Thursday, April 30, 2009

Coated Fabrics: Benefits and Drawbacks

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The most significant development of our times, in the field of fabrics, can be called the development of specialty fabrics. These specialty fabrics have many characteristics that make them suitable for specific applications. Coated fabric is one of the important specialty fabrics of our times.


Many chemicals and materials such as PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride),PE and other Poly olefins, PU (Polyurethane), acrylics, rubber (natural or synthetic) and waxes are used in the coating process of fabrics. Color dyes and pigments can also be added to these chemicals for giving desired colors and shades. Through coating, many characteristics are given to the fabrics, such as water resistance, fire retardance, UV resistance, flexibility, surface gloss, surface texture, etc.

Different types of coated fabrics are there which include PVC coated fabrics, Teflon coated fabrics, Rubber coated fabrics, Vinyl coated fabrics and the newly developed Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) coated fabrics. These coated fabrics are used for manufacturing various products including protective clothing, gaskets and seals for automotive industry, conveyor belts, bags, tents and tarpaulins, roofing membranes, sporting tents, light weight sport field covers, agriculture coverings, automotive interiors and many other such highly functional products.

Although coated fabric provides high functionality to many industries, its disposal poses a threat to the environment. They can't be recycled even by applying high temperature or pressure or by dissolving in solvents. They have to be burned, of course after having taken precautions to save the environment from such disposal. However, innovations are being introduced in the field of coated fabrics also. The TPO coated PP fabrics come labeled as “PVC free”, “halide free”, “Green product” etc. They are lighter than PU or PVC or rubber coated fabrics and are melt recyclable. We can hope that in near future more such innovations take place so that the useful coated fabric also become environmental friendly.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jacquard – Complex Patterns for Beautiful Fabrics

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From among the decorative fabrics, jacquard fabric holds a very important place. Jacquard is a very beautiful fabric with unique patterns woven into the fabric itself. Jacquard is, in fact, one of the various types of fabric weaves which is used to make complex fabric patterns on the specially designed jacquard looms.

The Jacquard Loom was invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801 which was controlled by punchcards. Many cards were strung in a continuous row to develop a pattern. These mechanical Jacquards were smaller in size and could control independently only a few warp ends and thus the process had to be repeated many a times across the loom width. The larger capacity machines and multiple machines allowed relatively greater control and also needed fewer repeats. The electronic jacquard looms, introduced in 1983, had greater capacity which could handle more than 10,000 warp ends simultaneously. These computer-controlled machines significantly reduced the time wasted in changing punched paper designs. But they were viable for those factories only which manufactured jacquard fabric with specialized designs, due to the cost involved in installing these machines.

Jacquard weaving uses many types of fibers and fiber blends and create complex patterns on fabrics. The jacquard loom can be programmed to raise each warp thread independently of the others giving a very high level of warp yarn control. There are many types of jacquard fabrics that are used for fine jacquard clothing and upholstery. The examples of jacquard fabrics include brocade, damask, matelasse and tapestries etc.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Linen Fabric- So Common Yet So Unique!

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Some of the fabrics are more than liked in summers. Linen fabrics are one of them. Linen is so familiar term to all of us but do we really know enough about this smooth, cool durable fabric? Did you know, apart from making garments and home furnishings, linen is also used for making many other things including paper? Yes indeed! Paper made of linen can be very strong and crisp. This is why, many countries including the United States, print their currency on paper made from 25% linen and 75% cotton! Does this interest you to know more about this fine fabric- the linen fabric!

What is Linen?
Linen comes from one of the strongest plant fibers- the flax, which is obtained from the stems of the plant Linum usitatissimum. Flax fibers are of two varieties- longer line fibers and shorter tow fibers. The fine and regular long flax fibers are spun into yarns for linen fabrics of which 70% goes into making clothing with extraordinary coolness. They are also used for high quality textile furnishings. Shorter flax fibers make heavier yarns that are used for kitchen towels, sails, tents and canvas. Lower fiber grades are used as reinforcement and filler in thermoplastic composites and resins used in automotive interior substrates, furniture and other consumer products.

