8 Basic weaves

B. A. Muralidhar

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Woven clothing’s are manufacture in a machine called “Loom”. This loom facilitates the interlacement of warp and weft yarns perpendicular to each other. A variety of fabric textures can be produced by manipulating the warp and the weft interlacement patterns. The three basic steps involved in the process of weaving are the shedding, picking and beat-up. The warp yarns at both the edge of the fabric are called the selvedge’s, they reinforce the edges of the fabric as such are more compact and denser i.e. the ends per inch is much higher than body construction.


Weaving is afabric production technique in which the two sets of yarns are interlaced at right angles to form a textile. Woven fabric design (or) weave are composed of warp and weft threads, interlaced with one another according to the form of design that are desired. The repeat or pattern is the smallest unit of weave, repeating on a specified number of ends and picks, which when repeated produces the required design. The weave influences the aesthetics as well as the properties of the woven fabrics. The interlacement patterns of the woven fabrics are manipulated using the drafting order and the lifting plan.


The weaves are constructed on a graph/point paper using (X) cross marks and blanks. A cross mark in the point paper means that the warp is lifted over the pick, whereas a blank means the weft end passing over the warp end.


Woven fabric structures may be broadly divided into two principle categories: 1.1 Simple Structures: in which there are one series of ends and picks and the constituent threads are responsible for both aesthetic and performance of the fabric.


1.2 Compound structures: in which there are more than one series of ends and picks, some of which may be responsible for the body of the fabric and the other threads may be employed entirely for ornamental purposes.


Weaves are the pattern of interlacement of the corresponding warp and weft threads. A weave repeats on a definite number of ends and picks and the number of ends and picks in a repeat may be equal or unequal.


A draft indicates the number of healds used to produce a given design and the order in which the warp ends are threaded through the mail eyes of the healds. Drafting order determines how the warp ends are drawn through the healds, that is which ends is passed through which heald. Number of heals depends on the number of ends working differently. This implies that if the interlacement pattern of threads is same then they should be drawn through the same heald shaft.


Lifting plan is the selection of healds to be raised or lowered on each successive insertion of the weft. Lifting plan indicates the order in which the heald shafts should be lifted for successive weft insertion to produce a particular weave/design pattern. This depends on the weave and it’s drafting plan.


2.1 Straight Draft:


In a straight drafting order, a slanting line is formed by crosses across the point paper as shown in Figure 1. This means that each end of the design works differently. As such each end needs to be drawn through different healdshaft

2.2 Pointed Draft:


As the name indicates, in a pointed draft a pointed line is formed by the (x) notation Figure 2. The weave repeat contains ends working with similar interlacements. As such for a weave repeating on seven ends only four heald shafts are required.

2.3 Skip Draft:


Skip drafts system is useful in weaving very dense set fabrics, where normally a small number of healds are required. This system reduces friction and rubbing between the ends by using more healds than the minimum necessary. In a skip draft, more than one heald shafts are controlled by the shedding mechanism. For example, plain weave textile can be woven with two healds, but when producing textiles with high number of end and picks per unit area. It is often suitable to use four healds to reduce the jamming of threads in the heald. The skip draft for a plain weave textile is shown in Figure 3.

  3.    DENTING


During weaving warp ends are spaced out across the width of the warp sheet according to the desired density by wire reeds. The denting order frequently used being 2, 3 or 4 ends per dent across the width. \


4.    WEAVES


A great variety of textiles manufactured today are a combination of the following basic weaves namely, the plain weave, twill weaves and sateen (or) satin weave.




Plain weave is used to a greater extent than any other weave. It is the most common weave used in light, medium and high weight fabrics such as the muslin’s, poplin’s, cambric’s and other sheeting’s. It is the simplest weave repeating on two ends and two picks (filling) yarns. Each warp yarn passes alternately above and below each weft yarn similarly, each weft yarn passes alternately above and below warp yarn. This weave has the maximum number of interlacements, compared to other weaves; hence the fabric becomes very firm and strong. Further, the crimp of the yarn is this weave is also higher than other weaves. Plain weave interlacements are shown on point paper in Figure 4. Plain fabric can be produced on a weaving machine (loom) with two healdshafts.



In the plain weave derivatives, the plain notations are extended in warp, weft of both in warp and weft directions, namely warp rib, weft rib and matt or basket weave. All plain weave derivatives can be produced using two heald shafts.

  4.2.1 WARP RIB:


In a warp rib weave the plain marks (x) notation (indicating warp-up) is extended for one additional pick in a group i.e two or more picks are inserted in the same shed. With the warp ends floating over two picks the warp ribs become distinct in the warp direction of the fabric. As the weft yarn undergoes more number of interlacements compared to the warp ends, the weft crimp is higher than the warp crimp. Further, due to the nature of interlacement, the warp direction has higher tear strength compared to any equivalent plain woven fabrics having similar areal density. Figure 5. Shows the design, draft and lifting plan of warp rib structure.

4.2.2 WEFT RIB:


In a weft rib weave the plain marks (x) notation (indicating warp-up) is extended for one additional end i.e two or more warp ends weave together as one.. With the weft picks floating over two ends the weft ribs become distinct in the weft direction of the fabric. As the warp yarn undergoes more number of interlacements compared to the weft, the warp crimp is higher than the weft crimp. Further, due to the nature of interlacement, the weft direction has higher tear strength compared to any equivalent plain woven fabrics having similar areal density. Figure 6. Shows the design, draft and lifting plan of weft rib structure.

