Fabric Production Steps
1. Fibers are usually twisted and spun into yarn.
2. Yarns are knitted or weaved together to form fabric.
3. Color is added to the fabric by dying or printing.
4. A finish is applied to the fabric to improve the appearance of the fabric and to fit to the use.
The first step in the fabric production process is taking fibers and twisting them to form a yarn. The yarn is then woven together to form fabric. Weaving is taking yarn and interlacing them with other yarns at right angles. There are two types of yarns. A warp yarn is the first which is yarn that runs lengthwise in a woven piece of fabric. The second type of yarn is weft yarn. Weft yarn is yarn that runs crosswise in woven fabric. The direction of the warp and weft yarns that run lengthwise and crosswise is called the grain. The bias is the diagonal grain of the fabric which allows the fabric to stretch. The simplest weave is the plain weave that consists of the weft yarn (crosswise) passing over then under the warp yarn (lengthwise). One of the more complicated weaves is the basket weave. In a basket weave, the weft yarn passes over two and under two of the warp yarns. An example of this style of weaving is chiffon, seersucker, and taffeta. A twill weave is another type that the weft yarn passes over and under one, two, or three warp yarns. The twill weave is used mostly for durability. Denim and gabardine are examples of a twill weave product. Next is a satin weave that produces a shiny, smooth surface that results from passing a weft yarn over and under numerous warp yarns to create long floats. Other weaves include pile weaves (corduroy, velvet), dobby weaves (dotted swiss, pique), jacquard (brocade, damask), and leno (fabrics with an open or lacy appearance).
Knitting is the construction of fabrics by looping yarns together. Just like weaves, there are two types of knits. Weft knits are made with only one yarn that runs crosswise which forms horizontal rows of interlocking loops. Sweaters, jersey, and ribbed knits are all examples of weft knits. The other type of knit is the warp knit. The warp knit is made with several yarns that create loops that interlock in a lengthwise direction. Tricot and rasschel knits are examples of these thype of knitting. A gauge is the number of loops, or stitches per inch in a knitted fabric.
There are also other ways to produce fabrics. Nonwoven is the process of compacting fiber together by moisture, heat, chemicals, friction, or pressure. Laces and nets are produced by knotting, twisting, or looping. Braided fabrics are created by interlacing three or more yarns together to form regular diagonal pattern down the length of the resulting cord. Another type is bonded fabrics which is two layers of fabric that are permanently fastened together by laminating. The last technique is quilted fabrics. A layer of padding or stuffing is put in between two layers of fabric and held in place by stitching.
The next step in the production of fabrics is the finish. Finishing is the applying of colors or surface designs and treatments that improve the look and feel of the fabric. Bleaching, dying, and printing are all examples of finish treatments that are put in or on fabric. There are two finishing categories. Mechanical is the first one which places finishes on fabric mechanically. The chemical process is when a finish becomes apart of the fabric through chemical reactions with the fibers. Mechanical finishes affect the size and appearance of fabrics like embossing, glazing, and brushing or napping. Chemical processes affect the performance of the fabric. Flame retardant and stain resistant are examples of chemical finishes.