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Curiously enough, our industry is rampant with unusual terms and acronyms necessary to produce your order. Soooooooo, we’ve created this handy Glossary of Terms.

(Psssst: it’s still OK to contact us with any questions)

Glossary of Terms

2-Way Zipper – A zipper with two zipper pulls so the garment can be unzipped from either direction.

50/50 – 50-percent cotton/50-percent polyester fabric; also referred to as "poly/cotton".

Abrade – To roughen a mesh surface, yielding what is termed "tooth."

Absorbency – The ability of a fabric to take in moisture. Absorbency affects many other characteristics such as skin comfort, static build-up, shrinkage, stain removal, water repellency, and wrinkle.

Acetate – Silk-like in appearance and feel. Resistant to stretch and shrinkage. Fiber-forming substance is cellulose acetate.

Airbrush Graphic – Technique in which ink is applied with compressed air, similar to spray painting, to render a soft, airy effect.

Analog color proof – Off-press color proof made from separation films.

Anti-Bacterial – A finish or treatment that inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Anti-Microbial – A term used for a garment that is able to resist, either naturally or chemically, the effects of microbial secretions put off by the human body, resisting odor and increasing garment life.

Anti-Pill Finish – A treatment applied to the fabric primarily to resist the formation of little balls on the fabric's surface due to abrasion during wear. See Pilling.

Anti-Static – A fiber or fabric that does not allow the build-up of static electricity to occur when the fiber or fabric experiences friction or rubbing.

Appliqué – An embroidered motif, aetzed or cut, which can be used as a separate embroidered figure (Schiffli embroidery).

Argyle – Multicolored diamond pattern used in knitwear, especially socks and sweaters.

Author's alterations (AAs) – Changes in type at the proof stages, made by and chargeable to the client.

Baby Pique Knit – A knitting method that creates a fine, small textured surface that appears similar to a very small waffle weave. Also see Pique Knit.

Bamboo Fabric – Bamboo fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of the bamboo grass. It has been growing in popularity and is more sustainable than most textile fibers. Also, it is light and strong, has excellent wicking properties, and is to some extent antibacterial.

Bean Stitch – Three stitches applied back and forth between two points, in the same space as one regular stitch. This stitch is used to provide secure registration in place of a repeated, single stitch outline that may not align properly.

Binder – A binder is used in pigment dyeing to help the color pigment adhere to the garment. In the process, the binder adds weight and thickness to the garment.

Biodegradable – A material's ability to decompose through natural processes and eventually be reabsorbed by the environment.

Biowash – Also known as bio-polishing or enzyme treatment. This is a chemical process to remove short fibers from fabrics so that the finished fabrics can have a cleaner surface. The process weakens the fibers so that they are more readily to break off, thus improve the pilling resistance but at the same time reduce the bursting strength of the fabric.

Birdseye Jacquard – A small geometric pattern with a center dot knit into the fabric.

Blanket Stitch – A decorative stitch often used to finish an unhemmed blanket. The stitch can be seen on both sides of the blanket or other garment.

Blanks – Undecorated items or apparel; also referred to as “blank goods”.

Blend – A yarn or fabric that is made up of more than one type of fiber.

Blind Embossing – Design stamped without metallic leaf or ink, giving a bas-relief effect.

Blind Stamping – Hot-stamping without fail. The approach, used often with leather, gives a subtler imprint than hot stamping and a shallower imprint than debossing.

Blind Stitch – Stitching that is not easily seen or noticed. Often used in hem.

Boatneck – An extra-wide neckline extending to or toward the shoulder seams.

Bonded Fleece – Multiple layers of fleece are bonded together with an adhesive, resin, foam or fusible membrane to form a higher functioning garment.

Break for Color – To separate, by color, elements to be printed in different colors.

Breathability – The movement of water or water vapor from one side of the fabric to the other, caused by capillary action, wicking, chemical or electrostatic action.

Brim – The projecting edge of a hat.

Broadcloth – A close plain-weave fabric made of cotton, rayon or a blend of cotton or rayon with polyester.

Brushed – A finishing process for knit or woven fabrics in which brushes or other abrading devices are used to raise a nap on fabrics or create a novelty surface texture.

Buckram – Stiff fabric used to give shape and form to items like caps and belts.

Button-Down Collar – Found on many men's woven dress shirting's, where the collar's wings can be buttoned to the front of the shirt, minimizing the spread between the wings.

Camera-Ready Art – Any drawing, photos, illustration or lettering suitable for photographic reproduction.

Carbon Footprint – A measure of the your impact on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.

