Textile Glossary



AATCC (American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists) ACT-endorsed, not-for-profit organization internationally recognized for publishing standard methods of testing dyed and chemically treated fibers and textiles to measure and evaluate various performance characteristics.

AATCC 8 and AATCC 116 (see Crocking)

AATCC 16 (see Colorfastness to Light)

AATCC 147 (see Antimicrobial test)

acrylic 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 ® (Association for Contract Textiles) Not-for-profit trade organization that addresses issues related to contract textiles. ACT is comprised of companies involved in the design, development, production, and promotion of textiles for commercial interiors.

ACT Performance Guidelines Standards developed by ACT that measure performance criteria for textiles used in the contract interiors market, helping make specification easier. Textiles are tested for abrasion resistance, flammability, colorfastness to light, colorfastness to wet and dry crocking, and for several physical properties. 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.

Adhesion of Coating Measurement of the force required to separate the chemical coatings from the base substrate of a coated upholstery fabric. The ACT standard test is ASTM D751, Sections 45-48, and requires a 3lbf/in (pound force per inch) minimum.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Organization that sets standards aimed at strengthening the US marketplace position in the global economy, while helping to assure the safety and health of consumers and the protection of the environment.

antimicrobial fabric Any textile that offers protection against bacteria, mold, mildew, and other hazardous microbes. This can be achieved by treating the fabric with a topical chemical that inhibits the growth of pathogens or by using yarns embedded with antimicrobials (see inherent antimicrobial textile). Textiles marketed as antimicrobial must be non-toxic to the consumer and the environment and demonstrate compliance with FDA specifications through approved third-party testing.

Antimicrobial test Method used to detect the antibacterial activity of certain textiles. AATCC 147 (Parallel Streak test) assesses whether there is any bacterial growth on a textile that is exposed to streaks of two bacteria.

ASTM International (formerly, American Society for Testing and Materials) ACT-endorsed, global organization recognized for publishing voluntary, consensus-based technical standards for a wide range of materials, systems, and services.

ASTM D751 Series of standard test methods for determining a variety of mechanical properties of textiles (see individual tests: Adhesion of Coating, Breaking Strength, Seam Strength).

ASTM D1203 (see Volatility)

ASTM D1308 (see Stain Resistance test)

ASTM D2097 (see Flex test)

ASTM D2261—Tongue Tear (see Tear Strength)

ASTM D3511 (see Pilling)

ASTM D3597-D434 (see Seam Slippage)

ASTM D4034 (see Seam Slippage)

ASTM D4157 (see Wyzenbeek method)

ASTM D4329 (see Colorfastness to Light)

ASTM D4966 (see Martindale method)

ASTM D4970 (see Pilling)

ASTM D5034 (see Breaking Strength)

ASTM D5733—Trapezoid Tear (see Tear Strength)

ASTM E84(see Flammability)

ASTM G21(see Fungi Resistance test)

ASTM G26 (see UV Resistance test)


backing Polymer or resin treatment applied to the back of a textile to enhance stability and seam integrity, reduce fraying and curling, and/or improve physical performance.

Bella-Dura ® Woven performance textile constructed of polyolefin, which is solution-dyed, durable (50,000+ double rubs), UV resistant (1,500+ lightfast hours), anti-microbial, and bleach cleanable. Being the only fabric on the market that begins as a by-product of post-industrial waste (petroleum) and ends its life cycle as a 100% recyclable product, Bella-Dura is Cradle to Cradle-certified by the MBDC.

bio-based Commercial or industrial products that are composed in whole, or in significant part, of biological products, renewable agricultural materials (including plant, animal, and marine materials), or forestry materials. These also include bio-based intermediate ingredients or feed stocks. A product must meet or exceed the minimum bio-based content percentage established by the USDA in order to use the Certified Bio-Based Product label.

BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer s Association) Developed flammability standard for testing the smoldering protection of upholstered interior furniture.

blackout drapery (aka room-darkening) Drapery textile used to darken a room or block out sunlight. Note: There is no industry standard for determining what percentage of light a material must block to be considered “blackout.” Also see dim-out.

