Broken twill refers to the diagonal weave of denim fabric when it’s reversed to form a different design. In broken twill denim, the weave alternates to the left and right without consistency, forming a zig-zag pattern. This type of weaving prevents jean legs from twisting after washing.
Chambray looks like denim, but the weaving process is different. Woven with a colored yarn in the warp and a white yarn in the weft, chambray’s threads alternate one over the other. Generally, both sides of chambray are similar (as opposed to denim, which is lighter on one side than the other).
Corduroy, a thick, cotton fabric featuring ribs (which are also known as cords or wales) running lengthwise, is a durable fabric that can be made from a variety of textile fibers.
Cotton, one of the most common textiles used in the clothing industry, comes from a plant. It’s a soft, white and fibrous substance that cushions the seeds of the cotton plant, which makes it ideal as a textile fiber or as thread.
Denim is a durable, rugged cotton twill fabric that’s most commonly used in jeans, jackets and overalls, as well as in other types of clothing.
Fabric weight, listed in the U.S. as ounces per square yard and in the U.K. as grams per square meter, is a measure manufacturers use to determine which fabrics are most suitable for certain garments. Fabric with a lower weight is more pliable and drapes better than fabric with a heavier weight, which is usually more durable and wear-resistant.
Flannel is typically made from cotton or wool and features a soft weave. It’s the result of weaving loosely spun yarn into twill or plain weave.
Fleece is a synthetic fabric derived from plastic designed to imitate sheep wool. Traditional fleece is made from polyester woven into a light fabric that’s brushed to add volume, but it sometimes contains natural fibers such as cotton or wool.
Heavyweight denim, commonly called bull denim, is incredibly tough fabric that retains a soft feel. In contrast to standard denim, bull denim has a uniformly dyed appearance and features a heavy fabric weight. Usually, manufacturers don’t dye heavyweight denim until after the fabric is woven.
Jersey is a knit fabric made from wool, cotton and synthetic fibers. Jersey-knit fabric can be lightweight and stretchy, and it typically features one flat side and one piled side.
Lightweight denim is soft and easy to “break in” through wear. Because it’s thinner than heavier-weight denim, fading isn’t as dramatic on this type of fabric.
Lycra is a trademarked elastic polyurethane fiber primarily woven into close-fitting clothing. This lightweight fiber, invented in 1958, adds stretch to fabric and allows it to move easily with the wearer.
Midweight denim, one of the most common fabric weights used in jeans, creates durable jeans that resist natural fading and wear-and-tear. However, when manufacturers purposely fade midweight denim, it produces a more dramatic fade than lightweight denim does.
Poly fiber is a synthetic and resilient fiber made from ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid (or its dimethyl ester). Generally, poly fiber is blended with other fibers, such as cotton or wool, to create a blended fabric.
Preshrunk fabric is material that’s been washed or compacted during the manufacturing process to minimize unwanted shrinkage after purchase. However, preshrunk fabric can still shrink after washing it at home.
Raw denim, commonly called dry or unwashed denim, is denim that hasn’t been washed or distressed. This type of denim is manufactured into garments and sold as-is, and it’s usually stiff with a rich, blue color.
Rayon is a textile fiber made from regenerated cellulose that comes from trees, bamboo, grasses or cotton. However, rayon is not considered a natural fiber because it’s regenerated through a process that removes all traces of plant fibers except cellulose.
Selvedge denim, woven so the edge of the fabric is used in a garment’s construction, features tightly woven bands that run down each side. The bands prevent fraying, curling and raveling.
Slub is a type of yarn used to create crosshatch denim. In the process of manufacturing crosshatch denim, slub is uneven yarn used on the warp and weft threads, which creates a crisscrossed pattern as the denim fades.
Spandex is a synthetic polyurethane fiber used in several types of garments. With elastic properties that allow it to stretch up to 600 percent of its original length, this fiber is added to jeans and other garments to make them more flexible and stretchy.
Stretch denim blends traditional cotton or cotton/polyester denim with small amounts of elastane, also known as Spandex or Lycra. Elastane and other elastomers are stretchy, synthetic fibers. Stretch jeans typically contain 1% to 3% elastane, which gives the garment a spectrum of elongation and recovery qualities. Some wearers prefer stretch denim because the elastic offers comfort and ease of movement, especially in the hip, knee and seat areas.
Tencel™ is the brand name of lyocell fabric produced by Lenzig, Tencel™ that contains tiny nanofibrils (extremely small fibers). It’s known for absorbing moisture, its softness and its breathability, as well as wrinkle-resistance.
Twill is a woven fabric that features parallel diagonal ridges. Typically light, twill features filling threads that pass over one and under two or more warp threads.
Warp is one of the two basic components used in weaving. Warp yarns, which run lengthwise and stay stationary in tension on a loom or frame, work as weft yarns are woven over and under them.
Weave patterns determine a fabric’s weight in ounces. 3 x 1 and 2 x 1 weave patterns are most common in denim. In a 3 x 1 weave pattern, there are three warp threads for every one weft thread. In a 2 x 1 weave pattern, there are two warp threads for every one weft thread. These weave patterns can appear in left-hand or right-hand weaves. Right-hand weaves feature a diagonal pattern that starts at the bottom left of the fabric and moves to the top right; left-hand weaves feature the same diagonal pattern, but it starts at the bottom right of the fabric and moves to the top left.
Weft, or fill, refers to the crosswise threads on a loom that go over and under warp threads.
Wicking, commonly referred to as moisture management, is a process that pulls moisture away from the body to the exterior side of a fabric so it can evaporate.