Saturday, December 2, 2017

Flocked Pile Fabrics and Other Pile Construction Processes[1]
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the seventy-first 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.

If you find any post on this blog site useful, you can save it or copy and paste it into your own "Word" document etc. for your future reference. For example, Safari allows you to save a post (e.g. click on "File", click on "Print" and release, click on "PDF" and then click on "Save As" and release - and a PDF should appear where you have stored it). Safari also allows you to mail a post to a friend (click on "File", and then point cursor to "Mail Contents On This Page" and release). Either way, this or other posts on this site may be a useful Art Resource for you.

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!

Today’s post concludes the series on pile fabrics - namely flocked pile fabrics and other pile construction processes.

Base fabric: Tetoron cotton fabric.
Flocking piles: 100% nylon 66.

Flocked Pile Fabrics: A Finish
Flock are very short fibers attached to the surface of the fabric by an adhesive to make a pile-like design or fabric.

In the 1920s white cotton and colored rayon flock dots were used on dress and curtain fabrics and some overall flocking was done on industrial fabrics.

Vintage bubble balloon dress in frothy tulle flocked with velvet polka dots. The sweetheart bodice is ruched and draped, and the skirt has a small crinoline.

A renewed interest in flocking began in the 1960s with the development of new adhesives, new improved substrates and the availability of new precision-cut fibers.

1960s shift dress or house dress. Chocolate brown with white-flocked polka dots.

In apparel, flock is used for velvet or suede-like fabrics as well as for pile designs on fabrics. In the automotive industry, there has been interest in flocked fabrics for floor coverings, head liners, trunk liners and weather stripping.

River Island black flock print velvet backless dress.

Flock may be made from any fiber. Rayon is the most widely used because it is cheap and easy to cut. Nylon, which has excellent abrasion resistance and durability, is tough and requires special cutting knives. Polyester, acrylic and olefin fibers are also used.

Polka dot fabric polyester flocking tulle for lady's shirt/dress fabric.

Fibers for flocking must be straight and therefore the length and denier are important. As the fiber length is increased, the denier also must be increased so that the fiber will stand up straight in the fabric. Fibers which are cut square at the ends will anchor more firmly in the adhesive.

Flock with square-cut ends is anchored on the wrong side.

The adhesive is a latex dissolved in a solvent that evaporates. The base fabric can be of any type. For overall flocking, woven fabrics present some problems because of surface irregularities and a heavy filler coating must be used. Some of the newer and cheaper base materials are nonwovens of various types – urethane and vinyl foams. Flock can also be applied to an adhesive film, which can be peeled off and laminated to a base fabric.

Peacock flocked adhesive film.

The two basic methods of applying flocking are mechanical and electrostatic.

Diagrams showing flocking process. Left: Mechanical flocking. Right: Electrostatic flocking.

Chart and comparison of the two flocking processes. Left Column: Mechanical flocking. Right Column: Electrostatic flocking.

In both processes, the flock is placed in an erect position and after flocking the fabric is sent to an oven for drying the adhesive. In the above chart a comparison of the two methods are given. Overall flocking or space flocking can be done by either method.

The potential for flocked fabrics is great. For example, it can be applied to a cloth to effectively clean greasy or oily surfaces. It can impart a pleasing flannel surface to a rubber bed sheet, make burlap with a hand like the most luxurious suede or transform a whole boat desk into one continuous, soft, cool, sure-footed carpet. Beauty and style can be imparted to foundation garments and at the same time engineer the adhesive and design areas to add control where desired etc.

Chenille-type yarns have been made by flocking. Fleece-type fabrics utilizing two pile heights for outer wear are possibilities.

Polyester faux flocking linen yarn/Chenille fabric.

Other Pile Construction Processes
Techniques involving new machines are being investigated in the USA as possibilities for making pile fabrics more economically than by traditional methods.

In England a Kraftamatic machine was invented some years ago which combines tufting and knitting. It is a sewing machine above the backing fabric and a knitting machine below it. The difference between this technique and tufting is that the loops are locked firmly in the backing. Loops can be produced on both sides of the fabric.

Kraftamatic machine makes loops on both sides.

It is being used to make terry cloth for towels. Other end uses are diapers, blankets and carpets. The Kraftamatic can produce fabrics ten times faster than a loom.

The Mali and Arachne machines (see future post) can produce pile fabrics through a nonwoven fiber web.

Loop pile produced on an Arachne machine.

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

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