded cloth: A fabric composed of two layers of material with an adhesive layer between to add strength, stability, or other desired performance characteristics.

bouclé: A novelty yarn with bumps and loops; it is used to create a fabric that exhibits a knotty, loopy surface texture.

bow (bowing): A weave-alignment condition in which filling yarns form one or more arcs across the width of the fabric because of uneven tension during weaving or finishing. Bow is measured by drawing a line perpendicular to the selvage at the point where the arc crosses the selvage. The maximum deviation of the arc from the perpendicular line is measured and recorded. Generally no more than one inch of bowing is acceptable. See also skew.

breaking strength: The load required to rupture fiber, yarn, or fabric during a tensile test. Breaking strength is commonly referred to as the “tensile strength” of the material. The most commonly cited breaking-strength test for contract fabrics (ASTM D5034 the ‘grab’ method) consists of mounting rectangular fabric specimens in the jaws of a suitable tensile testing machine, and moving the jaws apart in the same plane as the fabric under specific conditions until the fabric ruptures. Breaking strength is reported as the average amount of force required to cause rupture of the specimens. Note that “breaking strength” is not a term used to describe the tear resistance of a fabric.

broadcloth: A fine, tight, plain weave cloth of spun yarns, most often cotton. The original term identified cotton shirting fabric woven in widths exceeding the usual 29 inches.

brocade: An elaborate jacquard-woven construction originally produced in China and Japan. It features raised floral or figured areas that are emphasized through the use of contrasting surfaces and colors. Combinations of satin or twill weaves on a plain ground or satin grounds are common. Brocades are often used for drapery, upholstery, eveningwear, and other decorative purposes.

brush pill test ASTM D3511: One of several test methods designed to assess the propensity of a fabric to form fuzzy balls on the surface due to abrasion during use. The Brush Pill test consists of first rubbing fabric specimens in a circular motion against a standard nylon brush under specific load conditions in order to raise fibers from the surface of the fabric. The second part of the test consists of rubbing pairs of brushed specimens against each other using the same motion and the same load conditions to induce the formation of pills. The specimens are then rated for pill frequency by comparing them to a series of reference photographs representing a five-step scale: Class 5 = No pilling Class 4 = Slight pilling Class 3 = Moderate pilling Class 2 = Severe pilling Class 1 = Very severe pilling See also pilling.

by-product: Anything produced in an industrial or biological process in addition to the principal product; a secondary and sometimes unexpected or unintended result.



cabled yarn: A yarn formed by twisting two or more plied yarns together.

CAL TB 133: See California Technical Bulletin 133.

calendering: A finishing process in which fabric is passed through heated rollers to produce special effects such as high luster, glazing, moiré, and embossed surfaces.

California Proposition 65 (Prop 65): A requirement by the State of California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list, which must be updated by CA at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 800 chemicals since it was first published in 1987. Products containing these chemicals must carry a warning label if sold in the state of California. See:

California Section 01350: A Special Environmental Requirements standard specification developed by the State of California to cover key environmental performance issues related to the selection and handling of building materials. It aims to evaluate and reduce the impact of building materials on indoor air quality and health in buildings. Also referred to as CA 01350 or CHPS 01350.

California Technical Bulletin 133 (CAL TB 133): A large, open-flame test for upholstered seating developed by the California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation. The test is required for seating in certain California, Boston, NY/NJ Port Authority, and other occupancies. The test is intended to qualify upholstered furniture for use in “high-risk” occupancies such as healthcare facilities, penal institutions, daycare facilities, and buildings where free and easy egress is not always possible during a fire evacuation. CAL TB 133 is a test for furniture; it is not a fabric test. The test method consists of exposing the seating area of upholstered furniture to an intense flame from a square-shaped burner for 80 seconds. The testing takes place in a standard room instrumented to record the mass loss of the test object, the temperature at the ceiling and at the 4-foot level, and smoke opacity at the 4-foot level. Exhaust gases are collected and analyzed for carbon monoxide (CO) generation and to determine both the peak heat release and the total heat release of the burning furniture. Pass/fail criteria apply to each of these measurements.

canvas: A strong, heavy, balanced, plain-weave cloth typically constructed of cotton and used for many industrial and furnishings applications.

carcinogen: A cancer-causing substance.

carding: The process in the manufacturing of spun yarns in which the staple fiber is aligned and formed into a continuous strand called “sliver.” The production of sliver is the first step in the textile operation that brings staple fiber into a form that can be drawn and then twisted into spun yarn.

casement: A lightweight, open-weave fabric used for drapery or screening purposes.

cellulose: A complex carbohydrate found in wood, cotton, linen, jute, and all bast fibers; it is the raw material used to make rayon, acetate, and triacetate fibers.

certification or certified: A determination, made by an authorized agent, that a product or manufacturing/handling process is in compliance with a particular standard or legislation.

CFA: See cutting for approval.

chemical recycling: A process whereby polymer or fabric waste is broken down into monomers or low molecular weight material using solvent(s), and re-polymerized to produce useable polymer. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

chenille: A yarn of any fiber made by locking short cut fibers onto a core yarn to create a caterpillar-like pile. Usually used as a filling yarn in fabric that is also referred to as chenille.

child labor: Any work by a person less than 15 years of age, unless local minimum age law stipulates a higher age for work or mandatory schooling, in which the higher age would apply. If however, local minimum age law is set at 14 years of age in accordance with developing-country exceptions under ILO Convention 138, the lower age will apply. Source: Social Accountability International (SAI).

chintz: A glazed cotton fabric with either a durable resin finish or one that is wax-based and washes out if laundered. Friction calendering can also produce the glaze.

chip: The solid form of a polymer before being melted or dissolved for extrusion. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

CHPS 01350: The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) has adopted the CA Section 01350 criteria as its guideline to improve indoor air quality in schools. Products are often referred to as “passing CHPS 01350,” indicating they have met the indoor air quality testing required.

