Read and learn how the fabric is made and the basic weaves of making fabrics.
Fabrics are a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, from clothing to curtains, towels, and sheets. You might also hear people call them “textiles”. Fabric and other textiles have been created by humans for a very long time. In actuality, they have been doing it for nearly 35,000 years!
But how is a fabric made? After being gathered or harvested, raw materials are transported to spinning mills where they are separated or combed into fleece. From the fleece, the fibers are spinned into yarn/thread. After the threads are made, they are turned over to weaving mills, to be woven into fabrics.
We’ll go into great detail about the manufacturing process for fabric today.
The Fabric-Making Process
The process of making fabric is explained below:
From Fibre to Yarn
To create long strings of yarn, we must first combine the fibers. Since many fibers, especially natural ones, are quite short, this can be challenging.
The average length of cotton fiber is only 3 cm. That is not as long as a paper clip. Typically, a sheep’s wool is harvested when it is 7.5 cm long, or about the size of a crayon.
To create a longer yarn, we twist these shorter fibers together. The twisting causes the fibers to cling and rub against one another. This is called yarn spinning.
The first step in spinning yarn entails taking a bundle of fibers, lining them up, and then combing them as you would your hair or a long beard. In fact, when we’ve combed them into a sheet, we call it a “beard”.
A long tube is then formed out of the stretched sheet. Stretching causes it to get progressively thinner. We then twist it to create yarn. Although we have narrowed this delicate sheet of fibers, which may have started out being meters wide, considerably.
Yarn threads come in a variety of types. They could be thin, thick, stiff, flexible, or even ones that you can’t cut! Everything is based on the machine settings and the starting fiber.
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Turning Yarn into Fabric
We can start creating fabric as soon as we have our yarn. This can be accomplished in numerous ways, including weaving, knitting, and felting.
Weaving crosses the yarns over and under in a chessboard pattern. Knitting makes loops that pass through each other.
Felting is when we get wool fibers wet and soapy. The fibers are rubbed together until they become completely tangled. The fibers are then compressed into a flat sheet known as felt.
When done by hand, weaving, knitting, and felting can take a very long time! Nowadays, we frequently speed up processes with machines.
The simplest and most typical weave is the plain, or tabby, weave, which only needs two harnesses and uses two warp and weft yarns per weave unit. To create it, the crosswise weft yarn is shot over and under different warps across the width of the web while the warp yarns are held parallel under tension.
Once the weft has been inserted over and under the opposing set of warps, locking the prior weft in place, the weaving unit is finished at the end of the second row. With the addition of each new weft of yarn, the length of the fabric grows.
The finished fabric is balanced and may be stronger than fabric made of the same kind and number of warp and weft yarns in any other basic weave when the warp and weft yarns are roughly equal in size and quantity.
Taffeta and poplin, which have crosswise ridges or ribs, are made from tabby weaving, which uses different-sized warp and weft yarns. Taffeta and poplin are made from many fine warps and proportionately fewer thick weft yarns.
The term extended tabby describes any weave in which two or more warps or wefts, or both, are interlaced as a unit. The group of textiles includes fabrics with basketry effects and textiles with ribs created by collections of warps or wefts in each shed.
Diagonal lines give the twill weave its distinctive look. The simplest twill is made when the weft crosses over two warp yarns, then under one. This process is repeated in each succeeding shot (pick), but one warp is stepped over to the left or right.
Warp-faced twills are those that have more warps than wefts floating on the fabric’s face; weft-faced twills have more wefts than warps. Additionally, the twill’s angle can change.
By adjusting the proportion of warps and wefts in each repeat (2:1, 2:3, 3:1, 6:2, etc.), twills can be customized.); by stepping the repeat in one direction; by breaking the direction of the diagonals formed by the twill at regular intervals; by reversing the direction of the diagonal at regular intervals to form chevrons or lozenges; or by combining several twills or modifying them to create a pattern.
Since twills have fewer interlacings than plain weaves with the same yarn count, twills drape better. From the wool serges mentioned in medieval French manuscripts to English diapered (diamond patterned) table linens, patterned bed coverlets, and Indian shawls, twill weaves have been used throughout history in a variety of weights and textures.
While the drafts for satin weaves appear to be similar to those for twills on the surface, satin weave lacks the twill’s characteristic regular step in each succeeding weft. The fabric is smooth-faced, has an unbroken surface made of long floating warp yarns, and lacks a strong diagonal line as a result.
A true satin needs at least five harnesses because each complete weave repeat of a true satin must have at least five warp and weft yarns. The majority of satin fabrics are made of smooth, lightly-twisted yarns that heighten the effect of light by remaining unbroken by apparent crosswise bindings.
The few interlacings enable the weaver to employ a disproportionately large number of warp yarns, resulting in a heavy, textured cloth that can be folded in a smooth, shadowed manner. Being prone to wear from rubbing and snagging due to their long floats, satins are typically thought of as luxurious fabrics.
Damask and sateen, a weft-faced satin, are two types of a satin weave. The most significant satin weave variant is damask. The traditional damask pattern consists of a solid-colored fabric with warp-faced satin figures and a weft-faced satin background. Warp-faced and weft-faced areas reflect light differently, which results in the pattern.
Since Italy served as the hub of European silk production between the 13th and 17th centuries, silk damasks likely originated in China before making their way to Europe. During this time, linen damask weaving was also perfected by drawloom weavers from Belgium and the Netherlands.
Unlike the majority of silk damasks of the time, pictorial linen damasks frequently featured a single, large repeat of scenes from the Bible, current events, or the arms of aristocrats and kings.