Dictionary of Ribbon Terminology

With so many different types of ribbons to choose from, picking the right one for your project can be tricky. This glossary of ribbon terminology will help you pick the perfect ribbon for your next floral design, holiday project, etc.

Simply click on a term below to learn more.

Acetate  Feather Edge  Lacquer Dots Picot-Edge  Taffeta 
Brocade French Wire Lame Plaids Tapestry
Chiffon
Gingham
Merrowed Polyester Tulle
Cut-Edge Ribbon Grosgrain Metallic Polypropylene Twill Tape
Damask Heat Transfer Printing Mini-Jac
Satin Veltex
Dobby Hot Stamp Moire Screen Printing Woven-Edge Ribbon
Extruded Ribbon Jacquards Nylon Sheer  
Fancy Kegs Organdy Sonic Welding  


Acetate:
A man-made textile that is woven in wider widths (60") and then slit through a heat fused process into various widths of ribbons. Examples of this ribbon type are our Seamaid and #210 McGinley Mills Satin products.


Brocade:
Woven fabric with a raised floral or figured pattern emphasized by contrasting surfaces or colors. Often made with gold or silver threads. Examples of this ribbon type are Chevette and Maggie.


Chiffon:
A lightweight, sheer, soft, fabric made of silk or man-made fibers in a plain (non-patterned) weave. Examples of this ribbon type are Lady Chiffon and Simply Sheer Asiana.


Cut-Edge Ribbon:
A ribbon that is slit to width from a broad fabric. The ribbon goes through a stiffening process, which enables the ribbon to hold a bow. The cutting process can be either slit with heat that fuses the edges (such as acetate) or a cold cutting process used to cut products such as our Veltex. Examples of this ribbon type are Velvette and Tux.


Damask:
A woven fabric with elaborate floral or geometric pattern. The pattern is distinguishable from the background by contrasting luster and is reversible. An example of this ribbon type is our Wired Edge Moonbeam.


Dobby:
A type of loom capable of weaving simple and mildly intricate designs. Most of our ribbons (satins, grosgrains, sheers and stripes) are woven on dobby looms. Examples of this ribbon type are Tux and Grosgrain.


Extruded Ribbon:
Ribbon that is formed by forcing hot molten plastic through a flat die that creates large thin sheet. These thin sheets are slit into narrower ribbon widths on a slitting machine. Examples of this ribbon type are Flora-Satin® and Curling Ribbon


Fancy:
Any ribbon that is woven with some type of design or motif in the ribbon. In ribbon terminology, also a term used to describe patterns other than everyday basic plain ribbons. Examples of this ribbon type are Classic Tartan and Veronica.


Feather Edge:
A double face satin with fine loops or feathers along the edges of the ribbon (sometimes referred to as picot-edge by the floral trade). Examples of this ribbon type are Feather-Edge Double Face Satin or Picot.


French Wire:
A ribbon with fine wire woven directly into the edges of the fabric. Also referred to as Wire-Edge Ribbon. Examples of this ribbon type are Wired Revogue and Wired Gelato.


Gingham:
A fabric woven of dyed yarns that create a block or check effect. Examples of this ribbon type are Wired Jelly and Wired Breeze.


Grosgrain:
Pronounced gro-grain; a ribbon which has a ribbed texture and appearance across the width of the ribbon. Examples of this ribbon are Gino and Glitter Grosgrain.


Heat Transfer Printing:
A method of printing polyester ribbon in which a design is printed onto paper and is transferred by heat and pressure onto the ribbon. Also called sublistatic printing, it is great for long runs and intricate designs. Examples of this ribbon type are Wired Nevermore and Panorama.


Hot Stamp:
A process of printing in which a dry foil ink is pressed onto the ribbon with heat and pressure. This is economical for short runs and simple designs. Examples of this product type are Metallic Scroll and Wired Antique Key.


Jacquards:
A type of loom that can produce very intricate designs. Examples of this ribbon type are Chevette and Maggie.


Kegs:
Small barrel shaped balls of narrow polypropylene ribbon that are wound without a spool or card so that they are hollow inside. Predominantly used only in the retail trade.


Lacquer Dots:
A heavy lacquer applied to the surface of our ribbon giving it a 3-dimensional look. It can only be made in white due to the OSHA and EPA regulations on lacquer. Examples of this ribbon type are Grosgrain Polka Dots and Wired Polka Dots.


