Common Embroidery Terms:
1×1 Rib Also 2×2 rib knit trim. The width of each rib is the same as the width between each rib. This helps the garment retain its elasticity.
2-Way Zipper A zipper with two zipper pulls so that it can be unzipped from either direction.
4-Needle Stitched Double-Needle stitched but with four stitches.
All-Weather Microfiber 100% Polyester Microfiber with waterproof coating and fully taped seams. 100% waterproof.
Anti-Pill A treatment applied to garments primarily to resist the formation of little balls on the fabric’s surface due to abrasion during wear.
Applique – Embroidery process that involves using cut pieces of fabric in place of large fill stitch areas. The fabric pieces are sewn into the design. The process is used to reduce stitch counts in large designs and/or to create a unique appearance.
Argyle Typically a diamond pattern woven into a garment.
Baby Pique Very small pique knit. See Pique Knit.
Back Pleats Tiny folds in the material on the back of a garment that allow for more room and comfort.
Back Yoke A piece of fabric that connects the back of a garment to the shoulders. This allows the garment to lay flat and drape nicely.
Backing – Woven and non-woven material used underneath the item or fabric being embroidered to provide support and stability. Can be hooped with the item, or placed between the machine throat plate and the hooped garment. Available in various weights and in two basic types: cutaway and tearaway. Also referred to as Stabilizer.
Basket Weave Knit process of weaving yarns back and forth resulting in a two-tone appearance.
Bean Stitch – A type of running stitch composed of three stitches placed back and forth between two points. Often used for outlining because it eliminates the need for repeatedly digitizing a single-ply running stitch outline. Sews much heavier than a single ply or two ply running stitch. Sews in a pattern of two stitches forward, one stich back, two stitches forward, one stich back, etc.
Birdseye Jacquard A small geometric pattern with a center dot knit into the fabric.
Blanket Stitch A decorative stitch used to finish an unhemmed blanket. The stitch can be seen on both sides of the blanket.
Bobbin – Spool or reel that holds the bobbin thread, which helps form stitches on the underside of the fabric. A stitch is formed when the upper thread and bobbin thread are joined together
through the sewing process.
Box Pleat A single, uniform fold in the center back of a garment to allow for more room and comfort.
Brushed Cotton Cotton fabric that is brushed to remove all the excess lint and fibers from the fabric, leaving an ultra soft, smooth finish.
Buckram – Coarse woven fabric, stiffened with glue, used to stabilize fabric for stitching. Commonly used in caps to hold the front panel erect.
Button-Through Sleeve Placket A small placket located on the sleeve, by the cuff, which contains a single button closure.
Cami-Strap Very narrow shoulder straps.
Casual Microfiber 100% Polyester Microfiber fabric that is water repellent and wind resistant.
Cavalry Twill A type of Twill Weave (Pattern of the Twill).
Chambray A dressier fabric woven with white threads across colored threads.
Collarette The trim around the neck of a t-shirt or sweatshirt.
Column Stitch – Formed by closely arranged zig-zag stitches. Often used to form borders and letters. See Satin Stitch.
Combed Cotton Cotton yarn that has been combed to remove short fibers and straighten or arrange longer fibers in parallel order resulting in a smooth yarn used in finer garments.
Cool Mesh Similar to a pique knit but with a more open texture for increased breathability. Features a soft hand for better comfort.
Cool Weave Similar to a pique knit, but with a more open texture for increased breathability. Slightly larger knit than Cool Mesh, it has a denser feel.
Cord Locks A stopper or toggle on a drawcord that keeps the cord from retracting into the garment.
Coverseamed A finish in which two needles are used to create parallel rows of visible stitching.It is used around the neck, armholes, waistband, and wrists of garments to create a cleaner, more durable finish.
Denier A density of the weave in a nylon or polyester product.
Dobby A decorative weave, usually geometric, that is woven into the fabric.
Double-Needle Stitched A finish used on a sleeve and/or bottom hem that uses two needles to create parallel rows of visible stitching. It gives the garment a cleaner, more finished look and adds durability.
Dry-Fiber A high activity sportswear fabric that absorbs, wicks and dries faster than average golfwear.
