Fabrics can be woven in a variety of ways, from a plain weave (with or without a print on the surface), or woven to produce a textured surface effect, through to self coloured pattern motifs and pattern weaves of two or more colours. In weaving the warp is the lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on the loom. The yarn that is inserted under and over the warp threads is called the weft.
This is the simplest woven structure. It can be made in one or more colours and with various types and thicknesses of yarn. To achieve a “shot” fabric, different colour yarn is used for the warp and weft. This is the most common type of weave, inexpensive to produce with a durable flat tight surface that is suitable for printing or other finishes.
This is a variation of the plain weave, usually producing a basket or checkerboard pattern hence the name. Contrasting colours are often used. It is inexpensive but less durable than the plain weave.
More warp thread is exposed on the surface of the fabric resulting in a smooth unbroken shiny surface appearance. It originated in the Far East as a way to make silk shine more.
A diagonal ridged pattern of usually parallel diagonal ribs but may have varying effects according to yarn weight and direction of the ridging. Traditional herringbone is a variation of twill weave, the diagonal ridging is reversed at regular intervals to create a zig-zag pattern.
Pile is produced by use of two warp threads with one forming the base fabric and the second is pulled upwards and to produce the pile. The pile ends may not be cut and may be left as “loop pile” or cut to form “cut pile”. Different pile weaves include; velvet, corduroy, velveteen and terry cloth.
The yarns are woven into unlimited designs, often with an intricate multicoloured effect on a special loom invented in 1801 by Joseph Jacquard. The fabric is usually expensive though the design does not fade or wear out. The durability depends on the fibres used.
A mesh like fabric often with a geometric pattern produced by twisting the warp yarns around each other in a figure of eight or hourglass as the waft passes between.
A knit weave is soft and stretchy. Just think of your favourite knit jumper – probably the one that your grandmother made for you.
There are different types of weaves that are made on special looms.