Fabric is just fabric – isn't it?For most people, a pair of trousers is made of fabric – but for those who work in the industry, there are many different types of fabric: twill, canvas, corduroy, etc. Then there are combinations of fibres. Most people are no doubt aware that there is a difference between wool and cotton and also perhaps have an opinion as to what kinds of fabric they prefer.
The combination of fibres, the way the fabric has been woven and how tough the fabric is are what gives the fabric its own particular look. As trouser experts, we at Sunwill are very conscious of all these factors every single time we choose the material for our trousers.
Under the section Product qualities you will find descriptions of some of those fibres we use (e.g. cotton, wool and silk) together with explanations of some of the technical properties we add to the fabrics to make them wholly unique.
Below, you can see some of the typical weaves used in trouser material. Many other types of weave exist – and the weaves change character depending on the type of fibre and the thickness of the yarn it is woven with.
Types of Weave
The plain weave, or linen weave as it is also called, is the simplest of all types of weave. Here, the threads are woven together one after the other. This weave is one of the strongest weaves, as the threads are constantly crossing over each other.
The Oxford weave is a variation of the plain weave. Here two threads simply run parallel – i.e. two horizontal weft threads cross over two vertical warp threads. This gives more structure to the fabric.
The Twill weave creates a diagonal pattern in the fabric. Depending on which technique is used in the weave, the diagonal pattern will get different pitches, and you can thus find Twill material with different patterns. This type is also the most commonly-used weave for denim. Here one of the threads is white and the other coloured, which is what gives denim its characteristic appearance.
The herringbone weave is a variation of the twill weave. The threads are woven so that a herringbone pattern appears in the fabric. Just as with twill weaves, a herringbone weave has countless variations, which give different appearances to the fabric.
A dobby weave is usually an advanced design, which is used to create a particular texture in the fabric. Dobby weaves often comprise several different thicknesses of yarn and weave techniques, e.g. small twill edges on a plain weave or a zigzag pattern.
Contrary to popular opinion, satin is a type of weave and not a fibre. That is to say that many types of satin exist, from cotton satin and polyester satin to silk satin. The satin weave gives the fabric an especially shiny surface, which is often associated with exclusive fabrics.
Velvet is characterised by its soft surface. It is the small threads sticking up out of the fabric that gives it its soft 'pile' or surface. The fabric is woven and then cut apart so that the soft pile emerges. There are many variations of velvet. For example ribbed velvet (such as corduroy), where the soft surface lies in ridges. These ridges can vary in width and are separated by an area where the material has not been cut apart.