Know Your Fabrics - Part 2

1What is the ply of the fabric?

The ply of a fabric refers to the way the yarn that makes the fabric is twisted/used. Each strand of single yarn is referred to as a ply. Single ply and 2 ply are the most commonly used terms indicating the twist of the yarn used in making the fabric. Single ply means the fiber is twisted to make a single yarn and that is used to make the fabric. 2 Ply means two yarns are spun into a single one and then that is used to make the fabric. Knowing the ply is important as it can affect the thickness and strength of the yarn and in turn the strength appearance and absorb-ability of the fabric.

2. What is the fabric construction method used?

According to the way fabrics are made, you can mainly classify fabrics as woven, knits and non woven. Knitted Fabrics are made by interlocking continuous thread into rows of loops by hand or specialized machines. They have a nice elasticity to them which makes these fabrics suitable for making clothes which are comfortable and form fitting.

Woven fabrics are made by interweaving yarn with weft yarn doing over and under the warp yarn. The other category non woven fabrics are made by applying heat, moisture, and pressure to fibers. All have their own advantages and disadvantages.

3. What is the fabric weave? 

This is important in knowing the drape and feel of the fabric and the appearance of the fabric. Finely woven fabric will have a nice drape and a smooth feel. A fabric which will ravel at the cut edges needs extra care when sewing. If you have a tightly woven fabric it may not ravel at the edges. Knits never ravel at the edges but thin knits tend to roll which is unattractive. An excessive raveling tendency is a not a good sign.

4. What is the fabric weight?

A fabric is lightweight, medium weight, heavyweight etc. Lightweight fabrics usually have a loose weave. Heavy weight fabrics usually have a tight weave.

5What is fabric weight dependent on?

Fabric weight is dependent on the yarn used. You cannot gauge a fabrics quality by looking at its weight – it is more indicative of what you can use the fabric for. E.g. a thin cotton fabric is better suited for warm climates. Thick cotton is better suited for making a bag etc.

GSM (Grams per square meter) is the term that you use for fabric weights. You can speculate on the fabric’s thickness from its gsm. A medium quality (thickness) cotton fabric would have about 150 gsm, standard one is around 180 gsm, a higher quality would be around 200 gsm.

6. What is the thread count of the fabric?

Thread count of a fabric is the number of yarns in an inch of fabric. Higher the thread count better the quality of the fabric this is the general idea. Loosely woven fabrics are not perceived as higher quality fabrics as the yarns in it may pull apart at the seams and the durability of the fabric is also low.

                                                                                         ...To be continued