Woven Fabrics

A woven fabric is made on a loom. It has threads interlinked at right angles to each other. The WARP threads are put onto the loom first and run along the whole length of the fabric. The WEFT threads are woven across the fabric, under and over the warp threads. Remember WEFT goes LEFT!


Different weaves are made by the weft yarn/thread passing over or under a different number of warp yarns in different combinations. Apart from plain weave and basket weave the exact number of threads woven over and under can vary, also the thickness of the different threads used will influence the finished fabric.


It's important to be able to recognise different types of weave as it often affects the way a fabric behaves, including drape and durability.

Plain Weave


This is the most basic type of weave. The weft threads go over one, under one on every row, wrapping around the warp threads down each side to make the selvedge edge.


Plain weave is used for quilting cotton, lawn, canvas.


Basket or Hopsack


This is similar to plain weave except two weft yarns are woven under and over two weft yarns. This makes the weave more obvious and less smooth than a plain weave. It's also more open so can make a softer fabric with more drape.


It frays more easily than plain weave fabrics.


Fabrics include hopsack and Oxford cloth

Twill Weave


Twill weave makes a distinctive diagonal design.


It's made by the weft yarn passing over two or more warp yarns then under one. The angle of the diagonals depends on the number of yarns the warp passes over. Most twill weaves have the diagonals going from botoom left to top right, but not always!


This is a strong cloth traditioanlly used for work and rain wear. Fabrics include cotton drill, suitings, denim

Herringbone Weave


This weave can also be called Chevron.


It's made in a similar way to a twill weave, but the diagonals change direction at regular intervals.


It can be made using one colour of yarn, however the design is often emphasised by the use of two or more colours.

Satin Weave


This example Has the warp threads floating over the weft threads, however it can also have the weft threads floating on top.


The number of threads passed over before going under one can vary. These floats mean that a smooth shiny yarn lies on the surface to create a lustrous cloth.


Satin weaves fray very easily.


Crepe backed satin has a smooth warp thread that floats over a crimped weft thread.

Leno Weave


This is the weave used to make gauze and its why gauze is so much stronger than muslin.


The warp yarns are pulled to left and right as the weft yarn passes across the loom.

Jacquard Weave


A Jacquard loom makes complicated designs, including flowers, curves and geometric designs, by using punched cards that can lift each warp thread individually. This means the designs aren't restricted to variations of straight lines.

Fabrics include brocade