Boston Fire Code Open flame test similar to Cal TB 133 but with different criteria. Cal TB 133 will be accepted in place of this test providing that the data is submitted to the Boston Fire Department.

botanical/floral pattern Design based on a representation of herbs, plants, flowers, or other botanical elements.

bouclé Novelty yarn with an irregular pattern of curls and loops, used to create a textile that exhibits a looped or knotted surface texture.

Breaking Strength ACT standard for measuring a textile s ability to resist breaking or tearing when subjected to tension. ASTM D5034 (Grab test) is the test method used for woven upholstery textiles in which both the warp and weft yarns must withstand a minimum of 50 lbs. of tension before breaking or tearing. ASTM D751 is the test method used for coated textiles such as polyurethanes and vinyls.

BS 5852 Standardized British test for determining fire and smoldering behavior of seating furniture, which includes the upholstery textile and padding.

BS 5867 Standardized British test for determining fire behavior of drapery textiles.


Cal Prop 65 (California Proposition 65) Provides that persons doing business in California may not expose individuals to chemicals known to cause cancer and/or reproductive toxicity without giving clear and reasonable warning. Prop 65 requires the State to publish a list of these chemicals, which is updated once a year. There are currently over 800 chemicals and substances on the list, which includes the following five phthalates: DEHP, BBP, DBP, DIDP, and DnHP.

Cal TB 117-2013 (see Flammability)

Cal TB 133 (California Technical Bulletin #133) Severe open-flame test for upholstered furniture used in “high risk” public occupancies (e.g., healthcare and daycare facilities, penal institutions, and buildings where easy egress is not always possible during a fire evacuation). Required by Boston, California, and the NY/NJ Port Authority.

CFA (cutting for approval) Small sample of a textile requested to verify such things as color, pattern design, and construction, prior to ordering.

CFFA (Chemical Fabrics and Film Association) International trade organization that represents manufacturers of polymer-based performance fabrics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO).

chenille A soft textile in which fibers are combined and tufted to create a protruding pile; refers to the structure of the fibers rather than the fibers themselves.

cleaning codes System established by the home furnishings industry in order to create a standardized format for cleaning various types of textiles:

W: Clean with a waterbased or foam cleaning agent, or a non-solvent upholstery shampoo. Do not use dry cleaning solvents.

S: Clean only with a mild, water-free dry cleaning solvent. Do not use water.

W-S: Clean with either a waterbased or foam cleaning agent, or a mild water-free solvent. Diluted bleach can also be used for stain removal on some textiles.

X: Do not clean with water or solvent-based cleaners; use vacuuming or light brushing only.

D: Dry clean only.

Cold Crack Resistance test CFFA standard method 6A, used to determine the temperature at which cracks may appear when coated textiles, such as polyurethane and vinyl, are exposed to cold temperatures. Textile samples are placed in a cold chamber and are creased in both the warp and weft directions, then rolled over with a steel roller. The material is then examined for signs of cracking or flaking.

Colorfastness to Light ACT standard for determining the extent to which a textile resists fading caused by exposure to specific light sources. The most commonly used testing method for upholstery and drapery textiles is AATCC 16. The ACT standard for woven upholstery textiles is a minimum of Grade 4 (slight fading) when exposed to 40 hours of either a Carbon-Arc lamp (Option 1) or a Xenon-Arc lamp (Option 3). A drapery textile must achieve a Grade 4 minimum at 60 hours. Coated upholstery fabrics must achieve a Grade 4 minimum at 200 hours. Alternatively, ASTM D4329—a test that simulates deterioration caused by exposure to UV rays, moisture, and heat—can be used for coated fabrics; the standard is "no appreciable color change at 150 hours."

commercial match Commonly used to describe acceptable variation from a color standard.

construction The weave or structure of a textile (e.g., plain, jacquard, or basket weave).

cork Material stripped from the bark of a cork oak tree, which is formed and laminated to a woven polyester/cotton backing for use as an upholstery textile.

cotton Highly absorbent, natural vegetable fiber composed of cellulose from the cotton plant. Cotton textiles can withstand high temperatures, take dyes well, and absorb and release moisture quickly. In mercerized form, cotton is treated to straighten the fibers, yielding a smooth, uniform appearance with a high luster.

