When textiles are made on a weaving loom the vertical yarns and horizontal yarns interlace at an angle – this creates a particular pattern on the fabric. Twill weave is one of the many ways in which this is done. Twill fabrics have distinguishing diagonal patterns created by the particular type of weaving done on them.
In a twill weave, each weft thread passes over two or more adjacent warp threads and under the next one or more. Each row is an offset from the one finished above which makes the typical diagonal pattern. Some twill weave fabrics have a fine and soft diagonal rib effect whereas in some others the weave is very prominent.
Twill weave Fabric names
The most popular twill weave fabrics are Denim, Satin, Tweed, Gabardine, and Serge. Ticking is a heavyweight twill fabric. Tussah silk can be in twill weave. Other twill weave fabrics are Foulard, Sharkskin, Surah, Tricotine, Duvetyn, Chinos, Worsted flannel, Khaki, Worsted cheviot, Covert, Sharkskin. A lot of fabrics are made both in plain weave and in twill weave like velveteen, dommet flannel. Many wool fabrics like Mohair, wool Broadcloth, Melton, and Cashmere can have a twill weave ( as well as a plain weave).
Denim is the most famous twill weave fabric – it is made of blue and white threads. The blue thread which is the warp runs parallel to the selvage.
From the above list, you will notice that most of the twill weave fabrics are strong and durable. Because of the tight weave of twill it is not as breathable as other weaves like the plain weave.But there are a whole lot of advantages to these fabrics because of the speciality of the weave.
Advantages of Twill weave fabrics
Because of the floating nature of the yarns, there are many advantages to a twill fabric. Because of its diagonal structure, twill is flexible, though it is heavy and generally drapes well.
Unlike a plain weave which has both sides equal, a twill weave usually has a different front and backside. The front side of a twill fabric is known as the technical face and the backside is called a technical back. The front side or technical face is the side visible during weaving and is often used as the fashion side of the fabric.
Stains on twill weave fabrics are less noticeable. Also, they crease less than plain weave fabrics. Twill fabric is more durable and pliable than plain weave or satin weave fabrics.
Because of their versatility and durability, twill fabrics are used for a lot of purposes – for general and work clothing, upholstery, bed and bath linen.
Different types of Twill weaves
To categorize how they are woven, twill weave is always specified as numbers. For example, a 2*1 twill denotes that a weft is woven over two warp threads and under one warp thread.
The most robust Twill weaving is usually based on three warp threads used for every one weft thread. This is referred to as a 3* 1 twill weave. This is usually found in good quality denim fabric and it is the most preferred fabric for making jeans. The most common fibers used for twill weaves are cotton and polyester.
Twill fabrics can be classified according to the way or the direction the yarns are woven.
There are different kinds of woven twills such as block twill, broken twill, even twill, flattened twill, left and right-handed twill, steep twill, uneven twill, waved twill, continuous or regular twill, rearranged twill, figured twill, and combined twill.
In an even twill, the numbers above the line and the numbers below the line are equal with no predominance of warp or weft.
Regular twill/ Continous twill
In this the twill weave produces digonal lines with a 45 degree angle from an imaginary line perpendicular to the selvedge. In regular twill, the diagonal line is produced in such a way that lift is regular all across.
In broken twills, patterns are reversed partway through the repeat. Generally, the break is done with one reversal at the center of the repeat. Still, more complicated patterns can be made with different kinds of breaks. Herringbone Pattern is created with a broken twill weaving. Granada is a broken twill fabric
Left-handed and right-handed twill
In left-handed twill (S twill), the direction of the weave heads to the left. Usually Z-twist yarn is used for this twill weave. Drill cloth is a left-hand twill weave fabric. This creates a softer fabric.
If the progress of the weave is towards the right, it is called a right-handed twill (Z twill). The right-hand twill weave creates a tight weave. An S twist yarn is used for this. This is a rougher fabric
The most important thing that determines the prominance of the pattern on the twill fabric is the twist in the yarn. If the yarn twists in the same direction as the twill the prominence of the twill weave is reduced. If the yarn twists in the opposite direction the twill weave is pronounced.
Zig Zag twill
In this a left hand twill and right hand twill are combined creating a zig zag pattern.
In flattened twill, the twill line formed by the weft yarn and the warp is mainly on the back of the fabric.
In the steep twill, the simple twill has a twill line of about 45 sharper than regular. Gabardine is a steep twill weave fabric.
Uneven twill is opposite to even twill. In uneven twill, the number above the line and the number below the line are not equal. Also, warp has predominance over weft by warp showing more on one face with the weft on the other face.
In wave twill, the direction of the twill line is changed at regular intervals either across the fabric or along its length to create a wave or zigzag pattern. Even a pattern of diamond checks can be made this way.
In rearranged twill, a continuous twill is taken as a basis and the lifting is rearranged to a definite plan. Satin twill is a rearranged continuous twill.
In figured twills, spots are combined with simple twills.
In combined twill, two different types of twill weaves are seen alternatively.
In this, there are double diagonal ribs.
The printed twills are less common as the fabric already has a design and texture. If at all twill fabrics are printed, it is usually done on lightweight twill fabrics.