Textiles - Fabric Finishes (GCSE)

  • Why add finishes?
  • Applying finishes
  • Physical finishes
  • Biological finishes
  • Chemical finishes
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Why add finishes?

Today's modern fabrics require different types of finishes for different uses. All textiles products have finishes applied to them. This can be done to protect the fabric or design features; to chanfe the handle, feel, resilience, durability or look of the fabric or to add value to the product.


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Applying finishes

Finishes can be applied at different stages of the production process eg. during spinning, dying, fabric contruction or garment construction. Decisions will be made on what finish to apply and when to apply it very early on in the design and manufacturing process as applying a finish to a fabric can increase the cost. The type of finish applied also depends on the end use of the product.

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Physical finishes

Brushing

  • Fabrics it can be applied to: Cotton, Wool, Polyester, Polyamide.
  • How it is done: Fabrics are passed between a series of wire rollers which brush the fabric leaving it soft and fluffy.
  • Possible application: Bedding, Fleece.

Calendaring

  • Fabrics it can be applied to: Cotton, Wool.
  • How it is done: Fabrics are passed between heated rollers which give a smooth finish to the fabrics.
  • Possible application: Chintz fabric for furnishings.


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Biological finishes

Biostoning

  • Fabrics it can be applied to: Cotton, Tencel, Lyocell.
  • How it is done: A process of subjecting the fibre to cellulase enzyme as an alternative to rubbing with pumice.
  • Possible application: Clothing.

Biopolishing

  • Fabrics it can be applied to: Cotton, Tencel.
  • How it is done: A process of adding a sheen to the fabric using a biopolishing enzyme.
  • Possible application: Clothing.


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Chemical finishes

Mercerising

  • Fabrics it can be applied to: Cotton.
  • How it is done: The fabric is placed in a sodium hydroxide solution, which makes the fibres swell. This makes the cotton more shiny, absorbant and stronger.
  • Possible application: Clothing

Waterproofing or water repelling

  • Fabrics it can be applied to: All fabrics
  • How it is done: Chemicals, usually silicone-based, are sprayed on. This creates a protective barrier.
  • Possible application: Clothing, Tents.


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Chemical finishes (cont)

Flame proofing

  • Fabrics it can be applied to: Cotton, Linen, Rayon.
  • How it is done: Chemicals are applied either at yarn or fabric stage. The aim of this finish is to slow done the burning process.
  • Possible application: Interior fabrics, Furnishings.

Bleaching

  • Fabrics it can be applied to: Cotton, Linen.
  • How it is done: Bleach is added to remove the natural colour of the fabric. This process can also weaken the fabric.
  • Possible application: Clothing, Bedding.

Laminating

  • Fabrics it can be applied to: Cotton, Polyester.
  • How it is done: This is a process that bonds layers of fabric together using heat or adhesive eg. Gore-Tex.
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Questions

Why do textile products have finishes applied to them?

When can finishes be applied to a product?

What is the result of adding a brushed finish to fabric?

What is the result of calendaring?

Name one disadvantage of bleaching fabric?

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