Weaving is done by interweaving two sets of yarns called the warp and the weft. The weft yarns run horizontally and the warp yarns run vertically. The yarn count combined with the yarn size determines the weight of the fabric.
In a plain weave, the warp and weft yarns cross each other at right angles. Each weft yarn passes over one warp yarn and then under the next warp yarn. The texture of the fabric will depend on the yarn composition. A very fine, smooth yarn will produce a smooth, tight fabric.
Ribbed weave, also called unbalanced plain weave, has a cross-grain ribbed texture. This is created by using a weft yarn that is heavier than the warp yarn.
Plain Weave Examples: Batiste, Burlap, Flannel, Gauze, Muslin, Organza
A basket weave is similar to a plain weave, except there are two or more yarns grouped together and woven as one in the warp and weft directions. There are a variety of yarn weights used in this weave creating anything from a canvas to a chiffon.
Basket Weave Examples: Canvas, Duck, Oxford, Sailcloth
The twill weave has a visible diagonal line on one side of the fabric. This effect is referred to as the wale. This is caused by the weft yarn floating over and under two or more warp yarns. The effect is most prominent on heavyweight fabrics and may be nearly invisible on lightweight fabrics.
There are balanced and unbalanced twill constructions, but they are all referred to as twill fabrics.
Due to the surface texture, twills are softer and have a better drape than plain, basket or satin weaves. The construction of twill makes it more durable than most fabrics particularly when the yarns are cotton, hemp, flax, polyester, or nylon.
Twill Weave Examples: Gabardine, Denim, Houndstooth, Serge, Drill
Satin & Sateen Weave
Satin weave has a high sheen and reflects light, whereas Sateen has a dull sheen and does not shimmer. They are both very smooth because they are woven similarly.
The weave is made up of randomly floating yarns over five or more yarns. This maximizes the visible threads on the top of the fabric making it smooth. Satin has a predominance of weft yarns to the right side and Sateen has more warp threads on the right side.
Satin Weave Examples: Satin, Charmeuse, Sateen
The warp yarns are woven over rods or wires that have been inserted in to the loops of raised alternate yarns. This creates loops when the rods are removed. The loops are then cut creating the pile. If the loops are left intact, the resulting fabric is a loop-back fabric.
Fabrics made with the pile weave have nap, which must be taken into consideration when laying out patterns prior to cutting.
Pile Weave Cut Examples: corduroy, velvet, velveteen
Pile Weave Uncut Example: terry cloth
Jacquard weaves are done on a specialty loom and are characterized by complex woven-in designs. These repeated large designs produce a tapestry effect.
Jacquard Weave Examples: Brocade, Damask
Leno weaves require a special loom attachment and are usually lightweight and open, which gives it a lace-like appearance. Two or more warp yarns criss-cross each other and interlace with one or more weft yarns to form a Leno weave. The process locks the weft yarns in between the warps and prevents the yarns from shifting.
Leno Examples: Marquisette, casement cloth, mosquito netting
Dobby weaves require a special loom attachment and have small, geometric, textured frequently repeated woven-in designs.
Dobby Weave Example: Bird’s-Eye Pique