Fabrics are a product of various textile techniques that utilize yarns or groups of yarns interacting with themselves or each other to create a complete textile. The way in which these yarns interact with each other determines their category. There are three main categories of techniques used to produce fabric: Woven, Knit and Non-woven. Non-woven fabrics are made out of fibers either pressed or matted together such as bark cloth and felt. For soft home products such as comforters, duvet covers and sheets woven and knit are two the most commonly found fabrics in the market.
Woven fabrics are made up of two sets of yarns interlacing with each other. The two sets of yarns are known as the warp and the weft. The warp is the set of yarns that run vertically along the loom and the weft are the yarns that run horizontally. Some of the basic weaves are Percale, Sateen, Satin, Twill and Basket. There are also Jacquards, all of which will be explored further in an upcoming article, stay tuned to learn more!
The below diagram on the left shows the most basic weave known as plain weave where the grey yarns are the warp and the black yarns are the weft. The diagram on the right is a hand woven sample showing this construction in use. Here the blue yarns are the warp and the orange are the weft.
Often, you may see thread count mentioned in product listings. Thread count refers to the number of yarns in a square inch of fabric. This is calculated by using both the EPI (ends per inch) and PPI (picks per inch). The EPI refers to the warp yarns per inch and the PPI refers to the weft. However, there is the common misconception that a higher thread count equals a higher quality or better fabric. This is not always the case as the quality of the fibers and yarn, the type of weave, the dyeing process, finishes and etc. all factor into the final hand feel and quality of the fabric.
For example, our silky soft Brielle Home 300 Thread Count 100% Viscose from Bamboo Sateen Sheet Set which has a soft hand and is the perfect weight for year round use. In these sheets the quality and soft hand come from not just the thread count, but the quality of fibers and yarn used in combination with the woven construction.
Knitted fabrics unlike woven fabrics are not made out two sets of yarns but one continuous length interlooping with itself. Needles are used to do the interlooping both when knits are done by hand or machine. A loop/stitch refers to the smallest part of a knitted fabric which are the individual loops/stitches the needles are creating. There are two types of knitting machines, flat bed and circular. Gauge refers to the number of needles in an inch, the higher the gauge number the finer the knit. Which is why for knitted fabrics we refer to gauge or GSM (grams per square meter) and not thread count.
Below are examples of the two most common stitches, knit and purl. Fabric made in the knit stitch are often used for jersey sheets. Our Brielle Home 100% Cotton Jersey Knit Sheet Set brings all of the cozy comfort of your favorite t-shirt onto your bed! They OEKO-TEX® certified, crafted in a stretchy jersey knit and come in a variety of colors and prints to complement any bedroom.
The Brielle Home Glamour Throw Is made out of combination of these two stitches (knit and purl). As can be seen in the below image, the basket like dimensional patterning comes from the two stitches alternating positions in a checker board like formation.
Other types of knits include fair isle and intarsia knits which are both yarn dyed knits and then cable knits which is a technique often used in sweaters and throw blankets. One example of the cable knit technique being used to create a luxurious and dimensional throw blanket is the Brielle Home Cable Knit Throw which features a cable knit pattern on the face and a plush faux Sherpa on the reverse.