Textile Glossary

Textiles and fabrics
Clothing and accessories
Quilts
Embroidery, sewing equipment, knits
Household and utiliarian textiles
Textile processing equipment

A component of the 2011 cataloging project entitled The Pennsylvania German Textiles of the Goschenhoppen Historians, Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center and the Mennonite Heritage Center was to help preserve and publicize the Pennsylvania German culture.  This glossary is to not only serve as a research tool, but to also draw attention to the Pennsylvania German terminology for textile related articles.  It should be noted that Pennsylvania German is a dialect language, and there will be variations of spellings and usages depending on the location.  The goal of this glossary is to provide the most commonly used spelling and lexicon for the Bucks, Lehigh and Montgomery County region of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Note: The abbreviation (pp) references the past tense (past participle) form of the verb.

Click on these acronyms following a term to see examples:
MHC = examples in Mennonite Heritage Center collection
SLHC = examples in Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center collection
GH = examples in Goschenhoppen Historians collection

a

Textiles and fabrics

  • All wool cloth gans Willen Duch
  • Boon – Brechaagel
  • Broadcloth – fein Breit TuchMHCSLHCGH
  • Broken twill weave – Gebrochene hin un wieder
  • Calamanaco – Calamink
  • Calico – GaduhSLHCGH
  • Cambric – CammertuchSLHC
  • Canvas – KannvasSLHC
  • Checked Kelsch, dobbelschteenichMHCSLHCGH
  • Coarse tow grob Werken
  • Coarse tow cloth – grob Wercke Duch
  • Coarse tow stripe – grob Werken Streffen
  • Cotton – BaawollMHCSLHCGH
  • Cotton flannel – BaumwolligerMHCSLHCGH
  • Cotton stripe – Bauwollen streffeSLHCGH
  • Crepe – KrebbendelMHCSLHCGH
  • Dimity – feiner BarchetSLHCGH
  • Fine tow – fein Wercken, Feinwerken
  • Fine tow cloth – Feinwercken Duch
  • Flax – Flachs
  • Fringe – FrantzelMHCSLHCGH
  • Fustian – Berchant, Barchet
  • Half hemp – halb Henffen
  • Half tow cloth – halb Wercken Tuch, halb Wercken Duch, halb Werken
  • Half wool – halb Willen
  • Hemp cloth – Henffen Tuch
  • Hemp with linen in one direction and hemp in the other – Flecks Henfe
  • Lawn – SchleyerMHCSLHCGH
  • Leather – LedderMHCSLHCGH
  • Linen – Leine, Fleksa, FlecksesMHCSLHCGH
  • Linen cloth – Leinwand
  • Linsey-woolsey – halb Leine, halb Flecksen, halblein, halb LeinnenMHC
  • Linsey-woolsey striped – halb Leinen Strefen, halb Lein Stiebben 
  • Mohair – Camel-harrMHCSLHCGH
  • Muslin Moslin, NesseltuchMHCSLHCGH
  • Plaid or Check – dobbelstein, dobbelstee, doppelstein, dobbelsteinMHCSLHCGH
  • Plaid linen – dobelstein FlecksenMHCSLHCGH
  • Plaid tow – dobelstein Werken
  • Plain or single weave  – einfachMHCSLHCGH
  • Ribbon / tape  Bendel, Band, BändelMHCSLHCGH
  • Sheepskin – Schaf haut, Schofhaut
  • Serge – ScharsyMHCSLHCGH
  • Silk – SeideMHCSLHCGH
  • Spot weave – HockelbockMHCSLHC
  • Stripe – streffen, striefen, streben, streiben
  • Stripe cotton – streffen Bauwoll
  • Striped – streiffigtMHCSLHCGH
  • Small checked fabric – klein gewürffelte
  • Tow – Werken, Werckes, WarrickMHCSLHCGH
  • Tow (of the first heckling) – Bollwaerrick
  • Twill – ZwillichMHCSLHCGH
  • Warp – Zettel
  • Weft –  Eischlack
  • Wool – WollMHCSLHCGH
  • Woolen cloth – Woolen Duch, Wullen Duch, Wüllen Tuch
  • Worsted – wustertMHCSLHCGH

