Welcome to our glossary. We are often asked to explain what the fibres are, or the difference between fibres, so we have compiled some definitions directly below. If you scroll down further you will find information on SKAL International which certifies organic textiles which we retail on our site.
Cashmere is an extremely fine, soft fibre from the downy undercoat of the Cashmere goat. It is considered to be one of the most precious luxurious fibres available renowned for its silkiness and superior softness. Cashmere is suitable for all climates, as a high moisture content allows its insulation properties to change depending on the humidity in the air. It provides natural light-weight insulation without being bulky. The cashmere fibres are highly adaptable and can be easily constructed into fine or thick yarns, and weaved into light to heavy-weight fabrics. The goats are either shorn or the down is removed by hand using a coarse comb.
A fine lightweight cotton or linen fabric with colored lengthwise fibers interlaced with white.
Cotton is a soft vegetable fibre obtained from the seed pod of the cotton plant. Cotton is the most widely used fibre for making textiles in the world because of its versatility, durability and soft feel.
Cambric is a closely woven weave that produces a firm but lightweight fabric with a slightly glossy finish. Made from the finest cotton yarns for extreme lightness.
Percale refers to the weave of a fabric – the weave is closely woven. Cotton percale is made from high quality combed cotton with a thread count of at least 200 threads per 10 sq cm. The cotton yarn is woven into sheeting of medium weight with a smooth, cool crisp feel, and does not have a gloss finish.
Sateen refers to the weave of the fabric and takes it’s name from the effect. Sateen is woven using a fine cotton yarn with a high thread count of warp threads (those down the length of the fabric) which gives a luxurious lustre and sheen on the face of the cloth, and a lovely soft smooth feel. Because sateen takes more yarn it is the most expensive weave. It launders easily and is long lasting.
Down refers to the layer of fine feathers that forms the undercoat of birds, found under the tougher exterior feathers. Down used in our linen products is sourced from either Goose or Duck. Goose down is larger, yet lighter than duck down making it the down of preference. Down is soft and three-dimensional used to hold air at high altitudes and low temperatures for superior warmth with a minimum of weight. It acts as an insulator, trapping air within it’s soft fibres.
Egyptian cotton is considered the finest grade of cotton in the world. It is grown only on the banks of the river Nile in Egypt, where it produces extra-long staple fibres. When woven, these fibres produce exceptionally fine, soft and luxurious fabric with a high lustre and super soft feel. See the BLOG on Egyptian Cotton for more information.
Feather refers to the external layer of body covering of birds. Duck or Goose feathers are hard and heavy and are used for flying and swimming. The firmer weight of feather when combined with the delicate softness of down helps resist compression making for an ideal combination filling for duvets and pillows.
Linen is the oldest textile material in the world and is made using fibres from the flax plant. Individual flax fibres are longer than those of cotton making for a heavier thicker yarn. It has a textural weave that smooths with age and has a naturally lustrous sheen. Linen is a prestigious, expensive fibre as it is only produced in small quantities and is more difficult to process than cotton.
Jacquard is a type of fabric weave that creates an intricate raised pattern or design, using different types of yarn and stitch patterns. These patterns are created by using a special Jacquard loom.
Kid Mohair is collected from the fleece of the baby Angora goats. Mohair is one of the worlds rarest and oldest natural luxury fibres. Kid Mohair is the finest and softest of the Mohair fibres and is therefore the most expensive.
Mohair is one of the world’s rarest and oldest natural fibres. It is collected from the fleece of the Angora goat and is renowned for its softness, intensity and resilience. Mohair is considered one of the worlds luxury fibres so textiles woven from Mohair are always valued possessions. Our Mohair is from New Zealand and Austraila, some of the most sought after Mohair in the world due to it’s superior quality.
Merino wool refers to the wool fibre of the Merino sheep. Merino sheep are the most numerous breed of sheep in the world, that originally came from Spain. Merino wool is much finer and softer than wool of any other sheep and is renowned for its natural elasticity, lustre, strength, superior breatheability and temperature regulation qualities. It also does not itch or pill. It is highly sought after in the clothing and textile industries. Our Merino wool is from Australia and New Zealand, these wools are recognised as some of the worlds’ best renowned for their superior soft fine qualities.
Mulberry silk is cultivated silk produced by domesticated silk worms that feed off Mulberry leaves. It is a natural protein fibre that has unique thermal and breathable properties, and is hypoallergenic. Silk is the strongest natural fiber known to man and has exquisite qualities – it is lightweight, silky-soft, highly absorbent and resilient. Silk is one of the worlds most prized natural luxury fibres.
Seersucker is a fine all-cotton fabric, that is commonly striped or checkered. Seersucker is woven in a slack-tension weave, allowing some threads to bunch together, giving the fabric a wrinkled appearance in places.
Crinkle stripes may have slightly larger yarns to enhance the crinkle. The stripes are always in the warp direction and on-grain. Today, seersucker is produced by a limited number of manufacturers, due to it being a high-cost item because of its slow weaving speed.
When the cocoon is boiled, the hard cocoon becomes a loose ball of strong, flexible filament measuring over 1,000 meters. Usually, this ball is uncoiled and wrapped onto a spindle for use in the textile industry making everything from clothing to rugs. During silk duvet production, however, the silk filament is not unravelled, but rather stretched into a flat tangled web and layered to form silk floss.
The cocoons are first boiled to loosen the sericin holding the filaments together. Each cocoon is expanded outwardly by hand on a U-shaped wooden rack, and the ball of thread becomes a sheet of tangled fibres. This sheet is then hand-stretched again on a larger rack along with several other cocoons to make a thick, cottony bundle called silk floss. It takes hundreds of these bundles to make a silk duvet.
Once enough silk cocoons have been stretched into bundles, the duvet begins to take shape. Workers grab the edges of the bundle and stretch it wide to match the dimensions of the desired comforter, and layer by layer the comforter begins to take shape. It can take anywhere between 100 and 400 of these thin layers to make a comforter, depending on bed dimensions and desired thickness. Since it takes many cocoons to make each layer, a silk comforter may be composed of thousands of silk cocoons.
Once the silk fibre layers are stacked together, they are sealed inside silk or cotton fabrics and the comforter is complete.
Other cheaper duvet inners use the off-cuts of silk, which in turn make the duvet clumpy because the fibres are short and don’t fit in the casing.
SKALInternational is an inspection and certification organisation for the certification of organic products, processes and inputs. SKAL International inspects and certifies sustainable forest / wood and textiles and operates worldwide.
SKAL International has been authorised as an international inspection and certification organisation in the EU member states under the Regulation (EEC) Nr. 2092/91.
Organic cotton is cotton grown, produced and manufactured without the use of chemicals such as synthetic dyes, fertilizers and herbicides.