Last Updated on October 23, 2022 by Shariful Alam
Plain weaving fabrics
Have you ever gone shopping and surprised to see a variety of high-quality fabrics with distinct properties? Finding the right one is really hard. Though you are a fashionista, might be manipulated by the varities and end up choosing wrong fabric!
There so many types of high quality fabrics are made by Plain weaving. Plain weave is the simplest process of weave that is used make top quality fabric.
With several years of trade experiencxe in this field, I want to share my knowledge to simplify your shopping experience regardless of the purpose.
In this article, we cover the plain weaving process to give a glimpse making fabric, traits & related aspects to satisfy your thirst.
We see different types of fabrics in the market. Have separate name, appearance, finishing, and their woven methods are also different from each other.
Not all fabrics are made the same way? The weaving process determines how the fabric will be made and ensures its design and quality.
Plain weaving is one of the basic weaving method out of three. Mostly used to produce thin, lightweight, aesthetic forms of fabric.
We will go through different types of weaving methods, how plain weaving is done, examples of plain weave fabrics,their features, and so on in the below discussion.
Let’s jump into it
Different types of weave
Fabric is made up of cotton, silk, and linen fibers, and the process that is used to make fabric from yarn is called weave. However, the weaving process goes different towards different types of fabric and so we see variations in fabric quality, finishing, and durability.
There are three basic types of weaves that can be found in today’s textile which are the result of modifications of the earliest weaving methods. You can see the most common fabric weaves,
· Plain weave
· Satin weave
· Twill weave
This weave involves two parallel yarns where the weft threads are called filling yarn which passes over and under each warp yarn. It produces a high number of intersections and the process repeats until the whole fabric is done. Plain weave is the most elementary weave that results in a strong, durable, and versatile cloth.
Unlike plain weaves, the other two weaves have a complex pattern that involves multiple yarn strings and creates distinguished diagonal textures in the fabric as a result.
The weave structure is different. So, Twill weaves fabric has a high number of threads counts which means it is thick and durable.
More thicker yarn is used in this structure. You can see twill weave is most commonly used in making carpets and rugs.
One of the popular weaving pattern forms that incorporates four or more warp threads going over and under a weft thread.
Therefore, Satin weave is recognized by longer floats of warp and weft threads that creates a right and wrong end in the fabric. while the right side comes smooth and glossy and the wrong side used to be faded.
What is a plain woven fabric?
Fabrics that are made with plain weaving method are known as plain woven fabric. Fabrics can differ from each other in so many applications from the type of cotton to the weaving method. So, we see different types of fabrics that have been used for specific purposes in general.
That sounds diffusing if you don’t have a litlle knowledge in textile industry. But you may be familiar with some common forms of plain woven fabrics such as muslin, flannel, chiffon, organdy, etc.
Plain weave fabrics are usually woven into looms and require only strings of yarns that go in opposite directions to each other which are called warp threads and weft threads. The warp thread is the vertical warp yarn and is used to hold the loom together, while the weft yarns are used to form the pattern.
We will disclose the entire process of manufacturing plain weave fabrics on handspun loom and the different forms of the fabrics next.
For now, let’s take a look at other types of weaving methods available in the textile industry.
What are the different type of plain weaves?
Plain weave has plenty of variations based on the combination of different types of yarns. The variation results in different types of fabric that include different weights from sheer fabric to heavyweight fabric.
This is why, you can see different plain weave fabrics such as taffeta, organdy, muslin, canvas, and tweed but they have different textures and appearances.
The use of different weights of yarn also differentiates the weight of different types of plain weaving fabrics. For example, two common variations of plain weave are,
· Rib weave
· Matt weave/basket weave
These are nothing but the results of modifications to usual plain weaving. For tweaking, weavers use different colorful yarns to create color woven fabrics. Soft basket weave fabric are result of modified technique with special warp & weft yarns.
weavers use neutral color filling yarn if the fabric goes for print. Although, matt weave is a plain weave it can use two or more filling yarns.
What is the process of plain weave?
Plain weaving is also called tabby weave or calico weave and is considered the fundamental fabric weaves in textile. You can find the similar weave texture in rib and basket weave with a few changes in the structure of filling and warp yarn.
There are also variations such as tiny rib and the larger rib which results in crisp fabrics like taffeta and faille.
