Glossary of Terms
To help you through the process of choosing and purchasing your woven, embroidered, and printed goods, Ways and Means Global has compiled this list of common industry terms and phrases. Please contact us with any additional questions.
Broadloom: A satin based woven label produced on a highspeed wide loom. The look is more soft and less sheen than regular single needle satin loom.
Centerfold: Woven or Printed label folded from the center, horizontally or vertically. Stitching performed on loose ends opposite of folded portion.
Cut/End Fold: Woven labels folded on the left and right side of label. Usual seam allowance starts from 1/8”(0.3cm). Stitching is performed on the inside of the inward fold.
Damask: A lustrous based thread that has a smooth soft texture. Typically considered high end and used for intricate details, such as signatures or small text. Available as Cut/End Fold, Centerfolded or Straight Cut. Adhesive or Iron Backing available.
End Fold: Woven labels folded on the left and right side of label. Usual seam allowance starts from 1/8”(0.3cm). Stitching is performed on the inside of the inward fold.
Hang Tag: Printed labels usually available in a variety of card stocks with a matte, semi-gloss or glossy finish. Typically used on the outside of garments, attached with a string with clip/pin. The label has logo, sometimes written text, and an area for pricing or barcoding.
Printed Label: Labels printed on satin acetate, card stock or other printed paper based material. Flexo or Rotary stamping.
Straight Cut: A label that is cut and finished on all sides. End user usually sews in from all four sides. Mainly used for patches or outer labels for accessories.
Taffeta: A polyester based plain woven thread used for low cost or basic uses. Not suggested for use in contact with skin as it tends to be scratchy. More suitable for outerwear or accessories. Very durable. Weaving can be double for definition details.
Weave: The process of creating a woven label with threads that are projected through a loom.
3D Foam: Foam that is used to add dimension to an embroidery pattern that is typically used on caps. The 3D foam is placed on the topside of the pattern and stitched over with shortened stitches to cut the foam. The excessive foam is then pulled away from the embroidery giving a 3D appearance. 3D foams are available in various thickness.
Appliqué: 1) Decoration or trimming cut from one piece of fabric and stitched to another, usually with a satin stitch, to add dimension and texture. If the appliqué occupies a significant amount of the design, the stitch count can be reduced. 2) In Schiffli embroidery, an embroidered motif is usually cut away from the base fabric and then stitched onto the finished product.
Backing: Woven or non-woven material used underneath the item being embroidered to provide support and stability. Sometimes referred to as a stabilizer in the home embroidery market.
Chenille: Form of embroidery in which a loop (moss) stitch is formed on the topside of the fabric. Uses heavy yarns of wool, cotton or acrylic. Created by a chainstitch machine that has been adjusted to form this stitch type. Also known as loop piling.
Digitize: The computerized method of converting artwork into a series of commands to be read by an embroidery machine’s computer. Digitizing is extremely important and will determine the quality of the finished embroidery. Every action of the embroidery machine is controlled by the digitized program, including the movement of the pantograph to form various stitches, thread changes, thread trims, and many other functions.
Emblem: Embroidered design with a finished edge -- commonly an insignia of identification; usually worn on the outer clothing. Historically, an emblem carried a motto or verse or suggested a moral lesson. Also know as a crest or patch.
Fill Stitches: One of the three most common stitches used in embroidery along with the run stitches and satin stitches. Fill stitches are used to cover large areas and they generally have a flat look. Altering the angle, length and direction of the stitched pattern can create different types of fill patterns.
Lettering: Embroidery using letters or words. Often called “keyboard lettering.” Usually computer generated either on the machine or a stand-alone computer.
Monogram: Embroidered design of one or more letters, usually the initials in a name.
Needle Bar: Bar that carries the needle up and down so a stitch can be formed. Each embroidery machine head can have up to 15 needle bars that can be selected to form the embroidery stitch pattern.
Pantograph: The bar, rack, or holder on which frames or hoops are attached. The pantograph moves in X and Y directions to form the embroidery design, controlled electronically or mechanically depending on the machine.
