Design & Technology
Most fabrics are made by weaving or knitting yarns, although non-woven fabrics are made by bonding or felting fibres together. A fabric's appearance, properties and end use can be affected by the way it was constructed.
Woven fabrics are made up of a weft - the yarn going across the width of the fabric - and a warp - the yarn going down the length of the loom. The side of the fabric where the wefts are double-backed to form a non-fraying edge is called the selvedge.
There are three types of woven fabrics.
In plain-weave fabric the warp and weft are aligned so that they form a simple criss-cross pattern. Plain-weave is strong and hardwearing, so it's used for fashion and furnishing fabrics.
In twill-weave fabric the crossings of weft and warp are offset to give a diagonal pattern on the fabric surface. It's strong, drapes well and is used for jeans, jackets and curtains.
In satin-weave fabric there is a complex arrangement of warp and weft threads, which allows longer float threads either across the warp or the weft. The long floats mean the light falling on the yarn doesn't scatter and break up, like on a plain-weave.
The reflected light creates a smooth, lustrous (shiny) surface commonly called satin. The reverse side is invariably dull and non-shiny. Weave variations include jacquard and damask.