Why Linen is Unique?
The 'so-cool-to-touch' linen fabric is about two to three times stronger than cotton yet it is soft and smooth when felt against skin. There are many properties of linen fabric that go to make it unique.
  • Linen is a very good conductor of heat- the reason for its being so cool.
  • It is smooth, soft and lint free- in fact, wash it more and it will get more softer.
  • It has high natural luster having shades of ivory, ecru, tan, or Grey- if its pure white then it is heavily bleached linen.
  • It has a crisp and textured feel. However, it can range from stiff and rough, to soft and smooth.
  • If properly manufactured, linen fabric can highly absorb and rapidly lose water- it can gain up to 20% moisture without even feeling damp- that's why it is one of the the finest cool summer fabrics.
  • It is very durable and strong- in fact, it is more stronger when wet than when dry.
  • It is abrasion resistant and also resistant to moths and carpet beetles.
  • It can be easily taken care of as it resists dirt and stains and also don't have lint or pilling tendency. It can be dry cleaned, machine washed or steamed without any concern.
However, as it is said that nothing comes with all good, linen too has some features that call for a little concern. Linen has poor elasticity. As such, it wrinkles very easily and wears away if folded and ironed at the same place repeatedly like collars, hems, and any area that is iron creased during laundering. Regardless of its tendency to wrinkle, linen has become the most favorable fabric for elegant summer clothing, otherwise what's the justification of 70% linen production being used for making apparels? In fact, a lot of linen garments nowadays are designed to be wrinkle free that can be air dried on a good hanger and worn without the need of ironing.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fabric Painting- Creating Magic on Fabrics

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Fabric is such a medium that can be used in a wide variety of ways to express oneself. Wear it as clothing to make your own style statement or make them into astonishing home furnishings to decorate homes- they are always amazing! Not only fabrics come in a variety of colors and textures, they can even be embellished in different ways to make them all the more beautiful. Embroidery is the most accepted and widely adopted means of embellishing them. However, fabric painting has there since ages and is one of the adoring crafts that people love to do with fabrics. In fact, fabric painting is one of the means that can be used in innumerable ways- the only need is to let loose one's imagination.

Mostly, natural blended fabrics such as 50-50 cotton-polyester blends are chosen for doing fabric painting. There is a set process for fabric painting where it is first washed and dried to let it shrink and for cleaning any dirt, dust, or textile finishing chemicals from it. Then paints are chosen from among fabric paint tubes, fabric paint pens, paint pots and brushes. Designs are also chosen according to one's interest which include free hand designs, that is to paint without any design laid out beforehand. Many draw the designs with pencils on the fabric to be painted and others use iron on transfer method in which they use a colored transfer pen to trace over a simple lined picture. The design is then applied by placing the drawn lines directly onto the fabric and gently pressing a hot iron on top. The fabric is then painted through different techniques like stamping, reverse stamping, screen painting and others. Once fabric painting is finished, it is allowed to dry for about at least 24 hours to 72 hours so that it is thoroughly dry and set. The finished item is then again washed and dried.

However, there are certain considerations that should be kept in mind while fabric painting. This will be clear with tips for fabric painting. So read these tips and create magic on fabrics with fabric painting.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nano-Camo: Chameleon-like Camouflage Outfits in the Offing

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In the near future, just in five to ten years, the adventurous people can see some of their fantasies come true. They can own outfits that will turn blue when at sea and brown when in a desert environment. The same effect could be used in making everyday chic fashion clothing for fashionistas that automatically changes color to fit different visual settings. Sandia National Laboratories researchers have demonstrated that, in theory, they could cause synthetic materials to change color just like certain fish species which blend with their environment by changing color.

The Basic Principle Underlying Nano Camouflage Clothing

The researchers have followed the mechanism that the fish use to change colors. The power source for the whole process depends upon the basic cellular fuel called ATP, which releases energy as it breaks down. Around 50% of the power is absorbed by the motor proteins, the tiny molecular motors that can move along surfaces. When fish change colors, motor proteins aggregate and disperse skin pigment crystals carried in their “tails” as they walk with their “feet” along the microtubule skeleton of the cell. They rearrange the color display through this.

The on/off switch
The scientists are also introducing on/off switch to control the motion of the motor proteins. The effect is controllable, and even reversible. “We essentially reengineered the protein structure to introduce a switch into the motor,” says the principal investigator George Bachand. “So we can now turn our nanofluidic devices on and off.” Previous efforts at regulating motor activity have used fuel intake as a control mechanism which operated on the principle- the less the fuel, the slower the process. However, the Nano-camo switch operates independently of fuel changes, resembling the improvement in early automobile technologies when a simple ignition switch took over for more complicated rheostats.
So, just wait and watch for the amazing chameleon-like camouflage 'Nano-camo' for fashionistas and environmentalists.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Top Three Fashion Accessories for Women

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Just imagine a world where women do not get 'so-loved-by-them' fashion accessories! They have to be satisfied just by the clothing and simple bags for carrying things, a simple flip-flop to protect their feet and the worst part- no jewelery at all! Does this frighten you? There's no need to worry about, as all these true fashion companions of women haven't gone anywhere. They are right here with all their versatility and glitter to make women more charming. I just imagined the condition to underline the importance of these three top fashion accessories for women- Jewelery, Handbags and Footwear.