Certified Organic – Textiles that are certified organic are made from raw organic materials that originate from organic cultivation, processed using sustainable textile production methods where 100% certified organic natural fibers come from inspected, toxic free organic farming.

Chambray – A plain woven fabric that can be made from silk or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp and white filling yarns.

Chino Cotton – A sturdy, medium weight twill cotton fabric used for uniforms and sometimes work or sports.

Clean-up Charge – Factory charge added for the labor costs involved in cleaning the printing press after using a nonstandard ink. Also known as a wash-up charge.

Cloisart – Hot-stamp procedure where the desired logo/copy is foil hot-stamped on a solid brass or metal base, then covered with epoxy dome

Cloisonné – Product in which a colored paste, made from ground glass, is applied to recessed areas, then fired at 1400 degrees and polished by stone and pumice to achieve brilliant color. Since gullies and ridges separate each individual color, fine lines between them are difficult to achieve.

CMYK – Cyan, magenta, yellow, black subtractive colors for process color reproduction.

Color Proof – First or early printing of a finished color ad, combining impressions from each of the separate progressive color plates.

Color Separation – Separation of multicolored original art by camera or laser-scan techniques to produce individual separated colors. There are four common separations: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Colorfast – A dyed fabric's ability to resist fading due to washing andexposure to sunlight.

Combed Cotton – A process by which the short fibers of a yarn are removed and the remaining longer fibers are arranged in parallel order for a high quality yarn with excellent strength.

Corduroy – A cut filling pile cloth with narrow to wide ribs, usually made of cotton.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM) – Traditionally called CPM, because the "M" represents the Roman numeral for thousand. The figure is calculated by dividing circulation or audience by a thousand and dividing the result into the cost of the advertising unit.

Cotton – Soft vegetable fiber obtained from the seedpod of the cotton plant.

Crew Collar – A rounded, ribbed collar cut loose to the neck.

Crop Marks – Indicators on artwork to show where an illustration is to be cut or sized.

Crown – The upper-most part of the capthat is sewn to either a hatband, brim or sweat band.

Debossing – Depression of an image into a material such as paper, leather or suede, so the image sits below the product surface.

Denim – A cotton or blended fabric with right- or left-hand twill construction.

Die – Mold into which molten metal, plastic or other material is forced to make a specific shape. Also, a tool of very hard material used to press a particular shape into or onto a softer material.

Die-casting – Process where molten metal is injected into the cavity of a carved die.

Die Cutting – Using sharp steel blades to cut shapes from printed sheets.

Die-Stamp – Steel plate engraved with desired image used to "stamp" (apply) gold or silver leaf.

Die-striking – A method of producing emblems and other flat promotional products. A blank, cut from a metal sheet, is struck with a hammer that holds the die.

Digital Color Proof – Off-press color proof produced from digital data without the need for separation films.

Digitizing – Method of recreating an embroidery design through information entered into a computer. Instead of a physical act of punching paper tape, digitizing involves numerical calculations fed through an automatic machine to determine the points of embroidery stitches.

Eco-Friendly – Also known as 'environmentally friendly' or 'nature-friendly,' eco-friendly refers to goods and services that inflict minimal harm on the environment.

Egyptian Cotton – Cultivated in Egypt's Nile River Valley, this cotton is regarded as one of the finest cotton in the world. The growing season gives the cotton the longest and strongest fibers, making it ideal for weaving into smooth, strong yarn. Commonly used in high-endtowels.

Embossing – Raising of an image on a product, accomplished by pressing the material between concave and convex dies.

Embroidery – Design stitched onto fabric through the use of highspeed, computer-controlled sewing machines.

Engraving – Cutting an image into metal, wood or glass by one of three methods; computerized engraving, hand tracing or hand engraving.

EPS File – Encapsulated Postscript Vector graphics (Adobe Illustrator) EPS is a file extension for a graphics file format used in vector-based images in Adobe Illustrator. EPS stands for Encapsulated PostScript. An EPS file can contain text as well as graphics.

Etching – The product to be imaged is coated with a resist (a protective coating that resists the acid). An image is exposed on the resist, usually photographically, leaving bare metal and protected metal. The acid attacks the exposed metal thus leaving the image etched into the surface of the metal. Very fine lines can be reproduced by this process and the only tooling is a piece of film, so spec samples are easily-made.

Flexography – Imprinting method for paper in which a flexible rubber plate is wrapped around a cylinder. As the paper moves under the plate, it is pressed against it by another roller, and the ink is transferred on the paper.

Fleece – A fabric identified by a soft napped interior and a smooth exterior. Commonly used in sweats.

