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Warp or Weft?

Weaving is one of the oldest and most popular methods of textile production. When a pattern, class or tutorial calls for a 'woven fabric', it means any fabric constructed by interlacing two or more sets of yarn to form a two-dimensional woven fabric.

The fibre, yarn and weaving structure will all affect the characteristics of a woven fabric. Read on to learn a little more about weave structures.

Warp vs Weft

Warp is the long yarn that runs vertically up and down the roll of fabric, this governs the vertical pattern repeat.

Weft is the yarn that passes horizontally across the fabric roll, generally is it shorter and governs the horizontal pattern repeat.

Plain Weave (aka Tabby Weave)

Plain weave is the simplest and most common weaving structure. A simple interlacing method which is found in half of all woven fabrics, it is made by passing each weft yarn over and under each warp yarn, with each row alternating, producing a high number of intersections. Plain-weave fabrics that are not printed or given a surface finish have no right or wrong side. They do not unravel easily but tend to wrinkle and have less absorbency than other weaves because of their tightly woven structure.

Plain Weave Example: Raquelle Silk Cotton

Ribbed Weave (aka Tabinet or Poplin Weave)

A variation of plain weave, Ribbed weave is aunbalanced plain weave, meaning there is more weight going in one direction of the weave. This is usually created by two weft yarns to every warp, but can also be created by using a thicker weft yarn. It generally results in a stronger, more rigid textile that is easier to iron.

Ribbed Weave Example: Saki Cotton Poplin

Basket Weave (aka Hopsack or Celtic Weave)

A variation of plain weave, Basket weave is created by weaving two or more warp yarns with two or more weft yarns, resulting in a more tactile weave with better flexibility and a looser construction that resembles that of baskets. It is not as durable as plain weave, and is more likely to shrink during pre-washing. 

Basket Weave Example: Aoki Linen

Twill Weave

Twill weave is the second most common weave structure. It is created by one or more warp yarns woven over and under one or more weft yarns repeatedly, to create a distinctive diagonal weave. Twill weaves are favoured because of their high durability and ability to hide stains, and due to their weave structure tend to drape well. 

Twill Weave Example: Sandwashed Cupro

Satin Weave

Satin weave is the third most common weave structure, and is a variation of the Twill weave with fewer intersecting yarns. Weft yarns 'float' over warp yarns, which results in a smooth and shiny finish. Because of the floating yarns, Satin weaves are more relaxed and tend to drape well, however they are more prone to snagging.

Satin Weave Example: Nadine Stretch Satin

Gauze Weave (aka Leno Weave)

Gauze weave is created with unparallelled warp yarns which seperates them from plain weaves. The adjacent warp yarns are twisted around the weft yarns which form a spiral pair. This results in a loosely woven, but still strong open weave.

Gauze Weave Example: Linen Gauze

Jacquard Weave

Jacquard weaves are typically created using multiple coloured yarns, and can be used to create simple or complex woven designs. Often referred to as just 'Jacquards' or 'Jacquard fabric', the wrong side is the mirror image of the right side of the fabric, and is therefore typically double faced. They are often still durable fabrics, but with a luxurious appearance. 

Jacquard Weave Example: Saxony Satin Jacquard

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