TIM / Info on Hosiery / Hosiery Terms

Hosiery Terms

Registered Name given to a Pretty Polly patented technique of incorporating Lycra into hosiery to give improved fit combined with excellent tights, stockings, hosiery appearance. An acronym for All Course Elastane In.

A generic term for a type of man-made fibre most similar to natural fibres with characteristics of softness and warmth.

System recently devised for combining elastane and textured nylon yarns to provide a type of covered yarn. The component yarns are mingled together by a jet of compressed air. The process is faster than traditional covering.

Term used to describe gusset inserted by semi automated equipment of the same name. Essentially an oval shaped gusset, usually made from nylon or cotton, and in some instances silk.

Fabric panel sewn into the body section of the tights / pantyhose to increase their size and improve fit and comfort. Made from same the same material as the body and includes the waistband.


Term relating to design of tights body section which is shaped to follow the briefline and give a more flattering appearance.

Process applied to hosiery to improve final presentation. Usually carried out after dyeing when tights are pulled over plastic forms (originally made of wood) and subject to pressure and steam. Temperatures achievedis sufficient to affect the thermoplastic nature of the yarn used and set the shape of the former into the garment.

When applied to a knee high this is a form of elastication designed to spread the elastic over a deeper portion of the leg and avoid discomfort and excessive marking of the leg.

The number assigned to compression tights / pantyhose, stockings and socks to indicate it comprehensive strength at the ankle. It is actually a value in millimetres of mercury (the blood pressure unit) measured on a H.A.T.R.A. pressure tester. The lower the number the lighter the compression.

Tights / pantyhose produced with body section containing sufficient Lycra to provide comprehensive control. Body section is opaque in appearance.

Material sometimes used in the gusset of tights. Although often called cotton the fabric invariably has a cotton face on a nylon ground. Hence cotton surface is in contact with the body, while the nylon takes up dye to provide uniform external appearance.

Description sometimes given to long line control brief pantyhose.

It is defined as the weight in grams of 9000 meters of yarn. It relates to the fineness of the yarn which in turn relates to the sheerness of the fabric produced. The finer the yarn the lower the denier, the sheerer the hosiery. eg: 10 Denier is sheerer that 15 denier.

Certain yarns and some knit constructions produce tights, stockings, hosiery which does not correlate with true denier of the yarn(s). In these cases the word appearance is often used. The rating therefore becomes a subjective assessment.

Diamond shaped piece of fabric sewn into the crotch on tights.

The legal declaration of the composition of the garment. Basic pantyhose in nylon yarns are described as 100% nylon excluding waistband. This is because elastan used in the waistband is classed as trimming and is not representative of the total garment construction and therefore does not need to be declared.

A reinforced area below the waistband (often on sheer through styles) of pantyhose, designed to confer added strength in the area likely to be stressed during the fitting process. The band reduces the chance of the wearer's fingers damaging the hosiery during fitting.

An open net design structure.

A prime requirement for correctly made support (or compression) stockings, tights / pantyhose and socks is that the level of compression varies along the length of the leg. The maximum value is that the ankle with a progressive reduction through calf to thigh. This is of medical importance in promoting blood flow back to the heart.

Piece of fabric sewn into the body section of the tights to improve the levels of fit, comfort and durability. Related: DIAMOND GUSSET

Self supporting stockings. Originally defined by Pretty Polly and never registered, it is now regarded as the generic name for stockings with an elasticated band that stay up without the use of a suspender or garter belt.

Defined as knitted covering for the feet and legs. A general term covering tights, pantyhose, stockings and socks.

A type of gusset sewn into the body section of the pantyhose to give greater extensibility to fit the larger hip sizes.

A failure in the knitted fabric construction. A broken yarn or mis-formed stitch causes the loop to collapse into straight lengths of yarn running in a vertical line up and or down the garment.

