Wrapping our Heads Around Weaves

The way a fabric is created determines the way it looks, the way it hangs, the way it feels. From light and sheer to heavy and shiny, the weave determines the very character of a garment. When it comes to men’s clothing we only have to consider two basic types of weaving, but the variety within those weaves is almost endless.

Plain Weave

Plain weaves are defined by their simple over-under weave. The warp threads (those running vertically) alternate going over and under the weft threads (those running horizontally), just as the weft alternates going over and under the warp.

poplin wikipedia


A popular and common weave, poplin gets its name from the Pope having a residence in the town where it was once made. Poplin was originally made with a thicker weft, giving it a corded appearance and texture. Modern poplins use the same size threads for warp and weft, making it smoother but also a bit sheer. Poplin fabrics are usually used for formal dress shirts and tend to have solid colors.


Broadcloth is made with a normal plain weave like the poplin, but it is woven wider than its intended final width. Traditionally, it was stretched while immersed in water; when it dried, the fabric shrank to its intended size. Finally, the fabric was rubbed with special earth and beaten with wooden hammers to bind the individual fibers together, similar to a felting process. Because of this processing, broadcloth is softer and heavier than poplin, but it can still be used in formal situations.

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Best of the Web: Denim College

I want to share a five-video series from G-Star Raw‘s YouTube channel. The videos are a total of 30 minutes in length and show us the process of raw cotton being turned into a finished product, explaining each step along the way. This is an excellent introduction to modern textile production and a solid fundamental for anyone who wants to understand style and fashion.


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Jeans: From Genoa to Glamor

Denim has been used for making clothes for over 350 years but it has only been in the last 50 years that they have enjoyed widespread popularity. Blue jeans, as we know them today, were invented in 1871. Soon after, Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss would patent their rivet-reinforced work pants. It would be nearly 100 years before jeans found their way from workers’ wardrobes to pop culture and ubiquity. Today you can find people wearing blue jeans in nearly every country.


Part of the secret to their popularity lies in the particular way that denim is made. The indigo dye – whether synthetic or organic – is only applied to the warp threads of the twill weave. Further, the dye is only applied to the surface of the cotton threads, leaving an inner core of white cotton. As the jeans age and flex and stretch, some of that indigo dye is lost causing the blue of the jeans to fade. This fade is unique to each pair of jeans and is influenced by how they are worn and what we do in them, making each pair as individual as the wearer.

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