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Production techniques

Fabrics usually need to be washed, bleached and dyed before they are made into textile products. Garments are assembled using various joining techniques including sewing, fusing and heat-sealing. Finishing improves the appearance, handle and performance of fabrics, while pressing is used to shape and stabilise fabrics.

Dyeing

Before dyeing and printing the fabric is prepared by washing, bleaching and mercerising, in which the yarn is treated to improve strength, lustre and receptivity to dye. Fabrics can be dyed by hand or by machine.

Hand dyeing

Hand dyeing fabric

Hand dyeing fabric

In hand dyeing, fabrics are immersed in hot or cold dyes in a dye bath. The dye bath is agitated so the dye reaches all areas. When the desired colour is achieved the fabric is removed and rinsed to remove excess dye. Then it is fixed with a mordant or a fixing agent such as salt. The strength of a dye colour is determined by the:

  • amount of time in the dye bath
  • absorbency of fibres
  • original fabric colour
  • concentration of the dye colour in the dye bath
  • effective use of a mordant or fixative

Commercial dyeing

In industrial production fabric is dyed by continuous or batch dyeing.

Continuous dyeing

The fabric is passed through a dye bath, and then squeezed between rollers to spread the dye evenly and remove excess. Continuous dyeing is used for colours that do not need to change too quickly with fashion.

Batch dyeing

Fabrics are produced without dye. Instead, they are dyed to order in large batches according to the colours required. Batch dyeing is used for fabrics that have to change in colour frequently because of fashion.

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