Fabric Finishes for Enhancing Appearance
There are finishes applied to fabrics to enhance the look and feel of the fabric, in other ways the finishes neither strengthen the quality of the fabric nor they are done to transform the fabric for special purposes such as the fire retardant finish.
Fabric softening is generally done together with desizing (desize means to destarch) and pre-shrinking. When de-starching is done softener is added to make the fabric soft and smooth. This process is indispensable for the fabric to be used to make garments without pre-washing. Whenever too much softener is used to finish the fabric, the stability of the color may be weakened resulting in lower color crocking standards.
Brush and Sanding Finish
In many cases, we may finish the fabric by brushing or sanding to give them to smooth velvet –like or suede-like surface. The difference between brushing and sanding is:
- Brushing – the hair is long and the fabric is fluffy
- Sanding – short hair feels like suede
For better results we should handle brushing in the following manner:
- For solid color fabrics, we should brush first and then dye and brush them one more time. If we dye them first and then brush you will get a frosted effect (with a cast of white color mixed in the solid color) because the fiber in the center of the yarn where the dye could not fully penetrate into may come to the surface o make the fabric to look frosted.
- For printed fabrics , we should brush first and then print because of the following reasons:
- If you print first and then brush, the printed area may not become as haired or fluffy as the white area or the un-printed area because the dye (particularly pigment dye) covers the fabric like a shield and keeps the fiber down.
- If the fabric is printed with reactive dye making the printed area almost as soft as the un-printed area, then the above phenomenon may not appear, but the colored hair or fiber form the printed area may overlap the un-printed side distorting or spoiling the printed design. If you brush first and then print, the above problem will not emerge.
Mercerizing and Singeing Finish
Singeing and mercerizing are in many cases related and done at the same time. Singeing is passing the fabric through a flame (fire) so that the hair and nubs of the fabric are burnt off to give it a clean surface. This is commonly done on most cotton fabrics including denim. It consists of the burning of fuzz on the fabric surface. Before singing the cloth is brushed to remove the loose fabric and also to remove the dust. The fabric is kept flat under tension and passed rapidly over an open gas flame. Later it is passed into a water to cool down.
Mercerizing means a treatment by soaking the fabric into caustic soda to give a shine to it. This process is not done on denim because it will hurt the color of indigo or sulphur. However, it is mostly done on grey goods or dyeing or dyed goods which has a colorfast quality.
Chintz finish is usually applied on TC CVC or cotton poplin to give it a glossy finish. Sometimes we call it oil finish. This is strictly a fashion.
Peach Skin Finish
Peach skin is a smooth finish applied to finely woven Micro Fiber fabric. The soft, suede finish are the results of sanding or chemical treatment of the fabric. This finish allows suits and dresses to flow with movement and drape beautifully. The feel of peach skin is soft, smooth and moderately wrinkle-resistant. It is a medium weight fabric that has fuzzy, suede like feel.