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Types of Fabric Weaves

by Ainun Najwa

Fabrics are woven on a mechanical loom. The yarns are intertwined vertically and horizontally; depending on which weave is being manufactured. These are called filler yarns. The vertical yarns are called warp or filler yarns, and the horizontal yarns are called weft yarns. Changing the number of vertical and horizontal yarns creates different weave variations.

fabric weaves

Fabric Weaves (from Indonesia)

When the density and size of the weave is changed, the pattern of the float is altered. Float is the portion of the filling yarn, which rides over two or more filler yarns. Large floats are responsible for the smooth texture on satin-damask fabrics. The basic types of fabric weaves that make up the wide variety of fabrics used on today’s upholstered furniture are as listed below;

Plain Weave

plain weave fabricThis weave is constructed by alternately passing filling yarns over and under the vertical yarns along the full length of the fabric. Most cottons, chintz, and some olefins are woven with a plain weave. Plain weaves are constructed by alternately passing the filler yarns over and under adjacent vertical yarns (warp) along the whole length of the fabric. It is very strong and versatile in creating different fibers and blends. Plain weaves are balanced. This means that the number of vertical and filler yarns are about equal.

Rib Weave

rib weave fabricThis weave is a variation of the plain weave. Heavier yarns are used to attain the desired results. This is a variation of the plain weave. It produces a ribbed effect. The rib weave is achieved by using heavier filler yarns. If more filler yarns (weft) are used than vertical, a ribbed appearance occurs. This process is called cramming. This process weaves some blends of corduroy and similar appearance fabrics.

Basket Weave

basket weave fabricThis particular weave is also similar to the plain weave. What sets them apart are that more filler yarns are used. The basket weave is another variation of the rib and plain weave. This is constructed of one or more filling yarns (horizontal yarns) riding together over and under two or more vertical yarns (weft). This weave is often not as strong as the rib or plain weaves because of the slippage or bunching of yarns.

Some examples of the basket weave are Haitian cotton and monk cloth. Monk’s cloth is a blended fabric. It could be blends of wool, cotton, linen, silk, rayon, or with any synthetic fiber. Monk’s cloth is a very durable fabric because it takes all the good points of the fibers it is blended with.

Satin Weave

satin weave fabric typesThese are manufactured by using large surface yarns giving the characteristic of satin weaves giving them a smooth and lustrous texture. These types of fabric weaves have vertical yarns that float over filling yarns. This shows more of the face fabric. If the yarn is smooth and lustrous, the fabric will be also. Yarns such as rayon, silk, acetate, and nylon are used for that reason. Because the float portions of this weave are not interwoven, as they are in the plain weave, satins are subject to snagging. Due to this fact, they are not suggested for heavy wear areas. The satin types of fabric weaves have poor wear performance. The satin effect gives them a lustrous and eye pleasing appearance. This weave is used in the manufacture of brocade and tapestry fabrics.

Pile Weave

pile weave fabric typesThis weave uses extra vertical yarns that are made to loop up perpendicular to the surface of the base fabric. Velvet and similar fabrics are made using the pile weave. To manufacture velvets and other plush fabrics, the loops are cut. Some plush fabrics leave the loops to create a particular effect. Velour’s are made by rolling flat the pile to create the desired crushed velvet effect. Corduroy, a very durable fabric, is made using the pile weave.

Special note: When comparing two fabrics having the same construction and fiber content, the more durable fabric will have more densely packed fibers. The tighter the weave, the stronger the fabric.

Jacquard Weave

These types of fabric weaves are made on the Jacquard Loom. Fabrics made in this way can have simple patterns, pictorial scenes, or very complex designs depending on the weaver operating the loom. To create specific designs, different color yarns can be used. Some examples of fabrics that are loomed this way are brocade, damask, and tapestries.

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