All these fashion accessories make a woman complete. Their dresses look so dull without these accessories. You get to know, how the lady is, how she takes life, and what's her basic personality- just by seeing the fashion accessories donned by her! Whether she is fun loving, glamorous, elegant, perfectionist or just a simpleton. And the fun part is that most of the time, this perception turns to be true. However, if a woman doesn't pay attention towards choosing the right kind of fashion accessories which matches her personality, she might end up attracting all the wrong people towards her with whom she can't gel up. So know how to project yourself just in the manner as you are along with attaining comfort, style and charm all at the same time! Read- How to choose top three fashion accessories....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fiber Testing Techniques

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The manufacturers of apparels, home furnishings and other textile products must know the fiber contents of the fabrics they use in order to meet the specific requirements of the said products. Retailers too are bound by the 'Textile Fiber Products Identification Act' to check the labels of the products before selling them. The consumers too need to know what fibers are they using in all the products so that they may put them to their expected use. Thus, fiber testing becomes very important.


Nontechnical Tests

There are many tests for fiber identification. They can be broadly classified as nontechnical tests and technical tests. The nontechnical tests include feeling test and the burn test. The feeling test is the most simple one which requires identifying fiber just by touching the fabric. For example, wool will feel warm whereas cotton or linen will feel cold. However, this is not a very reliable method as many fabrics are made of different fiber contents. In the other test called the burn test, a sample fabric is burnt and observed for the various characteristics shown by it after burning so that its fiber contents can be determined.

Technical Tests

There are fiber testing techniques that are carried out in laboratories. These technical tests for fiber identification are the microscope test and the chemical tests.

Microscope Test: In this technique, powerful microscopes are used for testing and identifying the fiber contents of different fabrics. Different fibers show specific characteristics regarding shapes, length, marks etc. under the microscope. It is very effective for testing the natural fabrics. Since many synthetic fabrics have similar appearance, sometimes, it becomes difficult to test them under microscope. Dark color fabrics also can't be tested as light doesn't pass through dark substances. Additionally, dyes of the fabrics also have to be removed by stripping, bleaching etc. so that they can be seen clearly and without any wrong effects that can misguide and result in incorrect test reports.

Chemical Tests: They can only be conducted in well equipped laboratories. There are two key techniques for chemical testing- stain and solvent. The stain method uses acid and alkali on different fabrics to identify the fiber contents. A fiber stained with acetic acid turns to a specific color but when the same fiber is stained with mild alkali, it turns to a different color. For example, acetate changes to light green color when acetic acid is used and turns orange when dilute carbonate of soda is used. In the solvent method, different solvents are used to distinguish one kind of fiber from another. There is no single solvent or chemical that can be used on all fibers. The fabric has to be cleaned thoroughly and the finishing chemicals have to be removed completely before immersing sample fabric in solvents. Animal fibers are destroyed in strong alkalies while plant fibers destroy in acid.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beachwear For Fashion Conscious Men

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Although fashion is synonymous to women, men too have shown that they are no less fashion conscious. Designers constantly present various clothing lines to match the desires of men of all ages. One of the mens clothing segments- mens beach wear- is the hottest among the list of mens fashion clothing. Through beachwear, men try to wear what all they can't wear anywhere else. Lets analyze what kinds of beachwear are there for men and how they are comfortable, relaxing, fashionable, and trendy- all at the same time.

Men's Shorts


Men's shorts, available in a wide range of styles, patterns, colors and fabrics are the topmost favorites of all men. They are relaxing and comfortable beachwear to match the soothing environment of beach. They come with wearing options having full elastic waist or drawstring or both. The popular styles of mens shorts include

Bermuda shorts
: They are knee-length shorts for casual style generally having pockets and waist loops for an optional belt.


Board shorts
: They are loose-fitting shorts with the leg length going down to the knees. Initially designed for the surfers, these shorts are now a popular beachwear for all men. They can be called a combination of shorts and a bathing suit.


Boxer shorts:
They are also called loose boxers or simply boxers. Their popularity rests on a variety of styles and design as also on unhindered leg movement for the wearer. They come in a variety of fabric types and print designs.

Cargo shorts: They are typical khaki shorts with cargo pockets though now they come in other colors too. Similar to cargo pants, but around knee-length, they not only make wearer free and comfortable but give him cool trendy look.
Fabrics that are commonly used for giving fit and style to shorts include cotton, cotton blends, nylon, polyester, cotton silk, Lycra etc.

Swim Trunks
Yet another popular man's beachwear, trunks more or less look like shorts. They cover the mid portion of the body- from the waist to the mid-upper leg and are normally shorter than board shorts. They come in various styles and designs though most of them are made of nylon fabric with a mesh lining making them quick drying so that other than swimming, playing ball or just walking on beach too remain a pleasant activity.


Beach Pants
Beach pants are different from regular pants. They are made ultra comfortable, mostly by using linen in their manufacturing. They can be easily rolled up due to their wide straight legs and the casual regular fittings. They mostly come with elastic waist just like beach shorts and trunks which makes them easy to wear.

