When we are talking about weaves we aren’t talking about those that you can have in your hair, but rather those that make up the clothes that you are wearing, the sheets that you sleep on, and the towels hanging in your bathroom. All textiles are made by weaving threads whether they be cotton, flax, acrylic or a selection of many other types, together in a certain way. The main weaves are plain, twill and satin:
The plain weave is also called the tabby, linen or taffeta and it is one of the strongest you can get. It is achieved when the warp and weft threads are aligned to form a criss-cross pattern like a checkerboard, only on a much smaller scale. The balanced plain weave uses threads of the same weight to achieve an overall pattern that is straight and strong, which is why it is used in so many pieces of clothing today. Percale, organza and taffeta are all examples of fabrics that are made this way.
Twill makes a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs when it is being weaved. It occurs when the weft is passed over one of more of the warp threads then under two or more of the warp threads. Twill drapes well so it is no surprise it too is used in a variety of clothing and home accessory applications. If you look at a twill pattern you will see what looks like a series of steps and this diagonal pattern is also called wale. Twill comes in all sorts of sub categories like herringbone, hounds-tooth, serge, sharkskin and flannel. That favourite pair of jeans in your closet? They are a prime example of this type of textile.
Satin weave is that which shows a glossy front and a dull back. It is made when four or more weft yarns are allowed to float over the warp. We have all seen this type of weaving as it exists in items like evening gowns, satin sheets, lingerie, baseball jackets and the like, it’s that smooth, glossy fabric that is very thin, and very cool against the skin.
As you can see, textile production varies depending on what material they are making, but it all starts with the raw materials and ends up something that we all use on a daily basis. As with most things, textile production isn’t something most of us even think about, though they are with us all the time.