Drop Needle A knit fabric characterized by vertical lines within the cloth. Manufactured by “dropping” a needle from the knitting cylinder.
Duck Cloth Tightly woven fabric that provides wind and snag resistance.
Dyed-To-Match Buttons or trims that are the same color as the garment onto which they are sewn.
EcoSpun A fleece outerwear fabric made from at least 50% materials reclaimed from recycled plastic soda pop bottles.
Embroidery – Decorative stitching on fabric. Generally involves non-lettering designs, but can also include lettering and/or monograms. Evolved from hand embroidery, to simple one-head manual sewing machines, schiffli machines with hundreds of needles, to high-speed multi-head machines. Evidence of embroidery exists during the reign of Egyptian pharaohs, in the writings of Homer, from the Crusaders to the 20th century.
End-on-End A 2-ply weave of different color yarns that run parallel against each other so that both colors are visible.
Enzyme Washed A laundering process in which a catalytic substance is added to create a chemical change in the fabric resulting in a very soft finish, smoother appearing surface and reduced shrinkage.
Etched Tone Buttons A more upscale horn tone button with an etched pattern.
Extended Tail When the back portion of the garment is longer than the front. Assists in keeping the garment tucked in during normal activity.
Eyelets Small holes or perforations made in a series to allow for breathability. Finished with either stitching or brass grommets.
Fill Stitch – Series of parallel running stitches commonly used to cover large areas. Different fill patterns can be created by altering the angle, length, and repeat sequence of the stitches.
Finishing – Processes performed after embroidery is complete. Includes trimming loose threads, cutting or tearing away excess backing, removing facing, cleaning any stains, pressing if needed, and packing for sale or shipping.
Frame – Holding device for insertion of goods under an embroidery head for the application of embroidery. May employ a number of means for maintaining stability during the embroidery process, including clamps, vacuum devices, magnets or springs. Examples: cap frames, cylinder frames, clamping devices, border frames, etc. Though hoops are used for framing purposes, they are not considered to be frames, though the terms often are used interchangeably.
Full Cut Refers to a garment’s fit as being generous and roomy.
Garment Washed A wash process where softeners are added to finished garments to help the cotton fibers relax or bloom. The result is a fabric with a thicker appearance, reduced shrinkage and a softer hand.
Garment Dyed A dyeing process that occurs after the garment is assembled.
Herringbone A chevron or zig-zag pattern, knit into fabric.
High Profile A cap style with a high slope structured with buckram–a stiff fabric lining. Less fitted to the head.
Hook – Holds the bobbin case in the machine and plays a vital role in stitch formation. Making two complete rotations for each stitch, its point meets a loop of top thread at a precisely
timed moment and distance (gap) to form a stitch. Sometimes referred to as a bobbin hook.
Hoop – Device made from wood, plastic or steel with which fabric is gripped tightly between an inner ring and an outer ring. It attaches to the machine’s pantograph. Machine hoops are designed to push the fabric to the bottom of the inner ring and hold it against the machine bed for embroidering.
Hoop Mark – The temporary marks that remain on the fabric after the embroidery hoop has been removed. Also referred to as a Hoop Ring. Such marks can typically be removed using steam or Magic Sizing spray.
Horn Tone Buttons Buttons that appear to be manufactured from horn.
Houndstooth A medium sized broken check effect that is knit into the fabric.
Interlock Knit A fabric that has two plys knit simultaneously to form one thicker and heavier ply. It has more natural stretch than a jersey knit, a soft hand, and the same appearance and feel on both sides.
Iridescent Buttons Buttons with a lustrous, rainbow-like hue.
Jacquard Knit A pattern knit directly into the fabric during the manufacturing process. Typically, 2 or more colors are used.
Jersey Knit This fabric has a definite smooth side, the outside, and a textured side, the inside.
Jump Stitch – Movement of the pantograph without needle penetration, commonly used to get from one point in a design to another. No sewing occurs during a jump stitch.
Keyboard Lettering – Embroidery using letters or words created from computer software, which allows variance of letter styles, size, height, density and other characteristics.
Lamborder A flat rib knit, with specified dimensions, that is used to function as a placket and placket facing.