Beach Shirts
These shirts are specially designed for beach using some comfortable fabrics like cotton, cotton blend, cotton silk, polyester, Lycra, twill, etc. They are mostly liked with half sleeves and come in both plain and exotic prints. They go well with a pair of Capri, pants, jeans or beach shorts for making beach experience a pleasant one. Bright colors and unusual prints like floral, geometrical, flora and fauna especially palm tree give them distinguished look.
Apart from all the above men's beachwear, swim briefs, popularly known as Speedo are also very popular among men.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Synthetic Fiber Manufacturing

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We all know that fabric is made up of yarns that are, in turn, made by fiber spinning. These fibers are obtained from natural sources like plants and animals. However, the synthetic fibers are made in laboratories through polymer processing and thus sometimes called polymer fibers.

The polymers of synthetic fibers are derived from by-products of petroleum and natural gas that include nylon, polyethylene terephthalate, and other compounds like acrylics, polyurethanes and polypropylene. The polymer is first converted into a fluid state. The thermoplastic polymer is just melted but if the polymer is not thermoplastic then it has to be dissolved in a solvent or has to be chemically treated to form soluble or thermoplastic derivatives. The fluid polymer is then forced through a spinneret, a bathroom shower head like equipment having multitude of holes.

The polymer extruded from spinneret cools to a rubbery state, and then to a solid state. In case of polymers for specialty yarns which do not melt, dissolve, or form appropriate derivatives, the small fluid molecules are mixed and reacted to form the otherwise intractable polymers during the process of extrusion. There are four basic types of spinning for polymers- wet spinning, dry spinning, melt spinning, and gel spinning.

Wet spinning is the oldest process and is used for polymers that need to be dissolved in a solvent to be spun. The spinneret is submerged in a chemical bath that leads the fiber to precipitate, and then solidify, as it comes out of the spinneret holes. Acrylic fiber, rayon fiber, aramid fiber, modacrylic fiber, and spandex fibers, are made through wet spinning.

Dry spinning is also used for polymers that have to be dissolved in a solvent but here solidification results from evaporation of the solvent. Air or inert gas is used to evaporate the solvent which results in solidification of the fibers. Acetate fiber, triacetate fiber, acrylic fiber, modacrylic fiber, PBI, spandex fiber, and vinyon are made through dry spinning.

Melt spinning is used for the polymers that can be melted. The molten polymer is pumped through a spinneret which subsequently gets cooled and solidified. Melt spun fibers can be forced through the spinneret in different cross-sectional shapes such as round, trilobal, pentagonal, octagonal etc. which give different qualities to the fabrics like insulation, sparkle, soil and dirt resistance among others.

Gel spinning, also known as dry-wet spinning as the filaments first pass through air and then are cooled further in a liquid bath, is used to make very strong and other fibers having special characteristics. Here polymer is partially liquid or in a "gel" state, which keeps the polymer chains somewhat bound together which leads to greater tensile strength. The high strength polyethylene fiber and aramid fibers are manufactured through this process.

Textile Machinery Market Report

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After experiencing a good investment climate, the global textile machinery market is bearing the burnt of global recession by experiencing a slower rate of growth. Imports and exports, both have declined. China, which is the largest importer of textile machineries experienced a fall of 14% in its imports during Jan-Oct 2008 against the figures of 2007. Germany, which is largest exporter also saw a major fall in demand for textile machinery down 12% during Jan-July 2008 against the same period in 2007.

According to the report of the Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers (ACIMIT), Italy's textile machinery industry experienced 18% lower production as compared to 2007. China, India, and Turkey, although leading purchasers were down as compared to 2007. Germany, United States and Switzerland placed fewer orders for textile machinery where as Brazil, Egypt and Bangladesh have emerged as strong markets for textile machinery.
According to the experts, the situation will not improve in 2009 due to current credit crunch and demand for more guarantees by banks for providing credit lines along with other reasons main being uncertain financial markets and dependence of the textile industry on state subsidies in many countries.

Now the industry struggles to maintain the growth instead of further rise in demand for textile machineries globally. The growing Asian textile industry will be the main factor that will renew the business of western textile machinery manufacturers along with the local competitors. The rising demand for nonwoven disposable textile products like filters and tissues will also lead to growth in textile machinery market mainly in the emerging economies of China and India etc. where nonwovens are introducing good business opportunities because of the growing prosperity in these countries. Rising demand for eco- friendly fibers will boost the textile machineries that use a more eco- friendly textile processes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

High Performance Technical Textiles

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Any textile that is used for its functional characteristics is known as technical textile. The appearance and aesthetics of technical textiles are secondary and their functionality is primary factor for their usage. They are high performance fabrics that are primarily used for non-consumer applications. As such, industrial fabrics are essentially technical textile.

Various types of raw materials are used by technical textiles industry which include metals, like steel; minerals, like asbestos and glass; synthetic polymers, like PES, PA, PAN, PP etc.;
regenerated fibers like rayon fibers and acetate fibers; natural fibers like cotton fibers, jute fibers, wool fibers etc. Also, various processes are employed for manufacturing technical textiles that range from processes like weaving and knitting to stitch bonding, chemical, thermal bonding, needle punching and many more.

