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5-Harness Satin Weave


Above is a simulation of a 5-harness, warp-faced satin (the repeat is 3 wide by 2 high).  Fabrics ranging from finely woven lightweight apparel styles to heavy industrial items are made with this construction. Each warp yarn runs through one of the 5 harnesses, and all yarns running through the same harness will weave the same way. 

A satin weave is a type of fabric construction used to create fabrics with some or all of the following qualities:

  • Heavy construction:  because there are fewer interlacings than in most weave constructions, the yarns can be spaced closer together (plain weave is the construction that has the most interlacings, with warp and weft alternating on the surface each time they cross). 
  • Stability:  Because the yarns interlace in such a way that the float in either direction is always exactly 4, this provides the best construction for a stable fabric with fewer interlacings.
  • Fabric with shine: because in a warp-faced satin, 80% of the surface is made from yarns oriented in the warp direction, filament fibers made from silk or synthetics such as polyester can create a luxurious sheen.

Below is a diagram showing both a warp-faced (left) and a filling-faced (right) satin.  Filling-faced satins are less common, but used often in draperies in a type of fabric known as Antique Satin.  Raisers are interlacings where the warp crosses over the filling on the face of the fabric; sinkers are interlacings where the filling crosses over the warp on the surface.

Many fabrics combine multiple satin constructions to create pattern.  A combination of four Progressive 5-Harness Satin Weaves (below) are often used to create brocades, stripes or florals patterns. Complex designs are woven on Jacquard looms, where each interlacing is controlled by a computer as opposed to a harness.

While 5-harness is the most common, there are other satin constructions that use anywhere from 4 to 8 harnesses.

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Reader Comments (7)

Excellent posting on satin weaves.

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlwyn Argonne

This is a great post of Textile fabric. Would you please make a post about rib effect on fabric. It will be very favor to me to know about it. Thnx a lot.

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