Wednesday, October 18, 2017
 

Glossary of Terms | J-R

 J   Jersey Knit
The consistent interlooping of yarns in the jersey stitch to produces a fabric with a smooth, flat face, and a more textured, but uniform back. Jersey fabrics may be produced on either circular or flat weft knitting machines.

 
   
 
K   Knickers
A bloomer-like undergarment, gathered at the knee. The term bloomers was most often used with reference to women's underclothes. Knickers was used with reference to women's and men’s underclothes.

Knit Fabrics
Fabrics made from only one set of yarns, all running in the same direction. Some knits have their yarns running along the length of the fabric, while others have their yarns running across the width of the fabric. Knit fabrics are held together by looping the yarns around each other. Knitting creates ridges in the resulting fabric. Wales are the ridges that run lengthwise in the fabric; courses run crosswise.

 
   
 
L   Lastex
A core of latex (elasticized rubber) wrapped with another fiber. invented in 1919 and destined to revolutionize the underwear business by eliminating the need for hooks, buttons and ties.

Linen
A fabric made from linen fibers obtained from inside the woody stem of the flax plant. Linen fibers are much stronger and more lustrous than cotton. Linen fabrics are very cool and absorbent, but wrinkle very easily, unless blended with manufactured fibers. Linen is one of the oldest textile fibers.

Loincloth
A cloth worn about the loins often as the sole article of clothing in warm climates.

Long Johns
The type of long (ankle length) wool fitted drawers first worn in public by John L. Sullivan as a boxing outfit. Also available as an all-in-one-piece union suit.

Long Handles
See Long Johns.

Lycra
An extremely elastic fabric made of synthetic fiber. Facilitated the ultra-form-fitting design of male underwear that became popular in the 1960s and 1970s.

 
   
 
M
Mercerization
A process of treating a cotton yarn or fabric, in which the fabric or yarn is immersed in a caustic soda solution and later neutralized in acid. The process causes a permanent swelling of the fiber, resulting in an increased luster on the surface of the fabric, an increased affinity for dyes, and increased strength.

Merino Wool
Wool can be called "merino" only when it's gleaned during a sheep's second and third shearings. After the third shearing, wool grows back coarser and thicker. The softest stuff — called lamb's wool — comes from the first shearing.

Mesh
A woven fabric with holes or pockets designed to allow air to flow through or be trapped in one or more layers. Used in summer for ventilation, but in winter for insulation. First invented by the ancient Chinese who fashioned an undershirt out of woven bamboo.

Mid Brief
A brief style of men’s underwear with legs that strike the leg midway down the thigh. Similar to a boxer brief.

Muslin
An inexpensive, medium weight, plain weave, low count (less than 160 threads per square inch) cotton sheeting fabric. In its unfinished form, it is commonly used in fashion design to make trial garments for preliminary fit.

 
   
 
N   Nainsook
A soft, lightweight muslin.

Nainsook Athletic Union Suit
A one-piece union suit, usually with knee length or mid-thigh legs and a sleeveless top, fabricated from a fine cotton fabric. See Athletic Union Suit. See Nainsook.

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

Natural Fiber
Linen, wool, silk and cotton. Used for all undergarments until the development of synthetics in the 20th century.

Nylon
A synthetic fiber that, along with polyester, made the fabrics of underwear more user-friendly by being easily washed and wrinkle resistant.

   
 
O
Oxford
A fine, soft, lightweight woven cotton or blended with manufactured fibers in a 2 x 1 basket weave variation of the plain weave construction. The fabric is used primarily in shirtings, boxer shorts and drawers.

 
   
 
P   Percale
A medium weight, plain weave, low to medium count (180 to 250 threads per square inch) cotton-like fabric. End-uses include boxer shorts and drawers.

Pilling
Small balls of fuzz form on a fabric surface as a result of abrasion, such as washing or wearing. Pilling doesn't affect performance until it starts to thin the fabric.

Pongee
The most common form is a naturally colored lightweight, plain weave, silk-like fabric with a slubbed effect. End-uses include athletic union suits and drawers.

 
   
 
Q  
 
   
 
R   Rayon
An early synthetic textile, invented in France in 1905 and first called "art silk." Viscose rayon is made from wood pulp or cotton waste.

Rib Knit
A basic stitch used in weft knitting in which the knitting machines require two sets of needles operating at right angles to each other. Rib knits have a very high degree of elasticity in the crosswise direction. This knitted fabric is used for complete garments and for such specialized uses as sleeve bands, neck bands, sweater waistbands, and special types of trims for use with other knit or woven fabrics. Lightweight sweaters in rib knits provide a close, body-hugging fit.

 
 
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