Technical textiles made from so many different types of raw materials and processes can be classified into many categories based upon their end uses.

Agrotech: or Agro-textiles are used in agricultural applications concerned with growing and harvesting of crops and animals.
Buildtech: or Construction textiles are used in construction and architectural applications, such as for concrete reinforcement, insulation, air conditioning, noise prevention etc. which are extensively used in football stadia, airports and hotels.
Clothtech: or Clothing textiles are all those textile products that represent functional components, of clothing and footwear such as interlinings, sewing thread, insulating fibrefill and waddings.
Geotech: or Geotextiles are woven, nonwoven and knit fabric used for civil and coastal engineering, earth and road construction, dam engineering, soil sealing and in drainage systems etc.
Hometech: or Domestic textiles are used in many hoHigh Performance Technical TextilesHigh Performance Technical Textilesme furnishing fabrics including carpet backings, curtains, wall coverings, etc.
Indutech: or Industrial Textiles have wide applications in many industries for activities like separating and purifying industrial products, cleaning gases and effluents, transporting materials between processes etc. Nets, brushes and conveyor belts are good examples of industrial textile.

Medtech: or Medical textiles are the medical fabrics used in health and hygiHigh Performance Technical Textilesene applications generally in bandages and High Performance Technical Textilessutures eHigh Performance Technical Textilestc.

Mobiltech
: are the textiles used in transport industry for construction purposes in automobiles, railways, ships etc. Truck covers, ropes, tarpaulins, seat covers, seat belts, parachutes, inflatable boats, air balloons are all examples of mobiltech.

Oekotech: or Eco-friendly fabrics are mostly used in environmental protection applications - floor sealing, erosion protection, air cleaning, prevention of water pollution, water cleaning, waste treatment/recycling along with making clothing, home furnishings etc. Eco- friendly fibers are fast becoming popular due to their low impact on environment.

Packtech: or Packaging textiles are used for packaging and range from heavyweight woven fabrics used for bags, packaging sacks etc. to the lightweight nonwovens used as durable papers, tea bags and other food and industrial product wrappings.

Protech: or Protective textiles are used in the manufacturing of protective clothing that provide protection against heat, radiation, molten metals etc. to the industrial workers. Bullet proof jackets, astronauts suits etc. are the examples of protective clothing.

Sporttech: or Sports textiles are used for making sports wear and other sports accessories. Synthetic fibers and coatings have largely replaced traditional cotton fabrics and other natural fibers in the production of sports textile.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why Not Choose Elegant Handicraft Furniture for Your House?

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Handicraft items are all time favorites. They have not lost their charm even today. Handicraft is one of the many specialties of India. It is some times called the Traditional Indian Art. The traditional handicraft items included decoration items, incense stick stands, baskets, carpets, flower pots and so. But, the contemporary handicraft items are much ahead the traditional ones. Furniture is one of the most exquisite handicraft item, in the modern context.

Besides being environmental friendly and economical, the handcrafted furniture is very elegant and durable in nature. The handicraft furniture items not only adorn the interiors of the home but can also be used for beautifying the garden. They are a perfect combination of utility and style. Some of the prevalent types of handicraft furniture that are widely used nowadays are:

(1) Almirah: Wooden almirah is an exquisite handicraft furniture. It is used in most of the households nowadays. Single or double door, shelves, carvings, jaali work, etc. are some of the common features of a wooden handcrafted almirah. The most common types of handcrafted almirah include antique, traditional and wood carved.

(2) Bookshelf: Those who possess the hobby of reading, most of the times have a collection of good books. Bookshelf is an ideal handicraft furniture item for such people. They not only occupy less space but accommodate your books in an organized and safe manner.

(3) Carved Doors: Doors are fixed at the entrance of a hall, room, house or building. They are used for entering and exiting an enclosed space. It is the door which puts the first impression on any person visiting your home. The handcrafted doors are so nicely carved and decorated by skilled artisans that they put a lasting impression on your guests.

(4) Screen/Partition: It is a movable or immovable furniture item used for the purpose of temporarily dividing a room or hiding an area of it. These are primarily used in big halls in home or in commercial offices. They are elegant pieces of handicraft furniture which are generally made of wood or wrought iron.

(5) Table: Tables are widely used in homes and offices. But, handcrafted tables are not like ordinary tables. They have intricate carvings and designs on them. They are also made of marble and other stones. Table is an important handicraft furniture. Its primary types include beside, drawing, dining room, sofa, billiards, chess and tripod tables.

The handicraft furniture items mentioned above are not the only furniture items, there are a lot more. But, the above items were just to give you a brief idea about what handicraft furniture exactly means and includes. If you want detailed knowledge about the various types of handicraft furniture and other contemporary handicraft articles, the right place for you is the Tribal Art and Furniture Marketplace.

