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What is difference between woven and non woven textiles?
Sep 23, 2017

a woven fabric is constructed of thread interlaced in an “over/under” pattern. A non-woven fabric is any other method of constructing the fabric, which includes felting, knitting, crochet, etc. However, not all apparel and upholstery fabrics are woven. Most t-shirts are knitted, for example, while denim is woven.

Weaving involves at least 2 sets of threads - one set is long-ways on the loom (warp) and one set runs over and under the warp to make the fabric (that’s the weft). Weaving also requires a structure of some sort to hold tension on the warp - that’s the loom. Knitting and crocheting are made from one long thread looped around itself, using a hook (crochet) or 2 needles (knitting). Knitting machines perform the same action as a hand knitter but using a series of needles. Hand crochet does not have a machine equivalent. Most woven fabrics have limited amounts of stretch unless you are pulling them diagonally (“on the bias”), whereas knitted and crocheted fabrics can have tremendous amounts of stretch.

Felt is the most common fabric that we refer to as “non-woven”. Felting involves agitating the fibers in a solution until they start to tangle and interlock to form a dense, non-stretchy fabric. Wool felts easily because the fibers have small scales on the surface that interlock tightly together when agitated in warm soapy water, which is why your sweater shrinks and gets denser when you wash it in a washing machine. Other fibers can also be treated this way, including synthetic fibers, which can be used to make non-woven interfacing, Tyvek for mailing envelopes, and other non-stretchy fabrics.

What kind of fabric is appropriate depends on the application - considering things like stretch, density, durability, etc.