However, the process of plain weave starts by preparing the loom with warp yarns that vertically take place in the handloom. Then weavers use bulky and fluffy yarns as filing to illustrate artistic design in the fabric.
Usually, the weft thread started woven from the left side and since we are talking about handspun weaving, a flat stick or shed stick can be used to interwoven the weft threads between the warp threads.
What beginners need to take into consideration is that the first weft yarn string should go over the first warp string and then go under the next warp string. At the end of the line, it reverses, and this time the weft yarn cross under the wrap and repeats.
The simple criss cross pattern continues until the fabric is done and created a balanced plain weave fabric in the end.
Since the process is straightforward because it is mainly a repetition of a simple crossing pattern, beginners can make a fresh start with plain weaving.
Characteristics of plain weave fabrics
Plain weave fabrics have distinguished characteristics compared with the other woven fabrics available. It provides loosely woven fabrics that seem comfortable and breathable to wear.
Muslin is a significant example of plain weave fabric that is historically known for its softness and the extremely fine yarn used on this.
You can see plain weave fabrics has a versatile use in clothing, quilting, sheeting, and so on.
For your convenience, here are some characteristics of plain weave fabrics that will help you:
Simple weaving pattern
As we have seen in the process of plain weaving above, it is one of the basic textile weaves that has no complex weaving pattern.
The process is going through passing the implementation of the filling yarn over and under the warp yarns.
It provides excellent results with a combination of colorful yarns and prints on it.
Thread count is a quality measurement count in the textile industry that determines how tightly or loosely the fabric has been woven.
Plain weave usually comes tightly woven but you can also see many loosely woven cotton fabric used to process in this way.
However, by tweaking a little in the number of warp yarns, weaver can emphasize filling yarns to make a variation in the fabric.
Plain weave technique produces a high number of intersections using the warp and weft yarn and creates an identical checkerboard pattern fabric.
This is why plain weaving results in firmly strong and durable clothing good for all uses.
Here needs to mention, that the more crossing points or intersections there are, the more firm the cloth will be.
No right or wrong side
Plain woven fabrics usually don’t have any specific right or wrong side as they come with the same finish on both sides. Unless the fabric is printed or includes a given surface finish, you can’t understand if the side is right or wrong.
This is why they do not matte easily but tend to wrinkle and has a high absorbency than other weaves.
Strong and don’t stretch
Although plain weave creates strong fabrics but it wrinkles and cracks in the edges. Also, they don’t have elasticity. So don’t stretch in common unless the thread is elasticized.
Maximum number of binding points
As it includes high intersections, it means, has a maximum number of binding points that is practically true.
Considering the twill weave and satin weave, they don’t bind the warp and weft thread as frequently as plain weaving.
Therefore, it is sometimes referred as ‘One under and one over’ pattern while the other weaving pattern excludes two or three steps in binding.
Examples of plain weaves
There are plenty of fabric names come when giving examples of plain weaves. You can see all of them are versatile but has a slightly relative characteristic including lightweight, sheerness, softness, and some other capabilities.
Here are the 10 common plain weave fabric that you may have already
used for clothing or any other purposes,
Muslin is one of the popular examples of plain weaving and the fabric itself is also popular because of its excellent characteristics. You can see bleached muslin, unbleached, cotton muslin, ivory muslin, etc but they all pass through the same process which is plain weave!
The plain weave cloth is breatheable, light weight, medium weight, or heavyweight but its distinguished characteristics remain similar in all variations.
Organdy is also known as Swiss organdy which is a semi transparent cotton fabric. It is a result of plain weaving, highly breathable and crisp. Organdy is one of the softer fabrics.
To make the fabric softer and more durable than regular cotton fabrics, manufacturer used orgasol and then used it for making shirts, dresses, pants, etc.
Chambray is a plain weave pattern fabric that is used as an alternative to denim. You can say it is a lighter version of denim which is soft, durable and has smooth texture.
Chambray is commonly used in making jackets, shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, blouses, etc.
Flannel fabric is one of the frequently used fabrics that is made from cotton, wool, or synthetic fiber. This is a medium-weight fabric with a smooth surface, soft feel and made by plain weaving.
A loosely woven fabric often used in clothing, bedding, and household items due to its softness and ability to absorb moisture.
