Fabric Types A to Z: Understand the Clothes You Wear

- May 22, 2018-


  • Panne

velvet-like fabric that has been flattened to achieve a desired design or look.

  • Peau de Soie

A heavy twill-weave drapeable satin fabric, made of silk fibers or a manufactured fiber.

  • Peruvian Pima Cotton

Pima cotton grown in Peru and harvested by hand, which reduces the scratchy impurities and guarantees a more brilliant white shade that can be easily dyed.

  • Pima Cotton

Pima cotton is a generic name for extra-long staple cotton grown in the U.S., Australia, and Peru. The name honors the Pima Indians who grow cotton for the U.S.Department of Agriculture in Sacaton, Arizona.

  • Piqué

A medium-weight fabric, either knit or woven, with raised dobby designs including cords, wales, waffles, or patterns. Woven versions have cords running lengthwise, or in the warp direction. Knitted versions are double-knit fabric constructions, created on multi-feed circular knitting machines.

  • Polyamide

The basic fiber-forming substance for nylon fiber. It is also the European term for nylon.

This is both the name of a fabric and a fiber. Polyester has high strength, excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fiber to dry quickly.

  • Powernet

This is a two-way stretch nylon fabric used in high-end compression garments.


A silk-like fabric made from wood pulp, cotton linters, or other vegetable matter. It is a weak but comfortable fabric against the skin and absorbs moisture.

  • Rib Knit

A knitted fabric with alternating raised and lowered rows. More elastic and durable than plain knits.


  • Sanforized

Patented by Cluett, Peabody and Co., Inc,. the label means the cotton fabric shrinkage is held to just 1 percent.

A woven type of fabric with the characteristic of being highly lustrous on one side, and matte on the other. Can be made in a variety of fibers.

  • Silicone

A rubber-like polymer, which maintains its elasticity over a wide range of temperatures. Often used inside the lace top of stockings to cling to the skin and keep the stocking in place without garters.

A natural filament fiber produced by the silkworm in the construction of its cocoon. Most silk is collected from cultivated caterpillars and comes from Asia.

  • Soy

Soy fabric is made from the leftover dregs from soybean oil or tofu production making it eco-friendly. Similar to natural silk, it is common to find occasional slubs which adds to its natural beauty. Its care is the same as cotton fabric.

A synthetic fiber made from polyurethane. It is lightweight, highly elastic, strong, durable and non-absorbent to water and oils. In Europe, they call this elastane.

  • Spannette

A natural rubber latex/nylon stretch fabric with thousands of air holes for comfort and breathability.

  • Supima Cotton

The name "Supima" is a licensed trademark of a group of cotton growers. It is a 100 percent American Pima cotton.

  • Supplex Nylon

Supplex nylon is made by DuPont®. It is a cottony soft nylon that offers the performance benefits of a man-made fabric with the look of cotton.


  • Tactel

Tactel nylon is made by DuPont. It is a silkier, softer nylon with a crinkle finish. It is lightweight and quick drying.

  • Tencel

Tencel is the trademark name for lyocell.

  • Themastat

synthetic fiber with a hollow core to keep you warmer and drier by wicking moisture away.

  • Tricot

This word comes from the French word "tricoter" which means to knit. Tricot is a finely knit fabric that stretches in both the lengthwise and crosswise directions. It can be made from nylon, wool, rayon, silk, cotton, or other fibers.


  • Velour

Soft plush fabric with a close, dense pile. It can be made from cotton or a synthetic fiber.

Velvet is a woven fabric made of silk, nylon, acetate, or rayon with a thick, soft pile of cut or uncut loops. A similar fabric, velveteen, is made the same way but from cotton.

The European term for rayon.

A shiny, plastic-coated fabric typically made with a woven backing of polyester fibers that are then coated with polyvinyl chloride or a blend of PVC and polyurethane. 


Wool is a natural fiber that comes from the fleece of a sheep, goat, llama, or alpaca. It can be knitted or woven.

  • Woven

Woven fabrics are made from two pieces of yarn that are stretched out over a loom and woven together in both horizontal and vertical directions. Woven fabrics do not stretch because their fibers run at 45-degree angles to one another. Woven fabrics include linen, denim, twill, satin, chiffon, corduroy, tweed, and canvas.


  • X-Static Silver Fiber

X-Static silver fiber has a layer of pure silver permanently bonded to the surface of a textile fiber. It can be used in knits, wovens, and non-wovens as either a filament or spun yarn. The addition of silver creates an anti-odor, anti-bacterial fiber.