Fabrication Method of Fabric Selection
Jul 29, 2020 GKFTII
During the next stage of the fabric construction process, the selected yarns are combined to produce a fabric. The manner in which this combination takes place is known as the fabrication method. As a rule, fabrics in each fabrication method category have certain similarities that dictate acceptable styles and construction techniques.
Woven fabrics are made with two sets of yarns interlaced at right angles to each other. Unless manufactured with stretch-textured or elastomeric yarns, they have very little stretch. Most woven fabrics ravel from cut edges and require seam finishes. Women fabrics make up the largest single share of the apparel fabric market. A tremendous variety is available within this category, from thin, drape able chiffon to thick, stiff melton cloth for winter coats. Grainline position is more important in woven fabrics than in any other type.
Knitted fabrics are composed of a loop structure that resists raveling when cut. Some single knits, such as hosiery, may run or “ladder”, however, when a loop breaks and release the connecting column of loops. This is more of problem with knits made of filament yarns. Most knits stretch, especially crosswise, and thus can be used in close-fitting garments without as much concern for fitting ease as would be required in a more rigid woven fabric. As knits do not ravel, they do not require seam finishes unless they roll. Rolled seam allowances create a thick, lumpy appearance on the exterior of the garment, but suitable seam, finishing can give a flatter seamline. Velour, jersey, panne velvet, and stretch terry are examples of fabrics that have a great deal of stretch and roll badly when cut.
Knit variants, which have been used in the home furnishings field for some time, are beginning to be seen in apparel as well, especially in bulky, novelty yarn constructions. These fabrics consist of laid-in-yarns held in place by series of connected or unconnected loop stitches. The laid yarns usually predominate in the fabric and form the design. They may be deposited in any desired pattern, and thus are not directionally restricted as is the case with the design yarns of woven or knitted fabrics. Also, it is not necessarythat they be strong or consistent, as the fabrication process places no stress on them. Weaker but more decorative yarn structures than those made from more traditional fabrication methods are thus possible.
Computer-aided design and production are very prominent in this fabrication method, and consequently, the fabric is rapidly produced. It does not ravel like woven fabrics, and it has some stretch potential. Most of the apparel fabrics made this way is coat and jacket fabrics which bulky and thick, but very light in weight. Their loose structure increases their resilience.
Nonwovens, such as fiber webs and films, are also used to some extent in the apparel industry. Fiber webs are used as supporting fabrics---rather than as fashion fabrics except for disposables and costumes. Films play a more prominent role in outerwear. Expanded films are used for shoes, purses, gloves, and some coats; and plain films are used for waterproof garments.
Leather, Suede and their Substitutes
Fur, leather, suede and polyurethane sued substitutes are important in expensive apparel lines. They have a high initial cost, and all present special cutting and/or sewing requirements for the manufacturer. Real skins must be handled individually so that any flaws or scars can be avoided or at least placed inconspicuously in the garment. The suede substitutes do not have that kind of limitation during the cutting process.
Seaming leaves puncture holes which show in case of repairs or alterations; seam must be glued or stitches open to keep them flat. Easing is virtually impossible. In the construction of apparel using all these materials, bulk must be avoided.
Multicomponent fabrics—double weaves, bonded fabrics, or quilted structures-tend to be thick, stiff and bulky. They are best restricted to simple styles with a minimum of crossed seams.
True double cloth consists of two distinct fabric layers held together by an additional, very sparse set of yarns which are not visible on either side of the completed fabric. True double cloth can be separated into two layers at the cut edges of the garment and the raw edges turned in toward each other to provide a very neat and effective edge finish. This will result in a completely reversible garment with no facings, linings, or seam finishes required. Such fabrics are quite expensive, however, and are most commonly used in designer lines. Partial double cloth and double-faced cloth are also more expensive than simpler woven fabrics, but they do not offer the finishing advantages of true double cloths. They may also present problems of bulk at seams.
Bonded fabricsrequire no lining and, usually, no seam finishes. Bonded fabrics tend to have a stiff, rather unnatural appearance and, in many cases, reflect an attempt to salvage a fabric not durable enough to be used alone in apparel. Exceptions to this are found in coats and jackets. In such applications, bonding a thin layer of foam to the coating fabric increases insulating properties as effectively as using an interlining, but with much less construction expense. Topstitching is usually required to keep seams and edges flat.
Quilted fabricsare commonly used for winter robes as well as for fashion jackets and coats. Three-layer constructions are more durable than those with no backing fabric, and quilting stitches made with filament thread present a real problem of slipping out when cut at garment edges. Even seam finishing may not be sufficient to control this problem. Tricot used as a backing is very inexpensive, but tends to snag and pull very easily. Foam is used occasionally as the middle layer, or padding, for quilted fabrics. It results in a much stiffer silhouette than down or fiberfill. Garments made from form-lined quilted fabric tend to stand away from the body and add considerably to the impression of body size.
Regardless of fabrication method, the complexity of the fabric relates directly to its cost, and thus to the cost of the garment. Plain fabrics with color or design added after manufacture are less expensive than those with in-loom styling. The latter is a slower process, and it must be done much earlier in the production process. The earlier a styling decision must be made, the more risk is involved because of the time lapse between styling and point of sale and the rapidly with which the fashion market changes.