Fabric weaves are simply the different ways in which fabric is woven. The variety of weave patterns is achieved by working the yarns in different ways. Irrespective of how the yarn is worked, the weaving is done on a loom. The type of fabric weave determines the appearance, durability, fabric surface and texture.
The different types of fabric weaves include;
Plain weave – Just as the name suggests, this is the simplest type of fabric weave. Because it is the simplest type, it is also one of the most common types of fabric weaves. It is easy to make, cheap to produce and quite durable. Plain weave fabric also takes very well to printing, dyeing and other forms of fabric finishing. A plain weave is achieved by alternating the weft and warp yarn in a one to one ratio. Fabrics that are made using the plain weave include calico, cotton, gingham, voile, muslin, crepe and taffeta.
Basket weave – Though this is actually a type of plain weave the difference is that for this type of weave, two or more yarns in the warp and weft are treated as one yarn and then interlaced. An equal number of yarn in the warp and weft result in a regular basket weave while an irregular number (say 3 weft yarns and 2 warp yarns) result in an irregular basket weave.
This type of fabric weave is commonly used in tablecloths, curtains, upholstery, Oxford fabric and monk’s clothing. Sometimes different colors of yarn are used for the warp and weft (as seen in tablecloths and drapery).
Ribbed weave – this is another one of the fabric weaves that is a variation of the basic plain weave. The ribbed effect is created in the fabric by using a thicker or heavier yarn for the warp or for the weft. The resulting fabric is heavier than plain weave, wrinkle resistant and durable. Examples of fabrics weaved this way include velvet and jersey.
Twill weave – This one of the more fancy fabric weaves. It creates a diagonal pattern on fabric which is achieved by repeating the pattern of interlacing warp threads over more yarns across the fabric. The result is a closely woven, heavier fabric. Variations in the twill weave result in fabric weaves such as corkscrew, houndstooth or herringbone fabric. Fabrics made using this weaving method include denim and gabardine.
Satin weave – This is one of the more complicated fabric weaves that results in a smooth and lustrous fabric that drapes very well. The fabrics made from this type of weave are referred to as satin (when silk is used) or sateen (when fabrics such as cotton are used).
Other types of fabric weaves include pile weave, jacquard weave and gauze (leno) weave.