Canvas Glossary

Glossary of terms related to Canvas and Duck Canvas fabrics



The wearing away of a material by friction. “Taser Abraser” is the commonly used machine to measure the abrasive resistance of a fabric.

Acid Dye

A type of dye which, when used on cotton and other vegetable fibers, requires a mordant or a fixing process. This type of dyeing is usually done on animal fibers.


A synthetic fiber which contains long chain polymer component of at least 85% by weight of acrylonitrile units.  

Air Permeability

The ability of air to pass through a cloth. Measured in cubic feet of air per sq. feet of the cloth at 5 inches pressure of water at sea level.

Airplane Cloth

A plain woven, approximately 4 oz./sq.yd cloth made with plied combed and mercerized warp and filling yarns with a square count (80x80 or 84x84). Made of Pima cotton and used to cover airplane surfaces.

Artist Canvas

Any cloth commonly used by artists for oil painting, etc. Usually back filled.

Back Filled

Cloth treated with a heavy sizing on the back to add weight, give a firm hand and to close the cloth. Sizing may be permanent, resin or standard wash-out type.

Basket Weave

A cloth weave wherein two or more warp yarns and two or more fill yarns, side by side, are woven as one. A modification of the plain weave.


Cotton, Rayon, Wool or Silk fabrics used for handkerchief, lingerie, linings etc..

Black-Out Cloth

A tight woven cloth plain or twill weave, dyed black and calendered. Used to cover flower beds, in photography, etc. to block the light.


A finishing process for the yarns and cloths which eliminates any color and impurities originally found in the product.


The tendency of a dye or color to run, or to bleed off onto other materials when immersed in water.


A mixture of fibers - cotton and polyester; cotton and nylon, etc..


A length of the cloth about 30 yards or more in length, double and rolled on a cardboard.


A term used to refer to filling yarns in a cloth which do not lay in a perpendicular direction to the warp yarns. Instead they form a bow from the selvedge to selvedge.


A plain woven high count cloth, mostly used as a shirting  or bedding application.

Broken end

A warp defect caused by one or more broken warp yarns.

Broken pick

A warp defect caused by one or more broken filling yarns.


A process for removing lint, loose threads etc. by brushing the surface of the cloth with wired brush. A heavy brushing results in a “nap”.


A soft open mesh cotton cloth made with single or plied yarns. Used primarily in the finished state for flags, banners, etc..


A heavy, coarse, plain woven cloth made from jute yarns.

Breaking Strength

The load (or force, measured in pounds) required to rupture, a specimen. Also referred as “ Tensile Strength”.


A non-permanent glazing (finishing) procedure for cloth achieved by passing the cloth over heated rollers.


A general name applied to a broad range of fabrics produced for uses other than clothing. Includes all types of ducks, some drills, twills, etc. Please also see “Duck”.


A plain woven cloth with an almost square construction made from print cloth yarns. Usually a colored warp and white filling.

Cheese Cloth

Also known as “Tobacco Cloth”. A plain woven, open mesh, low count carded cotton yarn cloth used for covering tobacco, surgical dressings, crinolines and industrial uses.

Coated Fabrics

Fabrics which are coated with Vinyl, rubber, resins or other substances. May be coated on one or two sides.


The measure of the ability of a cloth to withstand adverse conditions affecting its color.  Color fastness to washing, laundering, dry cleaning, crocking, ironing, sunlight, salt water, perspiration, chlorine etc. are some of the usual tests.


In textile terminology, usually the width, thread count and the weight of the cloth. The yarn numbers are seldom stated in the USA, but frequently mentioned in the other parts of the world.


The process of changing a greige cloth into a finished or converted cloth.


Also “thread count”. The number of warp and filling yarns per inch in a cloth.

Crease Resistant Finish

Cloth finishes involving the application of a resin in a water solution. The resin is baked into the fibers of the cloth, neutralized, and then rinsed. Such finishes produce dimensional stability in laundering as well as resistance to creasing.


Flaking or rubbing off of dyestuffs in finished cloths.

Direct Dye

Also known as commercial dyes. A group of dyes that dissolves directly in water in the same manner that salt dissolves.


A finish applied to cloths to be used as pillow ticking, making the pillow impervious to penetration from downs and feathers.


A three-leaf twill woven carded cotton cloth made from fairly coarse yarns.


A broad range of heavy, plain or flat woven fabrics made primarily for use in other than clothing. “Doek” is a dutch word for cloth.

Fire (Flame) Retardant Finish

A finish that renders a cloth with qualities to repel flame or prevent the spreading of flame or which will not support a flame.


A one or two sides napped cotton cloth.


F.O.B. is short for Free on Board (or Freight on Board) and means that the goods will be delivered by the seller to the nearest port. At that point the liability and ownership of the goods will be transferred to the buyer. The buyer will be responsible for the costs of moving the goods further to the buyer's address.


A check pattern cloth made from dyed yarns.


The state of cloth “as-is” from the looms. There is no finish of any kind done to the cloth. Known as “raw” or “grey” or “gray” cloth.


Named after John Mercer, an English textile finisher. A process for cotton yarns and cloths which involves caustic soda baths. The end product is a lustrous finish with greater absorbency for dyestuffs.

Mineral Dye

A group of metallic oxides and hydrates which are reacted chemically in a cloth to produce colors of extreme fastness for light and weather. Colors are produced from iron, chromium, etc..


A “catch all” phrase that includes sheeting, print cloths, cheese cloth, broad cloths, etc..


A coarse carded cotton cloth in a plain weave, which was named after the German city Osnabrück where it was extensively produced.


A printed cotton cloth with a higher thread count (85x72)with a smooth dull finish used most extensively in the garment industry.

Piece Dyed

Cloth which has been dyed after weaving, as opposed to cloth made from pre-dyed yarns.

Plain Weave

The common one-up, one-down weave.


A process to control the shrinkage in a cloth when it gets wet.

Print Cloth

A plain woven cotton cloth made with single carded yarns.

Put ups

Refers to how the goods are packaged - in rolls or bales and the approx lengths. E.g. 50 yard rolls.


A mechanical procedure where the fabric is mechanically “beaten” (known as compacting) in both directions so that the fibers will not shrink more than 1.5 inches in length or width under standard testing conditions.

Selvedge or Selvage

The edges of a cloth in the direction of the warp yarn. It can be “tucked-in”, “taped”, “looped”, “plain or wire”, “flat” , “fringe or leno”. It depends on the loom in which the cloth was woven.


A plain woven cloth usually 3-6 oz./sq.yd made with carded yarns. Usually a square weave like 60x60.

Tensile Strength

The load (or force, measured in pounds) required to rupture, a specimen. The property measured is the elongation stress. Also referred as “ Breaking Strength”. The industry standard is ASTM-D-5034 test method.

Tearing Strength

The load (or force, measured in pounds) required to tear a specimen. The property measured is the resistance to tear. The industry standard is ASTM-D-2261 test method.


Usually a 3 or a 4 harness weave that has a “diagonal thread look” in the fabric. The term usually refers to finer count yarns woven tightly.

Worth Street Rules

The code or rules of conduct applying to the textile trade in general.

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