a

Clothing and accessories

  • Apron Schartz, Schurz, Schurze, SchortzMHCSLHCGH
  • Beaver hat KastorhutMHCSLHCGH
  • Bib – Schlawwerduch MHCSLHCGH
  • BonnetBannetMHCSLHCGH
  • Boots Stiefel, Stieffel, Stiffel, StifflenMHCSLHCGH
  • Breeches HosenMHCGH
  • Broadfall Hosselat MHCGH
  • Buckles – Schnalle, Schnallen
  • Calf leather shoes rinslederen Schuh
  • Camisole Kamisol, KamesolMHCGH
  • Cap Kap, Kappe, Haube, MützeMHCSLHCGH
  • Cap material Kaben Stoft
  • Child’s dress kinder Frack, kinner FrackMHCSLHCGH
  • Child’s shoes kinder SchuhSLHCGH
  • Coat RockMHCSLHCGH
  • Coif HaubeSLHC
  • Diaper   BildwerkMHCSLHC
  • Drawers unterHosenMHCSLHCGH
  • Dress FrackMHCSLHCGH
  • Felt hat filtz HutMHCSLHC
  • Frock coat FliggelrockMHCSLHCGH
  • Girdle – GürtleGH
  • Gloves Handschuh, HenschingMHCSLHCGH
  • Gown langer Rock, weiber RockMHCSLHC
  • Greatcoat grossen Rock, grosen RockSLHC
  • Handkerchief – Schnupftuch, Schnupftug, SchnubduchMHCSLHCGH
  • Hat felt hut filz
  • Hat – Hut, HuthMHCSLHCGH
  • Hooks HaftenMHCSLHCGH
  • Kerchief hals Duch, hals TuchMHCSLHCGH
  • Leather apron shurtz Fell, schurz Fell
  • Leather pants leder Hosen
  • Linen breeches leine Hossen
  • Linen shirt flachs HembdMHCSLHC
  • Lining – FutterMHCSLHCGH
  • Long pants langen Hossen, lange Hosen
  • Mantle / Cloak Mandel, MantelMHCGH
  • Men’s shirt manns Hembter, manns Hemd
  • Men’s shoes manns Schu
  • Mittens dobelte vaust Handschu, VauschthenschingMHCSLHCGH
  • Muff MuffeMHCSLHC
  • Neckerchief – HalsduchMHCSLHCGH
  • Nightgown schalf RockMHCSLHCGH
  • Overshoes Uberschuh
  • Pointed shoes spitzige Schuh
  • Petticoat UnnerrockMHCSLHC –  GH
  • Plaid breeches doppelsteinerne Hosen
  • Pocket – SackMHCSLHCGH
  • Pocketbookbackit BuchSLHC
  • Pumps BumbsGH
  • Riding coat reise Rock
  • Round toe shoes runde Schuh
  • Shirt / Shift Hemd, Hemb, Hembt, HemptMHCSLHCGH
  • Coverall – Camisade, Camisado SLHCGH
  • Shoe Schuh, Schuck, ShuMHCSLHCGH
  • Short gown schard Gaund, Schargaunt, ScharkauntSLHCGH
  • Short pants, breeches kurze HosenMHC
  • Skirt WeiwwerrockMHCSLHCGH
  • Slippers Schlibbers, schlibers
  • Small bonnet kleiner Bannet
  • Socks SockenMHCSLHCGH
  • Stays – SchnürbrustSLHCGH
  • Stocking Strümpf, Strimpf, StrimbMHC  – SLHCGH
  • Straw hat StrohuthMHCSLHC
  • Sunbonnet schdripp HutMHCSLHCGH
  • Trousers Traussers, lange HosseMHCGH
  • Vest / Waistcoat – West, Weste, brust Duch, brust Laben, Brusttug, brust TuchMHCSLHCGH
  • Woman’s cap – Mitzel
  • Woman’s jacket Leibel, Leiwel
  • Work coat wammes Rock

a

Quilts

  • Basket pattern quilt – kaerrab DeppichMHCSLHCGH
  • Border of quilt – GransMHCSLHCGH
  • Cradle quilt wiege DeppichSLHCGH
  • Embroidered quilt – ausgenehter DeppichMHCSLHCGH
  • Fabrics printed with design patterns to be embroidered – gschtaempter blacke fer ausnehe
  • Fan quilt pattern – faenne DeppichMHCSLHCGH
  • Fancy stitches on Crazy quilt – faensie SchtichMHCSLHCGH
  • Friendship quilt – Beddelman DeppichMHCSLHCGH
  • Iron on heat transfers for embroidery – abbiggele, abgebiggelt (pp)
  • Long quilting thread langer faadem, lang netli, e.g. “Mei faadem is so lang er reecht in die naekscht woch.” [“My thread is so long it reaches into next week.”], “Lang netli, faul metli.” [“Long thread, lazy girl.”]
  • Patched quilt block – Schgwaer, SchtannMHCSLHC
  • Patchwork quilt – blacke Gwild, gschtickelter DeppichSLHC
  • Quilt – Deppich, GwildMHCSLHCGH
  • Quilt backing – hinne wedder, unne wedder dich
  • Quilt frame – Qwild frame
  • Quilt frame clamp – Glamm, Glamme, Qwild schrauwe
  • Quilt frame stand – Bock, Gwilde bock, Gwild beck
  • Quilt patch / block – Blacke, BackeMHCSLHC
  • Quilt patches – Schticker
  • Quilt sash – Ausfilling
  • Quilt sashes – Schtrips
  • Quilting calico – schtickel Kaduh, gwild KaduhGH
  • Quilting party or gathering – Gwilding
  • Quilting pattern – Muschder
  • Quilting stitch – gwild Schtich
  • Rainbow quilt (four shades of four colors) regge bogge DeppichMHCSLHCGH
  • To air out quilts on the wash line or out the window – auslifde, lufte, geluft (pp), e.g.  “Die comforts sin geluft warre.” [“The quilts were aired out.”]
  • To appliqué – druf genehtMHCSLHCGH
  • To bind a quilt – iwwerschlagge, iwwergschlagge
  • To bind the quilt edge –  beinde, gebeind (pp)
  • To cut quilt patchesschneide, gschnidde (pp), e.g. “Ich hab gwild blacke gschnidde.” [“I cut quilt patches.”]
  • To finish the quilt edge by turning the bottom fabric up to sew it (foldover back to front) ruff same, ruff gsammt (pp)
  • To finish the quilt edge by turning the top fabric down and sewing it to the back (foldover top to back) – runner saaame, runner gsaamt (pp)
  • To knot a comforter – gnippe, gegnipd (pp)
  • To mark a quilt for quilting – abamerricke, abgemaerrickt (pp)
  • To recover a worn quilt sometimes as a quilt and at other times as a knotted comforter – iwwerziehe, iwwerzohe (pp)
  • To roll or turn (turning under of one or more ends or sides of the quilt towards the center of the quilt as quilting progresses in the quilt frame)  – Deppich drehe
  • To sew the quilt patches together – schtickle, gschtickelt (pp)
  • To thread a needle – eifeddle, eigefeddelt (pp)
  • To turn the quilt edge to an unquilted portion – drehe, gedreht (pp),  rolle, gerollt (pp) wickle, gewickelt (pp)
  • Wedding quilt – hochzich Deppich

