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3 woven textiles analysed by Anna Champeney: (B) Stripey furnishing fabric

Stripey furnishing fabric

This is the second fabric I´ve chosen to analyse.  I have looked up close at it and turned it inside out to see the reverse side.  I´ve also analysed the weave to see which threads are warp and which are weft.

z cushions 900 pixIn this furnishing fabric you can see 3 different ways to make stripes.  It´s very simple and classic furnishing fabric used for cushions and a sofa throw in a weekend cottage outside Barcelona, on the mediterranean coast.  I don´t find it particularly innovative or exciting as a woven fabric but even simple fabrics like this often have more to them than initially meets the eye once you look up close.

The fabric is almost all woven in plainweave and the design elements are simply broad and narrow stripes in 3 different neutral colours.

So far so good.  But even in a simple design like this there are things to learn by looking close-up at the fabric.

Twill stripe

The dark slim stripe consists of 4 picks of weft-faced twill.  How do I know?  Because, proportionally speaking, you can see a lot more weft than warp.  Again, as the photo shows, if you look at the underside of the stripe you see more warp than weft which is always the case with a weft-faced twill.

Why use a weft-faced twill instead of, say, a standard 2/2 twill?  Because seeing more – dark – weft – creates a stronger darker stripe effect!

A weft-faced twill always results in a warp-faced twill on the reverse side. Here, on the reverse side of the fabric you can see more warp (white) which means the stripe is not nearly as strong and dark as on the weft-faced side. This was no doubt a conscious decision on the part of the fabric designers.

Weaving several strands of yarn together in a single pick

The other fine stripe (white on a dark background) is different.

Can you see it looks slightly raised and rounded?

In contrast to the 4-pick dark stripe this is just one pick, in plainweave.  But the stripe looks almost as thick as the dark stripe.  Why?  Because the white stripe pick consists of a multi-strand yarn which is a lot thicker than the warp or the normal weft yarns so it takes up more space and creates a textured effect.

Are you a weaver? Why not come on holiday at Anna Champeney Estudio Textil one year?  We have holiday accommodation and looms you can use – and there is excellent walking and home-cooked local cuisine here in our little corner of north Spain.  It´s a great place to work on a personal textile project or simply enjoy time out in spectacular mountain scenery to refresh yourself, sketch or take photographs to inspire you. Contact us with your ideas.

3 woven textiles and their analysis: (A) Viscose dress fabric – by Anna Champeney Estudio Textil

z viscose fabric 800 pix modelled by laia

Italian viscose dress fabric modelled by Laia

3 textiles that inspired me recently – and their analysis 

by handwoven textile designer Anna Champeney (nw Spain)

A Viscose dress fabric

This industrial dress fabric looks a bit like a print but it is in fact woven.

It´s a lovely, high quality Italian viscose fabric and my sister-in-law was wearing it when I visited her recently in Barcelona!

You could tell the quality of the fabric by its sheer weight and its drape.

The fabric is in fact a double weave fabric – I would say woven on a Jacquard loom – and in just  two colours.  This goes some way to explaining its superior drape, its weight, and the fact that each side is the exact reverse of the other and the circles can be pulled apart slightly to reveal two separate layers.  As I specialise in designing hand-woven double weave fabric cushions and scarves in my own studio doubleweave cloth always attracts my attention.

I – and most other hand-weavers – don´t weave anything as complex structurally on my loom because our looms are different.  The fact that the design includes circles is a dead giveaway – incidentally you need a lot more than 8 shafts to weave circles in doubleweave although I haven´t worked out just how many you´d need!

You can see there has been some movement of the threads within the fabric by looking at the circles.  As the yarns are so fine you don´t notice this in the final garment and it doesn´t affect its performance.  Double weave fabric means that each separate face can have a slightly more open sett than normal (a slighly lower number of warp ends and weft picks per cm) because the fabric is reinforced by the intersections with the second layer.  This slightly more open sett in double weave makes it les stiff and hence it drapes better.

Although I can´t match the complexity of the doubleweave zigzag and circular design in my handwovens I can really appreciate the graphic quality of the design and use that to inspire me.  It would be easy enough to design a double weave warp with two colours with bold squares, rectangles and colour affects to add complexity.  And I could combine plainweave on one side of the fabric and twill on the other on my 8 or 12 shaft loom with no problem.   Handweaving gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of more spontaneous or assymmetrica design compared to industrial fabrics.

Woven textile analysis and designing – book some holiday tuition with Anna Champeney Estudio Textil in north Spain, enjoy time out in a weaving retreat or spend a week at the studio and hire a loom. Contact us with your ideas.


Inspírate durante las vacaciones: Anna Champeney sugiere nuevas ideas para tejidos en telar

Inspire yourself with the textiles you see on holiday!


Italian dress fabric


Traditional cotton muslin fabric used for babies´ nappies and other related uses

Going on holiday means a change of scene and the chance to let go and open your horizons.   Wherever you are – whether at the beach, having a city break or renting a holiday cottage high up in the mountains keep your eyes open for textiles to inspire you.

All you have to do is to open your eyes and look!  I´m not necessarily talking about textile museums and galleries here, I´m just talking about leaerning to see textiles all around you with an analytical and creative eye.  Most woven textiles you will see will be industrial such as bedcovers or cushions on a hotel bed, the dress fabric in a classy little boutique or the curtaining or table-linen in a little tea shop.

Being on holiday is an excellent time to look afresh at textiles and see how you can apply what you see to your own woven work.

So look at the fabrics close-up, try and see how they were woven – which was the warp and which was weft, what kinds of different yarns were used, and what kind of weave has been used.  Does the fabric suggest quality to you or not?  Why?  Why does it have the drape and weight that it does?

Even though many industrial fabrics are woven on more complex looms than hand-looms you can still learn a lot from them.  Ask yourself what it is you like (or don´t) about the fabric;  this way you will refine and re-inforce your own personal sense of style and preferences.

If you enjoy being creative and developing your own particular style you wouldn´t want to (and you probably wouldn´t be able to anyway) replicate  the textiles but you can be inspired by them and use them to develop ideas in your own woven textiles when you´re back at home after your holidays.  Try making sketches on the back of an envelope to remind you, buy a postcard or take photos on your mobile phone or camera.


Simple plainweave upholstery fabric

Over the next week I´ll be talking about the textiles shown here that I spotted recentl when away from home.  I´ll show you some of the fabric analysis I did of each one as an example of what you can also do.

If you´d like to learn more about fabric analysis why not book some one-to-one tuition on holiday with us in beautiful, mountainous  north Spain.  We offer intensive one-to-one 2-day courses and hope to offer weave design tuition too using Weavepoint software.  You can also simply stay here with us (self-catering accommodation available) and hire a loom, with or without some individual guidance or tuition. Contact us for more details.