Woven fabric only stretches diagonally on the bias directions (between the warp and weft directions), unless the threads used are elastic.

Woven fabric cloth usually frays at the edges, unless techniques are used to counter it, such as the use of pinking shears or hemming.

Weaving is the very common method of making fabrics, and it has been used since ages to make different fabrics. We are never bothered with the manner in which fabrics are made as long as we get the right color and texture for our dress. However, the fact is that threads or yarn goes through a process called weaving to be converted into a fabric. In weaving, two or more threads run in perpendicular to each other, to make a pattern called warp and waft. Warp threads run up and down the length of the fabric while waft threads run sideways across the fabric and this weaving of the two threads creates a woven pattern call fabric. Waft threads go over the warp thread and then they go under the next warp thread. If you have ever seen a basket maker weaving baskets, you know how a woven fabric is made.


Count of cloth or thread count

The yarns of warp and yarns of filling are not incessantly of the same diameter. Also those utilized in one direction may be closer together than those of the other direction. Often there are more warp yarns than filling yarns to the inch since the strain on a fabric falls on the warp.

Some cloths like gingham are close woven while those like voile are loose woven. A closely woven fabric keeps its shape shrinks-less, slips-less at the seam and is more durable than a loosely woven cloth. The closeness or looseness of the weave is measured by the count of cloth. This is conditioned by the number of picks and ends to the square inch be changed by shrinkage during drying and finishing.

With the warp number thread count is written first, e.g. if there are 60 warps and 50 fillings to the inch then the count is 60 X 50. Thread count indicates the quality of a fabric. There are high count and low count clothes. The count is made with a thread counts. A small pocket magnifying glass, called a pick glass or linen tester is used for counting –

  •     Many warp yarns and many filling yarns are removed from the cloth.
  •     If the fabric is light in color, a cut of black material is put under it or vice versa.
  •     The tester is put on the raveled edge.
  •     Since the opening in the tester is ¼” square, the yarns are counted (first number of warps then of filling).
  •     Then number of yarns that run every way is multiplied by four to receive count per inch.
  •     A pin sometimes supports to separate the yarns.

Balance of cloth

The ratio of warp yarns to filling yarns is known as the balance of a cloth. If the number of warps and number of fillings to the inch are nearly the same (not more than 10 yarns difference) a cloth is said to have a good balance for instance if the count is 60 X 50, it would be a well. If the cloth has poor balance than the warp yarns have a tendency to slip over the filling yarns. Shirts, pillow slips and towels which have various washing must have a good balance.


A selvage is the self-edge of a fabric formed by filling yarn when it turns to go back across the fabric. They are made in many ways –

  •     Plain Selvages : These are corresponding to the rest of the fabric. They do not shrink and can be used for seam edges in garments construction.
  •     Tape Selvages : They are prepared of larger and for ply yarns to give strength. They are wider than the plain selvages.
  •     Split Selvages : They are used when narrow items, such as towels are made by weaving two or more side by side cutting them apart after weaving. The cut edges are finished by a machine, chain-stitch or hem.
  •     Lased Selvages : They are the heat sealed edges of ribbon generally utilized for synthetic fibres.

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