Sunday, 10 January 2010

Plain Weave for beginners-1

In this series I would like to share with you my notes on various woven textile structure. We start from the plain weave

Structure of Plain Weave

In plain weave, each weft thread (filling) passes alternatively over and under each warp yarn in a square pattern.

Alternative names

It is also known as tabby, homespun or taffeta weave.


On the loom, the plain weave requires only two heald shafts.

Each weft yarn goes alternately under and over the warp yarns across the width of the fabric.


It has a flat appearance. There are no distinct designs. However these may be produced if yarns have contrasting colours or thicknesses. The various color and weave effects that can be produced will be dealt with in another blog.


It is easily produced. This is the most made weave in the world. It is relatively inexpensive.

Variations of Plain weave

1. Square plain weaves

In such weaves, warp and weft are present in equal amounts, or in other words, warp cover factor is equal to the weft cover factor.
These are used as surgical dressings, dairy cloths, muslin dress fabrics, parachute fabrics, handkerchief fabrics, fabrics for shoes and tents, sheeting fabrics; canvas for transport covers and fabric for use as ribbons in type writers or computers.

2. Warp-faced plain weaves

In these fabrics, warp cover factor is greater than that of weft cover factor. This is normally achieved by having more ends than picks per cm. the warp crimp is also high in these fabrics, while weft crimp is low. Thus very faint lines across the width of the fabrics are produced.
A typical fabric in this group is poplin. A typical construction for a polyester/ cotton poplin shirtings is 50x25; 16 tex x 16 tex; 14% x 93% giving a weight of 130g/m2 and a cover factor of 20.0+9.7 = 29.7.

3. Weft-faced plain weaves

This is not a popular group of fabrics as it is normally produced with more than ends per cm, the rate of production in the loom will be greatly reduced. The most popular fabric in this group is the limbric, which is used for dress prints.


The appearance of a plain fabric can be changed in many ways.

1. The use of colour

In the warp direction, colour stripes are produced along the length of the fabric. In the filling direction, colour stripes are produced across the width of the fabric. When used in both warp and weft directions, a check effect is produced.

2. Changing yarn court

Stripes and check effects can be produced by using different yarn count in one or both directions.

3. Changing the yarn twist

Using combinations of different twist levels and directions in the warp or weft, different effects can be produced is the fabric due to the changes in the orientations of the fibers as shown.

4. Different Finishing treatment

Treatments such as dyeing mercerizing with caustic soda or coating can change the characteristics of plain fabric.

5. Any combination of the above


These are specialized types of plain weave fabrics. These fabrics are produced using highly twisted two fold yarns. with the doubling twist in the same direction as that of single yarn.

For voile yarn the tex twist factor is generally between 5000 and 7000, while for crepe yarn, it is nearer to 9000.

Voiles are used in lightweight, semi-opaque fabrics for dress saris and light filters.

Crepes are used dress, blouses and support bandages.

Now that you've finished reading this post, what are you going do? You should go join the Forum.

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