Fiber to Yarn to Fabric: A Comprehensive Guide

Md Mahedi Hasan

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 06:19 pm

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Fabrics are nothing but yarn-made whereas the fibers make up yarns to form fabrics. Read more to explore newer dynamics of fiber to yarn and yarn to fabric.

Fiber to Yarn to Fabric: A Comprehensive Guide in 2023
Fiber to Yarn to Fabric: A Comprehensive Guide in 2023

What is ‘Fiber to Yarn to Fabric?’

To discuss the fiber to yarn and yarn to fabric, we must define them from the lens of the textile industry. Fibers are thread-like thin and flexible structures that spun into yarns. Yarns are spun threads used for knitting and weaving. Meanwhile, fabric is a game-changer, that ultimately refers to the woven material made of yarns. Fabric is well-structured from twisted threads named yarn that help you to weave or knit any project. If we explore a more detailed view, we see the following information:

1. Fiber:

Can be a natural or man-made substance that is long and wide. It is useful in manufacturing other materials. Fibers are nothing but clothing cornerstones.

Figure: Cotton Fiber
Figure: Cotton Fiber

2. Yarn:

Yarn and fibers are linked up with chains and other links. It is an intertwined or locked version of more than 1 fiber.

Figure: Yarn Cone on Creel
Figure: Yarn Cone on Creel

3. Fabric:

Raw materials that help in processing clothes. In fabric, you are likely to see visible loose yarns by pulling them out using a needle. Entire yarns or threads can be pulled out from the cotton fabric piece.

Figure: Cotton Fabric
Figure: Cotton Fabric

Different Types of Fiber, Yarn, and Fabric for Garment Making

Types define how fibers, yarns, and fabrics are available in different forms. Ensuring sustainability cannot be possible without the unique types and functions to make any garment. Different types of fiber to yarn to the fabric are shared here in the following:

Types of Fibers: 2 Categories

Fibers are well-categorized in two forms. They are:

1. Natural Fibers

Natural fibers have a source in animals, mineral fibers, and plants. Thanks to different factors that shape these natural fibers in a variety of stages to increase their growth and extraction.  Natural fibers tend to be absorbent, comfortable, and a bit wrinkle-based but cool to wear. Cotton, Jute, Wool, Linen, and Silk are a few examples of natural fibers.

2. Man-Made Fibers

Man-made fibers are synthetic ones produced chemically. These fibers are created through manufacturing processes of any substance, not related to fibers. For instance: Viscose Rayon, Acetate, Acrylic, Aramid and polyimide, Carbon, graphite, etc.

Types of Yarns: 2 Categories

Yarns are well-classified widely into 2 categories. They are:

1. Spun Yarn:

Spun yarn is a staple fiber made that is available in twist formation. According to spun yarn, the number of piles gets to be determined.

2. Filament Yarn

Filament yarn refers to the long continuous filaments that get twisted together.

Types of Fabrics: 3 Categories

The main three categories of fabrics are the following:

1. Woven Fabric

This fabric is well-made using the weaving process and there is the help of a loom. Here, loom is available in the market in both manual/hand, or the power loom. Also, 2 types of yarn help make woven fabrics: Warp yarn and weft yarn. They help in accordingly length and width wise.

2. Knitted Fabric

Knitted fabric refers to the knitting process that produces fabrics with the help of crocheting or any kind of knitting machine.

3. Non-Woven Fabric

The non-woven fabric stays together in a felt or bonded fibers mode. These fabrics tend to be lightweight and weak. Examples are cotton, polyester, and rayon. From packing materials to getting materials for road-building or geo-textiles, these fabrics come in great use.

Fiber to Yarn to Fabric: Explore the Differences

Apart from the conceptual differences, a few debated issues are there as well that differ from fiber to yarn to fabric. Check them out in the following comprehensive table summary:

Subject of DifferencesFiberYarnFabric
SourcesNatural Synthetic Sources.Harvesting For instance: Natural fibers such as wool get harvested from shearing sheep.A complete structure or network of either 1 yarn or multiple yarns.
How Many Plies?Ply is the exact number of fibers that exist within a yarn.One or many pliesSingle, two-ply, or three-ply. Usually, yarn is twisted together in order to make a single thread.
FunctionsCovering enough warmth.Weaving or knittingProtecting us from any weather; cold or heat.
Examples:Rayon (the synthetic fiber) is one of the examples. It includes nylon, acrylic, and polyester.Spun yarn, Boucle yarn, Marl Yarn.Fabrics like: Single Jersey, pique, and rib.Woven fabrics: Sanitary napkins, wet wipes.Printed Fabrics: Jacquards.
TwistsTwisting several fiber strands to make yarn.Twisting of several yarn turns to make fabric.Does not count.
Difference between Fiber to Yarn and Yarn to Fabric

Manufacturing Process of Fiber to Yarn to Fabric

There are steps to follow to turn raw materials into fibers. For instance:

Step 1: Solid raw materials turn into a liquid form using the process of melting or chemical dissolution. Here, raw materials are available in different forms, such as wood, chemical sources, or petroleum.

