Fabrics are created from all sorts of yarn. Yarn is made up from fibres, both natural and man-made. Fibre comes in different lengths depending on the source and the quality. Some fibres come from nature such as wool, silk, cotton or linen. Fibres are taken from these natural resources and spun together to make a continuous yarn or thread. Yarn is thicker and usually used for weaving. Thread is finer than yarn and usually used for hand sewing. Some fibres are so short that they have to be spun with longer fibres from other resources to hold them together, to form a stronger thread, like wool-and-silk combinations. Fabric woven from natural fibres holds more air and is better at controlling body temperature.
Natural fibres are brushed and carded then drawn out and twisted to form a longer yarn by spinning. Man made yarns are not spun but extruded from machines to create a continuous yarn, such as polyester.
Weaving on Looms
The Warp and the Weft: Each loom is made up of a series of warp and weft yarn. The warp threads are a set of parallel threads forming the length of the fabric. The weft yarn runs at right angles to the warp yarn. The shuttle - holds the weft yarn and is passed over and under the warp yarn to create the pattern and structure of the fabric. The warp and the weft are then bound together in many numbers of ways to create patterns and different weaves. Cutwork - created where a floating warp or weft yarn is cut off showing the base fabric (see www.novaindia.co.uk cutwork stole)
Types of Weave
Yarn is woven in different ways. A yarn that is tightly woven remains firm in its structure e.g. cotton cambric. You cannot see through a tightly woven fabric. A yarn that is loosely woven can create a more flexible fabric, which is often see-through e.g. cotton voile. Thread count - the number of warp or weft threads found in a linear inch or cm. Crepe de chine, satin, Ikat, georgette, chiffon, herringbone, jacquard, twill, panama, taffeta, Oxford, and chambray are all types of weaves. Jacquard - this is created by punch cards being programmed to allow yarns to drop in and out of a design. It is usually operated by a power loom. M Jacquard invented the jacquard loom in 1804 (see www.novaindia.co.uk silk scarf and silk stole).