Different types of fibers, fabrics, knits and weaves explained.
- Natural fiber characteristics: Comes from plant and animals, moisture absorbent, more expensive.
- Cotton: Absorbent, comfortable, durable, wrinkles, shrinks, easy to launder, plant source.
- Linen: Absorbent, natural luster, quick drying, wrinkles, frays, little stretch, plant source-flax.
- Silk: Animal source-silk worm cocoon, absorbent, natural luster, insulating, strong, resilient, dyes well, expensive, degrades and yellows from age and sunlight.
- Wool: Animal source-fur, absorbent, strong, elastic, shrinks when laundered improperly, wrinkle resistant, warm.
- Manmade fiber characteristics: Made from chemical compounds, heat sensitive/will melt, less absorbent to not at all absorbent, less expensive.
- Nylon: Strong, elastic, water repellent, colorfast, frays easily.
- Polyester: Good shape retention, easy to launder, wrinkle resistant, colorfast, blends well with other fibers, retains oily stains.
- Acrylic: Resembles wool, soft, warm, nonabsorbent, pills, heat sensitive, can shrink or stretch.
- Rayon: Soft and comfortable, drapes beautifully, blends well with other fibers, shrinks, poor shape retention, wrinkles, dyes well.
- Spandex: Very elastic, adds stretch when blended with other fibers, requires stretch stitching techniques, shrinks.
- Acetate: High luster, drapes well, loses shape, wrinkles.
Types of Weaves
- Basket Weave: Two or more weft yarns are interlaced as a unit with corresponding number of warp yarns to give a basket like effect.
- Plain weave: Yarns interlace at right angles, passing alternately over and under each other; strong, durable, easy to sew, wrinkles easily.
- Rib weave: Rib or line effect is created by using thin yarns with thick yarns or single yarns with doubled yarns in any one direction of the fabric.
- Twill weave: One yarn passes over two or more yarns to create a diagonal pattern; soft, wrinkle resistant, hides soil.
- Satin weave: Yarns float over four or more yarns, then pass under one; shiny, smooth surface, snags easily.
Basic Knit Types
- Warp: Tricot, tulle, lace, milanese, raschel, crochet
- Uses: Brassieres, panties, camisoles, girdles, sleepwear, hook & eye tape, sportswear lining, track suits, leisure wear, safety reflective vests, inner lining and inner sole lining in sports shoes
- The yarns along the length of the fabrics or parallel to the sel-vedge. They are also called ends.
- Weft: Jersey, double jersey, velour, fleece, interlock, rib, fake fur, purl
- Uses: Underwear, hosiery, t-shirts, sportswear, baby clothes, pajamas, jumpers, scarves, hats, gloves
- The set of yarns that move perpendicular to warps. They are interlaced with warps in a crosswise direction to make a fabric.
Broadcloth: Plain weave cotton or cotton/polyester; tightly woven fabric with a faint rib pattern.
- Chambray: Looks much like lightweight denim; plain woven fabric with a colored warp and a white filling that gives it a heathered look.
- Chino: Twill weave originally used for military uniforms; made of two-ply yarns; sturdy, medium-weight fabric with slight sheen.
Corduroy: Piled, vertical rib design; napped fabric that comes in varying weights; often identified by the width of the ribs or wales.
- Double knit: Two fabrics knitted together; made on a circular rib machine, with the two layers identical on each side; stable knit, less likely to curl or stretch out of shape.
Gingham: Checkered pattern, lightweight, plain woven cotton or cotton blend.
- Jersey knit: Single knit with plain stitches on the face of the fabric and purl stiches on the back; comes in different weights and can be made from different fibers.
- Interlock knit: Created on a knitting machine, with two separate one-by-one rib fabrics; soft, elastic, wrinkle resistant.
- Melton: Heavy, felt-like coating; can be made from wool or synthetic fibers; thick, durable, very warm, and wind resistant, with a thick nap and bulky hand.
- Microfiber: Refers to any synthetic fabric made from fibers that measure one denier or less; soft, silky, and comfortable to wear; easy to care for and drape well; resists wrinkles; hard to press.
- Moleskin: Soft and durable, with a short sheared pile on one side of the fabric; usually made from a thick cotton twill, with a dense weave that makes it windproof and warm.
Oxford: Traditional shirting fabric with a warp of two fine yarns and heavier weft or softly spun fill yarn; subtle basket weave look and silk-like finish.
- Performance fabrics: Designed for a variety of end uses and treated or engineered with special fibers or finishes that provide functional qualities such as moisture management, UV protection, antimicrobial properties, thermoregulation, and wind and water resistance.
Tricot: Warp-knit fabric of various natural or synthetic fibers, as wool, silk polyester, having fine vertical ribs on the face and horizontal ribs on the back, used especially for making apparel.
Velour: Similar to terrycloth, but with cut loops; thick, short pile; can be a knit or a woven; soft to the touch; rich appearance.
- Waterproof fabrics: Used for things like raingear, active sportswear and outdoor home décor fabrics; repel or resist water penetration either because of a tightly woven structure or a coating applied to the outside of the fabric.
Relationship between body measurements and pattern measurements
- Wearing ease: Amount added to a person’s body measurements so one can move in a garment.
- Design ease: Any amount of ease beyond the basic wearing ease that creates the style of a garment.
- Layering ease: Amount of ease added to clothing that will be worn over other clothing.
Negative ease: Will measure smaller than actual body measurements, but will stretch to fit comfortably.