Clean Air Act: The federal statute that regulates air emissions from area, stationary and mobile sources. This law authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and the environment.

Clean Water Act: The Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, as amended in 1977, became commonly known as the Clean Water Act. The Act established the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States.

climate change: Changes in earth’s climate due to anthropogenic emissions. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

closed-loop: A process that utilizes a cyclical material flow in order to minimize waste.

colorfastness: The ability of a material to resist color change or color transfer when exposed to various physical and environmental conditions during processing, storage, or use. Although dozens of tests evaluate aspects of colorfastness, panel and upholstery fabrics are most commonly tested for Colorfastness to Light (AATCC 16) and Colorfastness to Crocking (AATCC 8).

colorways: The number of colors in a color line for any given fabric pattern. Also see sku.

COM: See customer’s own material.

combing: The yarn manufacturing process that follows carding, further refining, removing short fibers and waste, and aligning the fibers in preparation for spinning.

commercial furnishings fabric: Fabrics typically used in office, institutional, hospitality, and healthcare settings. Uses include but are not limited to upholstery, vertical fabric (furniture system, wall, drapery, and cubicle), and top-of-the-bed fabrics.

commercial match: The commonly used term to describe acceptable color variation from a color standard.

compostable: Possessing the ability to break down into, or otherwise become part of, usable compost (e.g., soil-conditioning material, mulch) in a safe and timely manner (i.e., in approximately the same time as the materials with which it is composted,) in an appropriate composting facility, or in a home compost pile or device. Source: FTC Green Guides.

conformity assessments: Demonstration that specified requirements relating to a product, process, system, person, or body are fulfilled. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

construction: The description of a fabric weave or structure. For example, jacquard, plain weave, basket weave, dobby.

converter: A purchaser of greige goods who “converts” the fabric by dyeing, printing, or finishing it for a specific end use.

cotton: A highly absorbent natural vegetable fiber composed of almost pure cellulose from the cotton plant. Takes color well, especially in mercerized form, which swells the fiber and increases its luster.

cradle-to-cradle: A term used in life-cycle assessment to describe a material or product that is recycled into a new product at the end of its defined life.

Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM: A certification scheme for many types of products (not just textiles) that aims for continuing improvement in environmentally-intelligent design.

crepe: A fabric with a pebbled texture created either by a crepe weave construction or by hard-twist filling yarns, chemical treatment, or embossing.

crocking: Transference of color from a yarn or fabric onto another fabric or surface by rubbing. Fabrics or yarns may be tested for colorfastness to crocking by AATCC Test Method 8 for woven fabrics or AATCC Test Method 116 for printed fabrics. These tests consist of rubbing a dry piece and a wet piece of white cotton fabric against the test specimen for 10 double strokes under prescribed loading conditions using a Crockmeter. The white fabric is then examined for color transfer and evaluated against one of two scales: the AATCC Chromatic Transference Scale (preferred), or the AATCC Gray Scale for Staining. On both scales, Grade 5 is equivalent to no color transfer, while Grade 1 represents a very severe degree of color transfer.

cross-dyeing: A method of dyeing yarn or fabric constructed from two or more fiber types by using dyes with different affinities for the different fibers.

customer’s own material (COM): A customer’s choice of any material other than the standard fabric offered by the furniture manufacturer.

cutting for approval (CFA): A small sample of fabric typically requested before ordering a fabric to verify such things as color, pattern design, and construction.

cut yardage: Fabric in less than full-bolt or roll increments (average 50 yards). Cut yardage orders are determined by the yardage required for the specific project.



damask: A jacquard or dobby woven construction with floral or geometric designs characterized by contrasting warp-faced and filling-faced satin weaves resulting in a reversible fabric.

decating: A multi-step steaming process to smooth and soften normally “rough” fibers (specifically wool) to provide the fabric with a dense, lustrous surface and soft hand.

denier: A numbering system that indicates 1) the yarn size in filament and staple yarns, with low numbers representing finer yarns and higher numbers representing heavier yarns; or 2) the number of unit weights of 0.05 grams per 450-meter length; or 3) the size of a filament fiber.

dimensional stability: The ability of a fabric to retain its original geometric dimensions when subjected to various stresses and environmental conditions. Stresses may include wetting, stretching, or impacting the fabric. Environmental conditions consist of changes in temperature and humidity. Two common test methods for testing dimensional stability are ASTM D3597 para. 7.5 (dimensional stability to wetting) and ASTM D6207 (stability to temperature and humidity changes).

directional fabric: Used to describe a fabric that has a specific orientation due to pattern, nap or weave that needs to be considered when the fabric is being applied.

dobby: 1. An attachment to a loom that enables it to weave more complex geometric patterns through the use of additional harnesses. 2. A fabric woven on a dobby loom.

double cloth: A fabric woven as two layers of cloth joined at regular intervals by reversing the sets of warp or filling yarns. The technique is often used to allow a single color to be clearly visible on the surface.

duck: A term for a broad range of very durable plain weave fabrics available in a variety of weights. Usually made of cotton, it has a range of uses from industrial to home furnishings. “Number 10 cotton duck” is specified as the abradant material to be used in performing the Wyzenbeek abrasion test.

durability: The ability of a product to retain its appearance and physical properties after being subjected to wear and dynamic stresses.

dye lot: A quantity of textile fiber, yarn, or woven goods dyed in one production run. Lot size can vary greatly depending on the mill or finishing plant’s dyeing processes and equipment.

dyestuffs: A natural or synthetic substance that adds color to fabrics, fibers or yarns, incorporated by chemical reaction, absorption or dispersion. Various types are used, depending on results desired and method of application.

dynamic seam test ASTM D4033: A seam slippage test that consists of repeatedly dropping an 8.25-pound wheel from a height of 6 inches onto a simulated upholstered cushion. The wheel strikes the cushion about 1 inch away from a standard seam that has been sewn into the fabric. This test is typically run for 5,000 or 7,000 drops, depending on the specification cited, and failure occurs if the seam exhibits more than 1/8” slippage in any direction as measured from the center of the seam.



eco-efficiency: A term for the ability to produce and deliver desirable, competitively priced goods and services while progressively reducing the ecological impacts of these actions. Coined in 1992 by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

EHS: See Extremely Hazardous Substance.

elongation: The amount of stretch or dimensional change that occurs in the direction of a force or load that is applied to fiber, yarn or fabric. Elongation is typically expressed as a percentage of the original length of the specimen when measured at a specified load level or at the specimen’s breaking point. Several test methods can be used to determine the elongation characteristic of a fabric, including the breaking strength test (ASTM D5034) and variations of that test.

embossing: The process of passing fabric through engraved, heated rollers to impart patterns onto the surface of the fabric.

