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Fabric Production

Webs become fabrics through a mechanical needling process or application of chemical substances, adhesives, or heat. Spun-bonded and melt-blown technology is being combined in some applications where bicomponent or biconstituent webs are needed for barrier and filtration applications. In these combinations, the process is known as spun melt.

Needle Punching or needling consists of passing a dry-laid web over a needle loom as many times as is necessary to produce the desired strength and texture. A needle loom has barbed needles protruding 2 to 3 inches from the base. As the needles stitch up and down through the web, the barbs pull a few fibers through the web, interlocking them mechanically with other fibers. This process is relatively inexpensive.

 Blankets, carpeting, and carpet backing are examples of needle-punched products. Fiber denier, fiber type, and product loft vary. Indoor/outdoor needle-punched carpeting made of olefin is used for patios, porches, pools, and putting greens because it is impervious to moisture. Needled carpet backings are used with some tufted carpets.

 Needled fabrics can be made of a two-layer web with each layer a different color, often of solution-dyed fibers. By pulling colored fibers from the lower layer to the top surface, geometric designs are possible. Fibers pulled above the surface produce a pile fabric. Needle-punched fabrics are finished by pressing, Steaming, Calendaring, dyeing, and embossing. Other techniques include the use of a closed needle that penetrates the web, opens, grabs some fibers, and draws them back as a yarn like structure that is then chain-stitched through the web. These fabrics are related to the stitch-through fabrics discussed later in this chapter. Needle-punched fabrics also are used for tennis-ball felts, blood filters, papermaking felt, speaker-cover fabrics, synthetic leathers, oil-absorbent pads, some bullet-resistant vests, and insulator padding.

Chemical adhesives are used with dry-laid or wet-laid webs to bond the fibers together. Adhesives include vinyl acetate, vinyl acrylic, and acrylic polymers. Each type has characteristics that make it appropriate for certain applications. The adhesive is applied in a liquid, powder, or foam form and heated and pressed to adhere fibers together in the web.

Heat and pressure are used to bond thermoplastic-fiber webs. Several techniques are used. In area-bond calendaring, the fibers are heated and pressed to form a permeable film-like structure that is stiff, inextensible, and strong. In point-bond calendaring, the heated fiber web passes through a pair of calendar rolls: one is engraved and the other is smooth. The engraved roller presses the web onto the smooth roller and the fibers adhere to each other. Characteristics relate to the size and density of the bond points. Fabrics are usually moderately bulky, elastic, and soft and are used for medical, sanitary, and filtration applications.

Migrate, produced by polymer Group Inc., is a fabric formed directly from fibers using a combination of high-pressure water jets and laser imaging that has two-way stretch and can be made to resemble fabrics such as corduroy, denim, and brocade. End users include dyed and printed wall coverings, upholstery, pillows, comforters, and window treatments. Depending on the fiber content, Migrate may be laundered 50 times with no problem detected.

Fabric From Fiber

Some fabrics are made directly from fibers or fiber-forming solutions; thus, there is no processing of fibers into a yarn. These operations include very old and very new processes. The origins of felt and tapa cloth are lost in antiquity; net like structures used to bag fruits and vegetables use new technologies, and composite fabrics are made by combining fibers with other materials to form fabrics.

Tapa cloth, the first fiber web, is made from the fibrous inner bark of the fig or paper mulberry tree. It was used for clothing by people in many areas of the Pacific Island and Central America. The cloth is made by soaking the inner bark to loosen the fibers, beating them with a mallet, smoothing them out into a paper like sheet, and decorating them with block prints.

Today, fabrics made from fibers are the fastest growing area of the textile industry. These fabrics most often have industrial uses, but some are used in apparel and furnishing items. Research and development focusing on industrial fabrics expands markets for fiber companies.

These fabrics are often referred to as nonwovens, meaning that they are not made from yarn. However, the term nonwoven creates confusion because knits are nonwovens as well. Nonwoven refers to a wide variety of fabric structures. In the textile industry, nonwoven usually refers to a fiber web structure.

Increased usages of these fabrics is related to the increased cost of traditional textiles which are related to labor costs, fluctuating costs of natural fibers, production and promotion of some manufactured fibers, easier cutting and sewing for unskilled labor, and new technologies that produce made to order products inexpensively.

The properties of nonwovens are controlled by the arrangement of the fibers in the web, the properties of the fibers used in the web, and the properties of any binders that may be used.

 The basic steps include selecting the fibers, laying the fibers to make a web, and bonding the web together to make a fabric. Any fiber can be used to make the web. The fiber’s inherent characteristics are reflected in the fabric: Filaments and strong staple fibers are used for strength and durability; rayon and cotton are used for absorbency; thermoplastics are used for spun-bonded webs.

Five techniques are available for web formation: dry-laid, spun-bonded, spun-laced, and melt-blown. Fiber orientation, important in controlling web characteristics, describes both parallel fibers in the web and the parallelism between the fibers and the machine direction. Machine direction describes the direction in which the supporting conveyor belt moves. Oriented webs have fibers parallel to each other. Webs in which the fibers are highly parallel to each other and to the machine direction are oriented in the lengthwise direction. Random webs have fibers that are not parallel to each other. Lengthwise-oriented webs have a grain; strength and drape properties are related to fiber orientation.


