Glossary Of Synthetic Fiber Terms

Here’s a grouping of terms for all of the synthetic fibers used in apparel manufacturing today.

Acetate
One of the earliest manufactured fibers in which the fiber-forming substance is cellulose acetate.

Acrylic
A manufactured fiber that is silk-like in appearance and feel and springs back when crushed. The fiber-
forming substance is any long chain of synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of
acrylonitrile units.

Lycra
INVISTA’s trademark for a synthetic fabric material with elastic properties of the sort known generically
as “spandex.”

Micro Fiber
Very thin fibers, including polyester, nylon and acrylic, that are less than one denier per filament.
Typically creates very strong fabrics with a softer hand but durable, water repellent, windproof and
with the ability to retain color.

Micro Fleece
A high-density anti-pilling fleece made from micro fiber brushed less than a regular fleece fabric. It is
very warm, but does not have the accompanying weight.

Nylon
A synthetic polymer, a plastic, durable fabric used in apparel and other everyday items. Invented by
DuPont Corp. in 1939, today it’s used in many apparel items and is popular for its resistance to
moisture and wrinkles and its unending durability.

Polyester
A strong, durable synthetic fabric with low moisture absorbency. Polyester is popular for its comfort
and does not wrinkle or fade. It is often blended with cotton to produce a longer lasting garment that
wrinkles less.

Rayon
A manufactured textile fiber composed of regenerated cellulose.

Spandex
Name for many of the elastic textile fibers most often made from polyurethane.  Its ability to stretch
and snap back to its original form makes spandex ideal for a blend used in garments designed to hold
their shape. It was first developed in 1959.

Supplex
DuPont-engineered nylon that is soft and supple like cotton but durable and quick-drying. It’s stain,
fade and shrink resistant, as well as windproof and breathable.

Taslan
A textured yarn that is made on a bulking process developed by DuPont. Its hand, loftiness, covering
power and yarn texture are such that these properties are permanent and don’t require special
handling or care. It’s a registered trademark.

Teflon Coated
DuPont-trademarked water- and stain-repellent coating that allows fabric to remain breathable.

Ultra Suede
Registered trademark of Spring Mills Inc. for a fabric marketed under its Skinner  brand. Fabric isn't
woven or knitted, and has tiny polyester fibers embedded in its soft, lush surface.
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