Fabric Weaving Process

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Fabric is manufactured in a variety of ways. The basic principle, however, is something like that of making birds nest where the straws are interconnected to make a web like structure. Fabric is also interconnection of yarns or threads that is achieved by many different processes. Weaving is one of the major processes for fabric construction where two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced with each other to form a cloth. The lengthwise set of yarns running from the back to the front of a weaving loom is called warp. The crosswise yarns are filled in the warps and thus they are known as the filling or the weft.

Both, warps and wefts have to be specifically prepared before weaving is done. The preparation includes operations such as spooling, warping and slashing. In spooling, the yarn is wound on larger spools (cones) that are placed on a rack known as creel. From the creel, the yarns are wound on a warp beam, which looks like a huge spool. These yarns are unwound for slashing, or sizing which is done to prevent chafing or breaking of yarns during weaving. The sized yarns are then wound on a final warp beam and are ready for the loom. The weft yarns have to be spun into desired size by giving them the right amount of twist needed for the type of fabric they will make. Weaving essentially includes four major operations that are performed in sequence and are continuously repeated. These operations are shedding; picking; beating up; and taking up &letting off.

Shedding involves raising up of alternate warp yarns in order to insert the filling yarn into the warp to form a shed. Shedding is automatically performed by the harness on the modern weaving looms. In picking, when the warp yarns are raised through shedding, the weft yarn is inserted through the shed with the help of a carrier device. A single crossing of the filling from one side of the loom to the other is called a pick. Various methods are adopted for carrying the filling yarn through the shed in different kinds of looms. A shuttle loom uses a shuttle which contains a bobbin of filling yarn. It leaves a trail of the filling at the rate of about 110 to 225 picks per minute (ppm).

As the shuttle looms are very slow and noisy, many shuttle less looms have been developed which include projectile loom; rapier loom; water jet loom; air jet loom etc. In projectile loom, the picking action is done by a series of small bullet like projectiles. Rapier looms have one or two rapier devices that travel along the width of the loom to carry the weft from one side to the other. Water jet and air jet looms, as the names suggest, use a jet of water and air respectively to carry the weft yarn across the loom. All these shuttle less looms have speeds ranging from 200 to 600 ppm. There are circular looms also that are mainly used for making tubular fabrics with the help of a shuttle device that circulates the weft in a shed formed around the machine.

Beating up, also called battening, beats each weft yarn against the portion of the fabric that has already been formed which results in a firm and compact fabric construction. As the shedding, picking and battening processes are being done, the new fabric is wound on the cloth beam, which is known as 'taking up'. At the same time, the warp yarns are released from the warp beam which is known as 'letting off'.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Home Decor and Fabrics

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We all want our homes to look unique. As such, all of us put unimaginable efforts to make it look like heaven. Home furnishings play a major role among all the other interior decor items that we use to embellish our homes.

Fabrics are, in fact, used by interior decorators as a useful accessory that hides any flaw of the house including architectural defects. Apart from this major purpose, home furnishing fabrics are used for providing privacy, insulation from heat and cold as also from noise. The amazing fact about fabrics, when used for home decor, is that they can be reused and recycled very easily. They can be changed without much investment too.

Although fabrics serve many purposes, they have to be chosen carefully as what one kind of fabric can provide, the other can not. Some fabrics absorb heat and light while others do not. Some are naturally resistant to fire and dust whereas some others are given special finishes such as moth resistance and anti bacterial properties. This goes to prove that there is a wide range of fabrics with different properties that can be used as per the requirement of various home furnishings. For example, upholstery fabrics are strong, durable, have resistance to seam slippage and shape retention capability. Similarly, kitchen linen fabrics are stain and flame resistant and curtain fabrics are light resistant.

Not only fabrics provide functionality but they can also assist in providing different interior decorating styles based on the fabrics selected. For example, chenille fabric and printed flocked fabric, when used with a creamy white background color, can give a trendy look to any room where as corduroy fabric when used in curtains and cushions can give a contemporary stylish look to the same room. Jacquard and brocade fabric can be used for traditional appearance of any home while knit fabric can give traditional as well as contemporary look depending upon the colors, forms, and textures of the chosen fabric.

Wedding Gowns Trends 2009!

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Are you getting married this year! If yes, then be ready for wedding dress that is 'not-so-traditional' types. If going by what the bridal wear designers have shown on the runways, this year's wedding dress has gone shorter with much detailed embellishments and vibrant colors too. However, if you've always wanted to wear one from traditional wedding gown styles, you can still wear them as they never go out of fashion. Anyhow, knowing about the 2009 trends for wedding dresses might help you in giving a trendy look to your choice of wedding gown!