Font – The collection of a typeface including the lower case, caps, numbers and special characters having unified design. This can be an important consideration when copy includes foreign terms or names with special characters. The different kinds and quantity of characters in a font will vary according to the manufacturer of the typesetting system.

Four-Color Process – The reproduction of full-color artwork through the combination of four process ink colors – magenta (red), cyan (blue), yellow and black – in specified intensities. Colors are separated into individual color plates so that when printed in register, they produce a full-color illustration. Four-color separations refer specifically to the process colors: magenta, cyan, yellow and black.

Full Cut – Refers to a garment's fit as being generous and roomy.

Garment Dyed – A dyeing process that occurs after the garment is assembled.

Garment Washed – A wash process where softeners are added to finished garments to help the cotton fibers relax. The result is a fabric with a thicker appearance, reduced shrinkage and a softer hand.

GIF (or) .gif – Developed by Compuserve using compression technology from Unisys. On the World Wide Web pictures and graphics, you see on Web pages are usually in GIF format because the files are small and download quickly. Another type of graphics format used commonly are JPEG these files download even faster and contain a better resolution but cannot be interlaced so many Web page authors tend to opt for using GIF's instead to get that "melting" onto the screen effect that happens with interlaced images.

Glass Etching – A process in which a piece of glass is covered with a template that has a design cut out of it. The glass is then sandblasted while the portion of the item not covered by the template is protected. The template image is thus etched into the glass.

GMO – An acronym for 'Genetically Modified Organism' and refers to plants, such as 'Bt Cotton and foods that have been engineered by insertion of DNA by humans.

Green – The adjective used to describe people, behaviors, products, policies, standards, processes, places, movements or ideas that promote, protect, restore or minimize damage to the environment.

Grommet – An eyelet of firm material to strengthen or protect an opening.

Gusset – Triangular inserts in sleeve seams to widen and strengthen. Also used to widen the bottom of bags.

Halftone – Engraving made by photographing through a glass screen that breaks the subject into small dots of varying intensities of gray, ranging from white to black.

Heat-Transfer Printing – Imprinting method in which an image is screened onto a transfer substrate, which is then laid directly on the material to be imprinted. The image is transferred from the substrate to the material through heat and pressure.

Heather – Blended fibers combining to create a varicolored effect.

Heavyweight – Fabric heavier than 10oz per linear yard. Standard weight is 8oz.

High-Profile – A term used for a cap or hat silhouette that is less fitted to the head with a high slope. Usually structured with buckram or other stiff fabric lining.

Hot Stamping – Method is which type or designs in the form of a relief die are impressed with heat and pressure through metallic or pigmented foil onto the printed surface. It is used to decorate fabric, leather, paper, wood, hard rubber, coated metal and all types of plastic. Hot stamping is a "dry" imprinting process meaning the object can be handled immediately after the stamping without fear of smearing the imprint.

Intaglio – Design that is impressed into its base material.

Interlock Knit – A double knit fabric with a smooth finish on face and back of fabric. The process creates a luxurious fabric with increased strength, enhanced durability.

Jacquard Knit – Often an intricate pattern knit directly into the fabric during the manufacturing process. Typically, two or more colors are used.

Jersey Knit – The consistent interloping of yarns to produce a fabric with a flat, smooth face.

JPG – Joint Photographic Experts Group is a standard compression format for high-resolution color images.

Laminated – Coated with a clear plastic or two separate sheets of paper joined together as a single sheet to provide a special thickness or varying colors from side to side.

Laser Engraving – A process in which an optically-read or stenciled art/copy is engraved (burned) into a material by a laser beam. Wood is the most common lasered material, but acrylic, some plastics, marble, leather and paper are also used. Metal requires specialized lasers.

Lenticular Printing – Process of creating multidimensional, animated or biview effects by photographing with an extremely fine screen and placing plastic made up of tiny lenses over the top

Letterpress Printing – Printing method in which ink is carried on a raised surface to the page or object being printed.

Litho (Lithography) – A generic term for printed material. Most typically used to refer to offset printed paper that is intended to be mounted to a display.

Logos/Trademarks – A firm's registered symbol, outline, drawing, picture, brand, abbreviation or unusual type style of letter, word or brand name. Used in identifying and advertising and becomes recognized as synonymous with that particular company, brand or service.

Low-Profile – A term used for a cap or hat silhouette that is more closely fitted to the head.

Mesh – A type of fabric characterized by its net-like open appearance and the spaces between the yarns.