Locker Loop A looped piece of fabric in the neck of a garment for the convenience of hanging the garment on a hook. Can also be located at the center of the back yoke on the inside or outside of a garment.
Lock Stitch – This stitch is formed by three or four consecutive stitches of at least a 10 point movement. It should be used at the end of all columns, fills and any element where a trim
will follow, such as color changes or the end of a design. May be stitched in a triangle or a straight line.
Locker Patch A semi-oval panel sewn into the inside back portion of a garment, just under the collar seam, to reinforce the garment and minimize stretching when hung on a hook. The patch also allows for the garment tag or label to be sewn below the neckline to help prevent irritation.
Logo – Short for logotype. The name, symbol, or trademark of a company or organization.
Low Profile A cap style with a low slope that is more closely fitted to the head. Can be either structured or unstructured.
Matte Taslan See Taslan but with a dull finish.
Melange A mix of different colors of yarns knit together to create a heathered effect.
Mercerized A product that has gone through a process to produce a smooth, lustrous hand.
Mesh Similar to a pique knit, but with a more open texture for increased breathability. Larger knit than Cool Weave.
Micro Fleece A high density, anti-pilling fleece made of knit micro-fibers that are brushed less than a regular fleece garment. It has a high capacity for warmth without the weight.
Microfiber This fabric is tightly woven from a very fine poly thread and has a sueded finish for a luxurious, soft feel. Microfiber fabric is naturally water repellent due to its construction process and when specially treated, can also be waterproof.
Micro Cord A very fine wale cord.
Micro-Stripe An ultra-fine stripe that is knit into the fabric.
Mid Profile A cap with a slope height in between that of a High Profile and Low Profile. It is most often structured with buckram.
Monogram – Embroidered design composed of one or more letters, usually the initials in a name.
Mother of Pearl Logo Buttons Buttons made from Mother of Pearl, with a logo inscribed on them.
Nail Head Design A jacquard knitting pattern in which the jacquard forms a design similar to small nail heads.
Needle – Small, slender piece of steel with a hole for thread and a point for stitching fabric. Machine embroidery needles come in sharp-points for piercing heavy, tightly woven
fabric; ball-points, which glide between the fibers of knits; and a variety of specialty points such as wedge-points, used for leather.
Nublend™ The combination of a knitting and spinning process developed by JERZEES® for their blended fleece that helps prevent pilling.
Overdyed A process in which yarn dyed fabrics or piece dyed garments are put through an additional dye color to create unique colors.
Oxford A type of fabric where the fibers are either cotton or blended man-made fibers.
Pantograph – Holding device for frames, frame sash, and hoops which controls movement of embroidery fabric in the X-and-Y directions, to create a embroidery design while the needle remains
in a stationary postion.
Patch Pocket A pocket attached to the outside of a garment.
Pearlized Buttons Buttons that have a pearl-colored hue.
Pewter Buttons Buttons that have a dull, metallic hue.
Pewter and Horn Tone Buttons Buttons that incorporate pewter and horn tone, usually one encompasses the other.
Pigment Dyed A type of dye used to create a distressed or washed look.
Pill Free® A process developed by Lee® to help prevent pilling on fleece garments.
Placket The part of a shirt or jacket where the garment fastens together.
Poly-filled A warm polyester lining found in the body or sleeves of outerwear garments. It has more loft than a regular nylon lining.
Polynosic Features similar characteristics to cotton and silk, has excellent luster and very little shrinkage.
Popcorn Pique Alternating rows of 2 different pique knits; one knit is a baby pique, while the other is a larger pique that resembles small circles
knit closely together.
Poplin A tightly woven, durable, medium weight cotton or cotton blend fabric made using a rib variation of the plain weave which creates a slight
Presser Foot – L-shaped mechanical lever with a large opening in the base through which the needle must pass when sewing. For each stitch penetration, the presser foot comes down and pushes the fabric flat against the machine table, holding it steady for the needle to penetrate. After the needle raises back up, the presser foot rises as well, allowing the pantograph to move the garment to the next stitch point.
Print Pro™ A knitting process developed by Hanes® for their fleece garments that creates a tighter knit for a better printing surface.
