Weaving, textiles, and fabrics go back thousands and thousands of years. Although the material is too delicate and degradable to survive for a longer duration, the tools used to make clothes live on as proof of our predecessor harvesting, spinning, and weaving. Spindles were the first machines used. If you have heard fairy tales, then you know how the spindle plays a significant role in many stories, including “Sleeping Beauty” and “Rumpelstiltskin”.
Historically, the thread was drawn from leaves, bark, and animal skins. The oldest existing example of weaving is the Banton Burial Cloth, displayed at the National Museum of the Philippines. Another discovery of coloured flax fibres found in a cave in Georgia dates back to 34,000 BCE, suggesting that the art of creating textile-like materials has been around since then!
Today, we have so many methods of fabric forming (or fabric making), each more enthralling than the next. In this article, we will dive deep into two major processes, knitting and weaving. We’ll also look at careers where these are applicable.
Methods of Fabric Formation
We derive the word textile from the Latin word, “texere”, which means “to weave”. It is one of the different ways of producing or “forming” textile fabrics. After the intensive process of producing the material, from livestock that provides cotton, wool, or silk, to even chemists that create fabric through chemical means, the fibre is converted to yarn and is dyed, when it is finally ready for fabric formation.
Weaving, knitting, braiding, tufting, and bonding are the most widely used fabric-making techniques. Let’s look at each of these, including the difference between weaving and knitting!
Weaving is easily one of the most used fabric formation techniques. For context: 70% of fabric made around the world is woven. So what is the weaving of fabric?
In weaving, two separate sets of yarn (called “warp” and “weft”) are interlaced together to form the fabric. Usually, a loom is used to weave these together. It holds the warp thread in place and weaves the surrounding weft, and both are held at right angles with each other. The fabric types used for weaving are cotton, wool, silk, and even nylon. There are three types of weaves used: plain weave, satin weave, and twill weave. A single weft thread is referred to as a pick, while a single warp thread is called an end.
Here is an example of what woven fabrics look like up close:
Knitting fabric is not the same as weaving. In woven fabric, strands are sewn at right angles with each other. Under knitting, one yarn strand is interlocked with another, into rows and columns (called, courses and wales respectively). You have surely seen your grandmother knit sweaters or socks.
Knitted fabric is used to make sweaters, hosiery, and underwear/lingerie. The advantages of knitted fabric over woven are that they are more stretchable, which allows comfort and fitness. The pattern of the fabric traps air such that knitted fabric is warmer, and absorbent too. Knitted fabrics, however, are quick to unravel. If even one loop unravels, then the entire fabric falls apart. Knitted fabrics are also prone to shrinking.
The two types of knitting used are weft knitting and warp knitting.
Aren’t weaving and knitting engrossing? They are one of the most popularly used methods of fabric forming. Other methods of fabric forming are listed below:
- Braiding- One of the simplest ways of fabric formation, it is the process of diagonally interlacing yarn. There are two sets of yarn, and they both move in different directions. Of course, there can be more than the complexity of the fabric increases.
- Tufting- Used mostly in the procedure of manufacturing carpets, it is when the fabric is sewn along a hard-backed fabric. The loops of thread are arranged in vertical and horizontal columns.
- Bonding- This one is interesting. Chemical bonding methods are used to bind polymers, fibres, yarns, or filaments into porous and flexible structures. Here is an example of what bonded fabric looks like:
If you find this process fascinating, here is a quick DIY on recycling your jeans, using the bonding method to create heavy-duty environment-friendly bags!
We hope you enjoyed learning about different techniques of fabric formation! It is a fascinating subject and serves as the basis for textile and fashion students. Let us very quickly look at what careers in these industries look like
Careers in Fashion and Textile
Careers in these fields help you build your network and open up a multitude of career options, such as fashion designer, interior designer, marketing manager in fashion, process engineer, quality controller, and so on!
College education: Bachelor in fashion design, bachelor in fashion technology, and bachelors in fine arts, are some of the degrees that help you pursue such roles
Salaries: Average pay can range between $47,000 and ₹76,000 per year in the US. With more experience, the sky’s the limit!
There are many sewing techniques, and a lot to cover based on your level of interest in the subject. To immerse yourself further, check out this article where we show you everything you need to know about textile design! There are many lucrative and satisfying opportunities for students, and ISDI is the place to start.
How can ISDI Help:
We offer various design programs such as Strategic Design Management, Product Design Fashion Design, Fashion Communication and Styling, Interior Design and Strategic Design, Communication Design, and Management. Pursuing one of the degree programs, that is, Bachelors in Design (B.Des) – 4-year program or Postgraduate In Design (PGDI) – 11 months program. Either of the programs is an alternative to a career in fashion and design.
The ISDI campus is located in the business district of Mumbai, the commercial centre of India. ISDI consists of a curriculum that is based on that of the Parsons School of Design, experienced and industry-leading faculty, and practical project-based training, all situated on a state-of-the-art campus. ISDI is just the right place for someone looking to start a career in design.