[Wet and Dry] Crocking ACT standard for determining the degree of color transferred (crocking) from the surface of a dyed or printed textile onto another surface by rubbing; graded from 1–5. The test method used for upholstery textiles is AATCC 8—a minimum of Grade 4 (low degree of color transfer) must be achieved when a dry white cotton cloth is rubbed against the surface; and a minimum of Grade 3 (average degree of color transfer) when a wet white cotton cloth is used. The method used for drapery textiles is AATCC 8—a minimum of Grade 3 (average degree of color transfer) must be achieved when either a dry or wet white cotton cloth is rubbed against the surface.

Cradle to Cradle Framework developed by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), a global sustainability consulting firm, that can be applied to assessing the human and environmental health characteristics of materials throughout their life cycle. The framework considers product recyclability/biodegradability, effectiveness of recovery and recycling, renewable energy use, water stewardship, and social responsibility. This criteria is used to recognize a product as Cradle to Cradle Certified—in four levels: Basic, Silver, Gold, and Platinum—making it eligible for LEED credits.

crepe Textile with a pebbled surface texture.

cross-dyeing Method of coloring yarn, or a textile constructed from two or more fiber types, by using dyes with different affinities for the different fibers.

Crypton ® Fabric An engineered textile made with pre-tested and approved fabrics with specific fiber and construction requirements. Approved fibers are permanently transformed with stain and odor protection through an immersion process, plus an impenetrable moisture barrier that protects the fabric from spills.

cut yardage Textile that is sold in less than full bolt or roll increments.


D2-2000 Standardized French test for determining fire and smoldering behavior of freestanding furniture used in public spaces, which includes the upholstery textile, padding, foam, and interlining.

damask pattern Jacquard weave with a design based on a floral, foliage, or other decorative theme.

dimensional stability Potential for a textile to retain its original shape, over time, and not bubble or sag when subjected to a specified range of humidity and temperature conditions.

dim-out (also see blackout drapery) Used to describe a drapery that darkens a room or blocks out less than 99% of sunlight.

DIN 4102 Standardized German test for determining fire and smoldering behavior of drapery and upholstery textiles used in theaters, hotels, hospitals, and other public places.

directionless pattern (aka multi-directional) Textile without a specific pattern, nap, or weave orientation.

double weave Compound textile composed of two sets each of warp and weft, held together at intervals by a warp or filling thread that passes from one piece to the other.

duck cloth Durable, plain weave fabric usually made from cotton, used as the abrading material in the Wyzenbeek abrasion test.

durability Ability of a textile to retain its appearance and physical properties after being subjected to wear and stress.

dye lot Batch of textile fibers, yarns, or woven goods dyed in one production run.


EN 1021 Standardized European test for determining fire and smoldering behavior of seating furniture, which includes the upholstery textile and padding.

épinglé Type of velvet textile woven on a wire loom, where the loop pile and cut pile are integrated into the same material.

extreme wear applications End-use examples for upholstery textiles, including: 24 hour facilities such as transportation terminals, healthcare emergency rooms, and casino gambling areas; and public gathering places such as theaters, stadiums, lecture halls, and fast-food restaurants, among others.


face Front side of a textile, which is normally treated and/or tested to meet commercial standards.

Facts Sustainability certification program developed by ACT that recognizes contract textiles that conform to NSF/ANSI 336 and are third-party certified. A manufacturer can achieve a Facts sustainability rating and certification mark once a textile has been evaluated for environmental, economic, and social aspects across its life cycle.

FAR 25.853 Federal Aviation Regulations vertical flame test for determining the ignition resistance of an upholstery textile used for aircraft seat cushions.

faux-effect pattern Woven or printed design that imitates the texture or look of a natural material, such as wood.

faux leather Synthetic material—usually polyurethane or vinyl—that simulates the look and texture of genuine leather.

Federal Standard No.191A See Cold Crack Resistance test and Opacity test

felt/felted wool Non-woven or woven textile with a dense construction, produced by matting, condensing, and pressing fibers to make the structure of the fabric indistinguishable.

fiber Thread or filament that is capable of being spun into a yarn or made into a textile by bonding or interlacing.

filling yarns (see weft)

Flammability ACT standard for measuring a textile s performance when exposed to specific sources of ignition. Upholstery Fabrics—In January 2014, Cal TB 117-2013 was put into effect for testing upholstered furniture. This standard addresses the biggest cause of furniture fires using a smoldering cigarette test, similar to UFAC, NFPA 260, and ASTM E1353. Section 1 of the standard (Cover Fabric Test) applies to upholstery textiles. The test method uses small cushions as miniatures of the seat and back to measure smolder resistance. The mock-up specimens must meet three criteria to pass: 1) Smoldering cannot exceed 45 minutes of test duration; 2) Vertical char length cannot exceed 1.8"; and 3) Specimen cannot transition into open flame.

