Workwear Terms Glossary

There are dozens of terms in relation to workwear and it can be quite easy to get confused, but fear not, we have put together a handy glossary full of definitions to help educate you on our products and services.

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Back Pleats

A fold that doubles fabric back on itself, stitched and secured in place to narrow the circumfrence of the garment back.

Back Yoke

A piece of fabric that connects the back of a garment to the area across the back shoulders.


Baselayers are items of clothing that are typically worn underneath other garments, such as t-shirts and vests.

Basket Weave Knit

This is the process of weaving threads back and forth to create a two-tone appearance.


When a garment is branded, it is printed or embroidered with your logo or messsaging.


Lightweight material that allows body heat and perspiration to escape, but also keeps water and the elements out at the same time.

Brushed Cotton

Soft, smooth cotton fabric that has been brushed to remove all the excess lint and fibres.


An acronym of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key. The colours that are used in the printing process.


The general term used to describe a garment’s suitability to regulation and law.


Two needles overlap to create parallel stitched rows. This finish is clean and durable, and it often used on the neck, waist and and wrists of garments.


DTG Printing

Direct to garment printing, whereby ink is sprayed directly onto the garment itself.


A phrase that is used to describe when trims, such as buttons and zips, are dyed to match the colour of the garment.


A durable fabric which is highly resistant to wear and tear. Easy to wash and doesn’t crease easily meaning minimal ironing is required.


The fabric contains properties which help to hold its shape and minimises creasing.


A garment customisation process in which a logo can be applied to a product via high technology stitching.

EN ISO 20471

High-Visibility Clothing Standard, the international standard for the safety requirements and tests of hi-vis workwear used to certify the suitability and durability of retro-reflective materials.

Enzyme Washed

An eco-friendly laundering process used to soften and finish fabric, with the use of biodegradable enzymes.


Small holes made in a garment to increase the breathability of the fabric. Usually protected by a ring of metal around the edge to reinforce it.


A synthetic insulating fabric which insulates warmth whilst allowing moisture to evaporate. Can be the main composition of a fleece garment, or be added to the inside of a sweatshirt or hoodie.

Full Cut

A garment with a loose fit.



An item of clothing.

Garment Dyed

Identifies when a garment has been produced, and then dyed afterwards.

Garment Washed

The process where softeners are added to a garment during washing. This helps the fibres to relax, resulting in reduced shrinking and a softer touch.

Global Recycle Standard

An international product standad that applies to companies making products with recycled content. The standard applies to the full supply chain and is used to track and verify the content of recycled materials in a finished product.


The Global Organic Textile Standard is an internationally recognised textile standard. It ensures the environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing of all textiles made with at least 70% certified organic natural fibres.


Hi-visibility clothing, or hi-vis, relates to items of clothing that are highly luminescent. They are worn to draw attention to the user and protect them from hazardous situations in the workplace.

Jersey Knit

A lightweight, soft and stretchy jersey knit fabric which is smooth outside and texturised on the inside.

Lead Time

The time between the initial order of the garment and the completion of the entire customisation and quality control proces.

Logo Complexity

The amount of intricacy or detail involved in a logo which must be considered when branding a garment.

Logo Positioning

The position on the garment that your logo will be placed upon. Typical places include the chest, sleeves and back.

Logo Size

The specified size that your logo will be applied to a garment at. Sizes can range depending upon the garment purpose and design.


Man Packing

Our process of creating preprepared uniform kits for employees, featuring all of the key pieces for the workforce to use.


Mesh is a sythetic material that is lightweight and breathable, and is often used for the inner-lining of softshell jackets.

Micro Fleece

Some fleeces are made from micro fleece material, which is has a high capacity for warmth without the weighing too much at all. It is a dense material made from micro-fibres, packing more material into a smaller area.

Micro Twill

A type of fabric with a patter of digonal parallel ribs, often used in premium garments.

Minimum order quantity

The minimum quantity that you must order of any particular garment.


Materials that are naturally and ethically produced.


When garments are put through additional dye colour to create stronger colours, or unique combinations.


A classic knit for polo shirt material, creating a soft touch and better durability.


The part of a shirt or jacket where the garment fastens or zips together.


Outerwear garments are often poly-filled in the body and sleeves for better thermal qualities.


A synthetic, durable fibre that is often used in active wear. It is breathable and moisture wicking, making it the perfect material of choice for sports.


PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment. It covers clothing and equipment that can be used to protect the user against health and safety risks at work.


This term refers to a manufacturing process whereby the fabric is compressed before a garment is sewn from it. The fabric decompresses during washing, compensating for any natural shrinkage.


Quality Check

After garments are produced and branded, they will go through a series of quality checks to ensure they are fit for purpose.


A quotation tells you the cost based on your enquiry for branded workwear.

Raglan Sleeves

Sleeves that continue right up to the collar forming a diagonal seam from the underarm to the collar. Popular in sportswear due to greater mobility.

Rib Knit

A popular knit for close fitting garments, rib knitting creates vertical lines and an elastic material that fits well to the body.

Rib Neck

A rib knit applied to the collar or cuffs of a garment. The vertical lines and elastic nature makes it ideal for pulling over ones head but returning to its original shape.

Screen Printing

A specialist process of applying an image to an item or garment by adding different layers of ink one by one through a set of stencils, to create a textured and multi coloured image.


The method by which we transfer your goods to you, whether it be by post, courier or other means.

SPM (Stitch per Minute)

The number of individual stiches a sewing or embroidery machine is able to create at full speed within one minute. This can be the deciding factor in how long an order can take to complete.

Stitch Count

The number of embroidery stiches used to create a logo or design.


Products held by Essential Workwear. If we have the garment you need then we will refer to it as “in stock”.

Storm Flap

A piece of fabric located either over or under the closure of a jacket that protects the wearer from adverse weather conditions.


Taped Seams

A seam that has been reinforced with a thermoplastic tape under pressure and heat. This tape seals the hundreds of tiny needle holes in garments, and so is usually used inside waterproof jackets or trousers.

Thread Type

Just like there are many different fabrics, there are many different threads. Part of making a good quality garment is using the right threads to hold it together.

Transfer Printing

A method using specialist paper as a medium of printing a design, and then using heat to transfer the ink to a garment.


One of the 3 fundamental weaving patterns, recognisable by its diagonal weaves that creates a soft and strong finish. This is a popular weave for clothing.

Twin Needle Stitching

2 rows of stitiching normally found at the hem of a garment that gives strength to it.

Water Based Ink

Any ink that has water as its primary solvent (meaning it can be washed off or remved with water).


The action of a fabric actively pulling moisture from the surface below and expelling it into the air. This is a very popular fabric in sportswear.


Any clothing that consists as part of a uniform, either hard wearing for the outdoors, or crisp and smart for an office environment.