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Dress Shirt Fabric Guide
GENERAL SHIRT FABRIC TERMS
Yarn is the generic term for a thin, long, continuous strand of textile fiber before it is woven into cloth.
Otherwise known as "Thread Count", this consists of the number of yarns-per-inch. The yarn count will determine whether the cloth is loosely or tightly woven and the higher the number the higher the quality. In shirting, a benchmark of 80-100 marks high quality. Above 140 is considered extremely high quality.
The balance of a fabric refers to its specific proportion of vertical warp yarn to horizontal weft yarn as it relates to the weight of the yarn. So for example, a high quality broadcloth with a count of warp 140 X weft 70, has twice the amount of warp yarns as weft yarns. Then, in order to maintain the balance of the fabric, the size of each weft yarn is doubled to ensure a comparable amount of cotton fiber in each direction. So, even though there are technically twice as many warp yarns as weft, ultimately the fabric fiber is balanced.
One way to improve fabric fiber quality and longevity is to weave your fabric using yarn that has been twisted together. When two fibers are combined this way, the result is known as Two-Ply Yarn. Two-ply yarns resist the fibers’ normal tendency to shed, or 'pill'. Therefore, fabric woven of this two-ply yarn will have a much greater durability and longevity than fabric woven of single yarn.
Simply constructing cloth does not actually prepare it to be cut and sewn. There are a variety of processes that must occur before the cloth is considered “finished.” These processes are logically referred to as “finishing.” They can include dying, sizing, sanforization and pre-shrinking, to name just a few common ones. Each of these processes has a direct effect not only on the appearance of the cloth, but also on how it performs.
Sanforization is the most important finishing process of which to be aware. It is a treatment mainly used for cotton fabrics. It is a method of stretching and shrinking fabric before it is cut to prevent shrinkage in the final garment. This process was named after its inventor - a lovely English guy named Sanford Lockwood Cluett who patented over 200 inventions while working for his uncle’s weaving company between the two world wars. It is a very safe process simply using steam and stretching the fabric on a rubber bobbin.
Types of Dress Shirt Fabrics