Fabric Appreciation Course
With the ability to offer insightful and in-depth knowledge from an industry professional with over 20 years experience, FashionCapital collaborated with formed M&S Fabric Technician Deborah Shulton, who delivered the fabric training course to a group of industry professionals.
Many of the attendees had previous experience or work within the fashion and textiles industry, however, they all wanted to deepen their knowledge of textiles in order to ensure they could offer and add more to their job role.
Starting the session, Deborah asked each of the attendees to inform the group of the knowledge or experience they have within the textiles industry before starting off with the basics.
Fibre to fabric
Informing the group of the processes that are needed to see a fibre into a fabric, Deborah spoke of the difference between natural and man-made fibres and their origins before moving onto to discuss the key properties of different fibres. Allowing a hands on learning experience, she passed around a number of different fibres including cotton; a natural source of fibre that is one of the most widely used fibres. Demonstrating how cotton goes from a fibre to a fabric, Deborah passed around many samples, allowing the group to touch and feel the difference each stage of spinning and the process involved.
Different weaves and woven fabrics were also discussed, highlighting the most common types of weaves used and the way that woven fabric is made and interwoven.
The attendees then had the chance to get hands on, looking at fabric samples under a magnifying glass to try and identify composition, gauge and whether the swatch was a fibre, yarn or dyed piece.
Dyeing and Finishing
Moving on to discuss the dyeing and finishing process for fabrics, Deborah explained how and why colour is added at a specific stage, the effect on lead time of different dyeing methods, cost implications and different finishing effects including brushing which adds a warm feel, mercerizing which adds a shine, coating which adds performance and calendaring which adds sheen.
The last part of the four-hour seminar covered colour and how we see and describe it. Informing the group that, “when we observe an object the object absorbs some of the visible spectrum of wavelengths and reflects others. The colour that is reflected is the colour that we see.”
Feedback from the seminar proved that many had gained a higher understanding;
“The seminar was very interesting and I have found out a lot of different techniques. Explanations of all of the processes were great. It was really useful to understand how the fabrics are made.”
“I have learnt a lot more in depth knowledge of the process within fabric. The course was fabulous.”
“This seminar has taught me all about fabrics, what they are made from and the process from start to finish… it was really interesting and knowledgeable – it makes you realise how long the process of fabric and finishing can be.”
“This course was brilliant, especially for people that have no training or a basic understanding.”
“I would definitely recommend this short course to university students.”