What Is Twill Fabric?
Along with satin and plain weave, twill is one of the three original types of weaves used for textiles. Rather than denoting a certain type of fabric fiber, “twill” refers to a specific type of weaving that results in a diagonal pattern. For contrast, both satin and plain weave have straight patterns.
Fabrics have been woven in twill patterns for thousands of years, which makes it hard to determine where exactly this type of fabric originated. However, the word “twill” is a modern variant of the Old English word “twili,” which is a half adoption of the Latin word “bilix.” Therefore, twill is commonly associated with British culture even though this type of fabric has been woven in other cultures for much longer.
There are quite a few different ways to weave twill fabric that are all still considered to be twill. Essentially, as long as diagonal lines can be seen in the final fabric, that fabric is considered to be twill even though it may be structurally dissimilar from other types of fabrics that go by the same name.
One of the most iconic contexts in which twill fabric is used is in the manufacture of denim jeans. These types of pants have clearly visible diagonal lines, and these lines are a result of this unique weaving pattern. However, this weaving pattern is also used in a variety of other types of apparel and home textiles.
Twill garments and home textiles were originally made from cotton, but it’s now also common to see this type of fabric made with synthetic substances like polyester. While cotton twill looks highly similar to cotton duck at first glance, the latter fabric has a plain weave pattern that does not result in a diagonal appearance. Twill fabric can be made in many different colors, thread counts, and styles, and this fabric is renowned for its excellent draping ability, which is derived from its unique weaving pattern.
How Is Twill Fabric Made?
While the characteristic diamond pattern of twill is the same no matter which type of fiber is made to use this fabric, different production processes are used to make the various fabrics that are woven to make this textile. Cotton, for instance, is a natural fiber, and it is derived from the fluffy fibers that surround the seed of the cotton plant when it is mature.
Once these fibers are harvested, they are packed into bales and sent to cotton yarn production plants. These bales are unpacked, their contents are mixed, and then the fibers are carded into long, thin strands. After these strands are combed and washed, they are spun into yarn. This cotton yarn may be dyed at this point, or it may simply be loaded onto large reels and sent to a textile factory to be made into a finished product.
Polyester is also commonly used to make twill, but a very different process is used to make this textile than that which is used to make cotton yarn. This fabric is made from a compound called ethylene, which is found in crude petroleum oil. This compound is then reacted with another chemical called dimethyl terephthalate, and the resulting monomer alcohol is bonded with terephthalic acid to make the polyester polymer.
This substance is molten after it is created, and it is then formed into long ribbons and cooled. These ribbons are then broken up, and they are melted once more. Finally, this refined polyester is extruded through a spinneret to make fabric fibers, and these fibers are then subjected to a number of treatments before they are loaded onto spools.
Once a textile fiber has been required, a number of different methods can be used to make it into twill. Technically, any type of fabric weave can be called “twill fabric,” and there are a great many weaving patterns that are used to make this textile. In general, a twill fabric is woven by passing the weft thread over one or more warp threads and then passing it under two or more warp threads. This technique results in what is called a “step” pattern that appears diagonal once the finished fabric is made.
Where Is Twill Fabric Produced?
While twill fabric is produced all over the globe, it’s clear that China is the biggest exporter of this textile product. China is the biggest producer of polyester, and it is also the biggest producer of cotton.
Since these two fibers are most commonly used to make twill fabric, China is the market leader in producing this iconic fabric. India, the United States, and Pakistan are also significant producers of twill fabric, and thanks to recent economic developments, China may ultimately be deposed as the world’s biggest textile producer. For the time being, however, this country remains the largest producer of almost every type of textile.
What Different Types of Twill Fabric Are There?
A few different natural and synthetic fibers are used to make twill, and this fabric can also be made in various patterns. Here are some examples of the different types of twill that are offered:
• Natural twill: Some types of twill fabric are made from natural fibers like cotton.
• Synthetic twill: Other types of twill fabric are made from synthetic textiles such as polyester.
• Zigzag twill: This type of twill is the most common form of this weave, and it features the diagonal pattern that makes this type of weave recognizable.
• Herringbone twill: Some textile experts consider herringbone to be its own fabric, but it’s actually a derivative of twill. This type of fabric displays an iconic zigzag pattern that is accomplished with weft and warp threads that are different colors.
• Diamond twill: When viewed in a complete fabric, diamond twill takes on the appearance of diamonds that are composed of multiple concentric lines. These diamonds are arranged parallel to each other throughout the fabric. While this type of twill is sometimes used to make apparel, it is also common to see it as a pattern in rugs.
• Diaper twill: This type of twill was originally used to make diapers, and it displays a complex diamond-shaped pattern.
• Broken twill: No, this type of twill isn’t torn or otherwise damaged; it simply displays an alternating pattern.
• Elongated twill: This type of twill is woven by crossing more weft threads with a single weave thread, which results in an elongated appearance.