Types of Fabric Mostly Used for Garments
Md. Reazul Islam
B. Sc. in Textile Engineering
Daffodil International University
Fabrics are the basic material for clothing. There are two types of fabric; grey fabric and finished fabric. Generally garment is manufactured from finished fabric. Each one of us wear clothes made up of different types of fabric. The most common types of fabric used for garemnts are Cotton voile, Cotton lawn, Rayon challis, Chambray, Denim, Double gauze, knit, Silk, Satin, Linen, Wool, Flannel etc.
Voile is a light weight, semi-sheer fabric with a great drape. It is a soft, fabric, usually made of 100% cotton or cotton blends including linen or polyester. The term comes from French, and means veil. Because of its light weight, the fabric is mostly used in soft furnishing. In hot countries, voile is used as window treatments and mosquito nets. When used as curtain material, voile is similar to net curtains.
Voiles are available in a range of patterns and colours (unlike net curtains, which are generally white or off-white). Because of their semitransparent quality, voile curtains are made using specially manufactured heading tape that is less easily noticeable through the fabric. Voile fabric is also used in dress-making, either in multiple layers or laid over a second material. Voile is very similar to chiffon, which is also used in dress-making.
Lawn is very similar to cotton voile but is slightly crisper. Lawn cloth or lawn is a plain weave textile, originally of linen but now chiefly cotton. Lawn is designed using fine, high count yarns, which results in a silky, untextured feel. The fabric is made using either combed or carded yarns. When lawn is made using combed yarns, with a soft feel and slight luster, it is known as “nainsook”. The term lawn is also used in the textile industry to refer to a type of starched crisp finish given to a cloth product. The finish can be applied to a variety types of fine fabric, prints or plain.
Rayon challis is a smooth, lightweight fabric. It drapes well and is slightly heavier than other lightweight types of fabric, like cotton voile and cotton lawn.
Chambray is another smooth, lightweight fabric. It doesn’t drape as well as rayon challis, cotton voile or cotton lawn. Cambric or batiste, one of the finest and most dense kinds of cloth, is a lightweight plain-weave cloth, originally from the French commune of Cambrai, woven in greige, then bleached, piece-dyed and often glazed or calendared. Initially it was made of linen; later, the term came to be applied to cotton fabrics as well. Cambric is used for linens, shirtings, handkerchieves and as fabric for lace and needlework.
Denim is a heavy-weight fabric with very little drape or stretch. Denim is a sturdy cotton warp-faced twill textile in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads. This twill weaving produces the familiar diagonal ribbing of the denim that distinguishes it from cotton duck.
It is a characteristic of most indigo denim that only the warp threads are dyed, whereas the weft threads remain plain white. As a result of the warp-faced twill weaving, one side of the textile then shows the blue warp threads and the other side shows the white weft threads. This is why blue jeans are white on the inside. The indigo dyeing process, in which the core of the warp threads remains white, creates denim’s fading characteristics, which are unique compared to every other textile.
Double gauze is a unique fabric in that it is literally two layers of gauze woven together. The double layer of fabric eradicates the main problem of sewing clothing from gauze (the sheerness), while retaining the good qualities (extremely light and breathable).
In the knit fabric category, there are several types of knit, varying from lightweight to medium weight. Knit fabric is your go-to for any garment that needs to have a great deal of stretch. Patterns are designed for either woven fabric or knit fabric, and patterns sized for knit fabric will often specify the degree of stretch needed in the fabric.
Silk is a lightweight, delicate fabric that drapes well. It has a slightly shimmery appearance. Silk can be slippery and more difficult to work with. It also makes a great lining fabric.
Satin can vary from lightweight to heavyweight, depending on the type of satin. Like silk, it has a glossy appearance. Satin is a weave that typically has a glossy surface and a dull back. The satin weave is characterized by four or more cool fill or weft yarns floating over a warp yarn or vice versa, four warp yarns floating over a single weft yarn. Floats are missed interfacing, where the warp yarn lies on top of the weft in a warp-faced satin and where the weft yarn lies on top of the warp yarns in weft-faced satins. These floats explain the even sheen, as unlike in other weaves, the light reflecting is not scattered as much by the fibers, which have fewer tucks. Satin is usually a warp-faced weaving technique in which warp yarns are “floated” over weft yarns, although there are also weft-faced satins. If a fabric is formed with a satin weave using filament fibers such as silk, nylon, or polyester, the corresponding fabric is termed a satin, although some definitions insist that the fabric be made from silk. If the yarns used are short-staple yarns such as cotton, the fabric formed is considered a sateen.
Linen is a medium-weight fabric with little elasticity (hence the wrinkles). But it conducts heat very well, which is why it’s a popular choice for warm-weather anything.
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum. Linen is laborious to manufacture, but the fiber is very absorbent and garments made of linen are valued for their exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather.
Many products are made of linen: aprons, bags, towels (swimming, bath, beach, body and wash towels), napkins, bed linens, tablecloths, runners, chair covers, and men’s and women’s wear.
The word linen is of West Germanic origin and cognate to the Latin name for the flax plant, linum, and the earlier Greek. This word history has given rise to a number of other terms in English, most notably line, from the use of a linen (flax) thread to determine a straight line.
Textiles in a linen weave texture, even when made of cotton, hemp and other non-flax fibers, are also loosely referred to as “linen”. Such fabrics generally also have their own specific names, for example fine cotton yarn in a linen-style weave is called Madapolam.
The collective term “linens” is still often used generically to describe a class of woven or knitted bed, bath, table and kitchen textiles traditionally made of linen. In the past, “linens” also referred to lightweight undergarments such as shirts, chemises, waist shirts, lingerie (a word also cognate with linen), and detachable shirt collars and cuffs, all of which were historically made almost exclusively out of linen. The inner layer of fine composite cloth garments (as for example jackets) was traditionally made of linen, hence the word lining.
There are over 200 different types of wool, coming from 40 different breeds of sheep, so the weight will vary depending on the type of wool. Wool is extremely hard-wearing and versatile. It’s also very warm and a good choice for colder weather garments.
Flannel is a soft, lightweight fabric. It works well for colder-temperature shirts, pants and jackets. Flannel is a soft woven fabric, of various fineness. Flannel was originally made from carded wool or worsted yarn, but is now often made from either wool, cotton, or synthetic fiber. A textile made from Scots pine fiber is called vegetable flannel. Flannel may be brushed to create extra softness or remain unbrushed. Brushing is a mechanical process wherein a fine metal brush rubs the fabric to raise fine fibers from the loosely spun yarns. Typically, flannel has either a single- or double-sided nap. Double-napped flannel refers to a fabric that has been brushed on both sides. If the flannel is not napped, it gains its softness through the loosely spun yarn in its woven form. Flannel is commonly used to make tartan clothing, blankets, bed sheets, and sleepwear. “Flannel shirt” is often mistakenly used to mean any shirt with a plaid or tartan pattern, rather than a shirt constructed of flannel fabric.
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.