a

Embroidery, sewing equipment, knits

  • Adam and Eve Adam un die EfaaMHCSLHC
  • Buttonhole stitch gnopplecher schtichMHCSLHCGH
  • Cotton yarn baumwollig garn
  • Crochet – heegle, gheggelt (pp)MHCSLHCGH
  • Cross-stitch – greitzstichMHCSLHCGH
  • Drawn work – gezogge aerwetMHCSLHCGH
  • Embroidery ausgeneet SachMHCSLHCGH
  • Feather stitch fedder SchtichMHCSLHCGH
  • Knit – Schtricke
  • Knitted – GschtricktMHCSLHCGH
  • Pin Schpell, Schpelle, Spelle, Stecknadel
  • Pincushion – SchpellekissiSLHCGH
  • Sampler NaameduchMHCSLHCGH
  • Scissors – Scheer
  • Sewing silk – Seyde, Seyden, Seide
  • Sewing thread Netz
  • Stitch – Schtich
  • Thimble Fingerhut
  • Thread in the needle Faadem
  • To sew fine stitches fei nehe, feigeneht (pp)  e.g. “Sie neht mir awennich zu fei.” [“She sews a little too fine for me.”]
  • To thread a needle eifeddle, eigefeddelt (pp)
  • Wool yarn – WollegarnMHCSLHC
  • Worsted yarn gekämt wollen-garn
  • Yarn – GarnMHCSLHC

a

Household and utilitarian textiles

  • Bed Case – BettziechMHCSLHC
  • Bed curtain – Umhang
  • Bed rope – Bettschtrick
  • Bolster – LangerpilwenMHCSLHCGH
  • Chaff bag – Schprausack
  • Coverlet – DeppigMHCSLHCGH
  • Feed bag – FudsersackMHCGH
  • Grain bag – FruchtsackMHCSLHCGH
  • Hand Towel – Handduch, HandtuchMHCSLHCGH
  • Market Wallet – ZwarricksackMHCSLHCGH
  • Pillow – Kissi, Koppekissi
  • Pillowcase – KoppeziechMHCSLHCGH
  • Sheet – LeinduchMHCSLHCGH
  • Tablecloth – DischduchMHCSLHCGH
  • Upper bed – Bettdeck

a

Textile processing equipment

  • Cut reel GodtshaschpelMHC
  • Flax brake – Flachsbrech
  • Flax heckel – Flachshechel
  • Flier hooks on a spinning wheel – Dred hocken
  • Loom  – Webschtuhl
  • Loom harness – Wewwergeschir
  • Loom shafts – Wewer scheften
  • Scutching board – Schwingschtock
  • Scutching knife  – Schwingmesser
  • Scutching wheel – Schwingraad, Schwingmiehl
  • Spinning wheel (for flax) – SchpinraadMHC
  • Spinning wheel flier – Fliegel
  • Spool rack for warping spools – Zeddelgarder
  • Spools  – Schpulen
  • Temple sticks – Schpanschtab
  • Warping mill – Zeddelraama
  • Wool wheel – Wollraad

References

Gehret, Ellen J. Rural Pennsylvania Clothing. York, PA: George Shumway Publishing, 1976.
Gehret, Ellen J. and Nancy Roan. Just a Quilt or Juscht en Deppich. Green Lane, PA: Goschenhoppen Historians Inc., 1984.

Resources

For more a more detailed dictionary, we recommend:
Kyger, M. Ellsworth. An English-Pennsylvania German Dictionary: A working manuscript. Birdsboro, PA: The Pennsylvania German Society, 1986.