The Advantages & Disadvantages of Woven Fabrics

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Weaving is the primary way fabric is formed. Woven fabrics are formed by weaving threads over and under each other. There are many natural and man-made types of woven fabrics including denim, broadcloth, silk, satin, flannel and twill. Fabric thread can be made from cotton, linen, bamboo, polyester and even rayon.


As with any industry, time and labor reflect in the costs of the items. Woven fabrics are formed on looms and are made to be sturdy. The fabric cannot be stretched and does not shrink. While this does produced a higher quality clothing, it increases production costs. Other fabrics such as knits are made by machines and can be stretched out using steam machines. This makes the fabric less expensive but also less sturdy. This is why a pair of jeans will easily outlast a T-shirt.


Woven fabrics are rigid, making them ideal for thicker work clothes such as jeans and coveralls. This also makes woven fabrics feel less soft than knit fabric. Knit fabrics are flexible and move with the body, stretching and expanding as necessary. The only disadvantage to knit fabrics when it comes to comfort is that they may cling to the wrong places.


Most cotton weave fabrics, such as denim, are simple to launder and typically will not shrink or wrinkle. Other woven fabrics such as linen and silk can be laborious with washing, especially if the fabric requires dry cleaning or pressing.


Weaves by far outlast most other fabrics such as knits, and this is why so many heavy duty fabrics are weaves. Examples of woven fabrics include denim, linen, corduroy and tweed. Knit fabric is comfortable, but not meant for heavy duty use because of the overall stretchiness. Examples of knit fabric includes T-shirt fabric, sweaters, jersey and terrycloth.