technical terms faq's

Technical Terms FAQ's

Below are definitions for a few technical terms you may have come across on the site.


Cotton - a white soft fibrous substance that surrounds the seeds of cotton plants and is used widely in the textile and clothing industry.

Combed Cotton - cotton that has had the short fibres and impurities removed from it, making it a better quality and stronger fibre than other cottons. This process happens before cotton is made into yarn

Ringspun Cotton - cotton that is manufactured on a ring spinning system to give a smoother, softer and stronger yarn compared to other cottons such as open end fabric.  Ringspun cotton can be combed prior to this process.  Combed, ringspun cotton will create a very strong fabric.

Brushed Cotton – cotton that is brushed to remove excess fibres and lint from the fabric, resulting in a softer, smoother finish.

Polyester – a synthetic fabric which also contains naturally occurring chemicals. Although many perceive polyester as having a less natural feel to fabrics such as cotton or wool, it does have its benefits, such as improved wrinkle resistance, durability, high colour retention and often superior water and wind resistance. Because of this polyester is often spun with naturally occurring fibres.

Elastane – or often referred to as Spandex or Lycra is a synthetic fibre, known for its exceptional elasticity. Often used in fitted clothing.

Acrylic – synthetic fibre with a soft, wooly feel. It has excellent colour retention properties, dries quickly and is wrinkle resistant.

Nylon – synthetic fibre that is highly durable, resilient and flexible.

Lambswool – the highest quality wool taken from a sheep. It is very soft, resilient and smooth.

Tencel (also known as Lyocell) – a relatively new, soft and comfortable fibre with great moisture wicking properties.

Thinsulate – a synthetic fibre used for thermal insulation in clothing. It is a very thin but highly dense fibre.

Jersey - a knit fabric used widely in the clothing industry. Originally it was made of wool, but now it can be made of wool, cotton and various synthetic fibres.

Single Knit Jersey - single refers to the needle on the machine making the jersey. Jersey fabric does not have a distinct rib. It tends to be very stretchy and lightweight. It has one flat side and one piled side. T-shirts are usually made from this type of knit.

Double Knit Jersey - also known as interlock jersey, it has a lot less stretch and is a heavier fabric. It is made up of two single knit jerseys knitted together, leaving the flat sides on the outside.

Tubular Knit – a knitting process whereby the product comes off the machines as a tube so there are no seams (mainly side seams).

Pique Fabric – pique refers to the weaving style that produces the fabric. It is normally used with cotton but can be a mix of fabrics. It is characterised by raised parallel cords, which make the garment stiffer than plain fabric.

Easy Care Fabrics – fabrics that need little care to maintain. This may involve not having to iron them or wash them at high temperatures to remove stains. They are often cotton-mix fabrics.

Anti-Pill – a treatment that is applied to garments to help resist the formation of small balls on the fabrics surface during wear.

Yarn Dyed - a process by which the yarns are coloured before the fabric is woven.

Garment Dyed – a process to dye the fabric after the garment has been made to give the seams a darker and more worn look.

Pigment Dyed – a process by which the fabric is dyed with a pigment that is then partially washed out, creating a worn, slightly uneven appearance.

Prewashed – a process by which the garment is washed during production to make it softer and give a faded appearance.

Herringbone – a fabric that has a pattern that slants in alternate directions to form a series of parallel V’s or zigzags

Oxford - an oxford weave fabric has a basket-weave structure and is very popular for more formal shirts.

Pinpoint – a very fine, tightly woven oxford cloth with a soft, silky feel and highly durable.

Poplin – a plain tightly woven fabric. Shirts made from this fabric are easy to iron and do not wrinkle easily.

Twill – a fabric that has a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs, making it drape very well.

End on End – a closely woven fabric with alternating fine coloured yarn and white yarn, creating a mini checkered effect with a smooth texture.

Moisture Control/Wicking Fabrics – are modern technical fabrics that draw moisture away from the body to keep you cool.

Teflon – is used as a coating on fabrics to offer protection against stains, spills (water and oil based) and soil on wool, cotton and blends without affecting the fabrics look, feel, weight and breathability.


Garment Specifications

Tailored Cut/Fit – a garment that has a more fitted shape than a standard style.

Twin Needle Hem – refers to the use of two needles working together to stitch a hem. It results in a stronger hem, which is less likely to come loose. It can be used throughout the garment whether at the collar, sleeves or bottom hem. You can easily identify this by seeing if there are two lines of stitching on a hem or just one.

Taped Seams – a very strong seam made when a sewn seam is covered with a strip of similar or the same material to give added strength and durability. In outerwear taped seams aid waterproofing.

Side Seams – seam running down the sides of a garment to join the front and back together.

1 x 1 and 2 x 2 Ribbing – 1 x 1 has one knit stitch followed by one purl stitch, repeated throughout. The elasticity of the rib depends on the number of knit/purl transitions. 1 x 1 is more elastic than 2 x 2.

Placket – made up of multiple layers of fabric often used to attach buttons on one side to button holes on the other, and positioned to make it easier to get the garment on and off. Plackets can be found at the neckline of a shirt or polo shirt, the cuff of a sleeve or at the waist of trousers or a skirt.

Cuffed Sleeves – a cuff is an extra layer of fabric at the lower edge of a sleeve. It can be at the wrist if on a long sleeve garment or at the bottom of a short sleeve garment. On polo shirts these can be ribbed giving a slightly smarter, fitted look to the sleeve.

Open Sleeves – sleeves that have no cuff or binding at the end.

