Weaving and patterns courtesy of Turnbull & Asser

Too many questions yesterday… so for those who asked questions better asked of the interwebs and someone who knows something…I filched expertise from Turnbull & Asser:

Warp and Weft: All weaves are made up from Warp and Weft ‘yarns’. Warp ‘yarns’ run along the length of the material, whilst weft ‘yarns’ run across the width of the material. It is the different methods of interlacing the warp and weft ‘yarns’ that create a particular type of weave. Many of the most common weaves have acquired names that come down to us over the centuries.

Brief Glossary of Weaving Terms

  • Float: A float is created when a warp or weft ‘yarn’ is passed over two or more threads.
  • Shed: A shed is the opening created on a loom where the weft passes between the warp ‘yarn’.
  • Pick: A pick (also referred to as a shot) is a single pass of the weft through the ‘shed’.
  • Ends: Individual warp threads.
  • Yarn: Yarn is the generic term for a thin, long, continuous strand of textile fibre, filament, or material in a form suitable for knitting, weaving, or otherwise intertwining (or interlacing) to form a textile fabric.

Plain weave is the most common and the tightest method of interlacing warp and weft. Each warp ‘yarn’ passes alternately over and under each weft. The interlacing is opposite in all neighbouring cells. Plain weave allows the highest possible number of interlacings which, depending on the fibre and ‘yarn’ type, the thread density and the finishing, can yield fabrics with high abrasion resistance and resistance to ‘yarn’ slippage.

Lace weave is formed using a combination of ‘floats’ created on a plain weave such that the illusion of small openings is created thus mimicking the appearance of lace.

In twill weave the order of interlacing causes diagonal lines to appear in the fabric. The lines may run to the right, known as the Z direction, or they may run to the left, known as the S direction. On the reverse of the fabric the twill lines run in the opposite direction and are often less distinct. The twill effect can be accentuated by using different coloured warp and weft ‘yarns’.

Warp-faced twills show a predominance of warp ‘yarns’ on the face whereas Weft-faced twills (sometimes called twillette) show a predominance of weft ‘yarns’ on the face.

Grenadine dates back to at least the 18th century when it was used for black silk lace scarves. It was once a popular dress fabric and takes the form of a fine leno-weave mesh. The leno weave is a locking type weave in which two or more warp threads cross over each other and interlace with one or more weft (filling) threads. It is used primarily to prevent shifting of fibres in open weave fabrics. Fabrics in leno weave are normally used in conjunction with other weave styles because if used alone their openness could not produce an effective composite component. The primary characteristics of Grenadine are that it has an open-weave effect, a low yarn count, good dimensional stability and lesser yarn slippage.

The appearance of herringbone weave is exactly as its name implies, namely the shape of the skeletal remains of a Herring. This fishbone effect is created by reversing the direction of the twill weave at regular intervals; this causes the diagonal lines to reverse in direction.

The Houndstooth check pattern originated in woven wool cloth of the Scottish Lowlands, but is now used in many other materials. The traditional Houndstooth check is made with alternating bands of four light threads in both warp and weft woven in a simple 2-2 twill, two over – two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass. The result of this broken twill weave is what can best be described as a four-pointed star check design.

The word moiré comes from the French word for “watered”. In English, it originally referred to the shimmering quality of the French moiré silk. A moiré pattern occurs when two or more different geometrically regular patterns are superimposed. A classic moiré pattern is composed of two sets of parallel lines that are at a slight angle. You can see this effect in real life if you go past two fences located one behind another. A moiré pattern does not necessarily have to be composed of lines. It can also be composed of circles, dots or any other repetitive pattern, consist of multiple colours, and be either moving or still. The essential quality of a moiré pattern is that a new pattern emerged from two existing ones. Often the new pattern seems to resonate or implies a depth not seen in the patterns individually.

A Repp weave is usually applied to a heavy or medium fabric and produces prominent and pronounced ribs (or ridges) in the finished cloth. A true Repp, which is no longer commonly made, is a plain weave fabric made with two warps, one fine and one coarse, the yarns arranged alternately and the fine warp more heavily tensioned than the coarse. Two wefts are used, one fine, one coarse alternately and the weave arranged so that the coarse warp is always lifted over the coarse weft. This creates very prominent ribs. More usually the term repp is given to almost every fabric of the plain weave type having prominent ribs, made on the plain weave fine warp and thicker weft principle and of a coarser and heavier construction than faille and poult.

A rib fabric is one where the surface shows raised lines or ridges. In a warp rib the ridge runs across the width of the fabric and is achieved with a high density of warp ‘ends’, where two or more weft ‘picks’ are placed in each ‘shed’. The warp ‘yarn’ is often finer than the weft and covers the surface of the fabric. A weft rib is the converse of a warp rib where the rib effect runs along the length of the fabric.

Satin is a weave and not a material. The description ‘Satin Bow Tie’ is in truth not the full description as many satin bow ties are made from Cotton rather than Silk.

The main feature of satin weaves is the uniform distribution of the interlacings, which are never adjacent to one another. A basic satin weave repeats over at least five ‘ends’ and five ‘picks’, but the warp ‘ends’ interlace only once. This type of weave pattern leads to the creation of long ‘floats’ which because of the scarcity of interlacings (and thread density) in turn produce the smooth, even and lustrous sheen often associated with satin.

English in origin and was originally created for use in mourning cloth. Barathea generally uses a worsted ‘yarn’ woven with a twill hopsack or broken rib weave. The resulting cloth has a fine texture with a slightly pebbled effect and faint regular twill lines running in opposite directions. Barathea, which has a matt finish, is used in many forms of formal wear including bow ties and cummerbunds.

Self-on-self, also known as Self Figure, is not a particular style of weave; rather it is a generic term for any weave that creates a pattern within the cloth where the weave of the design differs from the ground weave. Self-on-Self is generally employed on plain colours (most commonly white-on-white), the pattern being the same colour as the ground.

End-on-end (also known by its French name, Fil-a-Fil) is essentially a plain weave where one colour yarn is interwoven with another colour yarn. Although one of the two colours is usually White, a great variety of end-on-ends have been produced in recent years. This type of weave yields a familiar two-tone appearance. For end-on-end cloths that do not incorporate a white yarn then one of the yarn colours tends to be a darker shade of the same colour. For example Sky Blue might be used for the ‘weft’ yarn and Mid Blue for the ‘warp’ yarn.