Glossary of terms used on this site

Worshipful Company of Weavers

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oil cloth

A plain woven cotton fabric which is coated with a mixture of linseed oil and a pigment.  The pigment is often white but can also be tinted.  A glaze finish is given to the finished cloth in creasing its waterproof quality and which can easily be sponged down.  Oil cloth has now been replaced by more durable and pliable plastic coated fabrics.  Known as American cloth in the United Kingdom, it also has been called enamelled cloth, leather cloth and a marbled variety, Lancaster cloth.  At one time oil cloth was used for kitchen tablecloths, shopping bags and sometimes rainwear.


A loosely woven plain weave cotton cloth, although silk is often used, impregnated with linseed oil which oxidizes to a hard, smooth, translucent finish making it completely waterproof.  The cloth, which becomes stiff, retains its distinctive smell of linseed oil and its golden yellow colour.  Before the invention of flexible plastic fabrics, oilskin was the only available fabric used in the manufacture seaman\'s waterproof clothing, slickers and sou\'westers.  A fine silk fabric impregnated with boiled linseed oil was at one time used for surgical purposes.


A machine used to separate closely packed fibres, such as baled cotton, during the preliminary stages of processing raw materials before spinning.


Organdie or organdy is a very light, thin fabric woven from tightly twisted cotton yarns.  It appears to be transparent and usually has a permanent, crisp, starched finish.  Although some stiffening treatments can be washed out, organdie can withstand repeated laundering and only needs to be ironed to bring back its original crispness.  Organza is a pure silk fabric which resembles organdie.  Organzine is a fine, folded, slightly twisted, filament silk yarn commonly used as warp to weave silk fabrics.  See organzine.


A strong silk yarn made from high quality filament silk.  Single raw silk yarn is twisted and then doubled.  The compound thread is twisted once again in the opposite direction resulting in 350 to l300 tpm. Organzine is mostly used as a warp yarn.


A rough, tough plain-weave, cotton cloth made with coarse yarns sometimes spun from cotton waste.  Commonly used in its unbleached state for bags for sugar, grain or cement. At one time Osnaburg was made of linen and originated from the city of Osnabruck, north west Germany.

oxford cloth

Oxford cloth was never woven in Oxford but gets its name through its popularity as a shirt fabric worn by the undergraduates of Oxford University because it wears well and launders well.  The fabric is a soft, absorbent, sturdy, cotton fabric shirting with a lustrous finish.  Button down collared shirts made from Oxford cloth became very popular in post, World War 2, United States of America, and was the height of Ivy League university fashion for men. This cloth is now manufactured and converted into shirts in many other countries.  Made in plain weave with two fine warp ends woven as one giving the effect of a 2 and 1 matt weave.  Oxford cloth is now woven in a various blends of cotton and man-made fibres.