Leather Offers Something for Everyone

A cyclist roars into town on a Harley Davidson, and an anxious job applicant patiently waits to be interviewed at a prestigious law firm. In these snapshots from completely different worlds, each person uses a common element to underscore his or her presence. What single ingredient could these individuals use in these totally different situations? In a word, the answer is leather! The biker, resplendent in his thick leather garb accentuated by heavy zippers and studs, personifies the “macho” image, whereas the fledgling attorney, her apparel discreetly but prominently accessorized with the “right” Coach Leather briefcase  exudes an air of confidence and sophistication. What other single fashion ingredient is capable of quickly establishing an indelible impression for its wearer?

 Leather offers something for everyone. Men, women, and children from all walks of life seem to have an increasing fascination for the mystique of this raw material and the array of products fabricated from it .The motorcycle jacket has made the transition from the standard gear of the biking world to must-have attire for the fashion conscious by coloring it bright orange or silver or acid washing it to make an even more exciting statement. Printed suede’s for special-occasion dressing, plaid leather suits, bomber jackets emblazoned with peace symbols, and ski wear that can be washed by either hand or machine are just some of the industry’s creations that have extended the use for this material.

In the home furnishing arena, the use of leather has been taken to new heights. Not only is it used in informal room settings on sofas and chairs, but also for accents on accessory throw pillows. Designers are choosing a wealth of exciting colors and patterns, in addition to the standard color palette, to lend excitement to these environments.

 The days when leather was thought of as merely a serviceable material have long passed. Its functional qualities coupled with its many fashion orientations and uses make it an exceptional material for designers to use to reach many markets.

With significant technological advances that have enabled leather designers to silk-screen colorful prints and patterns and create a variety of soft textures, the industry continues to expand. Today, according to the Leather Apparel Industry, leather boasts sales of more than $3 billion annually. With its continued acceptance in all phases of fashion, the future is even more promising.

The three major world centers of cattle producers for leather are the United Sates, Russia. And Western Europe. Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico also prominently a cattle production.

Knowledge of Fashion Designers

The distinctive rustling sound made by the movement if taffeta, the intricately detailed jacquard designs embellished in spectacular brocades, the quiet elegant feel of fur like cashmere, and the bold colorful patterns inherent in exciting strips and prints all bring the fashion designers creation to life. The excitement generated by the parade of collections on the worlds fashion runways is heightened by the fabric choice used in the apparel. It is not a chance marriage that couples the fabric and silhouette. The blending these two elements makes each piece into individual style.

Aesthetics alone are not sufficient when fabrics are being produced. Although appearance is certainly an essential ingredient, function must be considered as well. The business traveler who must make a fresh entrance immediately after long journey should arrive looking as freshly and impeccably dresses as though he or she had resist unwanted wrinkles and unsightly creases. The pleasure traveler’s tightly packed wardrobe must be removed from the garments bag, unruffled, ready to use for upholstered furniture, consideration must be given in the ease which stains are removed.

The textile industries are a highly sophisticated network of specialists who apply their technology knowledge to the needs of the apparel, were able accessories, and home furnishing world. The constant indiscretion of these fashion segments assures that the end product, the needs of the consumer, will be served.

Manufacturer and fashion designers search all the domestic markets and offshore producers around the globe for fabrics they can use the production of their collections. Some fibers, such as silk are not domestically available in several venues, is often purchased in Belgium, if high quality is demanded. When hand- loomed woolens are required, as is the case in quality new swears, then Italy is generally the choice. Other fibers, notably the manufacturer types, have broad areas of domestic’s production, allowing product manufacturers greater latitudes in their procurement.

fashion designers must assess the fabrics characteristics in terms of durability, eye appeal, and function. The buyer must recognize various fabrics and fibers and their inherent qualities. Sales associates must assist the consumer by making the right fabric choices for special needs. In all of these cases, a working knowledge of textiles is imperative.

Addition to The Most Commonly Used Natural Fibers

I addition to the most commonly used natural fibers, designers often choose some that are lesser known to best suit their creative needs. They might be chosen for their naturally inherent textures, unusually soft feel, unique appearance, or ability to perform better than some of the more commonly used fibers.

Some may be extremely expensive, such as cashmere and vicuna, whereas others may fall into the less costly range, such as ramie. They fall into two distinct classifications, the animal or hair group and the vegetable category.

Hair Fibers: Cashmere: A soft, luxurious fibers that is used in the fines of sweater and other costly apparel and accessories. It comes from the Asian goat.

Angora Rabbit Hair: Moderately priced,, when compared with cashmere and some of the other specially hairs, it comes from a French rabbit that is specially raised for its fiber. It is extremely fine and is used primarily for sweaters. One drawback is that it sheds.

Vicuna: One of the costliest of the group, it’s this; soft hair comes from the vicuna of South America.

Mohair: A strong, resilient fiber, naturally lustrous, that comes from the Angora goat.

Alpaca: Natural fiber known for its silky appearance and strength. The alpaca’s hair is much longer than ordinary sheep’s wool. Raised in the Andes, alpacas are shorn of their hair, which is used for fine coats and suit.

Camel’s Hair: Wool like texture that is extremely soft and lustrous and its comes from Mongolian and Tibetan camels. It is used primarily for coats, suit and sports coats.

Vegetable Fibers Ramie: A strong abrasion resistant fiber used extensively today with cotton for sweaters.

Jute: Medium quality strength with a rather rigid feel. The fiber is sometimes used for belts and canvas handbags.

Hemp:   Coarse and brittle, its use is limit. It is occasionally used when rough textured materials are needs.