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Woven Fabric


Made by interlacing 2 sets of yarns at right angles to each other. The lengthwise yarns are known as WARP or ENDS. Widthwise yarns are known as WEFT or PICKS.


The machine used for weaving fabric is a loom.

Basic parts of loom

Warp Beam located in the back of the loom is a large roller on which all the warp yarns to be used for the cloth are wound parallel to each other. If the fabric is to have warp stripes, the various yarns are wound onto the beam in color groupings to obtain the desired colored-stripe effect. Harness The warp yarns pass through the harnesses, which look like picture holding many thin vertical wires called heddles each with a hole in the middle.


The purpose of the harnesses is to raise and lower groups of warp yarns. The number of harnesses vary depending on the complexity of the weave. The warp yarns are separated into an upper group and a lower group thus creating an opening or SHED. The shed is made when a harness or groups of harnesses are raised. It allows the filling yarn to travel across the loom over some warp yarns but under other warp yarns.


A shuttle or other insertion device carries the filling yarn. As the insertion device moves through the shed, it leaves a trail of weft yarn behind it when it passes over the lower set of warp yarns and the upper set.


Resembles like comb The warp yarns, after passing through the harnesses, pass through a reed, which is a frame with thin, vertical, non movable wires. Narrow opening or DENTS exist between the wires which keeps the yarn separated.

Process of Weaving

The basic functions of weaving : Shedding - The warp yarns are separated to form a opening. The sequence by which the harnesses are raised or lowered determines the fabric weave.

Picking - The shuttle passes in front of the reed, placing a pick.

Beat Up - The reed pushes the loose pick in the shed up to the edge of the already made cloth and returns to the position near the harnesses. The completed cloth is slowly wound onto the cloth roll located in front of the loom.

Types of Looms

May be classified into several ways: By method of raising ends to form shed cams, dobby device or jacquard By number of sheds single or double fabric By method of inserting the filling yarn shuttle looms or shuttleless looms

Shuttleless looms

Designed to produce fabrics with higher production rate. Use other devices to insert the weft yarn through the shed. Yarn comes from the cones placed at the side of the loom. Once the weft yarn is brought across the loom, the yarn is cut, often leaving a little fringe at the edges of the fabric. Some of the types are: Projectile loom Rapier loom Jet loom

Projectile loom

Small, light gripper device Dragging of weft yarn across a loom creates strain on the yarn so projectile looms are not suited for weaving with fragile or weak filling yarns. Excellent for use with heavy and bulk yarns as well as regular size yarns. Most versatile of the shuttleless looms with regard to the range of fabrics like denim etc.

Rapier loom

Uses rapier to pull the weft yarn across the loom. Rapier is metal rod either rigid or flexible, that has a gripper on one end. One rapier pulls the filling yarn across the entire loom width. Because the rapier is not in free flight as in projectile, less strain is placed on the weft so they are capable of weaving with delicate filling yarns. High quality Wool , Silk along with fine to coarse spun yarns, delicate filament yarns, technical textiles like glass, Kevlar for airbags in automobiles.

Jet looms

Takes the weft yarn across the loom by using high speed jet of either air or water. The force of air or water carries the yarn from one side to the other. Jet looms are faster than rapier or projectile looms. They cannot produce wide variety of fabrics like neither heavy or bulky yarns nor wider fabrics.

Jet looms

No abrasion of yarns by jets of air & water hence less damage to the yarns. Air jet looms initial force is provided by main nozzle. Relay nozzles along the shed produce additional booster jets to help carry yarns across the loom. Water jet looms only main nozzle to provide the propulsion of weft. Loom is very efficient with little water and it is the fastest type of shuttleless loom. Preferred for hydrophobic fibers but may handle some blends & not preferred for fibers which lose strength on wet.

Loom production

Weft yarns are inserted at constant rate. Expressed in terms of number of picks/ minute or number of meters per minute. Rapier loom 900 1300 m/min with fabric width ranging from 55-110

Jet looms 680 ppm width ranging from 75 210


Lengthwise edge of fabric Usually between - inch wide exists on both edges of the cloth. Purpose is to ensure that the edge of the fabric will not tear when the cloth is undergoing the stresses and strains of the finishing process.

Types of selvedges

Various techniques are used to make the selvage area stronger than the body of the cloth Using heavy warp yarns More warp yarns per inch Plied warp yarns Greater twist, if spun warp yarns Different weave

Types of selvages
a shuttle loom B shuttleless loom with fringe C- leno D tucked - in

Identifying warp & weft yarns

Selvage warp yarns always parallel to selvage Yarn sizes usually thinner warp to reduce abrasion. Fabric having spun & filament yarns generally filament yarns are warp set. Twist spun warp yarns have more twist then spun weft yarns. Yarns per inch usually more warp per inch than filling per inch thus making the fabric stronger in lengthwise direction.


Plied yarns - occasionally warp yarns are plied to give added strength and weft yarns remain single. Stiffness 100% spun yarn fabrics - Warp yarns stiffer than weft yarns 100% filament yarn fabrics weft yarns usually stiff Stretchability more elongation in widthwise direction More ends per inch so picks have more crimp.