Run Stitch or Running Stitch: Made when a single stitch is formed between two points used for outlining, underlay, and fine detail. Also known as a running stitch or walk stitch.
Satin Stitch: One of the three most common embroidery stitches used to produce an embroidery design. Formed by closely arranged zigzag stitches. Can be laid down at any angle and with varying stitch lengths. Commonly used for lettering and outlining. Satin stitches can range in width from 1.5 mm to 8 mm; however, the wider the satin stitch, the more susceptible they are to snagging and abrasion.
Tear Away Backing: A non-woven material placed under the fabric being embroidered to add stability to the fabric. Once the pattern is completed, this backing can then be torn off the design due to the needle penetrations. Typically used on more stable fabrics such as woven goods. When choosing a tear away backing, you should test to make sure it tears properly. If it doesn’t tear easily enough, it may pull out some of the stitches. If it doesn’t tear cleanly, it can leave an ugly, ragged edge. If the backing tears too easily, it may not provide enough support for the embroidery pattern.
Thread: Embroidery can be sewn with many types and sizes of threads depending on the desired finished appearance. Embroidery threads are commonly made from rayon, polyester, cotton and metallics. Rayon threads are generally made with a twisted multifilament construction and have a high sheen. Polyester threads can be made in three different thread constructions, including a twisted multifilament, air entangled and spun construction. Obviously, cotton threads are only made in a spun construction. Both spun polyester and spun cotton thread have a “matte” or low sheen appearance. Rayon and Polyester filament threads have a high sheen. Polyester is stronger than Rayon and has superior color fastness and abrasion / chemical resistance. Metallics are filament threads that have the highest luster and are formed with a synthetic core wrapped in metal foil. Generally metallic threads do not sew as well as polyester or rayon threads. The most common ticket size for rayon or polyester embroidery threads is a No. 40, however other sizes are available.
Abrade: To wear off or down by scraping or rubbing, to scrape off. To cause the surface of an object to not be smooth.
.ai: Adobe Illustrator file. A popular vector type file used in the graphics industry.
Block Out: This is an emulsion like chemical that is most often not light sensitive. It is used to fill any unwanted openings in your stencil on the screen after exposure and washout.
Black and White Artwork: Also known as line art. Any art that consists of a black image on a white background.
Clip Art: Ready to use artwork, usually in vector format, and typically copyright free.
Cyan: One of the process print colors, a certain shade of blue.
Drop Shadow: A graphic “shadow” effect that gives an image a three dimensional look.
Emulsion: A light sensitive liquid chemical that is applied to the screen, it becomes most light sensitive when dry.
Four Color Process: In this type of industrial or commercial printing, the technique used to print full-color images, such as color photographs, is referred to as four-color-process printing, because four inks are used: three primary colors plus black. The "subtractive" primary ink colors are cyan (a bright blue), magenta (a vivid red-purple), and yellow; which are abbreviated as CMYK
Gray Scale: An continuous tone image devoid of color consisting only of white to black shadings.
Halftone: A color or grayscale image that has been converted into a series of large and small dots.
Heat Transfer: The printing of an image in reverse onto special paper then transferring that image with a heat transfer press to a garment or other substrate.
Ink: Common term used to describe the printable substance that is used to make a print. In the textile printing business, the most widely used ink is plastisol.
Line Art: Black and White artwork consisting of no halftones or color.
Monofilament: A fiber, strand or thread made of a solid flexible, most often polyester material.
Magenta: One of the process print colors, a certain shade of purplish red.
Outline: A line surrounding an inner "fill" of another color.
Pigment: A dry coloring matter, usually an insoluble powder, to be mixed with water, oil, or another base to produce paint and similar products.
Resolution: The sharpness or clarity of your print.
Screen: This is the platen or "printer" for each color of the design.
Tint: Changing the color of an ink by adding white (or another color) to it.
Underexposed: Insufficient screen exposure time, resulting in a soft stencil that can break down prematurely during the print run.
Viscosity: Commonly perceived as the thickness or thinness of an ink.