Vents – a vertical slit in a garment, usually at the sides (known as side vents) or at the back of a garment, such as a skirt or jacket. The vents are usually only a few centimetres long and aid comfort and ease of movement.

Self-Fabric Collar – uses the same fabric as the garment to make the collar.

Flat Knit Collar – uses a different fabric to the main garment. It may be ribbed and often tends to keep its shape better than self-fabric collars.

Tubular Collar – collar that is knit in a tube so it has no seams.

Back Yoke – a piece of fabric that connects the back and shoulders of a garment, resulting in a flatter lying garment which drapes nicely.

Locker Patch - a panel that is sewn into the inside back of a garment, underneath the collar seam, to reinforce the garment and minimise stretching when the garment is hung on a hook.

Locker Hoop – a looped piece of fabric at the neck of garment allowing it to be hung on a hook.

Raglan Sleeves (Raglan Sweatshirt) – sleeves set with a diagonal seam from the beck to the armpit.

Drop Shoulder Sweatshirt –seams run across the top of the shoulder blades from the neck to the shoulder and not across the front.

Drop Tail (Tuck-In Tail) – the back hem is longer than the front. This helps to keep the garment tucked in during strenuous exercise.

Self-Colour Buttons – buttons that are the same colour as the garment.

Wood Tone Buttons – buttons that simulate a wood appearance.

Pearlised Buttons – buttons that have a simulate a pearly appearance. 

Two-way Zipper – zipper with two zip pulls so that it can be unzipped from either direction.

Epaulette – a band of fabric, often attached with a button, positioned on the shoulder of a jacket or shirt. 

Kangaroo Pocket – usually on hoodies or sweatshirts, it is the front oversized pocket.

Low Profile – a cap with a low slope that fits closer to the head.


Printing and Embroidery

Artwork – a general term that is used to describe the text and/or images prepared to illustrate how the printing or embroidery will look.

Proof – can be either a PDF visual proof for printing, which usually includes a placement proof showing where the logos will be positioned, or a physical proof for embroidery which is an actual run off of the logo.

Pantone – this is the worldwide standard colour reference system and is often referred to as PMS. Most of our printing use spot Pantone colours. It used spot colours (pre-mixed ink to form one of the logo) rather than creating a colour from a mixture of colours as done in CMYK and RGB.

CMYK – refers to the 4 process printing colours – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Most printing is used with pantone colours and we always recommend customers supply those.

RGB – refers to Red, Green and Blue, and is the colours which make up all monitors and TV’s. It is commonly used on websites but has limitations when printing garments.

Vector – vector artwork is created in 2D artwork software such as Corel and Adobe Illustrator. The files are made up of defined lines and curves, and are often used to create logos and graphics. The edges of lines are sharp and product great quality images. They are resolution independent so the size of the image can be changed without affecting the quality. We always request for files to be in a vector format (this may be as an eps or PDF) because they give the best quality images for print.

Bitmap – bitmap images are made up of a rectangular grid of small square known as pixels. Each pixel contains data about whether it should be black, white or a level of colour. The amount of info in a bitmap determines its size. They are edited by manipulating groups of pixels (rather than altering lines and shapes as you do with vector images). They can appear jagged and lose detail if they are created at low resolution or enlarged too much, which can sometimes mean they aren’t great to print from.

EPS – a file format that contains all the information required to be utilised in either print or digital format, such as colour references, sizing, etc.  It stands for Encapsulated Postscript and can be used across different computer systems. Artwork in these files is usually referred to as a vector image (as long as it’s not simply a jpeg, GIF, etc. file saved as an eps) and can be edited in pretty much anyway. This is the best format to send your logo/artwork to us in.

TIFF – stands for Tagged Image File Format and next to EPS is probably the most commonly used file format for graphics in printing. They can be saved as high resolutions.

PDF – this stands for Portable Document Format and if it is an original file (and not just a jpeg, GIF, etc. printed into a PDF) then it will be a vector file and can be edited in anyway, much the same as an eps file. It differs to an eps in that it is a ready to print format, and can have some limitations with editing.

BMP – a standard graphics file format for DOS of Windows compatible computers, which isn’t usually used in the printing industry because of their low resolutions. Exceptions would be if the file is created on a PC for conversion to a print friendly format, such as an eps.

JPEG – stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and is a commonly used format that can be easily reduced in size for emailing and internet use. Image quality can be affected when you reduce the size and it is not ideal for printing, but can be used for embroidery.

GIF – stands for Graphics Interchange Format and is a commonly used format for images; however, it’s not suitable for printing.

Digital Transfer Printing – a printing process where images are printed onto white material and cut lines are placed around the image, which is then heat pressed on to the garment.

Screen Printing – a printing process that involves forcing ink through a fine mesh screen onto any surface, including clothing. It’s great for large print runs and we think it’s the best way to print most clothing.

Sublimation – a printing process where images are printed onto transfer paper using special ink toners and heat pressed to the garment. Ideal for light coloured, synthetic fabrics.

Heat Seal Transfer Printing (Laser) – a printing process where images are printed onto transfer paper using special ink toners and heat pressed to the garment.

Cad Cut – a printing process where the outline of designs are printed onto a material such as vinyl or flock and the excess material removed from the sheet. The remainder is then heat pressed to the garment.

Pad Printing – a printing process that allows 2D images to be printed onto 3D objects, such as hard hats.

Embroidery – a process where a computerised images sews a design using several threads directly on to the garment.

Click for more information on our Printing and Embroidery

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