Punching – Conversion of artwork into a series of commands to be read by an embroidery machine’s computer. Derived from an early method of machine embroidery where paper tapes or jacquards punched with holes representing stitches. Punching technically refers to the method described above, whereas Digitizing technically refers to the modern methods of scanning images and then converting them into sewable designs using computer software. However, the terms often are used interchangeably.
Push-Pull Compensation –
Digitizing technique which takes into account the distortion of the design that will occur because of the interaction of the thread with the fabric. “Push and pull” will cause a circle digitized perfectly round to sew out with the sides pulled in, resulting in an egg shape. Generally, it is necessary to extend horizontal elements and reduce vertical elements.
PVC A polyurethane coating that is added to make garments water resistant.
Raglan Sleeves Sleeves set with a diagonal seam from the neck to the armpit.
Rapid Dry A fabric designed with a unique weave to wick away moisture from the body.
Reverse Placket See Placket, but reversed for women’s garments.
Rib Knit A textured knit that has the appearance of vertical lines. It is highly elastic and retains “memory”.
Ring Spun Yarn Yarn made by continuously twisting and thinning a rope of cotton fibers. The twisting makes the short hairs of cotton stand out, resulting in a stronger yarn with a significantly softer hand.
R-Tek™ Fleece 100% polyester fleece with an anti-pill finish which prevents the formation of little balls on the surface of the fabric.
Running Stitch – Consists of one stitch between two points. Used for outlining and fine detail. Also known as walk stitch.
Sandwashed A washing process in which the fabric is washed with very fine lava rocks or rubber/silicon balls resulting in a softer fabric with a relaxed look and reduced shrinkage.
Satin Stitch – Formed by closely arranged zig-zag stitches. Can be laid down at an angle with varying stitch length.
Scaling – Ability to enlarge or
reduce a design. In expanded format, scaling should be limited 10 to 20 percent because of the fact that the stitch count will remain constant. In outline or condensed format, scale changes may be more dramatic as stitch count and density may be varied, but unlimited resizing is not practical and should be limited to
10 to 30 percent.
Sculpted Hem A hem that is softly rounded for fashion detail.
Self-Fabric Collar A collar that is constructed from the same material as the body of the garment.
Self-Fabric Sweatband Refers to headwear where the sweatband is constructed with the same fabric as the crown.
Serge Stitch An overcasting technique done on the cut edge of the fabric to prevent unraveling.
Side Vents Slits found at the bottom of side seams. They are fashion details that allow for comfort and ease of movement.
Singles A term used to indicate the diameter of a yarn; the smaller the number, the thicker the yarn.
Slash Pockets A pocket that has to be entered through a slash on the outside of the garment. The pocket pouch is suspended from and attached to the slash.
Solvy – Solvy is a brand name for water soluble material manufactured by Gunold & Stickma, which is hooped or placed on top of items to be embroidered that have a definable nap or surface texture, such as corduroy and terry cloth. The facing compacts the wale or nap and holds the stitches above it. Includes a variety of substances such as water soluble plastic “foil”, and open weave fabric which is chemically treated to disintegrate with the application of heat. Also referred to as Facing or Topping.
SPI – Stitches per inch. The imperial measurement for density of stitches.
SPM – Stitches per minute. System used to measure the running speed of an embroidery machine.
Stabilizer – Woven and non-woven material used underneath the item or fabric being embroidered to provide support and stability. Can be hooped with the item, or placed between the machine throat
plate and the hooped garment. Available in various weights and in two basic types: cutaway and tearaway. Also referred to as Backing.
Steil Stitch – A type of satin stitch. Formed by closely arranged zig-zag stitches. The Steil stitch differs from the Satin stitch by how it is created during the digitizing process. With a satin segment, the width of the segment can vary, with a steil the width is fixed. The satin is created by defining the opposing parallel sides of the segment. The steil is created by defining the center line of the segement and designating a specific segment width. When a design is resized, satin segments
automatically resize in proportion to the design, whereas steil segments retain the specific width setting which was designated during the digitizing process.
Stonewashed A washing process in which the fabric or garment is heavily washed with lava rocks or rubber/silicon balls. The result is a softer fabric with a distressed or weathered look and reduced shrinkage.
