Some of you have been in the fashion industry for years, while others have just recently embarked on their boutique journey. Whether you have a mature business or a start-up, one mutual factor applies to everyone: the fashion industry is innovative, fast-paced and evolving.
In this blog, we will cover the most common fabric and design terminology used in the fashion industry today. Being up to date on different fabric terminologies and designs is important for business success, so let’s begin by discussing some common fabrics and terms.
Yarn Dyed Fabric
Different dyeing methods create dramatically varied kinds of cloth. For example, yarn-dyed fabric is made of pre-dyed yarn and is typically woven into a pattern. It is different from piece-dyed fabric, which is dyed after the cloth is woven. Popular yarn-dyed patterns include gingham, stripes, and plaids.
Wool dobby refers to a woven material created on a dobby loom that is known for featuring intricate textures and geometric patterns. The wool threads highlight these patterns that are woven into the fabric to give a distinct look. Wool Dobby is lightweight with low elasticity and often has a silky feel and beautiful drape. It is a reliable choice for a variety of apparel.
Made with 100% rayon, this fabric is washable and light weight. Rayon Crinkle has an ultra-soft hand finish and offers an elegant and sophisticated look. An ideal fabric for dresses, evening wear, tops, blouses and even bottoms, it is considered a must-have fabric for today’s apparel.
Also known as a sweater knit, Hacci has a more open-knit texture than your average knit fabric, like rayon, spandex or French terry. It is wrinkle resistant and an ideal grab-and-go garment with a wide variety of weave thicknesses. Brushed Hacci, commonly made of 95% polyester and 5% spandex, is a common term that garners a rich and smooth texture.
Nine times out of ten, when you see a translucent fabric with tiny dots, you can be sure the fabric is “Swiss Dot.” Increasingly, Swiss Dot is being used for elegant dresses and blouses and is commonly designed with lightweight fabric. Embroidery or embellishments are also common with Swiss Dot designs.
Jacquard is a woven fabric that is created using a Jacquard loom and various materials such as cotton, polyester or acrylic. Some Jacquard fabrics feature a raised pattern, such as a Matelassé or a brocade. Two-tone knit, made of two colors or in two shades of one color, is commonly designed with Jacquard Knit.
The above fabrics are commonly used in today’s fashion-forward apparel, so it bodes well to know their characteristics and their differences. It's also to your advantage to be able to discuss on-trend designs that clothes manufacturers are creating today. Let’s start with Dolman sleeves.
Trending Design Terms
Dolman sleeve designs are hot and are growing in popularity. A key feature is typically sleeves that are tightly fitted at the wrist but blouse out above the wrist. A similar term for dolman sleeves is “drop-shoulder” and is commonly used for peasant-style tops, pullovers, or chiffon blouses that have dolman sleeves above tightly fitted button cuffs at the wrist.
Color block is a design term and a fashion technique in which large blocks of solid fabric or prints are joined and sewed together to form the garment. The cousin of color block, or patchwork print, uses a similar technique but the result is a more blended piece that uses two or more prints.
Batwing was popularized in the 1930's and is making a comeback. Garments with this design offer a “batwing” sleeve designed from a large triangular piece of fabric that connects the shoulder to the wrist and the wrist to the waist. Increasingly, designers are incorporating this design in dresses and tops.
Ruched designs (pronounced roosh) are also gaining popularity and are made by gathering fabric into a seam shorter than the length of the fabric. Ruched techniques are often used for trim but can also be used to create draping and texture within the body of the garment.
A smocked garment uses a bunched-up technique (in a nice way) that sews elastic thread into the fabric to create stretch. This design lends to a tighter fit but with the added benefit of the ability to expand and accommodate a variety of body shapes.
The last design we will touch on is Peplum, which offers a flared section in the construction of a jacket or blouse that extends a short distance below the waistline. Peplums may be sewn to the bodice, cut in one with the bodice, or offer a separate section attached to a belt.
Some of these fabrics and designs may be familiar to you, but we hope you have gleamed a few more terms that will be helpful as you market and describe the fashion apparel you offer to customers. Knowledge is certainly power and can go a long way to increase your brand value.