Weave of fabric

The order in which the yarns interlace Fabric analyzed on face side but may be more clearly seen on the back. Weave may be illustrated on graph paper indicating the location of warp yarn on the surface. Warp yarns &Weft yarns interlace with each other; when one yarn does not interlace but instead passes over 2 or more adjacent yarns is called as FLOAT. WARP & WEFT FLOAT


Tend to make the fabric surface flat. Increase the amount of luster When float is relatively long, a snagging problem frequently results. Weakens the fabric because they reduce the frequency with which the yarns pass from one side of the fabric to the other. This affect can be offset by increasing the yarns per inch of the fabric.

Basic Fabric Weaves

Three basic weaves: Plain weave Twill weave Satin weave All the other weaves are variation or combination of these weaves.

Comparison of weave properties:

Weave Luster Snag resistance Plain Poor Good Surface effect Flat, uninteresting Tearing Wrinkle Strength resistance Low Poor



Poor if long floats

Diagonal lines

Medium Fair
High Good

Plain weave

Simplest & most used weave Found in wide range of fabrics sheerest to heaviest

Are reversible unless made face by a finishing or printing process.

Repeat size 2 ends & 2 picks


It requires 2 harness to weave the body of the fabric One heald controls half the warp yarn and second controls the other warp yarns. They have firm construction. They tend to wear well and ravel less than comparable fabrics of other weaves.


Tend to wrinkle more than other fabrics. Good background for printed & decorative designs.

Tearing strength of plain weave is lower than any other weave. Because this weave has no floats, when tearing a plain weave fabric the yarns break one at a time.

Ribbed Plain Weave

A fabric with plain weave may have ribbed surface. Rib is produced because the filling yarns are thicker than the warp yarns. Rib may be pronounced or less noticeable. Ribbed fabrics with thin warp yarns and fine ribs possess better drape & smoother surface; fabrics with large ribs possess uneven surface and more bulk.


Sometimes, ribbed fabrics are also called unbalanced fabrics because the sizes of warp & weft yarns, number of ends per inch, picks per inch within the fabric are greatly different from one another.

Basket Weave

Made by having groups of 2 or more warp yarns interlacing as one yarn with groups of 2 or more filling yarns that also interlace as one yarn. Groups of yarn interlace in plain weave sequence. Fabrics with basket weaves are reversible unless finish or print makes one side of fabric. Repeat size : 4 ends & 4 picks.


2X2 basket weave is the most common. Decorative weave Most basket weave fabrics are made with few yarns per inch, low twist yarns to increase the weave effect. Mostly not durable, easily shrink to wash, fabric loses shape. Difficult to sew because the yarns move.

Twill Weave

Produce diagonal lines on cloth Simplest twill 2/1 twill ; Repeat size : 3 ends & 3 picks Two types: Right hand twill diagonals run upward to right Left hand twill diagonals run upward to left

Right handed twill weave


May be made more prominent by using plied yarns, high twist yarns, longer floats, high yarns per inch and yarn twist opposite the twill line direction. Direction of twill is reverse on either side of the fabric Have few interlacing than plain weave thus permits more yarns per inch in the fabric and makes twill more compact, strong, durable than plain & basket weave fabrics. Short floats no yarn snagging problem.

Types of Twill Weave

Warp faced twill eg: 3/1 twill each warp yarn passes over 3 weft yarns and then under one weft yarn. Weft faced twill eg:1/3 twill each warp yarn passes over one weft and under 3 weft yarns. Balanced Twill eg: 2/2 twill has both warp & weft shown to the same extent Most twills are either warp face or balanced as it is found to be more prominent & more abrasion resistance surface.

Steep twill & Reclined twill

If each succeeding warp yarn to the Right has corresponding interlacing one weft yarn higher -45 twill -Step can be more than one Interlacing made 2 , 3, 4 weft higher 63 twill, 70 twill, 75 twill respectively Diagonal line is less than 45 - reclined twill

Other types of twill weave

Broken twill combination of left hand & right hand twill Chevron a well known broken twill design produces stripes in zigzag effect Herringbone twill broken twill ; vertical stripe of both RH & LH twill

Herringbone twill weave

Satin weave

In each repeat, only 1 interlacing for warp yarn & only 1 interlacing for weft yarn No two interlacing ever touch or are adjacent. Satin weave fabrics have relatively long floats. One set of yarns forms most of the face : warp face satin predominantly warp yarns weft face satin - predominantly weft yarns


Satin weaves are designated by the number of healds they require in weaving. 5 shaft satin is the lowest possible and also most common number of healds for making satin. 7-shaft & 8 shaft satins are also produced. Beyond 8 is not economical. No. of healds is also the size of the repeat.


The number of interlacing is same as the number of healds used to produce the weave. Length of floats in satin is one fewer than the number of healds used.

5 shaft warp face satin

5 shaft weft face satin

Satin fabric

Satin weave Made from filament yarns with warp yarns dominant on the face.

Satin fabrics are smooth, lustrous filament yarns are used.

Weave has few interlacing and thus long floats.

Greatest luster is in the lengthwise direction, garments using this fabric are made so this direction is vertical to maximise the luster.