EMS: See Environmental Management System.

end: A single warp yarn. Warp ends are counted by the number of ends in an inch of cloth, hence the term “ends per inch.”

end-user: The actual user of a specified product.

energy recovery: The process of recovering the thermal energy produced when fuels are converted to gasses and residues through the combustion process. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

environment: The complex of physical, chemical and biotic factors (such as climate, soil and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival.

Environmental Management System (EMS): An industry-developed and driven management structure that prioritizes compliance with environmental policy objectives and targets effective implementation of environmentally-focused procedures. A key feature of an EMS is the preparation of documented systems, procedures and instructions to ensure effective communication and continuity of such implementation. ISO 14001 specifies the actual requirements for an EMS standard and is the most widely recognized system of this type.

Environmental Product Declaration (EPD): A standardized (ISO 14025/TR) LCA-based tool used by a company to communicate the environmental performance of a product or system.An EPD is based on a Life Cycle Assessment and includes information about the environmental impacts associated with a product or service, such as raw material acquisition; energy use and efficiency; content of materials and chemical substances; emissions to air, soil and water; and waste generation. It also includes product and company information.

environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP): Products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance or disposal of the product or service.

EPD: See Environmental Product Declaration.

epinglé: A fabric with short, uncut, looped pile.

EPP: See environmentally preferable purchasing.

European Eco-Label: A system that allows products to carry the distinctive EU “Flower” logo, for products that have the lowest environmental impacts in a product range (a “best in class”). The stated aim for textiles under the Eco-Label is reduction of water pollution related to key processes throughout the textile chain.

Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS): EPA list currently containing more than 300 chemicals. Because of their extremely toxic properties, these chemicals were chosen to provide an initial focus for chemical emergency planning. If these chemicals are released in certain amounts, they may be of immediate concern to the community. Releases must be reported immediately.

EHS: See Extremely Hazardous Substance.



fabric: Any material formed by combining yarn, fibers or filament in a variety of ways, including but not limited to woven, coated, nonwoven, knitted, bonded, felted and composite materials.

face: The front side of the fabric as opposed to the back. This is the side of the fabric that is normally treated and tested to meet commercial standards. See ID cord.

faille: A fine rep weave fabric made with a heavier yarn in the filling than in the warp.

fastness: See colorfastness.

felt: A nonwoven or woven fabric with a dense construction that is face-finished through a process that shrinks and entangles the fibers to make the structure of the fabric indistinguishable.

fiber: Term for a unit of any natural or synthetic textile raw material used for manufacturing fabric.

filament: A fiber of continuous indefinite length. Man-made examples are rayon, nylon, polyester and polypropylene. Silk and hair are examples of natural filaments. Filaments can be used in their entirety, manipulated, or chopped into staple fibers that are then spun into yarn. Unmanipulated filament is called continuous filament.

filling: Also called weft. In woven fabrics, the filling yarns are the yarns that run in the horizontal direction, at right angles to the warp.

finishes: Any processes or treatments applied to a material to alter or change the look, feel or performance. Some examples are calendering, coatings, embossing, fire resistance, heat treatments, laminations, moisture barriers, soil and stain repellents, washing, and ultraviolet protection.

fire blocker: See barrier cloth.

first-party conformity assessment: Conformity assessment activity that is performed by the person or organization that provides the product. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

first-quality good: Product that does not include factory “seconds” or “rejects.” Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

flame resistant (FR): Indicates a fabric’s ability to resist burning. Fabrics that are not already inherently flame resistant may be treated with various processes to provide certain levels of flame resistance.

flammability: Measurement of a fabric’s performance when exposed to specific sources of ignition.

flannel: A woven fabric that has been face-finished by lightly brushing or napping the surface. Usually flannel is a medium-weight plain or twill structure in wool, wool blends or cotton fibers.

flaw: An inconsistency or defect created in yarn or fabric during any part of the manufacturing process.

float: Portion of warp or filling yarn covering two or more adjacent warp yarns or filling picks in a woven cloth.

FR: See flame resistant.

frisé: A durable warp-pile fabric made of uncut loops that may either be left uncut or partly cut to create a pattern.

fulling: A finishing process, also known as milling or felting, in which the goods are subjected to moisture, heat, friction and pressure, causing the fibers in the yarns to shrink and interlock. When goods are heavily fulled, the yarns and the weave structure are entirely obscured, giving the even and smooth surface appearance of felt.



gabardine: Fabric of fine worsted yarns tightly woven in a twill weave.

garnet: A technique for opening up hard and soft waste fabric with a view to recycling them. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

glazing: A finishing process combining the application of a glazing substance and friction calendering; the process produces a smooth, highly polished, or lustrous surface on a fabric.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): A voluntary standard that aims to ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting to raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labeling. It covers processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, trading and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibers.

Global Recycle Standard (GRS): A voluntary standard owned by Textile Exchange (formerly known as Organic Exchange) that is intended for companies making and/or selling products with recycled content. Developed for but not limited to textile products, the standard applies to the full supply chain and addresses traceability, environmental principles, social requirements, and labeling.

GOTS: See Global Organic Textile Standard.

green: An adjective used to describe something that is perceived to be beneficial to the environment.

