There are a variety of weaving techniques used to make fabrics. The techniques range from the simple, such as plain weave to elaborate, such as tapestry. In weaving, two sets of thread, known as the warp thread, which are the ones that run vertically through the fabric, and the weft, or filler, thread, which runs horizontally, are used to produce the cloth.
The weight and quality of a woven fabric depends on the weaving techniques used to produce it. Perhaps the most simple of all weaving techniques is the plain weave, which is generally used to produce lightweight, almost sheer fabrics such as muslin and cotton lawn. Plain weave fabrics are made by passing the weft thread under one warp thread, then over the next warp thread, and so on. Gingham fabric is made using the plain weaving technique and warp and weft threads of two different colors.
Weaving techniques that produce heavier fabrics include twill weave and satin weave. Twill weave has a diagonal pattern that is produced by varying the way in which the weft thread passes under or over the warp thread. Satin weave is similar to twill, except it does not have a diagonal pattern. Both weaving techniques produce strong, durable cloth. Satin weave is typically used with silk threads while twill weave uses tends to use cotton thread.
Gauze weaving is used to create extremely lightweight, sheer fabrics. The warp threads in gauze cloth are not necessarily parallel to each other, as they are in other types of woven material. In some cases, the warp thread can be at such an angle that it becomes a weft thread. Gauze uses two different warp threads, the ground threads and the douping threads. The weft threads are woven around the douping threads.
Some weaving techniques use more than one color of weft thread. Tapestry weaving relies on weft threads of a variety of colors to produce detailed images. To make a tapestry, a person generally places an image behind the stretched warp threads and weaves the weft to match the image. The weaver can use two weft threads at one time or weave them in separately, depending on the color she wants to produce.
Another style of weaving that relies on two different color weft threads is clasped weft weaving. In clasped weft weaving, the weaver changes the weft thread to a different color in the middle of the row. The resulting fabric often has an interesting, geometric look.