Micro fleece – Crafted from ultra-fine yarn, this lightweight, high-density fleece is brushed less than a regular fleece garment for a tight look, excellent softness and warmth. 100% polyester micro fleece.

Microfiber – Tightly woven fabric from a very fine polyester thread, usually with a sueded finish for a soft feel. Generally lightweight, resilient, resist wrinkling and water repellent.

Moisture-Wicking – Moisture management fabrics which transport moisture away from the body.

MPEG File – Motion Pictures Experts Group is a standard compression format for video and sound. It can be used to display and hear online movies.

Nonrepro Blue – Color that does not reproduce in final production, used to mark instructions and corrections on camera-ready art.

Nylon – A synthetic fiber with high strength and abrasion resistance and low absorbancy.

Offset Lithography (Offset Printing) – A printing method in which an inked image on a flat plate is transferred to a rubber surface before being pressed on the printing surface. The plate surface is treated to accept greasy ink in image areas that resist water and to accept water in non-image areas while resisting ink. In this method of printing, the ink is less likely to rub off after an object is handled as often happens with letterpress printing.

Organic Cotton – Organic cotton is cotton from non-genetically modified plants that are certified to be grown without the use of any synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticides.

Overrun – Specialties produced in excess of the number originally ordered.

Packable – A feature that allows for the garment to be folded into a separate or attached pocket.

Pantone Matching System (PMS) – Color scale used to precisely match colors for printing. Each hue has a coded number indicating instructions for mixing inks to achieve that hue.

PDF File – Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system. Invented by Adobe, PDF is now an open standard maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). PDFs can contain links and buttons, form fields, audio, video, and business logic. They can also be signed electronically and are easily viewed using free Acrobat Reader DC software.

Performance Fabrics – Fabrics made for a variety of end-use applications, which provide functional qualities, such as moisture management, UV protection, anti-microbial, thermo-regulation, and wind/water resistance.

Photo Etching (Metal) – Process in which an illustration and/or copy is imprinted into metal, usually aluminum, by acid and then sealed by an anodizing process. This is popular for awards and plaques.

Plate – An image carrier, rubber or metal which transfers the ink to the printing surface.

Pigment-Dyed – A type of dye process used to create a distressed or washed look that results in soft, muted colors.

Pilling – A tangled ball of fibers that appears on the surface of a fabric as a result of wear or continued friction or rubbing on the surface of the fabric.

Pima Cotton – A term applied to extra-long staple cotton grown in the U.S., Peru, Israel and Australia. It can only be grown in select areas where the cotton is fully irrigated and benefits from a longer growing season for a softer, stronger cotton than standard cotton.

Pique Knit – A knitting method that creates a fine textured surface that appears similar to a waffle weave.

Point-of-Purchase Advertising (POP) – Advertising materials – displays, cards, etc. – which are placed within retail stores at the place where purchases are actually made.

Polyester – A strong, durable synthetic fabric with high strength and excellent resiliency. Low moisture absorbency allows the fabric to dry quickly.

Polypropylene – A hard fabric made from a plastic polymer of propylene.

Polyurethane Coating (PU Coating) – A finish commonly used in winter jackets, rainwear and wind wear to offer high performance water resistance, while maintaining the garment's breathability.

Poplin – A medium-to-heavyweight unbalanced plain weave. It is a spun yarn fabric that is usually piece dyed. Made by weaving one weft (vertical) yarn over and under each warp (horizontal) yarn, alternating each row. The filling is cylindrical.

Pre-Production Proof – A product imprinted with the specified design and copy of an issued purchase order. Its purpose is to clarify the appearance of the product and the imprint prior to manufacturing.

Preshrunk – Pre-shrinking is not about pre-washing the fabric. It is a process where the bolted, uncut fabric is run through rollers containing tiny nubs that press the fabric over the nubs, creating grooves which condense it. This puckered shrinking effect thenallows for real shrinking to occur when washed, without it being detected.

Puff Prints – A screening process, using "puff inks." After screening, the product is exposed to heat. A chemical additive in the ink will cause the ink to rise as it is heated to dry. This process must be used on a cotton weave material where the ink has something to latch on to. Therefore, it cannot be used on nylon. Used on wearables, such as caps and hats, T-shirts.

Private Label – System of garment labeling in which a manufacturer produces apparel using the customer's name or logo on the sewn-in tag.

PVC - A polyurethane coating that is added to make garments water resistant.

Raglan Sleeve – An athletic cut sleeve set with a diagonal seam from the neck to the underarm. Offers more freedom of movement in comparison with set-in sleeves.

Rayon – A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters or other vegetable matter, with a soft hand. Frequently used for shirts and pants.