Chiffon is a lightweight, sheer, cotton-based fabric with a soft hand feel and can be woven with plain weave method. Some examples of chiffon fabric cloths are wedding dresses, evening gowns, bridesmaid dresses, prom dresses, etc.
This type of fabric can be made of both natural and synthetic fiber for example cotton or polyester fabric. It can be worn alone or over other clothes.
Cheesecloth is similar type to gauze which has a wide domestic use rather than clothing and textile.
Cheesecloth is a plain weave cotton fabric. It is good for making cheese, straining out solids from water, filtering liquids, etc.
Because of its gauze like structure, it is mostly used for moisture absorption in common cases.
Velvet is also woven with a plain weave pattern and provides a different soft smooth feeling due to its unique structure. Though it is a multi layered fabric but has high breathability & fine texture.
However, velvet is still considered a premium quality fabric. The products made with it are also expensive. For centuries, they have been used in clothing, bedding, upholstery, and other household items.
Originating from Italy and France, the fabric later spread throughout the world and was acclaimed for its distinctive features.
It is a tightly woven silk fabric made with plain weave pattern. You can see its cheapest version which is made with polyester or nylon. Taffeta is well-known for its softness, durability, and resistance to high temperatures.
Organza is made from silk which provides crisp, wiry, and slippery feelings when used as wear. The fabric was highly used for making wedding dresses but you can see it is rapidly used for creating other dresses like frocks, skirts, etc.
It is a plain woven cotton fabric also known as tabbinet. Poplin is a result of plain weave variation that is called rib weave. The fabric is versatile, sheer, and soft to touch. Poplin can be used in clothing, bedding, and other household needs.
We can create colour woven fabrics using colored yarn or get neutral color by neutral colored filling yarn.
FAQ about plain weaving
Do you have any other questions on your mind about plain weave fabric? If so, you can take a look at the frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding this topic.
I believe, You will find the answer.
What is a weave fabric?
Weaving is a fabric manufacturing process that involves combining two individual sets of threads or yarns in specific patterns to create a fabric, even a cloth. The process is performed on a loom. It is a special device that make fabric manufacturing simple.
Here weave refers to the manner the warp yarns and filling yarns twine each other.
What is plain weave cotton fabric?
Plain weave cotton fabric means the fabric is made by cotton with plain weave pattern. Since there are three types of weaves such as plain, twill, and satin. plain weave is the most basic form of weaving used to make quality fabric.
Is denim a plain weave?
Technically denim isn’t a plain weave. It is more likely twill weave and involves a 3×1 warp and weft pattern in most cases. However, denim’s variation like chambray is made with plain weaving.
What are the advantages of plain weave?
Plain weave fabrics are versatile, most comfortable fabric patterns to use in making clothing. Here are some common advantages of plain weave,
· Easy to produce
· Nice appearance
· can be produced using handlooms
· Lightweight and breathable
What are the disadvantages of plain weave?
Despite having lots of advantages, plain weave fabrics might have a few potential issues which are,
· Don’t stretch
· Easy to wrinkle
· Doesn’t allow for much design flexibility
Why these fabrics are so popular?
These plain weaving fabrics are so comfy, durable & premium quality. These fabrics satisfy the needs of the people. though it’s relatively expensive, still the fabric made dress, cloths & other things are so popular.
What kind of texture is plain weaving?
Plain weave creates a solid form of texture that is fairly strong because of the highest number of binding points between warp and weft threads. It also creates an even consistency when used with threads with similar thickness.
This is why it is called ‘Balanced weave’ and widely known for the comfortable fabric texture.
What is plain weave fabric used for?
Plain weave fabrics can be used for a variety of purposes such as clothing, making upholstery fabrics, moisture absorbing, wall hanging art, producing comfortable dresses, etc.
We already gives a basic insght about plain weaving. The simplest weave pattern that creates so many types of fabrics. Muslin, Jamdani, Organdy, Chambray, Velvet etc are made by Plain weaving. Our every day clothing to Home decor fabric, made by this pattern.
Here, You can know more about Muslin or Jamdani Fabric.
Shariful Alam Pavel, A fashion lover, passionate marketer. Love to share wisdom based on real life experience to enrich knowledge.
Founder of Muslin Dhaka, a brand, speaks the truth about royal muslin and fashion. Explore the digital fashion universe with organic cotton muslin and much more!