How well do you know your weaves? Although there are several types of weave patterns, it's easy to mix them up if you're not very familiar with the intricacies that make each pattern unique. In this article, you'll learn about the history of weaves and the different types of weave patterns.
What is Weaving?
Weaving is a unique method of manufacturing fabrics that involves intertwining two sets of yarns at right angles to produce one piece of cloth. Other methods of manufacturing fabrics include braiding, lace making, knitting, and felting.
Woven fabrics are extremely popular and there's a good chance you have a wardrobe full of clothes made with them. They are characteristically thick, elastic, and resistant to tear and abrasion. Weaving can either be done using machines called looms or with hands.
History of Weaving and Weave Patterns
Weaving is considered to be one of the oldest crafts that have managed to survive the test of time. Its history dates back to about 12,000 years ago during the Neolithic era. Weaving was such a popular craft that it became an essential skill that was present in every household. This remained the norm for thousands of years.
With a bit more creativity, skilled weavers were able to create clothes and most of the weave patterns present today were already invented by the 11th century. At this point, weaving began to move away from households to dedicated workspaces. When steam and water looms were created during the industrial revolution, weaving had become a significantly mechanized industry.
Types of Weave Patterns
There are three basic types of weave patterns. They are plain weave, satin weave, and twill weave. That said, there are many more types of weaves. How many? Hard to tell. Depending on who you're listening to, the types of weaves could be 5 or as many as 20. However, every other weave pattern is a variation of the aforementioned 3. Classed under basic weaves and other variations, below are 10 of the most popular weave patterns.
Basic Weave Patterns
Also called tabby weave, plain weave is the commonest weave pattern and by far the easiest to make. To make a plain weave, you only need to interlace the warp thread over the weft in a criss-cross pattern. This way, the warp thread moves under and over the weft thread. Plain weave is known to be versatile, strong, and durable. Examples of plain weaves include chiffon, flannel, and seersucker.
A twill weave is formed when you alternately pass a weft thread under and over two or more warp threads. This creates a diagonal rib pattern on the surface of the fabric. Those diagonal lines are the easiest way to identify a twill weave. Twill weave fabrics are heavy, durable, and wrinkle resistant. They also have more drape than other weave patterns. Because of their heaviness and strength, twill weaves are mostly used to produce strong fabrics like denim, tweed, and gabardine.
Satin weaves are created when you float a weft thread over four or more warp threads. The floating thread is then passed under one of the other threads and the process is repeated. The result is a surface that is smooth and shiny. Because of its long floats, fabrics made with satin weave are lustrous, smooth, and have a flexible structure. While satin weave brings all the smoothness, it's not quite as strong as the weave patterns mentioned above. Although the long floats give it its smoothness and luster, it also means the fabric can easily snag. Examples of fabrics made with satin weaves include charmeuse and peau de soi.
Other Weave Variations
Here are 5 other variations of the 3 basic weave patterns.
Jacquard Weave Patterns
Jacquard is a kind of weave that has colorful and complex patterns woven into the fabric. Unlike most weaves that have the pattern printed in the fabric, Jacquard is strictly woven on a Jacquard loom.
This weave can be made with several types of fibers including silk, cotton, wool, and linen. Jacquard weaves are used to create a large variety of fabrics that are strong and lustrous. Examples include curtains, dresses, shirts, blazers, pants, and sweaters. Jacquard also combines well with elastane to make stretchy materials that can be used to create body-hugging clothes.
Basket Weave Patterns
This is a plain weave variation with more than one thread. Also called hopsack weave, this weave pattern is created when a couple of weft fibers alternately interlace with two or more warp fibers. Therefore, we get an over and under pattern rather than the under and over pattern that's seen in plain weave. Basket weave resembles a straw basket hence its name.
Unfortunately, this type of weave is not as durable as plain weave and it's quite likely to shrink when washed. Another noteworthy fact about basketweave fabrics is that they are quite difficult to sew. Away from its shortcomings, basketweave is breathable, sturdy, style-friendly, and anti-wrinkle.
Herringbone Weave Patterns
This type of weave is usually made with wool and is a variation of twill weave. It is arranged into columns in such a way that the lines in each column lean towards the opposite direction. The finished product looks like the spine of a herring fish, which is where it gets its name from.
Herringbone weave is popularly used to make sportswear, suits, and tuxedos. The weave shares some similarities with twill, but they are also different in terms of pattern and weaving. Also, twill is predominantly used to create curtains, dresses, and table cloth, unlike herringbone.
Tapestry Weave Patterns
This is a traditional textile art form that is created by repeatedly weaving colored weft threads over and under plain waft thread. It is handwoven on a loom and is regarded as one of the oldest types of woven textile.
Throughout history, tapestry weave has been used to make chair backs, table covers, purses, and tunics. There are four major types of tapestry. They are single weft tapestry, two weft tapestry, three weft tapestry, and combined weft and warp tapestry.
Pile Weave Patterns
Pile weave is used for making soft pile fabrics. This type of fabric is known for being extra insulating and absorbent. Pile Weave is made by running weft yarn over a rod while it's woven in the warp.
This weave pattern has a soft feel due to its multiple layers. It is popular for its use in upholstery. In fact, many clothes used in automobiles are created using pile weave. It can also be used in making carpeting, velvet, and a host of other fabrics.
Leno Weave Patterns
In this type of pattern, two warp yarns, adjacent to each other, are twisted over the weft yarn to create a fabric that is considered strong but yet wispy.
The warp yarns in Leno weaves are paired with a skeleton yarn. The weft yarn is tightly held by the twisted yarn which makes the fabric durable. Leno weaves are used for making rice nets, curtains, mosquito nets, grenadine, mesh, fruit sacks, and guage.
Dobby Weave Patterns
This is a plain weave variation that is patterned with designs or geometric patterns. This type of weave is created using a special Dobbie machine. The machine lifts a selected number of warp threads while selectively depressing others using a Dobby card. Moss crepe is a good example of a Dobby weave. Polo shirts are one of the most popular clothes a Dobby weave can be used for.
Choosing Weave Patterns
There really are no laid down rules for choosing weave patterns. You simply have to go for what suits your ideal fabric. Weaves patterns have different properties. Some are strong and smooth, others are durable and diaphanous. Your choice of pattern would completely depend on the kind of fabric you're hoping to create. Imagine trying to create a denim fabric with a herringbone weave? That's like Game of Thrones without betrayals. Simply put, it's not going to work.
So If you're looking to create a durable fabric, you may want to settle for either plain or twill weave. These weave types are known for their durability. In that case, you'll obviously need to avoid weave patterns like Jacquard or basketweave which are known to be less durable.
Also, if you want a lustrous and drapable fabric, you would be better off with a satin weave. Therefore, it's imperative to consider the properties of your ideal fabric before choosing a weave pattern with similar attributes.
Weave Patterns - In Conclusion
As explained, there are several types of weave patterns that have been adapted from the original 3 basic patterns. While many are variations, they also show individual characteristics that make them unique. With the progress the textile industry has made over the years, there's likely to be more weave patterns rolling in from time to time.
The good news is that you can determine the kind of weave pattern you'll need to make a fabric by simply looking out for the properties you require. You can take a quick tour of this blog to find out more about many of the weave patterns mentioned on this list.