How to Choose Home Textiles: a dictionary

It can be baffling to come across words or phrases that are unfamiliar when you are choosing home textiles. We thought we’d help out by creating a little dictionary of commonly used but maybe not well-known words, so you can make the right decision about what you’re buying.

At LinenMe we try to make all our product descriptions as clear and accessible as possible, but you may still come across a word that you don’t know the meaning of. Don’t let technical lingo put you off. Instead, use our handy dictionary to help you find just what you need.

So, if you don’t know your pintuck from your doona, read on.

dictionary of home textiles

Words describing bedlinen

  • Fitted sheet: a sheet with elasticated corners that covers the mattress, or mattress protector
  • Flat sheet: another kind of bottom sheet, but without fitted corners
  • Comforter/ doona/ duvet: these are regional terms describing the same thing – the padded cover or quilt that goes on top of us while we sleep, usually covered with a duvet cover

Bed sizes

  • King size: the largest bed size, UK standard dimensions 152 x 198 cm    /    60″ x 78″    /    5′ x 6’6″; US dimensions 76″ x 80″
  • California king: US measurement 72″ x 84″, not widely used elsewhere
  • Queen size: the second largest size, UK standard dimensions 183 x 198 cm    /    71″ x 78″    /    6′ x 6’6″; US dimensions 60″ x 80″
  • Standard double/ Full XL: UK dimensions  137 x 190 cm    /    54″ x 75″    /    4’6″ x 6’3; US dimensions 53″x 80
  • Small double bed/ Full: UK dimensions 122 x 190 cm    /    48″ x 75″    /    4′ x 6’3″; US dimensions 53″ x 75″
  • Standard single bed/ Twin XL: UK dimensions 91 x 190 cm    /    36″ x 75″    /    3′ x 6’3″; US dimensions 38″ x 80″
  • Small single bed/ Twin: UK dimensions 76 x 190 cm    /    30″ x  75″    /    2’6″ x 6’3″; US dimensions 38″ x 75″
  • Top sheet: this goes underneath the duvet cover and above the person, often to protect the duvet or quilt, or for extra warmth and is folded over the duvet at the top
  • Openings: duvet covers will have zip, button or popper fastenings, or may be left open and folded down under the end of the bed
  • Housewife pillowcase: these have a small flap at the opening to tuck in the pillow securely
  • Oxford pillowcase: a pillowcase with a border of extra fabric around the edge, usually around 5cm deep

Words describing kitchen and table linens

linen apron - home textiles

  • Chef’s apron: a long-length apron that starts at the waist, usually with large pockets and a tie fastening
  • Bib apron: full length, over-head straps, covers chest and down to knees
  • Cafe apron: shorter length, starts at the waist, tie fastening
  • Back cross apron (pinafore) : worn over the head, has crossover straps at the back, gives lots of protection and coverage
  • Placemat: goes under the plate, protecting the table and forming part of the table decoration
  • Table runner: a narrow cloth that runs down the length of the table but doesn’t reach the edges
  • Tablecloth: standard sizes may not fit your table (especially if it’s circular) so look for bespoke tablecloths and napkins if needed

Words describing clothing

  • Button-up shirt: this refers to a shirt with buttons all the way up the front
  • Button-down shirt: this refers to the two small buttons on the collar that keep it pinned down
  • Tunic: a straight, loose-fitting garment of varying length, often worn over trousers or leggings but can be worn alone
  • Pintuck: fabric with delicate folds or tucks
  • Scooped/rounded hem: a shape that curves up at the sides to create a flattering silhouette
  • Asymmetric hem: the bottom hems on the front and back of a garment are of differing heights, and sometimes cut on an angle
  • Melange weave: a combination of two or more fibres in one fabric
  • A-Line: a skirt or dress that narrows at the top and is wider at the hem
  • Patch pocket: a pocket formed from a piece of fabric and sewn to the outside of a garment
  • Welt pocket: the opening is cut into the fabric, rather than having a pocket stuck onto the outside
  • Grandad/mandarin collar: a short, unfolded collar that stands 2-5 cm above the neckline

Words describing bathroom linens and towels

bathroom linens meanings - home textiles

  • Huckaback linen towels: huckaback refers to the type of weave used to produce highly absorbent linen fabric
  • Waffle towels: made using a flat weave that forms a distinctive honeycomb pattern in the fabric

Do you know of any other confusing terms describing home textiles we’ve missed? Let us know and we’ll add them to our list!