Tea-length Wedding Dress

The floor length wedding dress has given way to tea-length wedding dresses having high hemlines. These shorter wedding dresses have fitted bodice with full skirts having length upto knee or just above it. Many of them shown on the ramps are strapless or have thin spaghetti straps. If you want a traditional gown but also be chic and trendy, choose it as second dress, may be a reception dress if you want to change into something for partying and dancing the night away.

One Shoulder Wedding Dress

One of the striking feature of this year's wedding dress is 'one shoulder' wedding dress replacing the basic strapless gown. This is a good news for style loving brides who have toned limbs as this neckline shows off the upper arms and shoulders.

Detailed Embellishment

Ruffles and layers are the major details that designers are using to give dramatic feminine look to the wedding dress of 2009. Added embellishments include beading, ribbons, bows, lace, and appliqués. The lovely floral embellishments with attractive rosettes on wedding gowns, buds at the hip, neckline and shoulder are fast making way from ramps to the wedding venues.

Lighter Fabrics

Floaty and airy fabrics like taffeta, organza, and chiffon are in. They are easy to layer and also more comfortable, just perfect for a summer wedding. Also they are easier when going for ruffles and layers in the wedding dress.

Lively Colors

It's true that the majestic white will never go away but for a while wedding dress has gone colorful this year. Although softer pastel shades seem to be taking the center stage, warmer colors including shades of crimson with gold accents and scarlet red have also been seen on the runways. You can even experiment with colors by choosing a dress in a pale pastel such as lavender or going for a two-toned wedding gowns with a colored bodice against a white or off-white skirt.

Pockets

Now the brides can relieve and freshen up themselves a little with their minor tit bits like tissues and lip gloss in their wedding gown pockets. The attractive wedding dresses have gone practical too!

So, now when you know what the designers are making this season for weddings, why wait? Go shopping for your wedding dress!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Indian Religious Products – The Manifestation of Spirituality

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In today's complex world, when stress and tension have encompassed the mankind, people are wandering here and there, seeking contentment and tranquility. This is the reason why people at large are inclining towards yoga, meditation and spirituality. Spirituality by its very nature possesses the characteristic of soothing and healing the human mind. It is at this point, where the pertinence of Religious Products come into picture.

In the present context, spirituality is the one which can save our world from the unscrupulous practices like theft, hatred, corruption, terrorism and so. Actually, what we want is a proper equilibrium between technology and spirituality. As Swami Vivekananda had very well said, “What the world wants is the Indian Vedanta combined with the Western Science”. It is not easy for a lay man to understand the Vedanta and act upon its teachings. For the common man, religious products are the best medium to develop in him an interest for spirituality; So that he can get at least some relief from his hectic and stressful routine.

Today, a multitude of Indian religious products are available in the market. They are actually not mere products, but are the symbols of the Indian heritage and culture. These products are not only general commodities of use, but they have a scientific basis behind their invention. As these religious products were ought to be invented by the Hindu maharishis after deep research, for the wellbeing of the mankind. The present products are only the contemporary embodiments of those ancient counterparts of theirs.

Some of the common types of religious products which are being widely used and demanded these days not only in India but abroad include rudraksha, rosary beads, lucky charms, religious idols, shankhas, shree yantra, holy powders and pastes and other religious accessories. A proper combination of these items has the capability of creating a congenial and peaceful environment at your living place. Certainly, it is not erroneous to say, that these products are not only the manifestation of spirituality but divinity.

New Eco- friendly Fibers Developed from Water Lily

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In the series of Eco- friendly fibers, the new water lily textile fibers have made way into the textile industry. After the successful development and commercialization of abaca, pineapple fibers and banana fibers for making Philippine tropical fabrics, the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) has now developed water hyacinth or water lily as the new fiber source.
Water lilies grow almost everywhere. Although, it is a welcome scene for many, the abundance of waterlilies had been posing a problem to the river ecosystem of the areas where they grow. They block waterways and kill aquatic life in rivers and lakes. Coupled with this problem there had been other issues before the Philippines government to tackle with, such as sliding textile industry owing to stiff competition from China, cheaper fabrics from other countries, imported raw materials, local labor unrest, higher production costs etc. All these led the government to come up with this novel solution in the form of water lily fibers that preserve the ecosystem as well as provide a viable source of income to the local residents.

The Water lily weaving center was launched way back in October 1995 that provided training for basket weaving and also marketed the finished products. However the textile fiber from water lily was unveiled by PTRI this year, along with saluyot and maguey fibers, at the International Year of Natural Fibers launching on January 22 by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
According to Nora Mangalindan, the head of research and development at the PTRI, “Substituting just a fourth of imported textile with local tropical fabrics means foreign exchange savings of US$156.72 million. The world textile industry has been devoid of new natural textiles for quite some time now and it is a great opportunity for tropical fibers coming from the Philippines.”
Fibers from water lilies make good home textile like curtains, upholstery, table runners, table napkins and handicrafts.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Making of Warm and Cozy Quilts

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Quilts are a delight to eyes and cozy to feel. However, much effort is put into for making quilts so beautiful and comfortable. They are made through quilting, which is a form of sewing done either by hands, sewing machines, or by quilting machines.


