Fabrics can be constructed in a variety of ways, ranging from the matting together of fibrous materials to the intricate interlacing of complex yarn systems.

In this page

  1. Various Forms of Fabric Construction
  2. Woven Fabrics Characteristics
  3. Common terms used by the weaving industry

Various Forms of Fabric Construction

The major classifications of fabric constructions are...

  • Woven Fabrics:

    Weaving of fabrics consist of interlacing systems of yarn. By varying the interlacing, a wide variety of different fabric constructions can be made.

  • Knitted Fabrics:

    Fabrics can be constructed from one or more continuous yarns by the formation of a series of interconnected loops. Knitting tough a complex form, is one type of looping construction, Crochet is another.

  • Non Woven:

    Masses of fibers can be held together into a fabric by interlocking of fibers by mechanical action or by fusing fibers together with heat, adhesive or chemicals. Examples of a few fabrics constructed by these means include felt, bark cloth, spun lace, spun bonded and needle-punched fabrics and bonded webs.

  • Knotted Fabrics:

    Some fabrics are created by knotting yarns together. Lace, nets, macramé and tatting are produce by knotting.

  • Braided Fabrics:

    Fabrics may be created by plaiting together yarns or strips of fabrics. The components are interlaced in a diagonal pattern over under one another to form a flat or tubular fabric of relatively narrow width.

  • Films:

    Since films are not considered to be true textiles. They are sometimes laminated to textiles. They are sometimes laminated to textiles and therefore may be part of the structure of some textile products. They are synthetic polymers extruded in the form of sheets rather than as fibers. In some cases, these films are eventually made into fibrous form by a process called fibrillation or by cutting the sheet into fibers.

  • Stitch-Through Fabrics:

    Stitch through or stitch bonding is a relatively new technique for constructing fabrics in which two sets of yarns or masses of fibers are stitched together into a fabric structure by another set of yarns.

  • Textile Composites:

    These materials generally consist of one or more textile components impregnated with or embedded in a resin matrix. Textile composites are generally used for high technology products for industry, the military and aerospace.

Woven Fabrics Characteristics

  • Oldest & widely used method of construction
  • Made with two or more sets of yarns interlaced at right angles to each other. Yarns in lengthwise direction: warp/ends, yarns in crosswise direction: filling/weft/picks
  • Selvage: self-edge of fabric on both sides along the length of the fabric. Made with more closely placed warp yarns, width:1/4th inch. The selvedge prevents the fabric from raveling. It usually made more compact and stronger than the rest of the fabric. Plain, split, fringe, fused, leno & tucked selvage.
  • Grain: indicates warp & weft positions in fabric.
    • Lengthwise grain
    • Crosswise grain
    • Bias & True bias
  • Identification of grain: selvage parallel to lengthwise grain, less stretch along warp yarns, warp yarns lie straighter & more stronger, more twist in warp yarns, single yarn is used.
  • Fabric lengths & widths: length – 40 – 100 yards or more, width – 20 – 60 inches (handwovens:27 – 36 inches, Power loom: 40 – 60 inches)
  • Done on a machine called handloom or power loom

Common terms used by the weaving industry

  • GRAIN: Position of warp yarns relative to filling yarns in fabric.
  • On-grain: Warp yarns lie parallel to each other (lengthwise) & weft yarns lie parallel to each other (crosswise). Warp & weft yarns lie perpendicular to each other.
  • Off-grain: Lowers fabric quality, fabric does not drape properly, Printed designs are not straight.
  • Skewed fabric: Filling yarn is at an angle other than 900 to warp yarns.
  • Bowed fabric: Filling yarns dip in the centre of fabric.
  • FABRIC COUNT/THREAD COUNT: No. of warp & weft yarns per square inch. Denotes closeness or compactness of fabric. Higher the count, better the quality of fabric, higher strength. E.g. 80 X 76 (80 warp yarns & 76 weft yarns in 1 inch). Fabric weight is measured in Grams per square meter (gsm).
  • BALANCE: Ratio of warp yarns to filling yarns in a fabric.
  • BALANCED FABRIC: Will have a ratio of warp to weft yarns as 1:1. E.g. Fabric count of a balanced fabric: 78 X 78 or 64 X 60. This fabric is more durable. UNBALANCED FABRIC: Will have a ratio of warp to weft yarns as 2:1. E.g. Fabric count of a unbalanced fabric: 144 X 76 or 100 X 60. It exhibits rib like structure. Weaves are represented on graph paper or point paper. Each square of the paper represents the yarn that appears on the top.