Woven fabrics have 2 sets of threads that interlace at right angles. The warp threads are held in place on a loom, and are lifted or lowered to allow the weft thread to pass over some threads and under other threads. The cut edge of woven fabrics will fray. Here are a few common types of woven fabrics:
- Plain Weave - In plain weave, which is the simplest woven fabric, the weft threads alternate over one warp thread and under one thread, repeating across the entire width. This fabric is not stretchy, and it can be stiff and sturdy (duck), light with a beautiful drape (voile), or somewhere in between (muslin and broadcloth). Plain weave fabrics are used for many purposes and are popular for bedding (percale, barrier cloth).
- Twill Weave - In a twill weave the threads travel over several threads and under one thread, creating floats of thread. Because the placement of the floats is offset in each subsequent row, twills have a characteristic diagonal pattern. Twills have very little stretch horizontally and vertically, but do have some stretch on the diagonal. Twills (including denim) are a great choice for clothing, light slip covers, futon covers, and other home decor projects. Our black twill is great for blackout curtains!
- Satin Weave - In a satin woven fabric, the fine weft thread travels over more warp threads creating longer floats that give the fabric its characteristic sheen and drape. Some examples of satin weave are our sateen and hemp/silk charmeuse.
- Other Woven Fabrics - There are an endless number of ways that woven fabrics can be made by varying the interlacement of the threads, producing different textures. Some examples are dobby weave and waffle weave.
Knit fabrics are made from a continuous thread connected in loops. Knit fabrics have a fair amount of stretch across, and a smaller amount of stretch lengthwise. The cut edge of knits will not fray.
- Jersey - Jersey is a familiar fabric that is used in making t-shirts. It is a stretchy fabric that has a right and wrong side. The cut edges of jersey will curl. In addition to t-shirts, jersey is great for summer dresses, swim suit coverups, baby clothes, and warm underlayers.
- Interlock - Interlock is a more stable fabric and looks the same on the front and back. It does not have as much stretch as jersey, and it does not curl at the edges when cut. Interlock is great for heavy shirts, camisoles, dresses, and baby layettes.
- Fleece and French Terry - French Terry has a smooth side and a side that has loops. Fleece is similar, but the side that is not smooth has been brushed so it is soft and fleecy. Fleece and French Terry fabrics are great for heavy shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, and even bedding!
- Rib - The ridges in rib knit give it a lot of stretch and it is great for cuffs and necklines on garments made from jersey, interlock, fleece, or french terry or use it for the whole garment!
- Other - Thermal and pique are examples of knits that have some texture - they are great choices for athletic wear and warm under layers.
- Organic Cotton - Cotton is a cellulose plant fiber that is widely used in fabric production. Organic Cotton requires is grown without pesticides, and requires less water than conventional cotton. Clothing made from cotton fabrics are breathable and are comfortable in warm and cool temperatures. Cotton withstands wear and can be washed in hot water (this will cause some shrinkage). Cotton is popular for bedding and home decorating projects.
- 100% Hemp and 100% Linen - Hemp and linen (flax) are bast fibers and are durable fibers that get softer with washing and wear. Fabrics made from these fibers are resistant to insects and mold. Like cotton, hemp and linen fabrics are breathable and comfortable to wear. These fibers can be washed in hot water and stand up to ironing.
- Wool - Wool comes from sheep, and our wool fabrics are made from sheep raised in Pennsylvania. Wool fabrics are warm even when wet, and can be used for warm shirts, pants, and jackets. Our wool fabrics have not been treated so it must be washed with care to avoid shrinking and felting (washing instructions - hand wash or machine wash on gentle, using cool water, do not wring, and lay flat or hang to dry). Wool fabrics can be pressed lightly with a cool iron (most irons have a wool setting).
- Wool Felt - Wool felt is not woven or knit - it is made from pressing and felting the fibers together. The resulting fabric does not fray when cut, but it is not as sturdy as woven wool fabric. If you need to wash the felt, we recommend handwashing in cool water, do not wring, and lay flat to dry).
- Light Weight (2-4 oz/sq yd) - Fabrics that are very lightweight (such as voile, batiste, gauze, and lightweight jersey) make great sheer curtains, bridal veils, and lightweight summer wear. Quilting prints and solids are a bit heavier, but still considered a light weight fabric. In addition to quilts, these fabrics are great for home decorating projects, blouses, baby and children's wear, and can also be used as linings. Light weight knits can be used for under layers during the cold winter months.
- Mid Weight (4.5-9 oz/sq yd) - Fabrics that are a bit heavier (such as sateen, flannel, twill, interlock, and rib knit) can be used for clothing, tote bags, home decorating, bedding, and more.
- Heavy Weight - (9.5+oz/sq yd) - Heavy weight fabrics (such as terry cloth, duck, fleece, and french terry) make great durable clothing, especially outer layers. They are also good for heavy duty totes and home decorating projects, such as upholstery and floor cushions.
For more information on what fabrics will work for specific projects, click here.
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