GREENGUARD Certification: A certification and labeling program for interior products and building materials focused on indoor air quality and chemical exposure.

greenwashing: Deceptive promotion of actions or products as more environmentally friendly than they actually are.

greige goods: Woven fabric not yet dyed or finished. Also referred to as “grey” goods.

grinning: 1. Refers to an undesirable affect in a woven fabric when the warp becomes apparent if the fabric is folded, creased or upholstered around corners and edges. 2. A flaw in ribbed fabrics that occurs when warp threads show through the covering filling threads. 3. A printing term referring to ground color showing through colors printed over it.

gros-point: A durable warp-pile fabric made of uncut loops, similar to frisé but woven with heavier yarns.

ground: The area in a woven or printed design that forms the background behind the motif.

GRS: See Global Recycle Standard.



hand: The “feel” of a fabric when handled. Factors that may contribute to the hand of a fabric include content, weight, construction, and finishing processes.

handwoven: A fabric woven on a loom that is powered by hand or by hand and foot. Such fabrics often have a unique character that can rarely be duplicated on a power loom.

HAP: See hazardous air pollutant.

hazardous air pollutant: Those air pollutants that cause or may cause cancer, other serious health effects (such as reproductive effects or birth defects) or adverse environmental and ecological effects. In 40 CFR 63, Subpart OOOO, the EPA establishes national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for fabric and other textile printing, coating and dyeing operations. Also known as toxic air pollutants.

hazardous substance: Substances considered harmful to human health and the environment under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or the Superfund law). Includes hazardous waste and hazardous air

hazardous waste: Defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as any waste that exhibits specific hazardous characteristics such as ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity.

Health Product Declaration (HPD): Similar to an Environmental Product Declaration, an HPD is a format for the reporting of product content and associated health information of building products. Developed by the Healthy Building Network and Building Green, Inc.

heather: A blend of stock-dyed colored fibers used to create a multicolored or multi-toned effect, most often in woolens.

heat setting: The process of taking a material and exposing it to a certain temperature for a specific period of time to set and better control the dimensional stability of the fabric.

heavy metal: Any metallic chemical element that has a relatively high density and is toxic at low concentrations. Examples are mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, thallium and lead. Semi-metallic elements such as antimony, arsenic, selenium and tellurium are often included in this classification.

HPD: See Health Product Declaration.

hydrophilic: “Water loving” materials that absorb water readily. Examples of hydrophilic fibers include cotton and rayon.

hydrophobic: “Water hating” materials resist the absorption of water. Examples of hydrophobic fibers include polyester and olefin.

I - P


ID cord: An identification cord of longer floats woven into the right selvage of a roll of fabric to clearly mark the face and direction of the fabric. Part of the BIFMA Standard for Woven Textile Characteristics.

IPM: See integrated pest management.

indoor air pollution: Chemical, physical or biological contaminants in indoor air. Includes hazardous air pollutants.

integrated pest management (IPM): An effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices with the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment. Addressed in NSF/ANSI 336-2011, section

International Organization for Standardization (ISO): A non-governmental organization located in Geneva, Switzerland, chartered to develop voluntary technical standards that aim to make the development, manufacture and supply of goods and services safe, reliable and of good quality.

ISO: See International Organization for Standardization.

ISO 14000: A group of ISO standards and guidelines that address environmental issues. Includes standards for environmental management systems (EMS) (ISO 14001 and ISO 14004), environmental and EMS auditing (ISO 19011), environmental labeling and declarations (ISO 14020), performance evaluation (ISO 14031), life-cycle assessment (ISO 14040), and greenhouse gas accounting (ISO 14064).

ISO 9000: A group of ISO standards and guidelines that relate to quality management systems. Includes standards for establishing system requirements (ISO 9001), for improving the system’s efficiency and effectiveness (ISO 9004), and for system audits (ISO 19011). All of these are process standards, not product standards.



jacquard: 1. Fabric woven on a loom with a jacquard patterning mechanism, which allows complex designs to be woven. 2. Jacquard loom: a loom where individual warp ends can be independently controlled with a jacquard mechanism for unlimited design capabilities.

jet dyeing: A piece-dyeing process whereby a continuous loop of fabric is dyed in a pressurized machine.

jobber: A distributor of textiles who either purchases fabric directly from a mill or creates a proprietary line by working with a mill in the manufacture of an end product.



knit: A fabric produced by continuous interlooping of one or more yarns. Specialty knitted fabrics are mostly used for casements and upholstery.

knock-off: The act of illegally copying an original design.



laminate: The process of taking two or more materials and joining them to form a composite using either adhesive and/or heat, depending on the characteristics of the materials.

latex: A flexible, rubber-like, durable polymer material that is used in backings or coating systems in fabric-finishing processes. See backing/back-coatings for more information.

LCA: See life cycle assessment.

LCI: See life cycle inventory.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®): A voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven program that provides third-party verification of green buildings. LEED includes a suite of rating systems (dependent on type of building) that were developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

least-processed fibers: Used to differentiate natural fibers from man-made cellulosic (regenerated cellulose) which are both derived from rapidly-renewable and renewable resources. Least processed state refers to natural fibers which require less processing than man-made cellulosic (regenerated cellulose) fibers. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

LEED®: See Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

life cycle assessment (LCA): The comprehensive examination of a product’s environmental and economic effects and potential impacts throughout its lifetime, including raw material extraction, transportation, manufacturing, use and disposal.

leno weave: An open-weave fabric constructed using a special attachment to the loom which enables the warp ends to be twisted around the filling yarns, producing an open yet sturdy fabric used for drapery.

life cycle inventory (LCI): The part of the life cycle assessment process that quantifies the energy, input of raw material, and releases of material into the environment during each stage of production.

life cycle thinking: Considers cradle-to-grave implications of different activities and products without going into the details of a life cycle assessment study.

lightfastness: A textile’s degree of resistance to exposure to sunlight.

linen: Term used for natural flax fiber or fabrics made from flax fiber. Characteristics include rapid moisture absorption, natural luster, and stiffness.

liquor ratio: See bath ratio.

loft: The bulk, springiness or resilience of a fiber, yarn or fabric.

loom state: The state of woven fabric after being taken off the loom and before being dyed or finished.

luster: The reflective quality of the surface of a yarn or fabric. Luster can be achieved through finishing with the use of heat or pressure. It can also be the result of employing lustrous yarns.



man-made fiber: Also referred to as manufactured fiber, it is a fiber that is chemically produced rather than occurring naturally, e.g., acrylic, nylon, polyester, polyethylene, polyurethane, polyvinyl, acetate, and rayon.

