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Clothing is an enormous and interesting topic. In fact, there are various types of clothing materials to choose from, such as polyester, linen, and much more! However, it does not end there. Wearing a jumper and a coat looks and feels entirely different, regardless of whether both of them are produced from wool. There are several types of fabrics out there.

What are the Three Major Types of Fabric Classes?

Ultimately, we can classify clothing fabrics into three major classes: woven, non-woven, and knitted fabrics. Out of these three classes, knitted and woven are the leading contenders, produced straight from yarns. Nonetheless, we also encounter nonwoven fabrics. These nonwoven fabrics are created from fibers, sometimes used as the latest alternatives produced from recycled materials.

These different classes of fabric greatly differ when it comes to their fabric care requirements, wash performance, as well as their construction. Here, we are going to explore the major differences between woven and knitted fabrics. Although there are infinite types of fabrics, most of the woven fabric types can be classified into three main weaves.

In this discussion, we will be using unique terms such as weft and warp. But what do these terms actually mean? Well, these terms are usually used in the textile industry when illustrating the direction of yarns in various types of fabric. Woven applies the terms weft and warp when describing the direction of yarns that are used in woven fabrics; on the other hand, courses and wales are the terms being used in knitted fabrics.

What Are the Three Basic Types of Weave?

The three main types of weave from which other weaves originate are satin weave, twill weave, and plain weave. Take note that the level of yarn interlacement in these fabrics varies significantly. Aside from affecting its look and feel, it can influence the way it’s washed and worn.

Plain Weave

As the name suggests, plain weave is straightforward and simple. How does the warp and weft alternate work? Typically, the weft will go through every warp thread and below the next. This is a durable, practical weave that can produce a fabric with a similar texture on both sides. It’s great for any casual and formal clothing as well as for everyday wear.

Although they are known as plain, plain weave fabrics are not actually dull. There are versatile and varied fabrics that are plainly woven, however, they can be created from different textile fibers and blend perfectly when producing the finished garment. Let’s take a look at these plain weave fabrics and the common clothes they create. You might discover that you have abundant plain weaves in your wardrobe, and you are simply not aware of it. Except, of course, if you have very distinct tastes.

  • Flannel can be made into sweaters, jackets, PJs, shirts, cardigans, and blankets.
  • Canvas can be used for heavy workwear.
  • Organza is an excellent fabric for making formal wear such as gowns and dresses, however, they can also be used for any fashionwear.
  • Lawn is perfect for creating blouses, light-weight shirts, as well as linings for skirts and dresses.
  • Taffeta is best used for making jackets, prom dresses, evening dresses, as well as any other types of party wear.
  • Poplin is commonly used for making dresses, sportswear, shirts, pajamas, and raincoats.

Although plain weaves are easy to handle, it does not necessarily mean that they will simply take care of themselves. When making a comparison between woven and knitted fabric, you will see that woven fabrics are more susceptible to wrinkling, particularly, if they are created from cotton. To help you in reducing those wrinkles, you can use a fabric conditioner.

Satin Weave

When it comes to satin weave, the weft will appear every four warp threads and sometimes even more. After that, it will disappear again on the succeeding warp. Satin can be highly distinguished by its matte on one side and glistening beautifully on the other. Additionally, it is great for adding a touch of flair and frill. To feel the luxuriousness of this fabric, you can simply run your hand along the smooth side or roll over it when no one is looking.

Generally, satin fabrics are created from silk and polyester. Silk is an infinite filament of pure fiber, while charmeuse is a soft, glossy lightweight fabric that is used for weaving with a satin weave. The luster and drape of charmeuse are just the same as satin, however, it is much lighter and softer.

If you try to use shorter fibers on a satin weave that requires being twisted together to form threads, for instance, linen or cotton, then it can result in a fabric known as sateen.

Twill Weave

It’s quite easy to identify twill due to its diagonal ridges. Twill is sturdy and textured, commonly used for trousers, including cargo pants, chinos, jeans, etc., as well as jackets. Twill can be recognized for its repeating patterns, including herringbone and houndstooth. However, these patterns are not an assurance that it is a twill weave because most often houndstooth patterns can also be found on plain weave clothes. So, be sure to verify if the pattern is a result of the way the threads were woven together.

Among the twill weave fabric names, the most popular would probably be denim. Take a closer look at your denim pants, and you will discover that they have unique diagonal lines of twill. Twill weaves can also be found in chino and serge.

It is important to remember that not all woven clothing materials use only a single weaving style. For instance, flannel or tweed can be produced from twill weave or plain weave. Most baby blankets are made from flannel. This is because this popular fabric can remain gentle and soft with the help of a dermatologically proven fabric conditioner.

What Are the Other Types of Fabrics?

Obviously, weaving is not the only method for transforming raw materials into fabulous fabrics. Basically, there are two major types of knits that are used in creating various knitted fabrics, particularly in clothing – warp knits and weft knits.

Among these two, the most common one is weft knitting. Most probably, you are familiar with this if you have used a pair of knitting needles. Essentially, you will use a single, continuous strand of yarn and use this in knitting into the clothes. Be sure to work horizontally and row by row. Some clothes that are created from weft knits are sweatshirts, athleisure, t-shirts, and joggers.

When it comes to warp knitting, several strings of yarn will be needed, and they should be knitted together at the same time in columns. It is not practical to do warp knitting by hand; hence, it should be done by machines.

Most likely, weft knitting is stretchy, looser, cozy, and warm. However, cutting it will unravel everything since it is made of a continuous string. This is a popular method used for clothes that are made with knitting, including socks, scarves, and jumpers.

The stretch of warp knitting is not the same as weft knitting; hence, it has the ability to hold its shape effectively. Most often, it is used for making lingerie and lace.

Spandex is a fabric wholesaler. They offer several types of fabrics such as cotton, fabric for printing, swimwear, polyester, lingerie, woven, lace, and many more. So, if you are looking for a specific type of fabric, then we’ve got you covered! For more information, you can call us at 213.629.7416 or send us a fax at 213.629.7433 or email us at [email protected].