Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part I)[1]
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the fifty-seventh post in the "Art Resource" series, specifically aimed to construct an appropriate knowledge base in order to develop an artistic voice in ArtCloth.

Other posts in this series are:
Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms
Units Used in Dyeing and Printing of Fabrics
Occupational, Health & Safety
A Brief History of Color
The Nature of Color
Psychology of Color
Color Schemes
The Naming of Colors
The Munsell Color Classification System
Methuen Color Index and Classification System
The CIE System
Pantone - A Modern Color Classification System
Optical Properties of Fiber Materials
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part I
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part II
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part III
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part IV
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part V
Protein Fibers - Wool
Protein Fibers - Speciality Hair Fibers
Protein Fibers - Silk
Protein Fibers - Wool versus Silk
Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Cotton
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Linen
Other Natural Cellulosic Fibers
General Overview of Man-Made Fibers
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Viscose
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Esters
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Nylon
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Polyester
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Acrylic and Modacrylic
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Olefins
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Elastomers
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Mineral Fibers
Man Made Fibers - Other Textile Fibers
Fiber Blends
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part I
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part II
Melt-Spun Fibers
Characteristics of Filament Yarn
Yarn Classification
Direct Spun Yarns
Textured Filament Yarns
Fabric Construction - Felt
Fabric Construction - Nonwoven fabrics
A Fashion Data Base
Fabric Construction - Leather
Fabric Construction - Films
Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins
Fabric Construction – Foams and Poromeric Material
Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns
Weaving and the Loom
Similarities and Differences in Woven Fabrics
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part I)
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part II)
The Three Basic Weaves - Twill Weave
The Three Basic Weaves - Satin Weave
Figured Weaves - Leno Weave
Figured Weaves – Piqué Weave
Figured Fabrics
Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements
Crêpe Fabrics
Crêpe Effect Fabrics
Pile Fabrics - General
Woven Pile Fabrics
Chenille Yarn and Tufted Pile Fabrics
Knit-Pile Fabrics
Flocked Pile Fabrics and Other Pile Construction Processes
Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms
Napped Fabrics – Part I
Napped Fabrics – Part II
Double Cloth
Multicomponent Fabrics
Knit-Sew or Stitch Through Fabrics
Finishes - Overview
Finishes - Initial Fabric Cleaning
Mechanical Finishes - Part I
Mechanical Finishes - Part II
Additive Finishes
Chemical Finishes - Bleaching
Glossary of Scientific Terms
Chemical Finishes - Acid Finishes
Finishes: Mercerization
Finishes: Waterproof and Water-Repellent Fabrics
Finishes: Flame-Proofed Fabrics
Finishes to Prevent Attack by Insects and Micro-Organisms
Other Finishes
Shrinkage - Part I
Shrinkage - Part II

There are currently eight data bases on this blogspot, namely, the Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms, Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff, A Fashion Data Base, the Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins, the Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns, Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements, Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms and the Glossary of Scientific Terms, which has been updated to Version 3.5. All data bases will be updated from time-to-time in the future.

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The Art Resource series will be the first post in each calendar month. Remember - these Art Resource posts span information that will be useful for a home hobbyist to that required by a final year University Fine-Art student and so undoubtedly, some parts of any Art Resource post may appear far too technical for your needs (skip over those mind boggling parts) and in other parts, it may be too simplistic with respect to your level of knowledge (ditto the skip). The trade-off between these two extremes will mean that Art Resource posts will hopefully be useful in parts to most, but unfortunately may not be satisfying to all!

The three basic weaves – plain, twill and satin – can be made on a simple loom without the use of any attachment. Today’s post will concentrate some aspects of plain weave with the next post on this series concluding this basic weave.

Plain weave on a basic loom.

Plain Weave (General Comments)
Plain weave is the simplest of the three basic weaves that can be made on a simple loom. It is formed by yarns at right angles passing alternatively over and under each other. Each warp yarn interlaces with each filling (weft) yarn to form the maximum number of interlacings. Plain weave requires only a two harness loom and is the least expensive weave to produce.

Two-harness orange Structo Artcraft loom.