Direct Glue Wallcoverings and Adhered Panels—Textile must pass ASTM E84 (Adhered Mounting Method)—Class A or Class 1. Wrapped Wall Panels and Upholstered Walls—Textile must pass ASTM E84 (Unadhered Mounting Method)—Class A or Class 1. Drapery fabrics—Textile must pass NFPA 701; a sample that is suspended vertically and exposed to a gas flame for 45 seconds will pass if fragments that fall to the floor extinguish within 2 seconds.

Flex test Method used to determine the flexibility and adhesion of a finish on upholstery leather, which has been adopted for vinyl upholstery fabrics. In ASTM D2097, the test specimen is clamped on a machine with a pair of pistons—one moving in a reciprocating motion—and the fabric is examined for cracks after a specified number of cycles.

FMVSS 302 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards horizontal flame test that measures the burning rate of materials used for automotive interiors.

FR polyester (aka flame retardant polyester) Polyester yarns that possess permanent flame retardancy, as well as colorfastness and light resistance.

Fungi Resistance test Method used to determine resistance of coated textiles, such as polyurethane and vinyl, to mold and mildew. According to ASTM G21, textile samples are inoculated with five types of fungi and evaluated after an incubation period.


general contract applications End-use examples for upholstery textiles which include seating in executive/private offices and corporate board rooms; hotel lobbies, suites, and guest rooms; and private aviation/marine environments, among others.

geometric pattern Woven or printed design based on non-representational shapes such as lines, circles, ellipses, triangles, rectangles, and polygons.

Graffiti Proof Rather than a topical application, this permanent technology used for polyurethane textiles results in a material that prevents ink and tough stains such as mustard, red wine, denim indigo dye, and healthcare-related stains from setting in. Created with a bonding process inherent in manufacturing the product.

GreenShield ® Safe, multifunctional, sustainable textile treatment that utilizes nanotechnology to build permanent spill and stain resistance into the molecular structure of textiles, without changing their natural look and feel. GreenShield is third-party qualified by Scientific Certifications Systems as an Indoor AdvantageTM Gold product, and is Cradle to Cradle Silver certifiedTM by MBDC.


hand “Feel” of a textile when handled—determined by content, weight, construction, and finishing processes.

handwoven Textile woven on either a hand- or hand-and foot-powered loom, which often has a unique character that can rarely be duplicated on a power loom.

heavy-duty applications End-use examples for upholstery textiles, which include task seating in corporate offices, hotel rooms/suites, conference rooms, dining areas, assisted living facilities, and retail environments, among others.

herringbone pattern (aka chevron) Weave composed of a horizontal or vertical sequence of “V” shapes used either singly or in a series to form a zig-zag pattern.

high performance upholstery Textiles, including vinyl, polyurethane, and solution dyed nylon, which demonstrate excellent stain and moisture resistance, easy cleanability, antimicrobial properties, and high resistance to abrasion. Well-suited to applications in healthcare facilities, sporting arenas, airports, educational facilities, hotels, restaurants, casinos, and cruise ships.

houndstooth pattern Woven pattern of broken or jagged checks, or abstract four-pointed stars.

hybrid upholstery Technology that combines a woven fabric with the performance characteristics of a coated textile.

Hydrolysis Resistance Two possible methods used to determine the deterioration of coated textiles, such as vinyl or polyurethane, when exposed to extended periods of heat and/or humidity. ISO 1419, Method B consists of heating a fabric sample in an air oven at 70ºC (158º F) and then examining its coating for any sign of softening, stiffening, or sticking. The ACT standard test for polyurethanes is ISO 1419, Method C (aka Tropical or Jungle Test), where the material is exposed to both an elevated temperature and relative humidity of at least 95%, for one week intervals. The ACT standard is a minimum of 5 weeks that the material endures without degrading. Although it has been suggested that each week is equivalent to one year of service, ACT states, "there is no direct correlation of testing weeks to years of service in the field."


ikat pattern Design created by tie-dyeing either the warp or weft threads prior to weaving a fabric, or a design that simulates this technique.

iridescent Textile that possesses a changing color effect depending on the angle of view and lighting. The iridescent quality is created by weaving warp ends of one color with the weft of another.