Martindale: Refers to a fabric abrasion test method that employs the Martindale machine to test fabric using worsted wool as the abradant. This is an oscillating test in which pressure is specified, fabric samples are mounted flat and rubbed in a figure-eight motion, and the results are measured in the number of cycles achieved before noticeable wear is apparent. Number of cycles determines abrasion rating.

matelassé: A fabric with a quilted or puckered effect created through the combination of tightly woven areas next to open pocket areas that may be enhanced by adding stuffer yarns or by finishing to create shrinkage.

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS): A document required by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) that contains information about hazardous chemicals in the workplace in order to ensure the safety and health of the user at all stages of a material’s manufacture, storage, use and disposal.

mechanical recycling: A recycling process whereby polymer or fabric waste is melted, shredded, garneted, granulated, or similarly undergoes a transformation using a mechanical process to convert the waste into a new, useable form. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

memo: A sample of a fabric supplied by a fabric company for reference and selection purposes.

mercerization: A treatment for cotton yarn or fabric that increases the luster and affinity for dyestuffs.

microfiber: A category of very fine synthetic yarns used in lightweight, high-density fabrics with one denier per filament or less.

mildew resistance: A fabric’s ability to resist mold and mildew. Fabric can be chemically treated so that the performance characteristics are not adversely affected if the fabric is exposed to moisture for long periods of time.

mohair: The lustrous hair of the Angora goat used predominantly in cut-pile fabrics.

moisture barrier: A protective barrier finish applied to a fabric that does not allow a liquid to pass through.

moisture regain: The degree to which fibers absorb moisture from a standard atmosphere. Technically, moisture regain is the amount of water in a material brought to equilibrium with standard atmospheric conditions, expressed as a percentage of the mass of the moisture-free (“bone dry”) material. Moisture regain may be tested by ASTM D2654. Standard regain values for common fibers are as follows (note: may vary by manufacturer or type): Polypropylene 0.1%; Polyester 0.4%; Acrylic 1.5%; Nylon 6, 3.8 – 4.5%; Nylon 66, 3.5 – 5.0%; Cotton 8.5%; Rayon (viscose) 10.7 – 16.0%; Silk 11.0%; Wool 13.6 – 16.0%.

monofilament: One strand of extruded continuous filament of a man-made fiber.

MSDS: See Material Safety Data Sheet.

multifilament: A yarn made up of multiple continuous filaments.

muslin: A plain weave cotton fabric, light to medium weight, usually unbleached and undyed. The name is derived from Mosul, the city in Mesopotamia where the fabric originally was produced.



nap: The soft downy surface of a cloth created when part of the fibers are raised by a brushing technique called napping.

natural fiber: Any fiber that comes from animal, vegetable or mineral sources.

needle-punched: The process of passing a fabric through a series of needles that penetrate the fabric to fill in the gaps by entangling the fibers.

NFPA 260: National Fire Protection Association standard test method and a related classification system for cigarette ignition resistance of components of upholstered furniture.

NFPA 701: National Fire Protection Association test methods for small-scale (curtain and drapery fabrics weighing under 21 oz. per square yard) and large-scale (drapery fabrics over 21 oz. per square yard) vertical flame tests.

non-renewable resources: Relating to a natural resource such as petroleum or a mineral ore that cannot be replaced once it has been extracted or procured. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

nonwoven: Textiles constructed by interlocking or fusing fibers using adhesives, pressure or heat.

novelty yarn: A yarn with special color effects such as space-dyed yarn, or textural effects such as nubs, slubs or built-in irregularities.

NSF/ANSI 336-2011: An NSF International Standard / American National Standard. This is the sustainability assessment for commercial furnishings fabric.

nub: A slub, bump or lump in a novelty yarn or an irregularity in a straight yarn.

nylon: A manufactured fiber also known as polyamide. Nylon is known for excellent strength, elasticity, and abrasion resistance.



Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): The federal agency established in 1971 to ensure safe and healthful workplaces in the U.S. through leadership, enforcement, outreach, education and compliance assistance.

OEKO-TEX®: A European standard for the impact of textiles on human ecology and the environment.

off-quality materials: Any materials resulting from the fiber, yarn, or fabric formation processes that are the same form or shape as the product but that do not meet the original product specifications. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

olefin: A manufactured fiber composed of ethylene, propylene, or other olefin units, also known as polypropylene. The fiber has excellent properties for cleanability, abrasion resistance, and resistance to deterioration from chemicals and mildew. Color may be achieved only through solution dyeing.

ombré: A color effect with a gradual change or fade from light to dark or from one color to another.

organic fibers (certified): Fibers that are grown without the use of synthetic inputs, such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, veterinary drugs, genetically modified seeds and breeds, preservatives, additives and irradiation. Certified organic fibers are grown according to an organic standard for a minimum period, typically three years, and certified through a certification body that is accredited through IFOAM or USDA. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

organic transitional / in-conversion (certified): Organic fibers are natural fibers grown without the use of synthetic inputs, such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, veterinary drugs, genetically modified seeds and breeds, preservatives, additives and irradiation. Certified transitional / in-conversion organic fibers are grown during the period the farm is changing from conventional farming to organic farming and certified as such through a certification body that is accredited through IFOAM or USDA. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

organohalogen: An organic (i.e., carbon-containing) compound that incorporates a halogen element including fluorine, bromine, iodine, or chlorine. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

OSHA: See Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

ottoman: A horizontal ribbed fabric, usually with a densely set warp and a heavy filling yarn that creates raised ribs across the cloth.

oxford: A plain woven fabric with a basket weave effect used most often in shirting. Often two colors are used to enhance the weave characteristics.



pad batch dyeing: The basic technique of saturating the prepared fabric with a premixed dye liquor and passing it through a padder, which forces the dyestuff inside the fabric for greater penetration while removing excess dye solution. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

persistent bioaccumulative toxin (PBT): Chemicals that are toxic, persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in food chains and therefore pose risks to human health and ecosystems. Addressed in NSF/ANSI 336-2011, Section 6.4.5.

