The Art of Fabric Production
Most fabrics are made by weaving, knitting, or crocheting yarns together following a certain pattern or design. However, some fabrics that aren’t woven are made via bonding or felting of fibres, as well as via printing. When it comes to the appearance of a fabric, it all comes down to how it was designed and constructed. However fabric is designed, it’s important to realise that it’s an art - fabric design requires skill and experience to get right, it’s not a simple task.
Woven fabrics, such as materials that have been knitted, crocheted or weaved, are the result of a certain movement that has woven the wool or cotton together to create the fabric. These fabrics tend to be stronger than non-woven fabrics, despite the modern methods of fabric creation being used. That being said, modern fabric creation tends to mean that the materials don’t fray and are able to be washed more easily than traditional woven fabrics.
What are the most useful modern fabrics & how are they beneficial?
There are many benefits to modern fabrics, as these tend to be designed to maximise certain characteristics, such as being breathable, lightweight, and even waterproof in some instances. The most commonly used modern fabrics include microfibre, polar-fleece, gore-tex, and heat sensitive and light sensitive material. Each of these fabrics has different properties and uses, for instance, some are breathable, lightweight, and warm, while others are waterproof, hypoallergenic, and perspiration proof.
What’s the process of creating modern fabrics?
How a fabric is created depends on the fabric type - each fabric requires different creation techniques. For modern fabrics, manufacturers are using developments in technology to improve their properties, helping to make them more adaptable.
Synthetic fibres - which most modern fabrics are made from - are usually the result of development by scientists who have used natural fibres as inspiration, such as plant or animal fibres and developed them, some materials are now made from recycled materials such as recycled plastic or metal, that’s how far science has come. Usually, synthetic fibres are created by forcing fibre forming materials through spinnerets, creating a thread. These threads are then woven, heated, or stuck together to form a piece of fabric.
Today, the fabric manufacturing processes are very different to the ones that were used 50 years ago. There’s a range of software that can be used to automate the creation of fabrics, from felted pieces to woven designs, making fabric manufacturing quicker and more precise, leaving less room for design errors. For the creation of fabrics CAD and CAM software is commonly used, as this kind of software can create a range of fabrics, from patterned printed pieces to microfibre designs.
Fabrics are so innovative thanks to advancements in the fibres that are available and how software and machinery is used to create large pieces of smart or modern material. Fabric making is truly an art, as there’s a lot of skill required to be able to produce fabric that is both aesthetically pleasing and adaptable. Fabric creation is no easy task, that’s for sure - it’s a science.