IMO 2010 FTP Code Part 8 International Maritime Organization Code for Application of Fire Test Procedures, which took effect in July 2012 to maintain the highest practical level of safety for upholstered furniture. The new standard includes methods for testing the ignitability of combinations of covers and fillings used in upholstered seating when subjected to a smoldering cigarette and a match flame equivalent.

IMO A.471 IMO vertical flame test used to determine the ignition resistance of a drapery textile used for marine vessels.

IMO A.652 IMO flammability test for textiles used for marine vessels: Section 8.2 is a smoldering cigarette test used to determine the ignitability of an upholstery textile along with padding; Section 8.3 is a vertical flame test that measures the ignition resistance of an upholstery textile.

inherent antimicrobial textile Fabric woven with yarn where natural antimicrobials, such as silver and copper salts, are embedded into the fiber when it is extruded during polymerization (see Protect+).

inherent flame resistance Flame resistance that derives from an essential characteristic of the fiber from which a textile is made.

ISO 1419 (see Hydrolysis resistance)

ISO 9001 Set of standardized requirements developed by the International Organization for Standardization, which represent a global consensus on good quality management practices. Regardless of its business activities, size, or sector, the standard provides a framework to ensure that a company consistently turns out product that satisfies customers' expectations. The standard requires the company to audit its quality management system and check that it is fully in control of its activities.

ISO 14001 Set of standardized requirements developed by the ISO that enables a company of any size or type to identify and control the environmental impact of its activities, products, or services, and continually improve its environmental performance. Fulfilling these requirements demands objective evidence, which can be audited to demonstrate that the environmental management system is operating effectively and in conformity to the standard.


jacquard Intricate weave structure that uses a combination of plain, twill, and satin weaves to create a variety of patterns (e.g., damasks, florals, and geometrics), made on a loom with a Jacquard attachment.


knit textile Material constructed by interlocking series of loops of one or more yarns, creating a stretchable fabric. Specialty knitted textiles are mostly used for casements and upholstery.


LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Third party certification process that promotes a “whole building” approach to using environmentally responsible products and practices. Drapery and upholstery textiles cannot carry a LEED certification on their own, but they may contribute to obtaining LEED points.

leno weave Woven textile created on a loom using a special attachment which enables the warp ends to be twisted around the weft yarns, producing an open yet sturdy fabric used for draperies.

loft Bulk, springiness, or resilience of a fiber, yarn, or textile.


Martindale method (ASTM D4966) Abrasion test in which textile samples are mounted flat in the holder of a Martindale machine and then rubbed in a figure-eight motion with a worsted wool cloth—referred to as a “cycle.” The number of cycles that the textile can endure before showing an objectionable change in appearance (i.e., yarn breaks, pilling, holes) is counted. ACT guidelines for General Contract Upholstery textiles are a minimum of 20,000 cycles; Heavy Duty Upholstery textiles require a minimum of 40,000 cycles.

MBDC (see Cradle to Cradle)

mohair Silk-like yarn made from the hair of an Angora goat, which is both durable and resilient. Mohair textiles are notable for having a high luster and sheen, accepting dyes exceptionally well, and having great insulating properties. Mohair can be woven with a “V” (superior) or “W” construction, and its quality is based on pile height and density.

moisture barrier Nonporous layer of non-woven material that is laminated to the back of a textile during finishing. The barrier is used to prevent fluids from passing through, most commonly in healthcare applications.

motif Small design element that is part of a larger pattern.


Nanotex ® Textile treatment that uses nanotechnology to permanently bond oil, liquid, and stain stain repellency to the structure of the fibers, while maintaining the fabric’s natural hand and breathability. Nanotex is NSF 336 Compliant and GREENGAURD Gold Certified.

nap Soft downy surface of a textile, created when part of the fibers are raised by a brushing technique called “napping.”

natural dyes Colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, and/or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources such as roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood, as well as other organic sources such as fungi and lichens.

NEN+ISO 6940/6941. Standardized European test for determining fire behavior of drapery textiles.

