O.F. or A.F.: For other fibres (Altre Fibre), can be found on the Composition label of fabrics containing recycled materials. Many of the fabrics produced in the Italian area of Prato are made using yarns spun from blends of reclaimed wool (an, of course, other fibres!).
Optical Brightness or Optical Whiteners: Chemicals that make fabrics appear to reflect more light than they really do, to make them brighter (they convert ultraviolet light to visible light in the blue region). They are sometimes used in manufacture of fabrics and are often included in the formula of many detergents sold for home use.
Organic Cotton: Cotton grown where toxic chemicals have been eliminated in all growing process steps. Living soil (defines as being free of toxic chemicals for three years) is the basis of an organic farm and organic farmers have proven when plants are healthy they are able to resist insects, weeds, and disease.
Overall: A one piece garment style usually made from denim or canvas. It is a pant with a bib top an suspenders over shoulders and back. Originally a work wear product.
Overdye: Fabric dye process on denim fabrics, most frequently used on indigo or black denim fabric which is overdyed black.
Oxford: originally made fin Oxford, England it is a plain weave fabric where 2 or more filling yarns pass over an under 1 or more parallel warp yarns. It is possible to have 2×1, 2×2, 3×2, 4×4, or 8×4. Used in dress shirting’s where the warp is a color and the filling is natural. Also very popular in nylon for outerwear jackets.
Oxidation: where oxygen and another substance chemically join, Occurs when indigo yarn comes out of the indigo bath between dips, and is critical for the dyestuff to penetrate the fibre.
Pad Azoic: A little known dyestuff that was used in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s instead of indigo when there was insufficient indigo production throughout the world to support the demand.
Pigment Dyes: Dyes without affinity for fibre and therefore held to fabric with resins. They are available in almost any color and have been used extensively in the jeans wear industry by fabric dyers who want to create fabrics that fade.
Pima Cotton: Pima Cotton is a verity that derives from the Egyptian Mitafifi type, which was taken to the United States from which developed Giza, Yuma, and Pima. Pima has the better characteristics because of the type of plant grown in Peru and America where the fibre length is long (1 3/8” – 5/8”) and luxurious. America Pima is marketed as “Supima”. Pima was initially grown in Peru in the early 1900’s.
Plain Weave: The simplest and most common fabric weaves where the filling yarn passes over and under each warp yarn in alternating rows.
Ply: All yarns are single ply unless twisted with another yarn. Terms used are: 2 ply if two yarns are twisted together and 3 ply if three are twisted. Plied yeans are used to make yarns stronger. In the jeans-wear industry it has become important to ply yarns in piece dyed fabrics that are intended to endure a long stone wash cycle.
Points / Demerit Points: Visual fabric inspections require a numerical assessment to be made to the areas of the fabric where there are defects.
Polyamide (PA): see nylon
Polyester (PSE): Polyester is made of chemicals derived from coal, air, water, and oil. Polyester is a strong fibre with a good dye affinity, a high luster and good resiliency. In the 1960’s polyester and cotton were blended and had mass market appeal doe to the blending of both fibres’ strengths. Polyester’s weak characteristics are that it pills, and is non-absorbent.
Poplin: Name of a light weight tightly (more warp threads than filling) woven plain weave fabric where a coarser yarn is used in the filling than the warp, leaving a slight rib effect across the width of the goods. US customs defines this fabric as “not of a square construction, whether napped or not, weight less than 200 gms per square meter, containing 33 or less warp ends and filling picks per square centimeter.
Pumice Stones: A volcanic stone used for stone washing garments. Pumice is popular because of its strength and light weight.
Quality Control: this term unfortunately can mean everything and nothing! It is normally used to imply inspection of products throughout the manufacturing process to ensure that the finished products meet the standards.
Ramie: The perennial stalk producing ramie plant has been cultivated in eastern Asia for fibre since prehistoric times. Growing 3-8 feet high, with heart shaped leaves. The plants fibres were used in fabric in ancient Egypt and were known in Europe during the middle ages. Ramie fibre did not achieve importance in the West until the 1930’s. Because of it desirable properties, including strength and durability, ramie has frequently been promoted as a textile fibre of great potential. Ramie fibre is pure where in color, lustrous, moisture absorbent, and readily dyed. The fibre is stronger than flax, cotton, or wool. Fabric made from ramie fibre is easily laundered, increasing in strength when wet, and does not shrink or lose its shape, It dries quickly and becomes smoother and more lustrous with repeated washings. Ramie is resistant to mildew and other types of Micro-organism attach and good fastness to sun. Because ramie is brittle, spinning it is difficult and weaving is complicated because ramie has a very hairy yarn surface.
Rayon: The synthetic fibre known as rayon is produced from regenerated cellulose (wood pulp) that has been chemically treated. Fabrics made of rayon are strong, highly absorbent, and soft; they drape well and can be dyed in brilliant, long-lasting colors. Rayon fibres are also used as reinforcing cords. Rayon fibres are also used as reinforcing cords in motor tires, and their excellent absorber makes them useful in medical and surgical materials. Rayon can be used alone or blended with other synthetics or natural fibres. Since the min-1980’s rayon use has grown dramatically as new formulations and blends have added more strength sand softness to the fabric and have made it more absorbent, more washable, and less vulnerable to wrinkling.
Right Hand Twill: A fabric weave where the twill line runs from the top right hand corner of the fabric towards the bottom left. Usually in piece dyed fabric towards the bottom left. Usually in piece dyed fabrics right hand twills use two plied yarns in the warp. In the jeans industry Levi’s has always used Right Hand Twills for their basic denims in their 501 model as well as their other basic models.
Rivet: A metal accessory that is used for both reinforcement of stress points and for non functional ornamentation.
Rope Dyed: Considered as the best possible method to dye indigo yarns (button to Indigo dyeing section of our site)