What is Warp and Weft?

April 1, 2016

See if you can say it 10 times: “Warp and weft, weft and warp, warp and woof, woof and warp.”

The 4 phrases in the tongue twister all mean the same thing – Fabric.

Textiles are woven together with thread or yarn. Though the earliest known evidence of this kind of fabric is from 6000 BC, modern versions of it are still used in the newest innovations like Nike’s FlyWeave. There are endless varieties of weave techniques used to interlace the loose string of material to make fabric, but the warp and weft are at the very basis of every one of them.

On a weaving machine, warp is the string on the Y axis that goes up and down (far to near). When beginning to weave the fabric, the warp sets the foundation and is usually a stronger thread. The weft would be the X axis string of thread or yarn that goes from left to right. When hand weaving, these are the threads that can vary in color to make patterns.

To add to the tongue twister, not only can the words “weft” and “woof” used interchangeably, the weft is also called “pick,” “fill,” or “filling yarn” depending on the specific industry, market or country that you are from.

Pictures are from Wiki Commons