Lycra is Du Pont's registered trade mark for elastane fibre. It is a man-made fibre that can be produced in a range of deniers and different types. The chief characteristic of Lycra is it's ability to stretch and recover totally. By controlling the tension of the Lycra in knitting, the strength of it's elasticity can be controlled. Lycra can be used in it's BARE form (no covering). This is the most economical, but is not suited to all applications. Alternatively, Lycra can be covered. Single Covered or Double Covered. Covering increases thickness and changes the handle characteristics of the yarn. It also adds to the yarns durability and costs. It is also possible to mix Nylon and Lycra together by air jet, as an alternative to covering, these are know as air intermingled yarns and are widely used in support stockings, tights / pantyhose and socks. Wearers will experience the exceptional comfort of Lycra 3D hosiery and the clear, even colour coverage of the legwear. The difference is apparent the moment the product is taken out of the pack - but with a unique softness and silkiness.

Lycra containing yarns are incorporated into hosiery in a variety of ways:


A yarn made up from large numbers of the fine filaments to produce exceptionally soft characteristics.

Type of knit construction incorporating tuck stitches usually in diagonal configuration to give improved durability characteristics.

Nylon is a ployamide yarn. It is a fibre whose basic ingredients originate from the petrol chemical industry. Nylon is naturally bright but can also be delustred to give a duller appearance, either Semi Dull or Fully Dull. It can also be produced in differing cross-sections which give different handles and appearances.

Tights knitted as a complete garment to eliminate or reduce the seaming process required using traditional methods

Garment made from higher denier yarns to give opacity

A weft knitted fabric in which all the loops are intermeshed in one direction. It is often referred to as smooth knit because of the uniform surface of this fabric.

The chemical name given to a class of man made fibres. An alternative name for Nylon.

The term used to describe sections of a garment that have been strengthened to provide additional durability.

A process in the manufacturing sequence that improves the presentation of the finished product. The dye garment is processed on semi automated equipment in which the garment is pulled over a former and subjected to heat. This removes creasing and makes the hosiery more suitable for packaging.

A description given to hosiery styles which have evolved into position between sheer and opaque styles. The denier appearance range 30 - 45 equates to this category.

Sheer tow ideal for wearing with open toe shoes.

A description given to a type of reinforcement to the fabric at the toe. It offers a less severe difference in fabric density to the full reinforced tow, but still offers some durability in this high stress area.

Surface appearance demonstrating a slight lustre or indescence.

A widely used commonly used as a hosiery descriptive

The tradename of the bicomponent yarn produced by Kanebo in Japan used in Sheer Light Style.

Modern hold ups have an elastic band sewn to the top which has silicone on its inner surface. The stocking stays in position by a combination of elasticity (in the band) and the friction of the silicone against the skin. The performance of the silicone is ruined by contact with the body lotion or talc which reduces the friction and allows the garment to fall down.

Tradename for a range of nylon yarns. The essential characteristic is softness of handle created by their low denier per filament make up.

A stage in the processing of certain nylon yarns. The raw nylon yarn is subjected to a combined process of twisting and heating to create a yarn with greater bulk and properties of stretch and recovery. The texturising process converts a flat filament, to a textured yarn with high bulk. Basic nylon styles such as 15 denier smooth knit etc, are made with extruded textured yarns.

Occurs when a hosiery fabric comes into contact with a rough object or surface. Either individual filaments in the yarn or in serve case the whole yarn can be pulled away from the surface of the knitted fabric.

A term applied to a type of nylon yarn which has been through processing to introduce a high level of twist. This creates a yarn with some recovery but without bulk associated with texturised yarns. The fabrics made from Torque yarns have excellent sheerness for a given denier and bright surface appearance. However the overall cling properties in wear are limited and multiple sizes are needed to get a good fit.

A description given to the simplest possible body seam to produce a pair of tights. The letter U simply describes the shape of the seam.

UNDER WELT / Secondary Welt
The band of fabric sometimes knitted beneath the double fabric of the stocking top is called the under welt. Can also be introduced as a decorative feature especially if printed.

Word adopted by the knitting industry from the weaving industry. Related: Torque

As a term specific to stockings it describes the double thickness at the stocking top used to take the suspender button/clasp.

Term originating from Japanese hosiery industry, where it describes a hosiery style made with covered elastane on every course.


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