What is woven fabric?
Most fabrics are made by either knitting or weaving yarns. When considering what is woven fabric one must understand the basic structure of the weave. Woven fabrics are made up of a weft; which is the yarn, or fibre, going across the width of the fabric, and a warp; which is the yarn going down the length of the loom.
The woven material is made by the inter-weaving sets of these 2 yarns at right angles to one another. The result is a firm, solid fabric construction that maintains the straight nature of the yarn.
Popular types of woven fabric include:
- Chiffon – sheer, lightweight fabric woven from twisted yarns
- Chenille – looks different in one direction compared to another
- Satin – glossy and highly shiny face with a dull back
- Twill – produces diagonal lines on the face of the fabric
- Crepe – lightweight with a flowy drape which has a crinkled or granular surface
- Denim – traditionally a yarn dyed, warp faced cotton twill fabric
- Georgette – sheer and lightweight, woven in a plain weave
- Lawn – fine, lightweight and crisp, traditionally made from cotton or linen
- Mulmul – fine cotton or synthetic fabric, slightly heavier than muslin
- Poplin – medium weight with a fine weft rib
- Velvet – dense cut pile which is very soft and luxurious
- Taffeta – smooth, crisp and transparent
- Silk – luxuriously smooth, elegant and strong
How is it manufactured?
Woven fabric UK and internationally made is constructed of a weft and a warp. They are made on either a hand weaving loom or on a power weaving loom.
There are 3 types of woven fabric:
- Plain weave fabric – here, the warp and the weft are aligned, so that they create a simple and characteristic criss-cross pattern. This is a strong and durable weave which is used for furnishings, interiors and fashion.
- Satin weave fabric – a complex arrangement of warp and weft yarns which allows longer float threads across either the weft or the warp. This long float of threads means that when the light hits it, it is reflected, creating a smooth, shiny surface which is known as satin.
- Twill weave fabric – here, the crossings of weft and warp are counterbalanced to create a charming diagonal pattern on the face of the fabric. This is a strong weave which drapes well and is most commonly used for making jeans and jackets as well as interiors such as curtains.
Purposes of woven fabric
Woven fabrics are often used in sewing, for making items such as clothing and furnishings as well as items including woven fabric labels, hospital gowns, surgical tape, banners, tents, umbrellas and lots more. This is a versatile and highly useful fabric which has a wide range of purposes and end uses.
Woven fabrics are treated differently to knitted fabrics. As the yarns are woven together, the edges can unravel or fray relatively easily. They therefore need to be finished with a zigzag stitch for a simpler finish or a serger for a more professional finish.
Fabrics made from weaving are generally tauter and have a crisper handle than knitted fabrics. This makes them perfect for making pleats.
Some other properties include:
- Tiny criss-cross pattern
- Same weave fabrics may vary by yarn size, twist, fibre, count, design or finish
- Can be classified as domestic or industrial
- Characterised by the thickness of the yarn
- Can be easily cut into different shapes
- Woven materials with more fabric count keeps shape well
- Low fabric count materials are less durable and prone to snag or stretch
Advantages of woven fabric
Woven fabrics are widely available; you can purchase a huge range of woven fabric online, in a variety of weaves and finishes. Because there are 3 different types of woven fabric, there is a huge variety of uses for this kind of material, including clothing, soft furnishings and industrial.
Clothing made from woven fabrics are made to be sturdy. They cannot be stretched and don’t overly shrink, so woven materials have a great deal of longevity. Many heavy-duty fabrics are made from weaves, thanks to their strength and durability.
Woven fabrics offer a crisp and distinguished look and can add structure to an outfit making it appear more luxurious and high-end.