NFPA 260/UFAC ACT-endorsed method established by the Upholstered Furniture Action Council and adopted by the National Fire Protection Association, which measures a textile's ability to resist ignition by a cigarette when tested in combination with foam cushioning.

NFPA 701 See Flammability

NFP 92503-507 Standardized French test for determining fire behavior of upholstery and drapery textiles.

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

NSF/ANSI 336 Standard established by the ACT Environmental Committee that sets performance levels for commercial furnishing textiles used in public occupancy settings such as hospitality, healthcare, office, and institutional interiors. The Standard assesses the environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainability for woven, non-woven, and composite materials used for upholstered furniture. NSF International is a global not-for-profit organization that establishes standards for public health and the environment.

nylon The first synthetic fiber developed; composed of smooth, non-absorbent substances that are resistant to stains, water, mold, and mildew. Nylon textiles are strong, resilient, abrasion-resistant, and washable, and they retain color well.


Oeko-Tex ® Standard 100 Globally-standardized criteria used for certifying that a textile's raw materials and end products have been tested for harmful substances. Testing criteria are more stringent for those materials that come into contact with skin. Textiles used for draperies and upholstery are allocated to Product Class IV.

olefin (see polyolefin)

Opacity test Federal Standard No.191A used to determine the opacity of textile materials to light. The textile sample is mounted to a box with a circular opening and then exposed to the light from a 100-watt bulb. The light transmitted through the sample is then measured in watts.

Osnaburg Medium weight woven backing usually made from a blend of polyester and cotton, used for most Type II wallcoverings.


phthalates Family of chemicals added to many plastics, including vinyl, to make them soft and flexible. These five phthalates: DEHP, BBP, DBP, DIDP, and DnHP are currently listed on Cal Prop 65 because they are known to cause reproductive harm. "Safe harbor levels" have been established to determine whether a warning is required. US law also regulates these six phthalates (6P) when used in children's products: DEHP, BBP, DBP, DIDP, DINP, and DnOP. Some manufacturers are proactively eliminating up to 21 phthalates (21P) in their vinyl production, in anticipation of future concerns.

Physical Properties ACT standards for testing Breaking Strength, Pilling, and Seam Slippage of upholstery and drapery textiles. (see individual properties)

piece-dyeing Process of coloring pieces of a textile after it has been woven, rather than dyeing the yarns before production.

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

Pilling Formation of small fuzzy balls of loose fibers (called pills) on the surface of a textile, as a result of abrasion, wear, or continued friction. The ACT standard testing methods for upholstery textiles are ASTM D3511 (Brush Pill test)—textile surface must achieve a minimum of Class 3 (average number of pill balls) when rubbed with nylon bristles for a specific amount of time; and ASTM D4970 (Martindale tester)—textile surface must achieve a minimum of Class 3 (average amount of pilling and related surface changes) after being laundered and subjected to 100 cycles on a Martindale machine.

plain weave Basic textile weave that utilizes a simple alternate interlacing of warp and weft yarns.

polyamide Polymer known for its extreme durability and strength, which can occur naturally (e.g., in wool and silk) and be made synthetically (e.g., nylon). Polyamide fibers are often blended with natural fibers such as wool to produce resilient textiles that are abrasion resistant, non-flammable, and can be pre-colored.

polycarbonate Highest quality polyurethane resin suitable for commercial upholstery applications, with high resistance to humidity, heat, and light.

polyester Group of widely used synthetic fibers made from polymers. Polyester fibers are used alone and in blends to make textiles with high strength and excellent resiliency, which resist stretching and shrinking. These textiles are quick drying and tend to have wrinkle resistance and crease retention, wet and dry.

polyolefin (aka olefin, polypropylene) Lightweight, synthetic fiber that is the least absorbent of manufactured fibers and the only one that floats. It is strong, resilient, non-allergenic, colorfast, and resistant to stains, static, odors, and abrasion. Olefin also has high insulation characteristics.

polyurethane (commonly referred to as "PU") Synthetic fiber made of chemically-produced polymers that is rubber-soft to the touch with the ability to hold a pressed form. Polyurethane textiles are resistant to body oils, perspiration, lotions, and detergents.

polyvinyl chloride (PVC) High strength thermoplastic material widely used in the building and construction industry, including in wallcoverings. Relatively low in cost, it is lightweight, durable, non-flammable, and resistant to UV light, acids, oils, and other corrosive chemicals.

privacy curtains Curtains often used in healthcare facilities where the textile detail is evident on both sides of the fabric.