Figure 6. Weft rib structure




In a matt weave, the plain weave marks are extended both in the warp as well as weft direction i.e. tow of more warp ends and two or more weft picks weave as one..With the warp end floating over two picks and the weft ends floating over two ends the minimum number of ends and picks required for the formation of matt weave is 2 x 2. Further, due to the nature of interlacement, the tear strength is higher in both the directions compared to any equivalent plain woven fabrics having similar areal density. Figure 7. Shows the design, draft and lifting plan of weft rib structure.



After the plain weave, twill is the second most popular weave used in the construction of dress material, suiting’s, shirting’s, bed spreads etc. Twill weaves are characterised by their diagonal line formed by the warp and the weft floats. The angles of the diagonal lines vary between 15o – 75o. The simplest twill weaves repeats on three ends and three picks. Compared to plain weave the twill weaves have lesser interlacements as such the crimp is lower. Twill weaves are further classified into warp, weft or balanced twills based on the prominence of either warp or weft Figur Twill interlacement is denoted by using numbers above and below a line such as 1/2 interpreted as one up two down, there are several types of basic weaves, such as 2/1, 2/2, 3/1, 1/3 etc.


In a warp faced twill weave, the warp ends float more predominately over the weft yarns. Whereas, in a weft faced twill weave, the weft picks float more predominately over the warp ends. If the face side of a cloth contains warp faced twill the back side of the same cloth will have weft faced twill weaves. However, in balanced twill weave the floats of both warp and weft yarns would be equal.

5.1 Twill Angle

Figure 9. Illustrates the horizontal direction, it depends spacing.

Figure 9. Different twill angles2.2.2 TWILL WEAVE DERIVATIVES





In a pointed twill (Figure 10) the characteristic, diagonal line formed with regular twill weave changes direction at specified intervals, thus creating the pointed effect on the textile. The pointed twill based design is woven using a pointed draft and the lifting order resembles the left hand side of the design.

Figure 10. 2/2 twill weave based pointed twill.-


Satin and sateen weaves are characterised by smooth appearance without the continuous twill line with only one binding point in each end and pick in the design repeat. Satin fabric is characterised by high lustre on one side of the fabric, satin weave is warp faced whereas sateen weave is weft faced. For the construction of satin weave, a feasible move number is chose and using this move number only those points are marked on the point paper where the end is floating over the pick. Figure 11 example of seven end sateen with all possible move numbers.

Figure 11. Seven end sateen with various move numbers.


Rules for making sateen weave:

  1. a) It is observed that move number 1 or n-1 produce twill weaves hence cannot be used. Here nis the repeat size of the design.
  2. b) The move number and repeat size of the design should not have any common factor.

However, move numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 produce valid sateen weaves. On a point paper, the sateen weave can be converted to satin weave by interchanging the crosses with blanks and vice versa.


Honey comb weave produces ridges and hollows which give a cell like appearance to the cloth textures. Both the warp and weft threads float freely, show prominent diamond shapes on the fabrics created by the long floats on both sides coupled with the rough structures which absorbs moisture readily. Honey comb design can be produced with pointed draft and thus the lifting plan resembles the left hand side of the design. The weaves are of two types:


7.1.1. Ordinary honeycombs (Figure 12.) – Which produces similar effects on both sides of the cloth.

Figure 12. Ordinary honey comb (8 x 8) – Design, draft and lifting plan


7.1.2. Brighton honeycombs – which produces cellular formation on one side of the cloth only.Construction of Brighton honey comb is quite different from ordinary honey comb and requires to be woven in straight draft. Further, the number of threads in a repeat must be a multiple of 4. The diamond base is first made by inserting a single row of marks in one direction and a double row in the other direction. Marks are then added to the double row so as to form a small warp diamond in the right and left corners of each diamond space as shown in Figure 13.

Figure 13. Brighton honey comb (16 x 16)


In a Mock leno weave, some of the ends have interlacement whereas the other ends have long floats. The fabric shows small holes created by the grouping of threads. The weave produces effects similar to gauze or leno weave. A mock leno weave having a repeat size of 10×10 is shown in Figure 14 along with drafting and lifting plan. Only four heald shafts are needed as the interlacement pattern of ends 1, 3, 5 are same and they are drawn through heald No.1. Similarly, the interlacement pattern of ends 2 and 4 are same and they are allocated heald shaft No. 2 and so on.

Figure 14. Design, draft and lifting plan of Mock-leno weave.




Huckaback weaves are largely used for cotton towels. The structure is so arranged that plain weave gives hard wearing and firmness whereas the loose floats pick-up good moisture. Huck-a-back weave has some similarity with the Mock leno weave. A 10×10 Huck-a-back weave is shown in Figure 15. If the design is divided in four quadrants, then the top-right and bottom-left corners are having similar interlacement pattern like Mock leno. However, the remaining two quadrants have plain weave like interlacement pattern. Therefore, some of the ends (end number 2, 4,7 and 9) are having long floats followed by regular interlacements. The design shown below requires four heald shafts..

Figure 15. Design, draft and lifting plan of Huck-a-Back weave.

  1. Conclusion:

In this module we have learnt about the construction and characteristic features of basic fabric weaves, including Plain weave, Twill weave, Sateen and Satin weave.We have also learnt about the construction and characteristics of a few important fancy weaves, such as the Ordinary honeycomb weave,Brighton honeycomb weave, Mock-leno weave and the Huck-a-back weave.

you can view video on Basic weaves



  1. Grosicki Z. J. 2004. Watson’s Textile Design, Woodhead Publishing Limited, CambridgeEngland.


Web links


  • http://content.inflibnet.ac.in/data-server/eacharya  documents/56b0853a8ae36ca7bfe81449_INFIEP_79/2/ET/79-2-ET-V1-S1__unit_2.pdf http://nptel.ac.in/courses/116102005/28