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Spinning & Weaving
  A review of jacquard fabrics

Apart from the woven fabric made with the help of jacquard loom, jacquard knit fabrics are also made, and jacquard fabric also refers to a rib-based, double jersey weft-knit fabric on which a figure or design appears in a different colour or texture, reveal P V Kadole, Rajanna L Gotipamul, Vignesh Dhanabalan and Sharma Saloni.

Fabrics are manufactured by weaving, knitting or nonwoven process. Certain fabrics require special characteristics that are brought through different types of fabric weaves. Jacquard weaves are woven by jacquard machines to obtain this special fabric. These looms allow individual control on interlacing of up to several hundred warp threads that can give birth to innumerable unique patterns.

What is jacquard fabric?

Jacquard fabrics are complex patterned fabrics having floats and lustre. They are more stable and stretchy compared to fabrics made through basic weaves. Atlases fabric, satin fabrics, brocade fabric, and damask fabric are some of the examples of jacquard fabric.

Origin & working of jacquard loom

The jacquard loom was named after its inventor, Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801. The mechanical action of the loom is controlled by punch cards having punched holes representing the warp up and warps down of every individual warp yarn. Multiple rows of designing holes corresponding to required pattern are punched on each card. These mechanical jacquards were often small and were able to control independently only a few warp ends. Therefore it needed many repeats across the loom width. Then came the larger capacity machines that allowed comparatively greater control and needed fewer repeats. Multiple machines were also used to reduce the required number of repeats. In this way, it got possible to weave larger designs across the loom width.

Jacquard knitting

Jacquard knitting is recognisable by its reversibility because the fabric is truly double-sided and the back side does not show floats as expected compared to stranded knitting. A true double-sided jacquard knit will have pattern on both sides and will be double thick and jacquard knitting technique will have a dotted effect on the back side. The floats created by the colour switches will be confined to the inside of the fabric. The jacquard knitting involves more colours than other styles.

Invention of electronic jacquard loom

The first electronic jacquard was launched at ITMA, Milan in 1983 by Bonas Machine Company Ltd. It was a small machine but had great capacity where single-end warp control extended to more than 10,000 warp ends. It eliminated the need for repeats and symmetrical designs. They are computer-controlled machines significantly reducing the time wasted on changing punched paper designs. Electronic jacquards are costly and are not viable for industries weaving with large batch sizes and smaller designs. These larger machines are apt for producing jacquard fabric with great versatility with specialised designs. They are in fact great for manufacturing jacquard clothing and jacquard linen such as jacquard duvet covers or damask sofa.

The working of auto electronic jacquard to obtain coloured patterns through coloured yarns

Types of jacquard fabrics

Apart from the woven fabric made with the help of jacquard loom, jacquard knit fabrics are also made, and jacquard fabric also refers to a rib-based, double jersey weft-knit fabric on which a figure or design appears in a different colour or texture. Jacquard fabrics are further sub-divided into flat-jacquard and blister fabrics. The flat jacquard patterns have equal number of loops in each wale of the pattern knitting. It is not so with blister fabrics.

1. Brocade fabric: It is a patterned fabric woven with the help of multi-coloured threads. It shows a raised pattern in relief against the background and may or may not use metallic threads as part of the pattern. It is usually a heavier fabric mostly used in upholstery and decorative clothing.

2. Damask fabric: Although it looks like brocade they are much finer and sheer than it appears. It is also a patterned fabric woven mostly with single colour. The fibres that are generally used for making such fabric include silk fibre, linen fibre, cotton fibre, rayon fibre or blends of other synthetic fibres.

3. French Jacquard: French jacquard crepe is one of the most extensively used fabrics in the Export Industry, for making comfort and wrinkle-free garments.

GSM: 80, 90, 100, 120, 140, Widths: 42", 44", 56", 60", Form: Solid Dyed/Printed, Uses: Garments, Home Decors, Scarves, etc.