Recycled – Materials that have been taken from one product and made into a new product, such as plastic bottles broken down and turned into fiber. The recycling process generally saves energy and reduces the need to extract additional raw resources from the earth.

Register Marks – Cross-hair marks applied to negatives, artwork, photographs or mechanicals to ensure precise register on the final product

Resolution – Density of dots for any given output device. The unit of measurement is dots per inch (dpi).

Sandwich Hat/Bill – A hat where there is contrasting trim between the upper and lower part of the visor or bill.

Screen-printing – Imprinting method in which the image is transferred to the printed surface by ink squeegeed through a stenciled screen stretched over a frame. Screens are treated with a light-sensitive emulsion, then film positives are put in contact with the screens and exposed to light. The light hardens the emulsion not covered by the film, leaving a soft area on the screen for the squeegee to force ink through. Also called silk screening.

Set Up Charge – Special charges added to certain products in a catalog. It covers the cost of preparing the type for the press and the actual printing.

Silk – A natural filament fiber produced by the silkworm in the construction of its cocoon. The shimmering appearance for which silk is prized comes from the fiber's triangular, prism-like structure, which allows silk fabric to refract incoming light at different angles.

Single Knit – Cloth constructed on a circular machine with only one set of needles. Most T-shirts are single knit.

Soil Release Finish – A fabric treatment that helps a garment release stains in the wash.

Spandex – A manufactured elastomeric fiber that can be repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking and will still recover its original length.

Stain Resistance – A fiber or fabric property of resisting spots and stains.

Stonewashed – A finishing process that creates a distressed appearance, including a softer texture, puckering at the seams and slight wrinkling. Garments are tumbled together with stones (usually pumice stones) in larger washers. This process is usually applied to indigo-dyed denim garments.

Sublimation Transfer - Method of subliming a dye pattern, through the use of heat, onto polyester fabric.

Terry Velour - A pile weave cotton fabric with an uncut pile on one side and a cut pile on the reverse side. It has a soft, plush feel and is water absorbent. Commonly used for towels, robes and apparel.

Tie Dye – A method of dyeing fabric in which parts of the fabric are tied so that they will not take the dye, giving the fabric a streaked, spiral or unique look.

Thermography – Means of imprinting in which powder is added to the image to be printed. When heated, the powder fuses with the ink, and the image appears in relief.

Tone-on-Tone - (Color) A fabric printed in two tones of the same color.

Twill – A fabric characterized by micro diagonal ribs producing a soft, smooth finish.

Underrun – Number of products less than what was originally ordered.

Unstructured – A headwear term referring to a low profile cap with a naturally low sloping crown. No buckram has been added to the crown for structure.

UVA-Protective Fabric – A term used to refer to a fabric that resists the ability of ultraviolet rays to penetrate the fabric. Protects the fabric from fading and the wearer's skin from UV rays.

Vector Graphics – Vector graphics use computer algorithms to describe shapes, lines, animation, etc. The technology of vector graphics is growing in popularity because the images are scalable and smaller in file size, a plus for online viewing and downloading. Vector graphics were developed in response to the limitations of raster-based graphics (popularly known as GIF and JPEG) because raster graphics use pixel-by-pixel definitions.

Waffle Weave – A square pattern woven into a garment.

Water Repellant – The ability to resist penetration by water. Not as rigorous a standard as waterproofness. Water repellent fabrics cause water to bead up on their surfaces while allowing insensible perspiration to pass through. Water beads up and rolls off a water-repellent fabric.

Water Resistant – A fabric's ability to resist moisture.

Waterproof – A term applied to fabrics whose pores have been closed, and therefore, will not allow water or moisture to penetrate through.

Wicking – Dispersing or spreading of moisture or liquid through a given area.

Wind Resistant – The ability of a fabric to act against or oppose the penetration of wind or air.

Wool – Usually associated with fiber or fabric made from the fleece of sheep or lamb. The term wool can also be applied to all animal hair fibers, including the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat or the specialty hair fibers of the camel, alpaca, llama or vicuna.

Woven – Fabric constructed by the interlacing of two or more sets of yarns at right angles to each other. Woven fabrics are commonly used for dress shirts and camp shirts.

Wrinkle-Free – The basic process for imparting the wrinkle free finish into fabric involves applying a resin into the fabric, drying and curing at extremely high temperatures to the desired dimension, scouring to remove any residual chemicals, and final drying. The application and curing of wrinkle-free may occur before or after the garments are produced.

Information courtesy of Advertising Specialty Institute and AlphaBroder