Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making, felting, and braiding or plaiting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling. (Weft or woof is an old English word meaning “that which is woven”.) The method in which these threads are inter woven affects the characteristics of the cloth. Cloth is usually woven on a loom, a device that holds the warp threads in place while filling threads are woven through them. A fabric band which meets this definition of cloth (warp threads with a weft thread winding between) can also be made using other methods, including tablet weaving, back-strap, or other techniques without looms. The way the warp and filling threads interlace with each other is called the weave. The majority of woven products are created with one of three basic weaves: plain weave, satin weave, or twill. Woven cloth can be plain (in one color or a simple pattern), or can be woven in decorative or artistic designs.
Plain weave (also called tabby weave, linen weave or taffeta weave) is the most basic of three fundamental types of textile weaves. It is strong and hard-wearing, used for fashion and furnishing fabrics. In plain weave, the warp and weft are aligned so they form a simple criss-cross pattern. Each weft thread crosses the warp threads by going over one, then under the next, and so on. The next weft thread goes under the warp threads that its neighbor went over, and vice versa. Basketweave is a variation of plain weave in which two or more threads are bundled and then woven as one in the warp or weft, or both. Balanced plain weaves are fabrics in which the warp and weft are made of threads of the same weight (size) and the same number of ends per inch as picks per inch. A balanced plain weave can be identified by its checkerboard-like appearance. It is also known as one-up-one-down weave or over and under pattern. Some examples of fabric with plain weave are chiffon, organza, and taffeta.
The satin weave is distinguished by its lustrous, or ‘silky’, appearance. Satin describes the way the threads are combined, and the yarn used may be silk or polyester, among others, giving different fabrics. The satin weave is characterized by four or more cool fill or weft yarns floating over a warp yarn or vice versa, four warp yarns floating over a single weft yarn. This explains the even sheen, as unlike in other weaves, the light reflecting is not scattered as much by the fibres, which have fewer tucks.
Twill is done by passing the weft thread over one or more warp threads and then under two or more warp threads and so on, with a “step” or offset between rows to create the characteristic diagonal pattern. Because of this structure, twills generally drape well. Examples of twill fabric are chino, drill, denim, gabardine, tweed and serge.
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