Protect+ Inherent antimicrobial technology that embeds natural copper and silver salts into polyester fiber when it is extruded during polymerization. Protect+ will not wear off, wash away, or weaken over time, nor will it leach into the ground or water stream.


quality Used to describe a specific construction that references weight, content, yarn size, and finish. Textiles comprising the same fiber content, same size yarns, and same finish are considered to be the same quality.


railroading Technique in which an upholstery or drapery textile is used from side to side of the roll rather than "up the roll" (i.e., the warp is turned horizontally) when it is applied to furniture or drapery. In the case of a drapery, less yardage is required with fewer seams.

rayon Synthetic fiber made of regenerated cellulose, having many of the same qualities as cotton. Rayon yarns are made in a wide range of types in regard to size, elongation, physical characteristics, strength, luster, and suppleness. Rayon textiles have a soft, silky hand, are highly absorbent, easy to dye, and drape well.

recyclable Ability for a product to be recycled into the same or different product, generally preventing the waste of potentially useful materials and reducing the consumption of raw materials and energy usage.

recycled content Pre-consumer (aka post-industrial): materials generated by manufacturers or product converters, such as trimmings, overruns, and obsolete products, which are incorporated back into the manufacturing process of a similar or different product. Post-consumer: a material or product that has served its intended use and has been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal. Simply, it is the waste that individuals routinely discard into a receptacle or landfill.

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

REPREVE ® 100% post-consumer recycled polyester yarn made from plastic bottles that are diverted from landfills.

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

roughening When fibers or threads become rough or detached from a textile due to friction.


sateen weave Variation of a satin weave, produced by floating weft yarns over warp yarns.

satin weave Basic textile weave characterized by long floats of yarn interlaced so there is no definite visible pattern, yielding a smooth, somewhat shiny surface effect.

Seam Slippage Measure of a textile's ability to resist slippage when it is pulled apart at a seam. The ACT standard test method for upholstery textiles is ASTM D4034—a standard seam sewn in both the warp and weft directions of a textile must be able to withstand a minimum of 25 lbs. of tension before it separates to a specific distance. The ACT standard test method for drapery textiles is ASTM D3597-D434—a standard seam sewn in both the warp and weft directions of a textile weighing over 6 oz./sq. yd. must be able to withstand a minimum of 25 lbs. of tension before the seam separates to a specific distance.

Seam Strength Similar to Seam Slippage, except ASTM D751 is the method used for coated textiles such as polyurethane and vinyl.

selvage (aka selvedge) Edges of a roll of material that are not intended as part of the design, used to protect the weave.

sheer Draperies made from textiles that have an open weave, such as a loosely woven polyester voile, that allow light to pass through and retain maximum visibility.

slub yarn Novelty yarn with thick and thin areas spun into the yarn for effect.

solution dyeing Process of coloring man-made fibers by adding the pigment or dye into the spinning solution, dispersing the color evenly throughout the fiber.

Stain Resistance test (ASTM D1308) Method used to determine the resistance of polyurethane and vinyl textiles to staining by common household chemicals. Ratings range from 1 (non-cleanable) to 4 (excellent cleanability).

strike-off Short length of a textile made prior to production to verify design accuracy and adjust color.

Supreen™ Hybrid upholstery composite material that retains the look and feel of a woven fabric, while incorporating the performance and moisture repellence of a coated textile. Supreen textiles have a supple hand, will hold up to a wide range of cleaners and disinfectants, and upholster well.


tapestry Jacquard textile woven with a complex weave structure of three or more colors in the warp, and a light and dark filling with a binder yarn.

Tear Strength Two ACT standard tests that measure the stress exerted to rip a coated fabric under tension. In ASTM D2261 (Tongue Tear) the material is cut with a single rip and then pulled apart by a machine with two jaws along the precut segment; the ACT minimum force requirement is 4 inches x 4 pounds. In ASTM D5733 (Trapezoid Tear), after the material is marked with an isosceles trapezoid and a slit is cut at the center of the smallest side, the nonparallel sides are clamped in parallel jaws of a machine and then pulled apart; the ACT minimum force requirement is 15 inches x 15 pounds.