4. Poly x Catonic Jacquard: Poly x Catonic Jacquard is one of the most extensively used fabrics in the Garment Industry. This form of Jacquard comprises a blend of Polyester and Catonic yarn, which gives it a Dual Dyeing effect for unique colouring effects and combinations in the garment.

Widths: 42", 44", 48", Form: Solid Dyed/Printed, Uses: Garments, etc.

5. Jacquard nets: This is one of the mist utilised fabric across the lingerie industry and garments for various types like fancy wears. Mostly made from nylon makes it to have a smooth and comfortable hi-tech intimate apparels and its different types make it inevitable for both industries.

6. Velour jacquard fabric: Velour is a knitted fabric, allowing it to stretch. It combines the stretchy properties of knits, often containing spandex with the rich appearance and feel of velvet. Velour is used in dancewear for the ease of movement it affords, and is also popular for warm, colourful, casual clothing. When used as upholstery, velour often is substituted for velvet. Luxury memory foam mattresses usually come outfitted with Jacquard velour covers, for their comfort and elasticity, as well as their flame resistance.

7. Blackout fabrics: Blackout refers to a foam-backed, opaque fabric used to blackout light. Products are manufactured using optimum quality material, which is most commonly found in hotel rooms as curtain linings or drapery fabrics, blocking much of the light that would otherwise enter through a window when the curtains are closed.

8. Matelasse fabric: This fabric made with Jacquard weave has a quilted effect. It is generally made with silk, cotton, rayon, or wool fibre. It can be made a little stretchy but that depends on the weave. These car seat covers are available in single as well as multiple designs and colour to meet the aesthetic tastes. Extremely comfortable and easy to clean, they have very good wash care and colour fastness property with less pilling and abrasion on cyclic loading and unloading.

9. Pile jacquard: Full Pile Jacquard fabrics are manufactured from the most sophisticated electronic looms with multi-coloured designs and four-colour pile in floral, abstract, geometric, stripes & checks patterns, which are suitable for home furnishing including carpeting. Some specific designs are meant for just the automobiles. It can be bonded with foam.

Weight (GSM): 160 - 280, Width: 60", Foam Thickness: 2 mm - 6 mm, Fibre: Polyester, Construction: 150 D x 150 D.

10. Jacquard tapes: The polyester or blended metallic jacquard tapes have floral, geometrical and whimsical patterns, and straight or serrated edges. The tapes may be hand-stitched at equal intervals, with single-strand dangling glass beads of various colours. These tapes may be manufactured to suit individual needs and production can be carried out on specific order. Jacquard tape may be available in a wide variety of colours, sizes, widths and patterns. They may also have embroidered or beaded designs on them.

11. Multi-layer jacquard (OPW) fabric for airbags: The seams present in airbags and inflatable seatbelts, inflatable cushion retard their full efficient in safeguarding the passengers due to the escaping of air through the pores of the seam. The latest jacquard technology enables airbags to be manufactured with woven seams. These OPW (one-piece woven) airbags give designers immense flexibility because the cushions can take a multitude of shapes and be used for many different purposes. For OPW side curtain airbags, their shape and structure are created at the weaving stage. As a result, no subsequent conventional sewing is required. Side curtain airbags are activated by side-on collisions, and are designed to protect the head, shoulders and chest of front and rear occupants. The unique feature of OPW side curtain airbags is that they stay inflated for several seconds, ensuring that vehicle occupants are restrained effectively in the event of multiple impacts. With these looms, manufacturing of new generations of OPW products with up to four fabric layers is possible.

12. Polymeric optical fibre jacquard: Polymeric optical fibre jacquard fabric is dynamic pattern display put forward. Polymer optical fibres (POFs) as weft threads are interwoven with warp threads on a jacquard loom to produce patterns on the surface of fabric. The application of the figured jacquard computer-aided design system in pattern design and multi-backed construction design makes it possible to create different patterns on the same fabric zone. As a result, designed POF jacquard fabrics are capable of displaying dynamic patterns with high brightness and resolution under circuit control. The fabric not only has a decorative effect just as traditional jacquard fabric, but also has a luminous effect, and can serve as fashionable clothes, portable electronic devices, house decorations, etc.

