Saturday, July 7, 2018

Finishes - Overview
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the seventy-eight 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

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!

Finishes - Overview
A "finish" is defined as anything that is done to fiber, yarn or fabric either before or after weaving or knitting to change the appearance (what you see), the hand or handle (what you feel) and the performance of the fabric (what the fabric does).

Women's Dress Drill. Mercerized cotton beach skirt.

Fabrics have always been finished. Early finishes were restricted due to the lack of technology and so was done to improve the appearance and hand of the fabric only. Natural dyes applied by laborious hand processes were used to color the fabrics. To make sleazy fabric into scalable merchandise, china clay and starch were added to fill up the spaces between the yarns. Various mechanical finishes were applied to make fabrics smoother, more lustrous, and better looking. These finishes were temporary and were lost during the first washing. Two important durable finishes which have been used for over 100 years are mercerization and tin weighting of silk. The use of mercerization has increased while weighting of silk has almost ceased.

Late afternoon dress by Jean-Philippe Worth, France, Paris, ca. 1905. Silk satin weighted with tin salts, gilded net - Royal Ontario Museum.

The arts and techniques of finishing have developed to the extent that the finish is as important and in some cases more important than the fiber content. The properties of a fiber can be so completely changed by a finish that the finished product bears little resemblance to the original.

The consumer needs to recognize visible finishes and to recognize the need for nonviable finishes. The consumer needs to know how good the finish is in terms of serviceability. A permanent or durable finish lasts the life of the garment. Durable also refers to a finish that lasts longer than a temporary finish but that may be unsatisfactory in appearance while still present in the fabric. A temporary finish lasts until the garment is washed or dry cleaned. A renewable finish can be applied by the homemaker with no special equipment or it may be applied by the dry cleaner.

Starburst sweater dress with a durable finish.

Finishing may be done in the mill where the fabric is constructed or it may be done in a separate establishment by a highly specialise group called converters. Most mills, especially cotton weaving mills, are not equiped to do finishing. Converters operate in two ways: they perform a service for a mill by finishing goods to order, in which case they are paid for their services and never own the fabric; or they buy the fabric from a mill, finish it according to their own needs, and sell it to the cutting trade or as yards goods under their own trade name.

Wash and Wear denim mini skirt.

All fabric finishing adds to the cost of the fabric. Since it is relatively easy to prepare man-made fiber fabrics for finishing, these plants have lower costs. When a finish is new and in demand, the converter can realize a greater profit, for example, the wash-and-wear finish.

New evening dress with net finish & laser embroidery.

Many factory finishing processes are similar to operations done in the home. Finishing involves removing the size and oils, bleaching, relaxing tension in the fabric, slitting tubular knits and straightening wefts. It also involves all the after-treatments, which modify the properties of the textile and fabrics: all processes which alter the appearance and performance of the fabric.

Grey Goods
Grey goods - alternatively gray, grieve or loom state - are fabrics, regardless pf color, which have been woven on a loom and have received no wet or dry finishing operations. Some grey goods fabrics have names, such as print cloth, soft-filled sheeting, and so forth, which are used only for the grey goods. Other grey goods names such as lawn, broadcloth and sateen, are also used for the finished cloth.

Sateen mini skirt.

Mill-Finished Fabrics
Mill-finished fabrics can be sold and used without converting, although they may be sized or Sanforized before they are sold.

Check China Mill-finished fabric.

Converted or Finished Goods
Converted or finished goods have received wet or dry finishing treatments such as bleaching, dyeing or embossing. Some converted goods retain the grey goods name. Others, such as madras or gingham, are named for the place of origin; and still others, such as silence cloth, are named for their end use. The figure below depicts some of the fabrics that can be converted from a single grey goods.

Fabrics converted from grey-goods print cloth. Top: left, print cloth; right, china. Middle: left, percale; right embossed cotton. Bottom: plissé.

Patchwork Madras mini skirt.

All grey goods must be cleaned and made ready for the acceptance of the finish. Grey goods contain a warp sizing, which makes the fabric stiff and interferes with the absorption of liquids. This sizing must be removed before further finishing can be done. Also, fabrics are often soiled during weaving and must be cleaned for that reason.

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

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