Tekloom® Hybrid upholstery technology that fuses a woven fabric with the performance and moisture repellence of a coated textile. Tekloom’s extremely abrasion-resistant surface is ink- and graffiti-proof and will hold up to a wide range of cleaners and disinfectants.

Tensile Strength Ability of fiber, yarn, or textile to resist breaking or rupturing under tension.

thermoplastic elastomer (TPE)—Clear, flexible rubber-like material used to fuse Tekloom’s woven and coated components together, creating one intertwined entity.

Trevira CS® Brand name for textiles that are permanently flame-retardant without the use of added finishes, meeting international fire-protection standards. Trevira CS fabrics are available in a wide variety of qualities (e.g., draperies, bedding, upholstery, room dividers, etc.), are easy to care for, and maintain high color brilliance and abrasion resistance. The CS stands for “comfort and safety.”

tweed Woolen twill textile woven from heathered or multicolored yarns.

twill One of three basic weaves that give the appearance of diagonal lines, created by the offset progression of weft yarns passing over one or more warp yarns, then under one or more warp yarns.


UNI VF8456 Standardized Italian test for determining fire behavior of drapery textiles.

UNI 9175 Standardized Italian test for determining flame resistance of upholstered furniture, including the upholstery textile.

up the roll Direction in which a textile is customarily used, coming off a loom or roll and applied as an upholstery or for draperies.

UV Resistance test Method used to determine resistance of non-metallic materials such as polyurethane and vinyl, to the effects of sunlight, moisture, and heat. In ASTM G26, textile samples are evaluated after being exposed to varying levels of a xenon arc lamp and water spray.


vegetable dyeing Method of coloring fiber using dyes made from vegetable matter such as flowers, roots, and fruits. Note: Natural substances vary considerably, as do results of this form of dyeing.

velvet Woven, tufted textile in which cut threads are evenly distributed, possessing a short dense pile that gives a distinctive feel. Although often made from silk, many other fibers (e.g., cotton, wool, nylon, polyester) have been used, resulting in a slightly less luxurious textile.

vinyl Tough mesh synthetic textile made from polyester fibers coated with polyvinyl chloride, which is melted onto the surface of the fibers, sealing them closed. This process makes a virtually waterproof surface that is still flexible and tough and will not tear, stretch, crack, rot, or mildew. Vinyl can be sewn or sealed with heat.

voile Plain weave, low thread-count textile woven of highly twisted yarn used for sheer or transparent draperies.

Volatility Test method for evaluating the volatile loss (evaporation or dispersement into vapor) of a chemical coated fabric at a defined time and temperature. ASTM D1203 uses activated carbon as an immersion medium, and the loss of weight and thickness after exposure are reported.


warp Yarns running lengthwise in a loom or woven textile, parallel to the selvage and filled by the weft yarns.

weave Structure created through the interlacing of a warp and weft. The three basic weave structures from which all other weaves are derived are plain, twill, and satin.

weft (aka filling yarns) Yarns woven into the warp of a textile, from selvage to selvage, across the width.

wool Resilient, natural fiber from a sheep or lamb, used to make textiles that are resistant to stains, wrinkles, and fire, and can absorb up to 30% of their weight in moisture without feeling damp. The fibers in woolen textiles are deliberately tangled to produce a rougher surfaced yarn that is often thick and fuzzy. The fibers in worsted wool fabrics are processed to be parallel, which creates tightly twisted yarns that produce a hard, smooth surface. Wool is renewable, compostable, and dyes well to create a saturated color.

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 a textile created from worsted yarns.

Wyzenbeek method (ASTM D4157) Abrasion test where textile samples are held tightly in the frame of a Wyzenbeek machine and are then rubbed back and forth with a cotton duck cloth—referred to as a "double rub." The end point is reached when two yarn breaks occur or when noticeable wear is observed, up to a maximum of 100,000 double rubs. ACT guidelines for General Contract Upholstery fabrics are a minimum of 15,000 double rubs; Heavy Duty Upholstery fabrics require a minimum of 30,000 double rubs. ACT acknowledges that there are extreme wear applications that may require higher than 30,000 double rubs.


yarn dyeing Process of coloring yarns prior to a fabric being woven, rather than dyeing the fabric after production.