Lame:
A fabric woven with flat metallic threads of the tinsel variety. An example of this ribbon type is Wired Metalique.


Merrowed:
Wire or monofilament yarn that is encased along the cut-edge of a slit ribbon with matching or contrasting thread.Examples of this ribbon type are Wired Noble and Wired Bell Ringer.


Metallic:
A ribbon that contains a Lurex yarn, reflective film or ink as in Glitter and Metallic Tone ribbons. Metallics are very hot and becoming more so. Examples of this ribbon type are Wired Firefly and Wired Galena.


Mini-Jac:
A type of loom capable of producing intricate designs in narrow widths. It is a cross between a dobby and jacquard loom.


Moire:
A ribbon that has been mechanically finished to give a bright/dim watermarked appearance.


Nylon:
A man-made fiber used in ribbons and webbings. Nylon used in ribbons has great shine and is not as stiff as polyester. It has a market perception as being a lower grade ribbon. It is mainly used in the lingerie trade because of its softness. Examples of this ribbon type are Tulle and Simply Sheer Asiana.


Organdy:
Thin rather fine semi-transparent ribbon. Considered “sheers”. Examples of this ribbon type are Wired Encore and Lady Chiffon.


Picot-Edge:
A ribbon with a corded looped edge. Examples of this ribbon type are Feather-Edge Double Face Satin or Picot.


Plaids:
A ribbon with multiple warp and filling colors. Plaids must be woven on a special plaid loom, which can insert multiple filling colors. Examples of this ribbon type are Dublin and Wired HollyGold.


Polyester:
A type of fiber that is used in almost all of our ribbons. It is the best quality ribbon. It has great colorfastness, will not shrink and is durable. Examples of this ribbon type are Double-Face Satin and Wired Revogue.


Polypropylene:
A type of polymer (plastic) that is converted into ribbon. It comes in the form of small round pellets and is melted together to form ribbon through the extrusion process. Polypropylene is used in the making of Berwick’s popular Splendorette® and Flora-Satin® ribbons. Another example of this ribbon type is Tru-Life Leaves.


Satin:
A ribbon, which has a smooth shiny appearance. In narrow ribbons, satin ribbon can be single faced or double faced (shiny on both sides). The backside of the single face satin is usually referred to as the taffeta side. The term “satin” is actually a type of weave of which the end result gives us the shiny appearance on one side and “flat” appearance on the other. Examples of this ribbon type are Single-Face Satin, Double-Face Satin and Sea Maid.


Screen Printing:
A continuous process of printing in which wet ink is applied to the ribbon through a screen. Examples of this ribbon type are Anchor and Chevron Grosgrain.


Sheer:
A fancy ribbon, which has areas of monofilament yarn (like fishing line), giving a sheer appearance. Sheers can be woven to width and have a plain edge, monofilament edge or wired edge. Examples of this ribbon type are Simply Sheer Asiana and Wired Encore.


Sonic Welding:
The process of joining two pieces of plastic or synthetic fabric ribbon together using pressure and sonic vibration. Examples of this ribbon type are SP Velv and SP Plush.


Taffeta:
A lightweight, plain weave ribbon with a fine, smooth, crisp hand. Examples of this ribbon type are Wired Bistro and Wired Gelato.


Tapestry:
A colorful, heavy, hand-woven or machine-made patterned or pictorial cloth. An example of this ribbon type is Wired Jos.


Tulle:
A fine machine-made net with hexagonal mesh. Most often, it is made from nylon. Examples of this ribbon type are Tulle and Sparkle Tulle.


Twill Tape:
A lightweight tape woven with diagonal lines. An example of Twill Tape is Holiday.


Flocked Velvet:
A piled fabric ribbon. In narrow ribbon, velvet is woven with the pile and is very slow to produce. This product is mostly used for apparel or indoor usage. In our Berwick line, we offer an outdoor velvet ribbon (referred to as “Veltex”), which is a polypropylene substrate with acrylic fibers (flocking) applied to one side, which results in a velvet look and feel. This is only sold throughout the Christmas holiday season. Examples of this ribbon type are Embassy and Veltex.


Woven-Edge Ribbon:
A ribbon that is woven to the width of the ribbon. A woven-edge ribbon has finished selvages, which will not unravel. Examples of this ribbon type are Double-Face Satin and Garbo.