PET: See polyethylene terephthalate.

pick: Refers to each individual filling yarn of any fabric. Fabrics are often described by the number of picks per inch.

piece: A standard full length of fabric, generally 50 to 60 yards; also called a bolt.

piece-dyed: Fabric that has been dyed in piece form after weaving, as opposed to dyeing in yarn form or stock dyeing.

pile: An extra set of warp or filling yarns woven with a special mechanism to form loops on the surface of a fabric. If loops are left uncut, the fabric is called frisé, or gros-point. Cut-pile fabrics include velvet, velveteen and corduroy.

pilling: The formation of small fuzzy balls of fiber, called pills, on the surface of a fabric by abrasion in wear. It is considered a defect when excessive. The ACT Voluntary Performance Guideline for physical properties includes specific pilling test information.

PLA: See polylactic acid.

plain weave: Simplest weave structure in which one warp end weaves with one filling yarn, producing a flat-surfaced fabric with the smallest possible floats. Quality and strength depends on yarn quality, yarn size, and fiber content.

plastic: Any of various organic compounds produced by polymerization, capable of being molded, extruded, cast into various shapes and films, or drawn into filaments used as textile fibers.

polyester: A high-strength manufactured fiber that is washable, resistant to stretching and shrinking, and is naturally flame resistant.

polyethylene terephthalate (PET): A thermoplastic material that is clear, tough and has good gas and moisture barrier properties. Used in soft-drink bottles and other blow-molded containers, although sheet applications are increasing. Cleaned, recycled PET flakes and pellets are used in some spinning fiber for carpet yarns, fiberfill and textiles.

polylactic acid (PLA): A biodegradable thermoplastic derived from the lactic acid in corn and other crops (both food and non-food sources); resembles clear polystyrene. PLA can be used in a number of industrial products, including textiles.

polypropylene: A manufactured fiber made from polymers that is strong and resilient, relatively inert, and does not absorb water or dirt. See olefin.

polyurethane: A synthetic chemical compound used to make foam coatings, composites and cushions.

polyurethane fiber: A lightweight, durable, elastomeric filament composed of at least 85% of a segmented polyurethane. Also known as spandex.

polyvinyl chloride (PVC): Synthetic thermoplastic polymer made from vinyl chloride. In addition to its stable physical properties, PVC has transparency, chemical resistance, long-term stability, good weatherability, flow characteristics and stable electrical properties. However, its stability makes it nearly environmentally indestructible. PVC also releases hydrochloric acid, dioxin, and other toxic compounds when produced, used or burned.

post-consumer recycled content: Composed of materials that have been recovered or otherwise diverted from the waste stream after consumer use. Source: FTC Green Guides.

post-industrial material: See pre-consumer recycled content.

pre-consumer recycled content: Composed of materials that have been recovered or otherwise diverted from the waste stream during the manufacturing process. Excluded is reutilization of materials such as rework, regrind, or scrap generated in a process and capable of being reclaimed within the same process that generated it. Also known as post-industrial recycled material. Source: FTC Green Guides.

product stewardship: A product-centered approach to environmental protection. It calls on those in the product lifecycle—manufacturers, retailers, users, and disposers—to share responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts of products. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

Prop 65: See California Proposition 65.

PVC: See polyvinyl chloride.

Q - Z


quality: The term used to describe a specific construction that references weight, content, ends and picks per inch, yarn size, and finish. Fabrics comprising the same fiber content, same size yarns, and same finish are considered to be the same quality.



railroad: An upholstery term that describes the technique or process by which a fabric is turned and used horizontally when it is applied to furniture, thereby requiring less yardage and fewer seams. A fabric can also be used vertically. See up the roll.

ramie: A bast fiber similar to flax that is primarily used for apparel and in blends for upholstery. It has luster and hand characteristics similar to those of linen and has low abrasion resistance.

rapidly renewable fibers: A resource capable of being replaced in a short period of time (less than 3 years) by natural ecological cycles. Examples include but are not limited to natural fibers, bio-based polymers, and regenerated bamboo but do not include regenerated cellulose fibers such as acetate, triacetate, cuprammonium rayon, viscose rayon, and lyocell. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

rayon: A man-made fiber of regenerated cellulose with a natural luster and soft hand. Viscose and cuprammonium are types of filament rayon. A high absorbency characteristic gives the fiber excellent affinity for color and 11 percent moisture regain.

RCRA: See Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

reclaimed polymer: Synthetic waste from any source (e.g., carpet, fabric, yarn or soda bottles) that is melted down and re-extruded.

reclamation: The act of retrieving any material from a waste stream in order to save it from loss and restore it to usefulness.

recovery: The ability of a yarn or textile to return to its natural state after being stretched or punctured.

recyclability: Capable of being collected, separated, or otherwise recovered from the waste stream through an established recycling program for reuse or use in manufacturing or assembling another item. Source: FTC Green Guides.

recycled content: Proportion, by mass, of recycled material within a product that has been recovered or diverted from the solid waste stream, either during the manufacturing process (pre-consumer/post-industrial) or after consumer use (post-consumer). Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

recycled polyester: Reclaimed polyester made from either post-industrial or post-consumer resins.

recycling: The series of activities, including collection, separation and processing, by which products or other materials are recovered from the solid waste stream. The collected materials are then used as raw materials for the manufacture of new products.

