Textile Industry Process

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  • 0:04 The Textile Industry
  • 0:38 The Textile Process
  • 3:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

The processes involved in the textile industry are complex, covering every step from fiber to finished product. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the various components of preparing textiles for the marketplace.

The Textile Industry

Have you ever given thought to how that shirt ended up on your back? Not the part where you traveled to a mall or department store, tried on your preferred size, paid the cashier and brought it home, but the part before that, where your shirt's 'roots' came from: the spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing that went into creating your garment and making it available for sale in a local store.

The textile industry process is a lengthy one, with many steps to turn raw fibers into a useable product, such as a sweatshirt, bed sheets or bath towels. Let's take a closer look at the process required to turn fibers into finished goods.

The Textile Process

The first step in the textile process is spinning. This step transforms fibers into yarn. Raw fibers like cotton and wool must be spun for making textile products. Years ago, this process used to be performed by hand, but developments in technology and machinery have created a machine-controlled process.

The yarn produced by these machines is classified as either filament, which are long continuous strands, or staple, which are short lengths of fiber. Filament yarn spinning is an easier process than staple yarn production, and also cheaper. The various components of the spinning process include:

  • Carding: removes impurities from the fibers
  • Combing: straightens the yarn
  • Drawing: creates evenness in the yarn
  • Roving: inserts twists into the yarn to hold the fibers together

Once the spinning process has completed, it's time to move on to weaving. Weaving dates back thousands of years and is the practice of interlacing yarns called warp, which runs parallel, and weft, which runs perpendicular, to build a rigid fabric. Three processes are necessary to interlace the two:

  • Shedding: separating the warp into two layers
  • Picking: inserting more yarn while the shed is open
  • Beating: pushing the filling yarn into the woven fabric

Weaving machines are identified as either shuttle or shuttle-less, which explains their filling process. A shuttle weaving machine uses a shuttle that goes back and forth across the fabric, placing the filling yarn. A shuttleless machine can either be projectile, rapier, air-jet or water-jet, all of which use different types of elements to insert filling yarn.

The next step is two-fold and includes dyeing and printing. Textile dyeing gives textiles the colors and shades that fill our malls and department stores. Dyes contain molecules that absorb and reflect light to convey various colors.

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