13. 3D weaving: The term 3D weaving is commonly used in reference to the weaving of cloths that have pre-designed three-dimensional shapes, or can be directly manipulated into a 3D shape after being woven. It is also used to describe the weaving of fabrics with substantial thicknesses, many times greater than the diameters of the yarns used to produce the fabrics. The 3D woven fabrics play an important role in the development of advanced fibre reinforced composites. They are used as preformed shapes ready for resin impregnation or as thick materials with structural integrity, which when resinated have well interlayer shear strength and thereby outperform conventional laminated products.

3D shape weaving: Conventional rapier-dobby looms can be used to produce certain three dimensional shapes by weaving multiple layers of fabric interlinked to each other, similar to a 'double cloth', so that after being woven the layers of 2D fabric can be manipulated into the required 3D shape; for example, a dobby loom can be used to produce the cellular structures but are considered as multi-layer weaving. Rapier-Jacquard looms are used to produce directly woven thin, complex, 3D-curved geometries, such as the helmet, the dome and the motorbike body panel. These shaped structures are essentially based on 2D weaves, where the weft and warp yarns are in the horizontal plane, by convention in the x- and y-directions, of the fabric. No yarn lengths are present in the z-direction of the fabric to give the 3D shape its thickness; the thickness is given by the diameters of the warp and weft yarns.

3D Fabric weaving: Although the above shapes may be classed as woven 3D structures, an actual woven 3D fabric is constructed so that lengths of its constituent yarns are positioned in the z-direction to produce the fabric-thickness, as well as lengths being arranged in the x- and y-directions for the fabric length and width. The conventional 2D multi-layer weaving can be used to construct 3D fabrics, but for profiled 3D specially built looms are required. 2D Multi-layer weaving of 3D fabrics comprises of two techniques interlacing and non-interlacing.

Non-interlaced 3D fabrics: Whereas interlaced 3D fabric weaving involves only two sets of yarns, a non-interlaced 3D fabric requires three sets of yarns as depicted in Figure 11; a multi-layer warp (z-direction) and weft (x-direction), and a binder warp (y-direction). The loom's shedding operation requires only one heddle (or heald frame), which is used for the purpose of laying-in the binder warps in the z-direction to firmly hold the multiple layers of the other yarns thereby forming the fabric thickness. This process of weaving 3D fabrics is referred to as Noobing, ie, Non-interlacing, Orientating, Orthogonally and Binding, which are the key features of both process and fabric.

Interlaced 3D fabrics: With an interlaced 3D fabric, multi-layers of warp and weft yarns provide the fabric thickness (z) as well as its length (y) and width (x) by the action weft or warp interlock as illustrated in Figure 10. The multi-layer warp lengths are placed to give the fabric thickness by a pre-set sequence of the shedding operation across the loom width (or fabric-width) to enable the correct interlacing with the weft. Notably, the yarn lengths making up the x, y, z directions of such 3D woven fabrics are not geometrically at 900 to each other (ie, they are not orthogonally positioned).

3D weaving of 3D fabrics: As stated above these are specially constructed looms, which can produce directly woven complex shaped 3D fabrics of substantial thickness. The designs of such looms are not publically available, but certain basic features are described in accessible patents. These patented processes are referred to as true 3D weaving because the weaving actions enable interlacement of three orthogonal sets of yarn: a set of multi-layer warp (z) and two sets of weft (x & y), referred to as the horizontal and vertical wefts, respectively. To achieve this form of interlacing requires dual-directional shedding of the multi-layer warp (z); that is to say, a shedding operation in the fabric-thickness direction as well as in the fabric-width direction, forming multiple column-wise and row-wise sheds. This 'dual-directional' shedding occurs sequentially and not simultaneously. The two orthogonal sets of weft are then alternately inserted in the mutually perpendicular multiple sheds. Since each weft is interlaced around a warp yarn, the warp yarns remain straight.

3D complex shapes woven on conventional jacquard loom.