Sateen fabric

Durable cotton fabric usually with weft face satin weave. It is not as lustrous as satin fabric because spun yarns are used Generally made heavier with thicker yarns, it is not as drapable as satin fabric.

Crepe Back Satin

The warp yarns are fine and have little or no twist and the weft yarns are highly twisted. The face of the fabric is almost entirely warp yarns and the back is almost entirely weft yarns. Because of the high twist, the weft gives the back a crepe or pebbly appearance and leaves the face fairly smooth.

Features of satin weaves

Very even surface because of many warp or weft floats. Though long floats give luster responsible for poor wearing quality. Greatly exposed to abrasive forces Filament yarns common in these fabrics If fabric made with very large number of yarns per inch, an extremely durable fabric using spun yarns like football uniforms and military combat uniforms.

Which weave makes the strongest fabric?

Plain weave provides the strongest fabric. More yarn interlacing provide for higher fabric strength. All other weaves have floats, which reduce the number of interlacing. If the number of yarns per inch of one fabric is higher than that of comparable fabric, then the fabric with more yarns per inch is usually stronger.


Weaves with long floats produce strongest fabrics because these fabrics may be made with greatest number of yarns per inch. Weaves with long floats, yarns slide under one another & bunch together. Thus satin weave fabric made with long floats can be made stronger than twill weave fabrics.


Twill fabrics can be made stronger than plain fabrics along with less abrasion than satin weaves. Thus twill weaves are used in fabrics like denim where strength & durability are important.

Special Fabric Weaves

Most common special weave: Leno weave Pile weave Double cloth

Leno weave

Warp yarns twist back and forth in pairs around each pick, firmly holding the weft yarn. Because the weft yarns are firmly held in place, they cannot shift in the warp direction. However, the warp yarns can shift in the filling direction. Adhesives may be used in finishing leno fabrics to cement the yarn in place to further reduce slippage.


Leno weave is especially useful for reducing yarn slippage in fabrics that require yarns spaced far apart. It has greater firmness and strength than plain weave of the same low cloth count. Uses: summer apparel fabrics in open & see-through constructions, curtains, mosquito netting.

Pile weaves

Woven pile fabrics are material with a raised hair like or fur like surface. Two well known fabrics velvet & terry cloth The surface is produced with extra set of yarns (warp or weft) Pile yarns Pile fabrics ground yarns (regular warp & weft) with additional set of yarns to create the pile surface.

Types of Pile fabrics

Warp pile fabrics have an extra set of warp yarns Weft pile fabrics have an extra set of weft yarns Cut pile weave fabric yarns are cut between interlacing to many cut ends, which point up on the surface of the cloth to form the pile. Eg: Velvet Uncut pile weave fabric Terry cloth Filling pile weaves are always cut Corduroy, Velveteen

Double cloth & variations

Two fabrics held together by a separate set of yarns. Each fabric is made using one set of warp yarns and one set of weft yarns A total of 2 warp & 2 weft sets With third set of warp yarns moving back & forth between the 2 layers of fabrics to hold them together. All yarns are woven simultaneously to produce the double cloth.


Some double cloths are specifically designed to be cut into 2 separate fabrics such as velvet as both have cut pile surface. Uses: Coats, blankets may be with 2 different effects on both sides.

Dobby pattern

Design that contains simple geometric forms or motifs. It is made on a loom with special heald control mechanism called dobby head. Dobby mechanism can control as many as 32 healds. More complex and expensive weaves can be created on this machine besides simple weaves such as plain, twill and satin.


Dobby mechanism uses Pattern chain to determine which heald are to be raised or lowered in order to produce the desired pattern. The pegs in the chain cause hooks within dobby head to be connected or disconnected and the healds are either raised, lowered or not moved.

Electronic controls provide the capacity to create new designs and design changes rapidly.

Dobby designs

Jacquard Pattern

Jacquard pattern is a design that contains very detailed, intricate motifs. Because these designs exceed the capacity of healds, a special loom must be used. This loom usually has no healds and the ends are controlled by Jacquard head located at the top of the loom. The loom uses computer tape to control the warp yarns. The position of the holes in the tape determines the sequence in which the warp yarns are moved.


Hooks & needles are used to raise & lower the warp yarns by controlling a cord attached to each heddle. Because there are no healds, any combination of yarns can be raised or lowered to produce the design. Operates more slowly Common fabrics produced with Jacquard designs brocade, damask etc.

Jacquard patterns

Extra warp or Extra weft yarns

Extra yarns interlace in the fabric to make simple design and then float until the yarns again interlace to repeat the pattern. The long floats between the patterns are often cut away and discarded
Ends of the cut yarns are easily seen on the back of the fabric. Durability of the design depends on the number of interlacing & closeness of the yarns in the fabric.

Extra warp design

Extra weft design

Color & Weave effect

Pattern produced in a fabric using certain weave and a certain arrangement of differently colored yarns in both warp & weft. Yarns of various colors with certain interlacing produces various stripes, checks & plaids Common example Houndstooth pattern 2 up & 2 down LH twill 4 yarns of one color followed by 4 yarns of second color.

Color & weave pattern