Mentioned in the previous posts was how the fibre and yarn can make all the difference when it comes to choosing the right fabric. Now we discuss the fabric weave. Weaving can be a fairly simple to a more complex process depending on the thickness of the yarns, the thread count, the tightness of the weave and the way the warp and weft are interlocked.To alter the weight of a fabric or to make a fabric more opaque or sheer can be achieved by changing the weight of the yarn, the fibre type in the yarns or by varying the number of yarns used (thread count).
Thread count refers to the number of threads in each square inch of a fabric, it is usually considered that the higher the thread count in a fabric weave, the higher the quality the fabric is, but this depends on what the fabric is to be used for.
The weft which is also called the fill yarn, runs horizontally from selvedge to selvedge. Warp threads run vertically length ways. » Read more..
Yarn is very important because it impacts the drape, texture, strength and appearance of a fabric and here’s why:
To make staple or filament fibres more practical for use in clothing or upholstery, fibres first need to be spun into a yarn which is achieved through a process of spinning. A yarn elongates the fibres by twisting multiple fibres together to make them stronger and useful for interlacing into a woven or knitted fabric. » Read more..
This is the first post in a three part blog series in which we give you an overview of what fabric is actually made up of: fibre, yarn, weave. We hope this will help you to make an better informed decision when choosing a fabric or simply top up your fabric knowledge!
In this particular post we define each of the main fibres used in fabrics, both natural and synthetic, including where they come from, their properties, advantages and disadvantages. It is essential to know how a particular fibre or fibre blend will impact the material’s overall performance qualities such as drape, insulation and wash care. The reason being that this will determine factors such as whether the fabric should be washed on a low temperature, and what weather conditions, garments and activities the fabric is ideal for. At Fabric UK we stock fabrics made from each fibre type described below. » Read more..
Fabric weight is the outcome of how a fabric has been woven, its finish and sometimes the fibre type. Looking at the weight can help you to decide if it will be the most suitable fabric for its end use.
GSM and OZ
GSM is a metric measurement meaning grams per square metre- it is how much 1 square metre of fabric weighs and the higher the GSM number the denser the fabric will be. Ounce per square yard (oz/sq2) is the imperial measurement which is also commonly used. A lightweight fabric is typically between 30- 150 GSM, medium weight 150-350 GSM and heavyweight 350+ GSM, such as our clear window PVC (640 GSM), although this can vary depending on the type of fabric. » Read more..
Waxed fabric are a type of fabric that has been put through a process of wax treatment. Waxing the fabric makes it waterproof and ideal for outdoor wear, fashion, style, equestrienne, commercial and military use.
It has taken centuries of handed down skills of testing and refinement to produce a waxed finished fabric to its current high quality.
The idea of waxed cotton fabric came about in early 19th century in the high seas where sailors needed to create a simple over garment or smocks to protect themselves against the elements of windy seas and icy sea spray. They used old sail cloths that were made of linen fabric which was treated with linseed oil. This simple treatment protected the fabric and making it waterproof.
During the 19th and 20th centuries new technical knowledge was discovered and new innovative textile ideas brought new treatments doing away with linseed oil to linen fabric, and introducing paraffin wax treatment onto 100% cotton fabrics.
Who hasn’t dreamed of being able to grab their clothes out of the wardrobe wrinkle free and pop them on, without the drudgery of ironing? The invention of non iron shirts meant that ironing became a thing of the past, especially since ironing can sometimes cause clothes more harm than good. Regular shirts can be notoriously difficult to iron and many people have ended up with brand new creases after attempting to iron a shirt – very frustrating! The idea of crease-free or wrinkle-resistant cotton strikes a chord with those who hate ironing those shirts all the time. After all, if cotton shirts can be made to resist those unwanted creases and wrinkles then why even bother with regular cotton? This is the very idea that early researchers and garment manufacturers were toying with when synthetic fabrics such as nylon were beginning to replace cotton.
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With Christmas not far away, our thoughts turn to luxury and extravagance. This applies to fabrics too and what could be more regal than velvet? The term “velvet” refers to the weave of a fabric rather than to its fibre content. Velvet has a pile weave that is created when loops are formed during the weaving process. The pile weave is on one side of the velvet fabric, whilst the other side is plain. Velvet can be made from many different kinds of fibres, but traditionally silk was used. Velvet made entirely from silk is very costly, so other materials can be used such as cotton, although this often results in a slightly less luxurious fabric. Velvet can also be made from other natural fibres including linen, mohair, and wool. Nowadays, synthetic velvet’s are a lot more common, including polyester, nylon, viscose, acetate, and mixtures of different synthetics, or synthetics and natural fibres (for example viscose mixed with silk).
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I was recently in Lyon in France, where they make beautiful silk luxury items, and I discovered some interesting facts about silk manufacturing that I’d like to share with you. As early as the 12th century, the Chinese were the first to produce silk. They used it to make winter clothes, bow-strings and fishing-nets since silk was a very cheap product there. It is a natural fibre produced by the caterpillar of the mulberry bombyx butterfly. The breeding of this silkworm is known as sericulture.
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Did you know that the derivation of the word ‘canvas’ is from the Latin word cannabis? Modern canvas is usually made of cotton, linen or synthetic materials, but it was originally woven from hemp, which comes from the same plant that has a number of other well-known recreational uses. Cotton crops are produced across the world. China and North and South America produce the majority, followed by India, Pakistan and Egypt – as well as many smaller Asian Republics. Generally, cotton grows well in tropical climates.
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“Water resistant” and “waterproof” both refer to penetration of liquid water. Manufactured waterproof fabrics have been around for over a hundred years. They are either treated or are inherently resistant to water penetration and wetting. In Victorian times, Scottish inventor Charles Macintosh sandwiched rubber between cloth to make an impermeable fabric that was waterproof but not breathable. Raincoats were made from this material and became known as ‘macs’. However, the early designs smelled quite bad and melted in hot weather.
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