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Glossary of frequently-used textile, manufacturing, development, production, and commercial shipping terms in the apparel industry.



(Cost and Freight… port of destination) The seller pays the costs and freight of the goods to the port of destination, with the risk of loss of or damage to the goods, as well as additional costs occurring after the time the goods are delivered on board the vessel. Responsibility is transferred from the seller to the buyer when the goods pass the ship’s rail in the port of shipment. The seller usually chooses the forwarder.


(Cost and Insurance… port of destination) Shipping term included in a Contract of Sale where the seller agrees to arrange and pay for transportation and cargo insurance over the goods to the named destination. Such costs are included in the price of the goods. The buyer is responsible for the cost of the ocean freight and arranging the transportation from the port of discharge.

Cancel Date

The Cancel Date on the Purchase Order (PO). The last accepted day to ship. Commonly referred to as the Past Cancel Date.

Care Instructions

A series of directions describing which care practices should refurbish a product without adverse effects, and warning of those care practices expected to have a harmful effect. Covers washing, drying, pressing and dry-cleaning.

Cargo Claims

Claims written against a carrier for recoupment of merchandise cost and freight charges as a result of damage or shortage of goods delivered or non-delivery.

Carrier Liability

A contract carrier is liable for all loss, damage and delay with the exception of Act of God, Act of Public Enemy, Act of Public Authority, Act of the Shipper and the inherent nature of the goods.


A corrugated packaging type not usually to exceed 36” x 24” x 24” or 50 lbs.


(Cubic Meter) International measurement (metric) used in freight and warehousing.

Certificate of Origin

(CO) A document that certifies a specific country as the origin of specific goods. The U.S. and certain other countries require this certificate for tariff purposes.


(Cost, Insurance and Freight…port of destination) The seller has the same obligations as under C&F, but must also pay for marine insurance against loss or damage to the goods during transport. The seller pays for the insurance but only is required to obtain minimum coverage. Again, the seller usually chooses the freight forwarder. Delivery is made at the port of destination.

Circular Knitting

Machine knitting with a circular knitting bed. Each stitch is controlled by a separate knitting needle or sets of needles (called cylinders and dials). The knitted “fabric” comes out of the machine as a knitted tube that can be cut open and finished flat or left in tubular form. Circular knitting machines are very productive and can be set up fairly quickly. Many circular machines now interface with computers and can knit elaborate jacquard or fancy stitch patterns. Circular machines cannot fashion individual panels to size or shape or create true “cable” effects. Circular knits are usually cut-and-sewn.



A deduction processed against a vendor’s account for merchandise returns, shortages, cost differences, markdowns, advertising co-op, rebates, etc.


(Cut, Make and Trim) A preliminary cost factor where a contractor provides services for cutting out the fabric and other components, assembling the parts and finishing the garment, including pressing, trimmings and labels.


See: Certificate of Origin


Freight invoice payment terms; charges are billed to the recipient.

Color Approval

A customer’s approval or rejection of lab dips or print strike-offs along with necessary comments for correction. These specific comments usually indicate errors in hue, value (lightness/darkness) and chroma (saturation/intensity).

Color Change

An undesirable change of color, whether in lightness, hue, or chroma, or any combination of these, and discernible by comparing the test specimen with a corresponding untested specimen.

Color Combo, Colorway, Color Pitch

All indicate distinct color combinations for a textile design or pattern, whether stripes, plaids, prints or multicolor jacquards. To “pitch colors” means to devise various new color combinations for a design based on the original color combination in the swatch or artwork.


A material’s resistance to change in any of its color characteristics, to transfer its colorant(s) to adjacent materials, or both, as a result of exposure to any environment that might be encountered during the processing, testing, storage, or use of the material.

Colorfastness to Light (Light Fastness)

The resistance of a material to a change in its color characteristics as a result of exposure to sunlight or an artificial light source.

Commercial Invoice

A document that generally contains the name and address of the seller and buyer, date of the sale, a description of the goods, quantity, unit price, terms of sale, amount due under the Letter of Credit and type of currency.