Multiaxial 3D weaving: A four layers multiaxis 3D woven fabric consists of a four yarn sets: ±bias warp and filling. The ±bias sets are placed between the warp (00) and filling (900) yarn sets so that they are locked by the warp and filling, where warp and filling yarns are orthogonally positioned.

The bias yarns are positioned by the use of special split-reeds together and a jacquard shedding mechanism with special heddles. A Multiaxis Three Dimensional (3D) Woven Fabric 89 creel supplies bias warp yarns in a sheet to the special heddles connected to the jacquard head. The bias yarns then pass through the split-reed system, which includes an open upper reed and an open lower reed together with guides positioned in the reed dents. The lower reed is fixed while the upper reed can be moved in the weft direction.

In a four layers multiaxis woven fabric the jacquard head is used for the positioning of selected bias yarns in the dents of the upper reed so that they can be shifted transverse to the normal warp direction. The correct positioning of the bias yarns requires a series of such lifts and transverse displacements and no entanglement of the warp. A shed is formed by the warp binding yarn via a needle bar system and the weft is inserted at the weft insertion station with beat-up performed by another open reed.

Advancements of technology

Computerised jacquard needle loom

This high-speed computerised jacquard needle loom represents the ideal machine to produce warp jacquard patterned rigid and elastic ribbons, articles for corsetry, ribbons for technical applications, etc.

Grosse Unished

Gross Unished was designed and patterned by Grosse and brought to display in ITMA 99. The dimension of the jacquard head and the individual control of each heddle allow the heddle wire to set vertically. These setting permits the elimination of harness cord, hoks, magnets, pulleys, pull downs springs and other mechanical parts. This lowers down building and maintenance work and air-conditioning cost. The jacquard head is directly mounted on the side frame allowing quick style change. This jacquard has a high pickup rate of 800 picks/min.

Staubli Unival 100

This model was designed to compete with Grosse unished. The shed formation is controlled by stepper motor, this stepper motor eliminates the harness cords to set vertically and eliminate hooks, knives and gantry. It has better pick rates compared to Grosse shed having 950 picks/min.

LX 1602 and LX 3202 electronic jacquard machines

These models are designed for weaving flat and terry fabrics at high speeds and production rates. They were developed from the predecessor machines LX 1600/3201. They retain the proven concepts and incorporate numerous improvements, such as up to 30% greater load capacity and about 50 rpm or 10% greater maximum speed, depending on the format chosen. The LX 1602 is available in the format range of 1408 to 5120 hooks, and its big brother, the LX 3202, in the range of 6144 to 14,336 hooks.

Warp break detection in jacquard weaving using micro-electro-mechanical systems

Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) accelerometer based detection system. MEMS output acceleration signals were analysed. The signals were acquired while warp ends were up and at the moment of intentional break with a pair of sharp scissors simulating missing warp ends. The results indicated that MEMS acceleration signals at intentional breaks for continuous filament from standard and high strength fibres could be detected.


  1. Wellington Sears Handbook of Industrial Textiles by Sabit Adanur.
  2. Handbook of Technical Textiles by A R Horrocks and S C Anand.
  3. Textiles in Automotive Engineering by W Fung and M Hardcastle.
  4. www.indiantextilejournal.com.
  5. www.fibre2fashion.com.

P V Kadole
DKTE Society's Textile & Engineering Institute
Post Box No 130, Rajwada, Ichalkaranji
Dist Kolhapur, Maharashtra-416 115.

Rajanna L Gotipamul
DKTE Society's Textile & Engineering Institute
Post Box No 130, Rajwada, Ichalkaranji
Dist Kolhapur, Maharashtra-416 115.
Email: rajanna.textile@gmail.com.

Vignesh Dhanabalan
DKTE Society's Textile & Engineering Institute
Post Box No 130, Rajwada, Ichalkaranji
Dist Kolhapur, Maharashtra-416 115.

Sharma Saloni
DKTE Society's Textile & Engineering Institute
Post Box No 130, Rajwada, Ichalkaranji
Dist Kolhapur, Maharashtra-416 115.

published December , 2013
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