Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fabric term of the week: Basic weaves

There are various ways to organize fabrics, such as fiber, and their weave or knit. Today, from the VFG Fabric Resource, I am pulling out the three basic weaves: Plain, satin and twill. There are variations (see leno weave and basket weave) but they are based on these three plans.

First this definition:
The interlacing of yarns to create a fabric. Weaving can be done by hand or by machine.

Here are the three basics. Of course, knits are separate and have their own basic patterns. (Click on any highlighted word to see its definition.)

Plain weave 
The most basic, common and important weave, in plain weave each weft yarn passes alternately over and under each warp thread. Tabby weave is synonymous. 

Sharkskin, filament type

Satin weave 
Satin is one of the basic weaves, along with plain and twill. The warp yarns in a satin weave cover the weft yarns as much as possible (less common is the opposite where weft covers warp). This creates a lustrous surface. The pattern is most often 4/1 but can also be 7/1 or 11/1. In these patterns, warp yarns float over weft yarns in numbers of 4 to 1, 7 to 1 and 11 to 1, and the interlacings do not occur in rows, giving the most uninterrupted gloss possible. 
Satin originated in China, and takes its name from Zaytoun, now Guangzhou, in southern China. Fabric called satin was originally and still is made of silk, or may be made of manufactured filament fiber. Satin weave fabric may also be made of cotton. 
See also:

Silk satin

Twill is one of the basic weaves, along with plain and satin. It is characterized by a diagonal rib, and there are a number of variations possible, including right-hand twill, left-hand twill and broken twill
The diagonal wales are formed by the weaving pattern, which varies somewhat but always involves weft yarns crossing two or more warp yarns. In successive rows the weft float will move in position by one warp yarn to the right or the left. The weave is inherently sturdy: Twills have more yarns per square inch than plain weaves. 
A 2/1 twill is called an uneven twill and a warp-face twill, uneven because of the two to one ratio, and warp-face because there will be more warp than weft yarns on the surface. Gabardine is an example. Even more sturdy is a 3/1 twill, because the warp is stronger than the weft. Examples are drill and denim
A 2/2 twill is an even twill, and such a twill shows its diagonal wale equally on its face and its reverse. Wool fabrics such as serge and authentic tartans and district checks are even twills. 
Wool and silk twills have traditionally been woven with their diagonal wales angling up to the right (right-hand twill), while cottons have traditionally angled to the left (left-hand twill)—although there are exceptions. 
Another distinction in the twill weave group is the angle of the twill. The steeper the angle (from a horizontal line), the more warp yarns are employed, and the sturdier the fabric. A 63˚ angle is considered steep, 45˚ is regular, and 23˚ is reclining. This last is relatively rare. 
A broken twill has variations in the regular twill line. A broken twill line that reverses directions at regular intervals is called herringbone.

Worsted wool gabardine
©Vintage Fashion Guild - Text and diagrams by Margaret Wilds/denisebrain,  photos by Hoyt Carter

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