Plain weave is described as a 1/1 weave: one harness up and one harness down when the weaving shed is formed The three figures below show the pattern of interlacing with respect to plain weave.

Cross-sectional view of plain weave.

Checkerboard design of plain weave.

Magnified view of plain weave fabric.

Plain weave fabric.

Characteristics of Plain Weave
Plain weave fabrics have no right or wrong side unless they are printed or given a surface finish. Their plain, uninteresting surface serves as a good background for printed designs, for embossing and for puckered and glazed finishes.

100% Cotton corsairs printed plain weave fabric.

Because there are many interlacings per square inch, plain weave fabrics tend to wrinkle more, ravel less, and be less absorbent than other weaves. Interestingly effects can be achieved by use of different fiber contents, novelty or textured yarns, yarns of different sizes, high- or low-twist yarns, filament or staple yarns and different finishes.

Plain weave cloth using some textured yarns.

Balance in plain weave fabric is helpful in recognizing and naming fabrics and in distinguishing the warp direction of the fabric. The plain weave listed in the table below will be discussed in this post.

Plain Weave Balanced Fabrics
Plain weave balanced fabrics have a wider range of end uses than fabrics of any other weave and are, therefore, the largest group of woven fabrics. They can be made in any weight from very sheer to very heavy.

Casual chiffon dress by Ittehad Law.

Chiffon is a lightweight, balanced plain-woven sheer fabric woven of alternate S- and Z-twist crepe (high-twist) yarns. The twist in the crepe yarns puckers the fabric slightly in both directions after weaving, giving it some stretch and a slightly rough feel. Since chiffon is a lightweight fabric that frays very easily, bound or French seams must be used to stop the fabric from fraying. Chiffon is smoother and more lustrous than the similar fabric Georgette. Chiffon is most commonly used in eveningwear, especially as an overlay, for giving an elegant and floating appearance to the gown. It is also a popular fabric used in blouses, ribbons, scarves and lingerie.

Sheer Fabrics
Sheer fabrics are very thin, lightweight fabrics that are transparent or semi-transparent because of very few yarns or very fine yarns. They are used for glass curtains, which give privacy but let in light, for summer weight shirts, blouses and dresses, and for lingerie. Garments made of sheer fabrics may require shorter wash cycles and lower ironing temperatures to prevent scorching. Because they dry faster, they may need to be re-dampened during ironing. Small hems and enclosed seams are used to enhance the daintiness of the fabric and to prevent pulling out during use and care.

Chiffon blouse.

Low Count Sheers
Low count sheers are characterized by open spaces between yarns. They are made of carded yarns similar in size to the yarns used in medium-weight fabrics – see table below. They are neither strong nor durable, are seldom printed and differ in the way they are finished.

Low count sheers.

Cheesecloth has a very soft texture and may be a natural color, bleached and/or dyed. It is used for interlinings, flag buntings and sign cloths. Cheesecloth of very low count is used for covering tobacco plants that must be grown in the shade, and is called tobacco cloth.

Creepy but fun cheesecloth ghost costumes.

Crinoline is a cheesecloth that has been stiffened with size, glue or resins. It is usually black or white and is seldom colorfast. Some have a nonwoven material pressed on the back to make them more comfortable to wear.

Ballroom length hoop Crinoline 42".

High Count Sheers
High count sheers are characterized by transparency due to the fineness of yarns. The cotton sheers – lawn, organdy and batiste – are finished from the same grey goods (lawn grey goods). They differ from one another in the way they are finished. The better qualities are made of combed yarns.

Organdy is the sheerest cotton cloth made. Its sheerness and crispness are the result of an acid finish. Because of its stiffness, it wrinkles badly and is not suitable for handkerchiefs or baby clothes.

Victoria Beckham paint effect cotton Organdy dress.

Lawn has a starch or resin finish and is often printed.

Alkaram lawn dress – Summer collection.

Batiste is the softest of the three. It is highly mercerized and is often used as white or pastel colors. Batiste made of polyester/cotton blends have good wrinkle recovery and so are suitable for wash-and-wear end-uses. Batiste made of 100% polyester is not as soft and opaque as the blended fabric and is often an unbalanced fabric.

