The process of making a raw fabric more user friendly is known as textile finishing. The fabric that you wear or pick up from a shop for its colour, texture, durability and many more qualities is originally rough, dull coloured and mostly unappealing. So the soft, anti wrinkle and bright coloured fabric that you see is because of Textile finishing.
Textile finishing depends on many factors, some of which are,
i) Physical properties of the fabric and the fibre.
ii) Type of fibre.
iii) Arrangement of fibre.
iv) How much chemicals can the fibre absorb
Broadly, Textile Finishing is classified into 2 categories, Mechanical and Chemical. Let us find out more about them.
All the processes that use physical principles for finishing of the fabric are known as mechanical processes. Some of these are, tension, temperature, friction, pressure etc.
i) Calendering : In this the cloth is passed between rollers under considerable heat and pressure to add certain effects such as, smoothness, suppleness, and glazed look.
ii) Compacting: The process of adding heat and pressure to fabric so as to shrink it to give it a bulky texture.
iii) Raising/ Napping: This process is usually used when the fabric needs to be given some warmth to it. The process makes the cloth softer, more smooth and compact. Some of the examples of this are, flannels and blankets.
Usually the process of raising and napping is followed by the process of wool glazing to add finished look to woollen products.
iv) Shearing: A process applied on cotton fabrics that have loose threads or fibre strands. It gives a neat and finished look to cottons
v) Steaming and Hot setting: A process specifically for materials like polyester and nylon, it is done to add shading effect on cloth and add finished look on the fabric or the garment. This process is ineffective in case of cotton fabric.
Chemical finishing is the process of using chemicals to achieve certain finishing of fabric that mechanical processes cannot. Some of these are:
i) Elastomeric Finishes: Silicon based products are used to add elasticity and thereby increasing longevity and durability of the fabric. These are primarily added in knitwear.
ii) Softening: As the name suggests, the process is done to make a fabric soft for the wearer.
iii) Crease Proofing: This process is usually applied on crisp fabrics like cottons, linens and rayons. The process makes the fabric crease proof. A relevant example of this is the crease proof formal wear that has been popular for decades now.
iv) Peach Finish: The process is applied to add a velvety finish to the fabric. It is usually applied on cottons and synthetic blends.
v) Bleaching and Mercerization Bleaching is the process of making the fabric white. Mercerization is a process applied on cotton fabrics to add lustre to it.
vi) Scouring : A process usually applied on grey fabric to get rid of any type of dirt, lint and oil.
These processes are just the tip of the iceberg. There are a plethora of processes used in textile finishing to make it up to the mark for the user.