Storm Flap A strip of fabric sewn under or over the front zip or snap closure of an outerwear garment to protect against wind and moisture.
Structured A cap style with a lined front consisting of buckram, a stiff fabric, that controls the slope of the cap.
Sueded Cotton A fabric that goes through a brushing process to raise the nap and give the garment a soft hand.
Sueded Nylon See Sueded Cotton.
Taped Seams A strip of fabric sewn to the seam of a garment to prevent distortion. In outerwear, taped seams aid in waterproofing.
Taslan Refers to how the fibers are woven and the resulting texture. Used mainly in outerwear garments, Taslan is a durable and water repellent nylon
fabric with a slightly shiny surface.
Tatami – Another term used to describe fill stitches. (See Fill Stitch).
Teklon A rugged, stronger Taslan nylon that is water repellent.
Tencel A fabric made from the cellulose found in wood pulp which is processed into a silk-like, delicate fabric.
Tension – Tautness of thread when forming stitches. Top thread as well as bobbin tension need to be set.
Terra-Tek™ A durable and water repellent Taslan with a matte finish.
Terry Velour A type of material with uncut loops on both sides. It has a soft, plush feel and is water absorbent.
Thread – Fine cord of natural or synthetic material made from two or more filaments twisted together and used in stitching. Machine embroidery threads come in rayon, which has a light sheen;
cotton, which has a duller sheen than rayon, but is available in very fine deniers; polyester, which is strong and colorfast; and metallics, which have a high luster and are composed of a synthetic core wrapped in metal foil.
Timing – Relationship between the embroidery machine’s hook and needle. To form a stitch, the hook and the loop formed by the top thread must meet at a precise moment or else improper stitch formations, thread breakage, skipped stitches, or broken needles could result.
Topping – Material hooped or placed on top of items to be embroidered that have a definable nap or surface texture, such as corduroy and terry cloth. The facing compacts the wale or nap and holds the stitches above it. Includes a variety of substances such as water soluble plastic “foil”, and open weave fabric which is chemically treated to disintegrate with the application of heat. Also referred to as Facing. May be referred to as Solvy which is a brand name for water soluble material
manufactured by Gunold & Stickma.
Triple-Needle Stitched See Double-Needle Stitched but with 3 stitches.
Tone on Tone Jacquard Collar See Jacquard Knit. The two colors being used are the same.
Tubular Collar Collar which is knit in a tube form so it has no seams.
Tuck-In Tails A shirt constructed so the back hem is longer than the front. This aids in keeping the shirt tucked-in during strenuous activities.
Tuck Stitch Refers to the look of the knit where some stitches are actually under the other stitches. Gives the shirt a waffle-weave type texture
Twill A fabric characterized by micro diagonal ribs producing a soft, smooth finish.
Twill Tape Placket Lining Twill tape is attached to the inside of the placket for a fashion effect.
Underarm Grommets Small holes in the armpit area to allow breathability and air circulation.
Underlay Stitch – A stitch laid down before other design elements to help stabilize stretchy fabrics and tack down wales or naps on fabrics such as corduroy, so the design’s details don’t
get lost. May also be used to create such effects as crowned, flat, raised areas in the embroidery, depending on how they are laid down.
Unstructured A low profile cap style with a natural low sloping crown. No buckram has been added to the crown.
V Patch A section of material in a V shape that is sewn onto a garment directly under the collarette. Can provide support against stretching the neck opening and is also a style component.
Vents, Front & Back Allow for breathability and may aid in ease of decoration, allowing the garment to be hooped and embroidered with no show-through on the inside of the garment. Some vents are tacked down and are for fashion purposes only.
Washer Nylon A nylon garment treated with a special finish to produce a crinkled effect.
Weathered Twill A special dye process resulting in a softer fabric with a weathered appearance that will continue to enhance with each wash.
Welt Collar and/or Cuffs A single ply fabric with a finished edge that is used for collars and cuffs on sport shirts and short sleeve garments.
Wood Tone Buttons Buttons that simulate a wood appearance.
Yarn Dyed Yarn that has been dyed prior to the weaving or knitting of the garment.