Commercial Laundering

A process by which textile products or specimens may be washed, rinsed, bleached, dried, and pressed in commercial laundering equipment, typically at higher temperatures, higher PHs and longer times than used for home laundering.


The receiver of a freight shipment, usually the purchaser or buyer.


The exporter that delivers the merchandise; also referred to as the shipper on a Bill of Lading.

Consolidation of Shipment

A requirement by the recipient that all purchase orders going to the same DC (Distribution Center) on the same day must be consolidated onto one Bill of Lading or sub-bill, depending on which carrier is being used.


Assembles the interliner or LTL (Less than Truckload) shipments, organizes the freight by DC and purchase order, manifests shipments by DC and transmits to each DC to pre-alert them of the merchandise and delivery date. Releases freight by assembly to the DC.

Construction (Fabric)

The specific base construction of a fabric: knit, woven, or non-woven. The type of structure within a category: Knits - Warp knit, weft knit, raschel; Wovens - Twill, poplin, satin, and jacquard. Also represented as a formula in wovens indicating the yarn sizes (yarn counts) in the warp and weft and the number of threads per inch in both.


The percentage breakdown of the fiber contents in the primary fabric (e.g. 60% Cotton/40% Polyester). This will affect duty rates on imported fabrics or garments.

Contract Carrier

A for-hire carrier that does not serve the general public, but serves shippers or consignees with whom the carrier has a continuing contract.


An individual or company that contracts to supply certain materials, work or a package of production for an agreed-upon sum and time frame.


A company that takes greige (grey) goods and uses one or more processes to finish the textile, such as: dyeing, printing, brushing, shrinking, bonding, etc.

Cost and Freight

See: C&F

Cost and Insurance

See: C&I

Cost, Insurance and Freight

See: CIF

Counter Sample

Pre-production samples sent from a vendor for purposes such as fitting, comments on execution or interpretation of a design or model. Samples sent for approval or confirmation.

Country of Origin

The country where garments or other items are manufactured or assembled. This must appear on the garment label.

Couture (Haute Couture)

The highest level of sewing and dressmaking techniques. Traditionally, custom-made clothing, largely made by hand. From the French.

Cover Stitch

A topstitched seam finish; raw edges are enclosed in covering threads on one or both surfaces. The appearance varies depending on the number of threads and type of stitch used.


The transfer of colorant from the surface of a colored yarn or fabric to another surface or to an adjacent area of the same fabric principally by rubbing.

Cross Dye (Union Dye)

Dyeing a textile that is composed of 2 or more types of fiber with special dyestuffs that will be accepted by only one of the fibers respectively. This can be done to produce iridescent effects, heathers or the appearance of “yarn dye” looks, like gingham plaids and oxford weaves.

Union dye uses the appropriate dye chemicals to dye all the different fibers within fabric the same color.

Cubic Feet

Length x width x height of the carton. Cubic measurement is required to provide for overshipments.

Customer’s Owned Goods

Merchandise or material that has been sold to a customer. Customer’s Owned Goods can also be a Repair Claim sent back to the contractor for repair.

Cuttable Width

The usable width of a fabric, excluding selvages or where textures and finishes do not cover the full width of the fabric. This is important in the figuration of the yield.


Usually refers to a factory or contractor that specializes in cutting and sewing knitted fabrics and knitted trims. These knit fabrics are in the form of yardage, rather than fully-fashioned panels. A cut-and-sew operation requires special attention in layout and cutting of the fabrics, as well as special sewing equipment for construction and finishing, owing to the fabric’s stretch or elastic characteristics.

Cutter’s Must

A production document that lists important information for laying out and cutting a garment. Listed items include: sewing and construction information; all pattern pieces for fabric, linings and components; key measurements; and yields for all fabrics and trims.

Cutting Ticket

A document like a Work Order used by a contractor or manufacturer to set up production details for a particular order, including customer, style number, fabric and trim information, quantities, etc.




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