A “Maxi” dress - silk and cotton blend batiste from Fine Fabrics.

Tissue ginghams and chambray are similar to lawn but are yarn dyed.

Chambray dress with leggings.

Filament yarns are often designated by the fiber content; for example, polyester sheer or nylon sheer, or they may be called by the name of the cotton fabric they resemble, for example, silk organdy.

Valentino silk organdy dress.

Ninon is a filament sheer widely used for curtains. Georgette and chiffon are made with crepe yarns, the latter being smoother or more lustrous.

Femella Black-Hi-Low Georgette dress.

Voile is a sheer made with special high-twist or twist-on-twist yarns. Voile was originally cotton or wool fabric, but it is found in the market using other fiber content.

Elie Tahari Ilona printed cotton Voile dress.

Medium Weight Fabrics
The largest group of plain weave fabrics are of medium weight, as medium weight fabrics have many more uses than either light weight or heavy weight fabrics. The medium weight fabrics have medium sized yarns and may be finished in different ways or woven from dyed yarns.

The carded yarn fabrics in this group are converted from a grey goods cloth called print cloth. Most print cloth is made into percale, a smooth, slightly starched, printed or plain-colored fabric. It is called wash-and-wear cotton if it has a resin finish; calico if it has a small quaint printed design: chintz if it has a large printed design and glazed chintz if it is given a glazed resin finish. Glazed chintz is made in solid colors as well as prints. The name chintz comes from the Hindu word meaning “spotted”. These fabrics are often made with blends of cotton and polyester or high-wet-modulus rayon. They are used for shirts, dresses, blouses, pajamas and aprons.

Old fashioned blue rose cotton Chintz vintage 1950s “bombshell” party dress.

Any plain woven, balanced fabric ranging in weight from lawn to heavy bed sheeting may be called muslin. It is also a specific name for medium-weight fabric that is unbleached or white.

Vintage teal blue gray cotton muslin white beaded drop waist shift dress.

Below are yarn dyed fabrics in this category.

Ginghams are yarn-dyed fabrics with checks and plaids or they may appear to be a solid color. Chambrays appear to be a solid color but have white filling and color warp yarns or they may have darker yarns in the fillings – iridescent chambray - or they may have stripes. Some chambray is unbalanced with high warp count, which produces a filling rib similar to that of broadcloth and poplin.

Gingham Mayhem skirt.

Ginghams and chambray are made of cotton or cotton blends and are unusually given a wash-and-wear or durable press treatment. When they are made of fiber other than cotton, the fiber content is included in the name; for example, silk gingham. In filament rayon these fabrics are given a crisp finish and are called taffetas. In wool, similar fabrics are called wool checks, plaids and shepherd’s checks.

Dark orange beading taffeta mermaid trumpet-floor-length bridesmaid dress.

The construction of gingham and chambray is a more costly process than the making of converted goods because the loom must be rethreaded for each new design and threading a loom for yarn-dyed fabrics requires more skill than threading it with undyed yarn. It is necessary also for the manufacturer to carry a large inventory, which requires more storage space.

Women’s apparel winter wool red plaid dress.

Stripes, plaids and checks present problems that are not present in plain-colored fabrics. Crosswise lines must be parallel to the floor in draperies, must be lined up with the edges of furniture and must be properly balanced in apparel. Ginghams may have an up-and-down, a right-and-left, or both. These are called unbalanced plaid. More time is needed to cut out a garment in plaid than in plain material and more attention must be given to the choice of design. Plaids in expensive garments seldom match except at the center front and back seams, places where failure to match is seldom noticeable.

“Plaids” by Tina Skinner. The entire book is a “visual survey of pattern variations” with respect to plaids.

Gingham. Top: Balanced plaid. Bottom: Unbalanced plaid.

Imitations of gingham are made with printed designs. There is, however, a right-and-wrong-side to a print, whereas true gingham is the same on both sides. Lengthwise printed stripes are usually “on-grain”, but cross-wise stripes are frequently “off-grain” as shown in the figure below.

Left: “On grain fabric”. Right: “Off grain fabric”.

[1] N. Hollen and J. Saddler, Textiles, 3rd Edition, MacMillan Company, London (1968).

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