This is it! This is the posting you’ve all been waiting for (with bated breath I’m sure)! But first, a little back story. I had the idea for this posting probably a year ago now, and I actually sat down and started to research/ write it. Part way into my research I realized that my readers need a better background, so I created Textile And Dye Time Line. The writing of this post continued, until I realized that the history was not enough… oh no. We (both you and I) needed a better foundation as to the characteristics of each material before we could even talk pattern, so Characteristics of Natural Fabrics and Characteristics of Synthetic Fibers postings were born. And here we are. The grand finale to this idea that I’ve been kicking around for so long!
The big idea behind this post is to familiarize you with the textile making process, and understand a few common weaves. This definitely is not an exhaustive list, but maybe it will help out in every day life- plus you’ll be a little smarter for it!
England was the first to create power looms in the 1800’s, while America was trying (and failing). A man by the name of Francis Cabot Lowell spied on the British power looms and memorized how they worked. He then came back to America and had it recreated by a mechanic. Thus the power loom was born, which really helped to revolutionize the textile process. Shortly after the power loom came along, and number of other machines were created to expedite the textile process, which lead to mills popping up all over the place.
Textile Mill (a)
The steps to creating a textile are as follows. First, the fibers are turned into yarn, which incase you forgot, yarn is a bunch of fibers twisted together.
Next the yarn is woven together with other yarns to create the textile
Contemporary Loom (c)
The fabric is then dyed or painted
Often there is a ‘finishing’ step where chemicals are added to give the fabric better physical properties, or sometimes it’s a physical addition such as dragging a brush across the surface to add texture.
Fuzzy Fabric (d)
Some terms that will be helpful to you regarding fabric are listed below:
Warp- A set of yarns that run lengthwise on the loom. Usually considered the foundation of the fabric.
Weft- The yarn that is threaded between the warp yarn.
Selvage- the edge of the fabric that is stronger to keep the fabric from ripping or tearing during construction. A towel still has the selvage attached.
And now, without further ado, the list of weaves *the crowd goes wild*. This list will not be in alphabetical order (which is a warning for all of my OCD readers) but the list will be in an order in which I think it will be easiest to understand.
The weave of a fabric is really just how the warp and weft work and interplay together, which stands to reason that the first weave is plain weave.
Is the simplest of weaves with the weft at a 90 degree angle to the warp. The weft will simply go over one warp, then under the next. This is also referred to as a 1×1 weave. This weave accepts dyes very easily and is considered very durable as well as the tightest weave.
Plain Weave (e)
This weave is created by a diagonal float, which gives it a 3D effect and has almost a braided appearance (at least to me). This is created by having an identical weave of both the warp and weft. For example, 2 over, 2 under (or 2×2). This weave is strong and hard wearing and is great for textiles and upholstery. It does not wrinkle as easily as a plain weave and is generally more expensive because the yarn count is greater.
Jeans (Twill Weave)
Did I make you look at your jeans? (g)
This is created with ‘floating yarns’ meaning the weft will float over a good 4 rows of warp before it tucks under for 1 and over for 4 again (making this a 4×1). Picture this like crowd surfing. The surfer is the weft while the people are the warp. This fabric has great luster (shine), is pliable, and wrinkle resistant. For your fun fact, satin is warp faced and sateen is weft faced. Fascinating!
Satin Weave (h)
Crowd surfing- See the correlation?! (i)
Compound weaves are just a wee bit more complicated, and usually build on the plain weaves.
Dobby (pronounced dob- bee) is actually a special attachment to the loom. A dobby weaves usually involves two or more plain weaves with a small repeating pattern.
Dobby Fabric (l)
Jacquard (pronounced sha- card – it’s French) is another fancy attachment to the loom. You’ve definitely seen this before it is very elaborate and looks very ‘Classic French’ to me. The jacquard weave uses all three of the basic weaves, and has a price tag to match the amount of time and effort that is put into it.
Elaborate Jacquard Room (j)
(pronounced pee-kay) is a very physically textured design made on a dobby or jacquard loom in which extra yarns run underneath the weave to give it extra dimension.
Double Cloth/ Double Weave
As the same suggests this method uses two different fabrics! The fabrics are woven together, and then an extra set of ‘binder’ yarns are used. The textile is very durable and it’s reversible. Double cloth is often found in drapery or upholstery.
This weave is interesting due to the fact that weave itself creates the pattern. This weave uses the basis of a twill weave, plus some other fancy yarns. The Hounds tooth is probably my favorite, it has a great versatile look- and a super cool name!
Hounds Tooth Pattern (m)
The correct pronunciation for this is “kreyp”, just like the food, but for some reason I always read it as “creepy”. I probably thought that one day, and now it’s logged in my brain forever. Any how, this is a very light weight fabric with a crinkled texture to it. This weave calls upon both the plain and satin weave and the dobby attachment to create this unique look.
Creepy Weave! (I know, I have issues)
Leno (pronounced lee-no) is yet another attachment to the loom. This is a very loose weave (think netting). The only time I’ve seen this type of fabric used is for decoration, such as window treatments.
Leno Weave (n)
Although this is not a comprehensive list, I think that these are the most common types of weaves and will help to satisfy the curiosity you experience when looking at fabric. After all, everyone has fabric in their lives. Until next week! *queue exiting music*