Designing clothes isn't just a leisurely prance down the catwalk: It's art and industry with its very own, often technical, language. The words themselves may seem familiar to us non-designers, but the meanings are anything but. We called New York fashion designer Mary Ping to help us decipher this particular tongue. ( The dress on the left is from a recent collection.)
Grain "Refers to the direction of the threads of a fabric. When fabric is woven you have a warp and a weft. The warp are yarns that run parallel to the loom, the weft are yarns that run perpendicular."
Shuttle "A tool on a loom to pass yarn through warp to form the weft."
Bias "The diagonal direction of yarn. You have yarns running vertically, yarns running horizontally -- the warp and the weft -- and the bias is the 45 degree angle between those two. It gives fabric a natural stretch. When people refer to a "bias-cut dress" it means the entire fabric is placed on the biased grain, or direction. So the dress has a tendency to cling to your body more, because it's stretching out more."Continue reading...