The basic process of quilting involves selecting of patterns, fabrics and batting; measuring and cutting the fabrics into right sized blocks and then piecing these blocks together to make the quilt top. After that the three pieces are layered to form a quilt sandwich and then sewed with hand or machine. Excess batting is trimmed from the edges and binding is sewn to the front edges of the quilt with machine and hand-stitched to the quilt backing. Batting, binding, piecing etc. are the exclusive quilting terms one, who's interested in quilting should know.

The quilts are decorated with complex designs and patterns which depends upon the visualization and creativity of the quilter. Various quilting softwares have made this work an easy task for them. With all the embellishing needle work and techniques various quilt styles are made such as appliqué quilt, block quilt, embroidered quilt, patchwork quilts among many others.

Apart from hand quilting, machine quilting has also become very popular. Machine Quilting is done by sewing machine as well as Longarm quilting machine. In sewing machine, the layers are tacked together by laying the top, batting and backing with pinning, using large safety pins, or tacking the layers together before quilting is done. The longarm quilting machine holds and keeps the quilt stationary on rods while the machine head moves the needle across the quilt. When quilting with sewing machines, the fabric has to be moved through the machine.

Longarm quilting process is a very fast process done with the help of longarm quilting machines that are 10 to 14 feet in length and consist of an industrial sewing machine head, a 10-to-14 feet long table, and a number of rollers on which the fabric layers are positioned. There are hand guided as well as computer guided quilting machines. The computer-guided machine head is attached to a computer system that lets the quilter to choose a design to be sewn onto the fabrics. With selection of the design, the machine will sew the chosen design onto the quilt without any assistance by the quilter.

There are two types of longarm quilting- pantograph designs and customized designs. Pantograph designs span the length of the longarm table which is placed beneath a plastic layer on the table and then traced using the laser found on the machine head. The design can be repeated in rows to create an all-over design on the quilt top. This is a relatively fast and easier method of quilting. Customized designs have individual designs or blocks on various parts of the quilt depending upon the requirements of the end user or the customer. Many sewing styles are adopted for the purpose, such as meandering, feathers and motifs. It is time-consuming and therefore quilts become expensive when made through this method.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mens Clothing Trends 2009

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Men are no far behind than women in fashion clothing. After all men too want to look good! So what are the top mens fashion trends this season? Here is the analysis of trends 2009 of mens clothing going by the catwalk shows and fashionable brands.


Mens Formal Wear Trends

With the gloomy economy scenario, men are looking for investment fashion clothing and are adopting the classics. However, there is a fusion among classic tailoring, classic looks, and the modern masculine silhouette giving the suits broad shoulders and a slim waist paired with slim trousers. Double-breasted suits will be liked by most men and there'll be a comeback of three-piece suits. And thus, there's also a comeback of waistcoat. It'll be better if the waistcoat is in the same fabric as the suit's other two pieces. If not, then a similar color palette will do. However any pattern should be avoided except for stripes.
Along with classic suits, the cloth pattern will also be classic including houndstooth, herringbone, glenurquhart/ prince of wales check, pinstripe, and rope-stripe. Oxford Bags - the loose, pleated trousers will be back but with variation- although loose, these trousers will not be as baggy as they were in the 1920s and 1930s. Anyhow, anytime wearing suits according to your body types will ensure your great looks.

Mens Party Wear Trends

Clothing inspired by dinner suits- the tuxedo- is the in thing. It contains traditional formal as well as fashion elements. Tuxedo- the satin shawl, satin notched or peaked lapels, or the satin stripe on the trouser leg- will be popular. Brooches for men will be loved on suits for both Spring/Summer and Autumn (Fall)/Winter seasons. They have registered a comeback.

Mens Casual Wear Trends

For all you guys searching for a casual trendy looks in summers 2009, the key wears are printed t- shirt, wrap shorts, summer trench coat and yes the very very trendy look of Goth Ninja- the figure hugging, black clad youths. The spring summer trench coats are made of cotton and are thin. Wrap Shorts in cotton twill, cuffed and breaking above the knee will be soothing as well as fashionable as per the trends. Avoid cargo shorts, shorts that break below the knee, avid wash or bleached shorts in denim, overly patterned shorts – they'll all be out in 2009.
The popular combination for mens casual outfit will consist a basic deep V-neck tee layered with a mens top, preferably a knit and an undercover or coat. Bottoms will consist either figure hugging jeans or a looser drop-crotch and a leather boot and here's the raw, modern yet very controlled masculine trendy look.

These were the main trends for mens clothing in 2009 but hold on guys, there's much more than this to dress better! Know them and look cool all year round!