regenerated cellulose: A general term for fibers that are manufactured through chemically and/or physically modifying natural cellulosic materials. Examples include but are not limited to acetate, triacetate, cuprammonium rayon, viscose rayon, lyocell, and regenerated bamboo. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

renewable energy: Energy from a source that is replenishable and replenished on some reasonable time scale. Potential renewable energy sources include but are not limited to wind, solar, heat from the earth’s interior, oceans, rivers, and eligible biomass (including landfill gas). Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

rep or repp: A finely ribbed fabric created by a densely set warp with ribs or cords in the filling.

repeat: A single unit of a pattern that is duplicated or repeated over and over to create an overall fabric or wallcovering design.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): The federal statute that is an amendment to the Solid Waste Disposal Act (of 1965). RCRA has four primary goals:protection of human health and the environment from potential hazards associated with hazardous waste disposal; conservation of energy and natural resources; reduction of the amount of hazardous waste generated; and enforcement of environmentally sound waste management practices. Adopted by Congress in 1976.

rib weave: A plain weave variation that employs filling yarns to create a vertical rib that runs parallel with the warp; the rib is created by floating the filling over a group of warp ends. The technique may also be used to create diagonal or horizontal rib effect.



sateen: A fabric created by using either a warp- or filling-faced satin weave.

satin weave: One of three basic weaves; the others are plain and twill weaves. Satin weaves are made up of predominately warp or weft filling floats. Satin weaves are found in damask, brocades, and many other decorative and contract fabrics.

seam slippage: The condition that occurs when a fabric pulls apart at a seam. The ACT Voluntary Performance Guideline for physical properties includes specific seam slippage test information.

second-party conformity assessment: Conformity assessment activity that is performed by a person or organization that has a user or purchaser interest in the product. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

selvage: The tightly woven edge of a fabric that runs parallel to the warp, usually made with stronger yarns to help prevent raveling; also known as selvedge.

shantung: A silk fabric characterized by a fine warp and an uneven slub filling yarn that produce a nubby texture on the surface of the fabric. The name comes from Shantung, China, where the fabric originally was woven of wild silk.

sheer: A transparent or lightweight fabric often used for window treatment.

silk: A fine, strong, continuous protein filament produced by the larva of silkworms and noted for strength, resilience, luster and elasticity.

skew: A weave alignment condition in which filling yarns are not perpendicular to the selvage, the result of uneven tension in weaving or finishing. Skew is measured by drawing a line perpendicular to the selvage from the point at which a filling yarn meets the selvage. The maximum distance that the filling yarn deviates from the perpendicular line is measured and reported. Generally no more than one inch of skew is acceptable. See also bow.

sku: Abbreviation for stock keeping unit.

slub yarn: A novelty yarn with thick and thin areas spun into the yarn for effect.

solid waste: Non-liquid, non-soluble materials from sources ranging from municipal garbage to industrial wastes that may contain complex and hazardous substances. Solid wastes also include sewage sludge, agricultural refuse, demolition wastes and mining residues. Technically, solid waste also refers to liquids and gases in containers.

solution-dyed: A method of dying fiber also known as dope-dyed. The pigment or dye is added into the spinning solution/polymer before it is forced through the spinneret, dispersing the color evenly throughout the fiber and producing excellent colorfastness and consistency.

space-dyed: Fiber that has been dyed in monochromatic or multicolor spaces along a given length in a specific repeat or a random pattern.

specifier: The architect or interior designer who selects furniture, fabrics and finishes for a specific interiors project.

spinning: The process of producing a spun yarn from staple fibers.

standard: The reference against which quality or color evaluations are made.

staple fiber: Natural or cut continuous filament fibers used to make spun yarns.

stock-dyed: Fiber that has been dyed before being spun into yarn.

stretch yarn: Yarn that is engineered to have permanent stretch and recovery characteristics. See Lycra®.

strié: French word for an irregular or random striping effect in a cloth, which is created by using varying shades of the same color.

strike-off: A printed fabric term that refers to a short length of fabric made prior to production to verify design accuracy and adjust color.

sueded: An effect created in the finishing process. As fabric passes through abrasive rollers, the face of the fabric is napped, leaving the fabric with a soft hand resembling suede.

sustainable: Pertaining to a system characterized by environmentally benign, economically viable and socially equitable practices that allows continual reuse of resources.

synthetic fiber: Fiber manufactured from chemical compounds, e.g., nylon, polyester, olefin, acrylic.



Taber: Refers to a fabric abrasion test method that places a circle of fabric on a platform that is then exposed to two rotating abrasive wheels. Although this method is not generally used for testing abrasion of contract fabrics, it is used to test print retention.

taffeta: A fabric that is smooth on both sides with a sheen on the face and a crisp hand; it is created by weaving a fine denier yarn in a plain weave. Taffeta normally has a slightly heavier filling than warp.

tapestry: Historically, a heavy handwoven fabric depicting scenic subjects. The term is now used to describe jacquard fabrics woven with three or more colors in the warp and a light and dark filling with a binder yarn. Complex weave structures are possible in tapestry fabrics, resulting in rich designs.

TCLP: See Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure.

tensile strength: The ability of fiber, yarn, or fabric to resist breaking under tension.

terephthalic acid: A white crystalline water-insoluble carboxylic acid used in making polyester resins, fibers and films by combination with glycols.

terrestrial toxicity: The use or release of substances that have toxic impact on land species.

Textile Exchange: A non-profit based in the United States that is committed to the expansion of textile sustainability across the global textile value chain. Textile Exchange administers a number of textile standards, including the Global Recycle Standard, the Content Claim Standard and several organic content standards. Formerly known as Organic Exchange.

texture: Refers to the surface characteristic or hand of a yarn or textile. Variation in texture may be the result of fiber content, weave structure, or finish.

The Natural Step (TNS): An international organization founded in Sweden in 1989 that uses a science-based, systems framework to help organizations, individuals and communities take steps towards sustainability.

third-party conformity assessment: Conformity assessment activity that is performed by a person or body that is independent of the person or organization that provides the product, and of the user or purchaser interests in that product. Source: NSF/ANSI 336-2011.

