Glossary

GLOSSARY

 

Provided by our World-famous fabric factory, the Albini Group:

BATISTA
Very light and transparent plain weave fabric. Its name is attributed from that of Jean Baptiste, an ancient French weaver from Cambrai (or Chambray) who is purported to have woven the first version, however this is unsubstantiated. Others maintain that the name Batiste originated from another fine fabric woven in India called “Baftas”. The original fabric would in any case have been woven in a fine linen, warp or weft, but generally today the term is used for cotton fabrics.

DENIM
A robust fabric made with a 4 shaft diagonal twill usually running from right to left. The typical characteristic is that the warp is dyed with indigo (a natural dark blue colour that fades over time, in sunlight and with repeated washing) or sometimes with black or brown in the similar way. The weft is always greige (natural cotton colour) giving the characteristic look. This fabric originated in the South of France at Nimes, and therefore was described as “de Nimes”.

FLANEL
A flannel woven from wool, or a wool/cotton mix (also a term applied to some 100% cotton fabrics with a wooly aspect). It has a directional pile achieved by brushing that makes the fabric very soft to the touch, and also warm. Flannels are often used for clothes that have direct contact with the skin, such as shirts, suits, trousers and ladies wear.

MARCELLA
A very compact piquet fabric, only in white or black, used for the front bib of evening shirts (and/or waistcoats) Marcella is often starched with resin to further stiffen it for an even greater formality.

MUSLIN
Muslin is typically very light, and named after the Mesopotamium (Iraq) city of Mosul where it is believed to have its origin. It’s usually in a plain weave.

ORGANZA
Fabric woven from an extremely fine yarns, usually single fold, that is very open and transparent. It can be woven in cotton or silk. Quite similar to muslin in structure, its major difference is a particular kind of Swiss finishing which imparts a rather stiff aspect to the material. Its name derives from the city of Urghenz in Turkestan that was one an important market for textiles between Asia & Europe.

OXFORD
The name of this fabric is taken from the English collegiate City of Oxford where it was worn by the students for leisure wear as generally considered to be a bit more sporty, less formal than Poplin or Zephyr. Its characteristic structure is a warp (usually coloured) that is much finer than the weft which is thicker and traditionally white, producing a chalky white characteristic melange effect .

PANAMA
This fabric, generally in wool or cotton, is a derivitive of plain weave, but instead two warp threads (ends) of warp are crossed with two weft threads (picks). It is also called a Matt weave, and the name derives from its appearance that resembles the weave of the traditional straw panama hat.

PIQUET
Cotton double faced cloth which presents different relief effects similar to the weaves seen on silk tie fabrics, or in any case combinations of different types of weaves within the same fabric. The fabric is usually very richly constructed in order to achieve the raised weaving effects, whether they be satins, ottomans or vertical or horizontal ribs. The fabric is woven on top and bottom beams to keep the good tension. Other typical piquet constructions are the Bedford Cord or wavy Marcella effects often associated with formal evening wear fabrics.

PLISSE OR PLEATS
This fabric is woven in a particular way to achieve a fine pleated sort of effect that is used for formal dress shirts. Some Plisse fabrics may be chemically treated by caustic soda to produce a pleated effect, like the typical pleated fabrics of Fortuny.

POPLINE
This name refers to a fabric derived from “papalina” with reference to the Papal City of Avignon from where it originated. The number of weft picks is only half the number of warp ends. This particularity permits the coloured stripes to be clear and bright , in comparison with the much softer weft checks. In fact it primarily became important since the 1960’s owing to the greater loom speeds that could be achieved on account of the lesser number of weft yarns, in comparison with the gingham or zephyrs of the past.

PREPARATION
The materials need to be prepared for dyeing, printing or finishing. During this phase the auxiliary substances used to assist the warping and weaving (oils, waxes and size) as well as the impurities which are always found in a natural fibre, are eliminated, in order to arrive at the very pure presentation needed for the successive working.

SATIN
A cotton fabric with a smooth soft and shiny surface that resembles silk. The effect is achieved by the fabric being woven with an armoured warp faced effect where the yarn interlaces with the weft only after 5 picks of weft. The smooth way the warp fibres lay on the surface give the bright effect. Satins can be woven as an allover effect or also as stripes. When satin effects are made with the weft on the face they are called sateen.

STRETCH
A fabric woven with a weft of nylon & lycra that results in a fabric with great elasticity in the widthwise direction. The nylon aids the crease recovery aspect.

VOILE
A very light fabric in plain weave which is used both for fashion and furnishing fabrics. The transparent effect is achieved because the yarn is extremely tightly twisted and therefore the resultant woven fabrics are very airy and open.

VICHY OR GINGHAM
French term for a classic check of 5mm colour/5mm white, produced on any “Zephyr “ base . In England these sorts of checks are usually called “Gingham”.

ZEPHYR
This was a term invented inside our own company David & John Anderson towards the end of the 19th Century. David Anderson was trying to define a much finer quality of fabric than the typical and fairly ordinary term “ gingham” and the term he chose was Zephyr, the name of a very light and gentle wind. The name has become an Internationally recognised description of a lightweight gingham fabric whose number of warp ends are similar to the weft picks giving a very even check appearance. It can be noted in our archives the large number of Zephyr design volumes from the late 19th Century.