Step 2: Through a spinneret, the liquid form gets forced to make a thin fiber. That liquid also hardens the filament form, which is a continuous fiber strand.

Step 3: Twisted filaments turn into yarn and get wound onto spools to make clothes.

To Cotton Fabric from Raw Cotton

Two processes turn raw cotton into cotton fabrics. They are none but the Spinning process and the process of Weaving. In the spinning process, raw cotton turns into thread. On the other hand, the weaving process makes the thread woven into fabric. The Spinning process is the most popular. Let’s have a look at the following chart:

Raw Cotton fiber and  Cotton Fabric
Raw Cotton fiber and Cotton Fabric

Step 1: Mix up and Blow.

Here, the staple fiber goes through the machine of mixing and blowing to get removed from substances to finally turn into a ‘lap.’

Step 2: Process of Carding

In this process, the lap (sheet-shaped) gets separated fibers to get removed from the short fiber length ones and fine dust. Long fibers go through the process of carded silver. This carded silver machine creates a loose form of the web.

Step 3: Process of Combing

The Combing is a process where fibers get arranged parallelly to get a uniform length of combed silver.

Step 4: Process of Drawing

Here, 6-8 silvers get elongated using the drawing machine to remove thickness.

Step 5: Process of Roving

The roving machine elongates the drawn silver to produce yarn.

Step 6: Process of Spinning

Here, the green yarn gets enough thickness. Then, by twisting, the finished yarn gets wound on a bobbin.

Yarn Spinning Process
Yarn Spinning Process

Step 7: Process of Winding

It involves rewinding the yarn onto bobbins, then it gets into the cheese.

Step 8: Process of Weaving

Weaving makes the warp thread also the weft yarn to get into a type of fabric. Loom is a creation using a machine to accomplish the desired task.

Fabric Weaving Process
Fabric Weaving Process

Step 9: Process of Warping

Here, the warping machine turns to cheese and cones to get the absolute length and the number of yarns.

Step 10: The Sizing

To rewind after the exact size and drying, the warping beams get piled up.

Fiber to yarn to fabric flowchart
Fiber to yarn to fabric flowchart

Sustainability in Fibers, Yarns, and Fabrics Developments

Two specific ways have enhanced the sustainability issues in the textile industry. They are no other-the system of close loop and the circular economy of fiber to yarn and yarn to fabric. Textile industries continuously strive for better solutions to meet customers’ demands while maintaining industry standards. These standards include recycling, reduction of waste, and production efficiency.

Moreover, sustainability in these new developments has pushed for saving water with better waste management, and durable procedures. In a Circular Economy, the raw materials go through the production procedure, then they are used by customers in a way that they can be available for recycling. So, anyone can witness the shift from the structure of linear economics (the economy that we have witnessed before, to some extent still now) to the circular economy.

Is there any benefit to Circular Fashion Initiatives?

To answer this question, we must go to the textile production and manufacturing procedures in the industry. For instance:

  1. Companies can showcase efficient manufacturing processes.
  2. Emissions, waste, usage of chemicals, and energy come to decrease.
  3. The credibility of using eco-labels in products is getting higher.

Both closed-loop systems and circular economy encourage textile companies to come up with sustainable solutions for products. It is important to ensure that all the used waste gets fully utilized in the production processes.

Conclusion

So far, we have come to know about fiber, yarn, and fabric where fiber is a thread-like thin strand that makes clothes. On the other hand, yarn is a spun thread that is useful in weaving and knitting fabrics. The last one is the fabric which is a well-made thread network and comes up in an accurate length and width. To make clothes, 3 of them, fiber to yarn and yarn to fabric is interlinked with each other. One cannot think of the textile industry without the contribution of each of them. Sustainability issues are mandatory in this theme to showcase their importance in the circular economy.

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