TNS: See The Natural Step.

TRACI: Tool for Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and other Environmental Impacts (TRACI) is a Life cycle assessment method developed by the U.S. EPA using North American environmental data.

Toxic Release Inventory (TRI): An EPA database (available to the public) that contains information on toxic chemical releases and other waste management activities reported annually by certain covered industry groups and by federal facilities. This inventory was established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) and expanded by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990.

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): The federal statute (of 1976) that authorized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to track the 75,000 industrial chemicals currently produced or imported into the United States. EPA repeatedly screens these chemicals and can require reporting or testing of those that may pose an environmental or human-health hazard. EPA can ban the manufacture and import of chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk.

Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP): A commonly used test for determining the potential of certain metals and chemicals to leach out of an unlined disposal site into groundwater at toxic levels; identified in Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 40 CFR Part 261.

TRI: See Toxic Release Inventory.

TSCA: See Toxic Substances Control Act.

tweed: A term to describe woolen twill fabric woven from heathered or multicolored yarns. The fabric originated in Scotland and was named for the Tweed River.

twill: One of three basic weaves. Twill weaves give the appearance of a diagonal line created by the offset progression where weft yarns pass over one or more warp yarns, then under one or more warp yarns.

twist: The term used to describe the number and direction of turns (twists) put into a yarn during manufacturing for strength or effect; twists are identified as “S” or “Z”.



UL Environment: UL Environment (owned by Underwriters Laboratories) offers consulting and services to promote environmentally preferable products, services and organizations.

unbranded fiber: Generic fiber of any type that is marketed without a trade or brand name.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL™): An independent product safety, testing, and certification organization.

union dye: The dyeing of fabric or yarn made from two or more fibers or fiber variants by mixing several types of dyes in one dye bath so that all components will dye the same color.

up the roll: An upholstery term that describes the way fabric comes off the roll. It is the direction in which a fabric is normally used when it is being applied as upholstery. A fabric used vertically or the way it comes off the loom is “up the roll.”

urethane: See polyurethane.

USGBC: See U.S. Green Building Council.

U.S. Green Building Council: A coalition of representatives from the building industry that promotes buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and are healthful places to live and work.



vegetable dyes: Dyes made from vegetable matter such as indigo, safflower, weld, and madder; or the pulp of the logwood tree which makes excellent dark colors such as brown and black. Natural substances vary considerably, as do results of this form of dyeing.

velour: 1. A common term used to describe cut pile, plush, and velour fabrics. 2. A fabric woven in a plain or satin weave with a dense low pile. 3. A napped, knitted fabric that has similar characteristics to woven velour.

velvet: A warp pile fabric woven as a double cloth created by two sets of warp and fill yarns combined with a fifth set used to form the pile. Lateral cutting knives split the pile and separate the top and bottom warps on the loom.

vinyl: A nonwoven film that is derived from ethylene used for upholstery and wallcovering.

VOC: See Volatile Organic Compound.

voile: A sheer or transparent fabric with a crisp hand used for drapery. Voile is a plain weave, low-thread-count fabric woven of highly twisted yarn.

volatile organic compound (VOC): Any compound that contains carbon and becomes a gas at room temperature. VOC emissions are regulated because they contribute to smog formation. The most common sources of VOC emissions are from storage and use of liquid and gaseous fuels, the storage and use of solvents and the combustion of fuels; these can include housekeeping and maintenance products, as well as building and furnishing materials. In sufficient quantities VOC emissions can cause eye, nose and throat irritations, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, memory impairment. Some VOCs are known animal carcinogens; some are suspected or known human carcinogens.



warp: The yarns running lengthwise in a loom or in a woven fabric. The warp is parallel to the selvage and is crossed by filling or weft yarns to create woven fabric.

warp-faced: A description of a fabric woven with a weave in which mainly warp ends are seen on the face of the cloth.

washable: A term used for a fabric that will maintain its look and appearance within certain tolerances after it is put through normal home or commercial wet launderings. Washable characteristics can be achieved by a combination of weave structure, fiber used, mechanical process, or chemical finishing treatment.

wastewater: Water carrying dissolved or suspended solids from homes, farms, businesses and industries.

weave: The term used to describe the structure created through the interlacing of a warp and weft. Three basic weave structures are created: plain, twill and satin. All other weaves, no matter how intricate, are derived from these three structures.

weaving: The process by which a fabric is woven on a loom.

weft: The yarns running horizontally in a woven fabric, crossing the warp from selvage to selvage; also called filling yarns or picks.

wool: The natural fiber from sheep or lamb, or hair from a Cashmere or Angora goat. Highly textured when made into woolen spun yarns; smooth and lustrous when made into worsted spun yarns. The fibers are resilient and naturally fire-resistant and may be blended with other fibers. The term is also used to describe hair from a camel, alpaca, llama, or vicuña.

worsted: A system of spinning long fibers that have been combed and processed into a smooth, uniform, high-twist yarn. Although originally developed to process wool yarn, many other fibers and blends are spun today on the worsted system. The term also is used to describe fabric created from worsted yarns.

woven: A term commonly used to describe a jacquard or dobby fabric to distinguish it from a printed fabric.

Wyzenbeek: Refers to a fabric abrasion test method that uses the Wyzenbeek machine to test fabric using cotton duck as the abradant. Samples of the test fabric are pulled tight in a frame and held stationary while the abradant is rubbed over the test fabric. Each back-and-forth motion is referred to as a “double rub.” Fabric is normally tested in both the warp and fill directions. The number of double rubs achieved depends on an assessment of both noticeable wear and the number of yarn breaks.



yarn: The term used to describe an assemblage of textile fibers or filaments twisted into a continuous strand.

yarn-dyed: The process of dyeing yarn prior to its being woven or knitted.



zero emissions: The result of systems that do not produce greenhouse gases, or emit particulates.