Textile Glossary

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Purl Stitch"A basic stitch used in weft knitting, which produces knit fabrics that have the same appearance on both sides. The purl stitch is frequently used in combination with the jersey and rib stitches to produce a knitted fabric design. Sweaters, knitted fabric
Push-pull fabrics"Bicomponent fabrics composed of a non-absorbent hydrophobic material, usually polyester, on the inside (worn next to the skin) and an absorbent hydrophilic material, usually nylon, on the outside."
PVAPolyvinyl alcohol.
PVCPolyvinyl chloride.
PyrolysedSee pyrolysis.
PyrolysisA process in chemical compounds are decomposed at high temperatures
Pa (Pascal)"The pressure produced by a force of 1 Newton applied, uniformly distributed, over an area of 1 m2. (Used in textile testing as a measure of bursting pressure.)"
Padding (finishing)The impregnation of a substrate with a liquor or paste followed by squeezing-usually by passing the substrate through a nip-to leave a specific quantity of liquor or paste on the substrate.
PaisleyA traditional decorative pattern featuring an Indian cone or pine.
PANPolyacrylonitrile-a precursor for making carbon fibres.
Panné velvetA satin-faced velvet or silk fabric with a high lustre achieved by finishing.
Papermakers feltsTextile based felts used to extract water during the process of paper making.
Partially oriented yarn"A continuous synthetic filament made by extruding a polymer so that a substantial degree of molecular orientation is present in the resulting filaments, but further substantial molecular orientation is still possible. The resulting yarn will usually have
Passementerie"An open-work braid technique, traditionally used for furnishing braid."
PBO"Polybenzoxazole, a high performance polymer developed in US Air Force research programmes."
PBT"Polybutylterephalate, a type of polyester used as an engineering plastic and, for specialist uses, in the form of a fibre."
PCB"Polychlorinated biphenyl. PCBs are a group of toxic, chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons used in a variety of commercial applications, including paints, inks, adhesives, electrical condensers, batteries, and lubricants. PCBs are known to cause skin disease
Peachskin"The term used to describe the soft surface of certain textiles which feels like, and has the appearance of, the skin of a peach."
Pepper and salt"A fabric with a speckled effect, often black and white."
PermeabilityThe ability of a textile to allow air or water vapour to pass through it.
Permittivity"The volumetric flow rate of water per unit of cross-sectional area, per unit head, under laminar flow conditions, in the normal direction through a geotextile."
Percale"A medium weight, plain weave, low to medium count (180 to 250 threads per square inch) cotton-like fabric. End-uses include sheets, blouses, and dresses."
Peau de Soie"A heavy twill weave drapeable satin fabric, made of silk or a manufactured fiber, and used for bridal gowns and eveningwear."
PET"Polyethylene terephthalate, the most common form of polyester."
Phase-change materials (PCMs)"Materials which change their state of matter, usually from solid to a liquid or vice versa. PCMs are often used in textiles which are intended for sport and exercise to help maintain comfort and constant body temperature."
PheromoneA chemical substance secreted externally by certain animals which affects the behaviour or physiology of other animals of the same species.
Pile Knit"A type of knit construction which utilizes a special yarn or a sliver that is interlooped into a standard knit base. This construction is used in the formation of imitation fur fabrics, in special liners for cold weather apparel such as jackets and coats
Pile Weave"A type of decorative weave in which a pile is formed by additional warp or filling yarns interlaced in such a way that loops are formed on the surface or face of the fabric. The loops may be left uncut, or they may be cut to expose yarn ends and produce
Pill"A tangled ball of fibers that appears on the surface of a fabric, as a result of wear or continued friction or rubbing on the surface of the fabric."
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 o
Plied YarnA twisting together of two or more single yarns in one operation.
Plissé"A lightweight, plain weave, fabric, made from cotton, rayon, or acetate, and characterized by a puckered striped effect, usually in the warp direction. The crinkled effect is created through the application of a caustic soda solution, which shrinks the f
Polyester"A manufactured fiber introduced in the early 1950s, and is second only to cotton in worldwide use. Polyester has high strength (although somewhat lower than nylon), excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fiber to dr
Polypropylene (also known as polyolefin and Olefin)"A manufactured fiber characterized by its light weight, high strength, and abrasion resistance. Polypropylene is also good at transporting moisture, creating a wicking action. End-uses include activewear apparel, rope, indoor-outdoor carpets, lawn furnit
PointelleA form of knit stitch resembling lace.
Polar fleeceA fleece-back jersey fabric.
Polar solventA solvent containing molecules in which there is an uneven distribution of electrons and therefore a permanent dipole moment.
Pongee"The most common form is a naturally colored lightweight, plain weave, silk-like fabric with a slubbed effect. End-uses include blouses, dresses, etc."
Poplin"A fabric made using a rib variation of the plain weave. The construction is characterized by having a slight ridge effect in one direction, usually the filling. Poplin used to be associated with casual clothing, but as the ""world of work"" has become mo
PolyamideAnother word for nylon.
PolymerA long molecule made up from many smaller repeat molecules; the following polymers are the main ones used to make synthetic fibres polyacrylic; polyamide (nylon); polyester; polypropylene; and polyurethane.
PolymeriseThe process of linking small chemical units together to form larger molecules.
Polynosic"A type of cellulosic fibre characterised by a high wet modulus of elasticity. When sanded or raised, fabrics made from this fibre have the soft, peachskin surface found in washed silks."
Pongee"A lustrous lightweight plain-weave fabric, originally woven in silk."
PoplinA plain-weave cotton-type fabric with weftways ribs and a high warp sett.
POYSee partially oriented yarn.
PPSPolyphenylene sulphide.
PrecursorRaw materials used in a controlled pyrolysis process to make carbon fibres.
Prepreg"An assembly of fibres impregnated with resin, prepared for preforming into a composite shape before the curing process used to set the resin."
PrepregsAn assembly of fibres impregnated with resin that has been prepared for preforming into a composite shape; a subsequent curing process is used to set the resin and form the composite.
Prince of Wales"A large-scale check, typified by a reversing effect ground with an overcheck."
Progressive bundle system"A system traditionally employed in apparel production where the task of assembling the garment is broken down into small operations, and bundles of work are progressed down the production line through each operation in sequence until the assembly process
Protection (geotextiles)The use of a geotextile as a localised stress reduction layer to prevent or reduce damage to a given surface or layer. This refers mainly to the protection of geomembranes from damage due to sharp rock particles or other materials in landfill applications
ProvençalSmall stylised florals typical of the Provence region of France.
PTA"Pure terephthalic acid, used in the manufacture of polyester."
Puff rubber printingSee foam printing.
PultrusionsComposites produced by drawing resin-coated filaments through a pressure die.
Puncture resistance (geotextiles)The process of retaining soil particles by a geotextile while allowing the passage of water. The geotextile allows the water and finer soil particles to pass through while retaining those of a coarser nature. A filter cake builds up on the face of the geo