Friday, October 20, 2017
 

Glossary of Terms | A-I

 A   Absorbency
The ability of a fabric to take in moisture. Absorbency is a very important property, which effects many other characteristics such as skin comfort, static buildup, shrinkage, stain removal, water repellency, and wrinkle recovery.

Athletic Union Suit
A one-piece union suit, usually with knee length or mid-thigh legs and a sleeveless top. Called "athletic" because it was designed with freedom of movement in mind.

A-Shirt
An athletic (or sleeveless) undershirt, usually made of ribbed or flat knitted fabric. Also called a tank top, especially when worn as an outer garment. Originally called an athletic shirt due to the freedom of movement facilitated by the sleeveless design.
 
   
 
B   Balbriggan
An Irish placename meaning Brigan's townland, a town in Ireland. A fine jersey knit cotton for men's underwear.

Balloon Seat
A design for men’s drawers in which the pattern calls for additional fabric to be provided in the rear panels. This creates a "balloon" effect over the seat, providing for ease of movement with less strain on the fabric and the body.

Batiste
A medium-weight, plain weave fabric, usually made of cotton or cotton blends. End-uses include boxer shorts and drawers.

Blend
A term applied to a yarn or a fabric that is made up of more than one fiber. In blended yarns, two or more different types of staple fibers are twisted or spun together to form the yarn. Examples of a typical blended yarn or fabric is polyester/cotton.

Boxer Briefs
A hybrid style of male undergarment that emerged late in the 20th century. Of knitted fabric, patterned like a brief with a pouch and often a fly opening in the front, but with a tubular leg design extending several inches down the thigh.

Boxer Shorts
Under drawers made with an elastic waist band, introduced into wide usage in the mid-20th century. Also called just "boxers." The elastic waist band alleviates the need for button, snap or tie closures. Reminiscent of the loose, full cut of the trunks worn by professional prize fighters.

Boxers
See Boxer Shorts.

Braises
Term used in the Middle Ages for undergarments later refined into breeches.

Breeches
The predecessor of drawers. A type of underwear worn under a short tunic as early as the 5th century by the Franks. Usually knee length, gave way to the less visible drawers in the last half of the 19th century. In the 20th century became outerwear, or short pants usually worn by boys.

Briefs
Close fitting, knitted undergarments with an elastic waist band, with or without an overlapping fly front. Typified by the famous Jockey brand Y-front brief and produced in the mid to late 20th century by many manufacturers in many designs. Originally inspired by the brief swim suits worn in the South of France in the 1930s.

Broadcloth
A plain weave, tightly woven, twilled napped fabric with smooth lustrous face and dense texture. Usually of cotton, cotton/polyester blend, silk, or rayon made in plain and rib weaves with soft semi gloss finish. Sometimes in wool or worsted. Often characterized by a slight ridge effect in one direction.

Brushed or Napped Finish
This is the soft, fuzzy, flannel-like texture often used on next-to-skin surfaces.

Button Shoulder Athletic Union Suit
A union suit, usually in the knee length, sleeveless style customary for athletic undergarments. Characterized by one or two buttons at the top of one shoulder strap to ease entry and removal.
 
   
 
c   Chambray
A plain woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns.

Chemise
A loose undergarment resembling a shirt. Often also used as a sleeping garment from the 15th well into the 20th century.

Closed-Crotch
A patented design introduced by Cooper in 1910. A union suit with the "Kenosha Closed-Crotch" had a seat design of two pieces of fabric overlapping in an "X" to allow access for sanitary and hygienic purposes and not requiring the use of buttons or ties.

Coat Cut Undershirt
A loose fitting, sleeveless undershirt, typically made of broadcloth, nainsook or the like. Shirt has a full opening down the front, kept closed with buttons, like a coat.

Corset
Usually associated with women, a form of tight-fitting, body-enhancing undergarment also worn by men for centuries. On men, the corset facilitated the upright, military stance considered masculine. As recently as 1908, the Sears, Roebuck catalog offered a "male military corset giving the straight front effect that is so much admired."

Cotton
A unicellular, natural fiber that grows in the seed pod of the cotton plant. Fibers are typically 1/2 inch to 2 inches long. The longest staple fibers, longer than 1 1/2 inch, including the Pima and Egyptian varieties, produce the highest quality cotton fabrics.

Crew Neck
In the world of underwear, a term that applies to a T-shirt with a neckline that forms a round, collarless circle around the neck.
 
   
 
D
Double Knit
A weft knit fabric in which two layers of loops are formed that cannot be separated. A double knit machine, which has two complete sets of needles, is required for this construction.

Double Panel Seat
An added knitted fabric panel on the back side of a brief for extra comfort and absorbency.

Drawers
A knee-Length or shorter undergarment, topping out at the waist. So-called because one drew on first one leg, then the other. Often worn in earlier times with some form of chemise. Drawers for men were in use as early as the 12th century and continued as the most popular form of male underwear — other than the one-piece union suit — until the mid-20th century when elastic turned drawers into boxers.

Drop Seat
A seat in a union suit that can be unbuttoned and dropped down.

 
   
 
E   Elastic
A band of rubber or lastex that has the property of high elasticity. Used at the waist of men’s drawers to create the boxer style.

Elasticity
The ability of a fiber or fabric to return to its original length, shape, or size immediately after the removal of stress.


   
 
F   Fiber
The basic entity, either natural or manufactured, which is twisted into yarns, and then used in the production of a fabric.

Finished Fabric
A fabric that has gone through all the necessary finishing processes, and is ready to be used in the manufacturing of garments.

Flannel
A medium-weight, plain or twill weave fabric that is typically made from cotton, a cotton blend, or wool. The fabric has a very soft hand, brushed on both sides to lift the fiber ends out of the base fabric and create a soft, fuzzy surface. End-uses include boxer shorts and drawers.

Flannelette
A medium-weight, plain weave fabric with a soft hand, usually made from cotton. The fabric is usually brushed only on one side, and is lighter weight than flannel. End-uses include boxer shorts and drawers.

Flat-lock Seams
Seams that are sewn flat mean less bulk and less chance for abrasion against skin.

Fly Front
An opening in the front of a pair of trousers, pants or underwear. When used on men’s drawers, a vertical, slightly overlapping opening in front, which may be kept closed by buttons, snaps or simply by the overlapping design. When used on men’s briefs, a vertical, slanted or even horizontal overlapping opening in front of the pouch, which is kept closed simply by the overlapping design. Made famous as the Cooper's Jockey Y-front closure.

French Back
A design for men’s drawers in which the pattern calls for small tabs at the rear of the waistband, usually secured by buttons, for adjusting the size and fit at the waist.
 
   
 
G   Givvies
A name used by Hanes in the 1940s for their unique design for men’s drawers in which the fabric was cut diagonal to the weave of the cloth. This permitted stretch when the wearer stopped, sat or walked. Pronounced "give ease." Produced in both boxer styles and as drawers with gripper fasteners.

Gripper Fasteners
A laundry-proof snap fastener made by Scovill Manufacturing Company, Waterbury Connecticut.

Gusset
A triangular-shaped swatch of fabric often sewn in the crotch area of men’s drawers. Creates a better fit and more freedom of movement.
 
   
 
H   Hip-Tape
A special measuring method copyrighted by Coopers (Jockey). It assured you a perfect fit around the waist and at the hip and crotch, too.
 
   
 
I   Interlock
The stitch variation of the rib stitch, which resembles two separate 1 x 1 ribbed fabrics that are interknitted. Plain (double knit) interlock stitch fabrics are thicker, heavier, and more stable than single knit constructions.
 
 
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