Dyeing And Finishing

=Dyeing.= When a fabric or fiber is impregnated with a uniform color

over its whole surface, it is said to be "simply dyed." On the other

hand, if distinct patterns or designs in one or more colors have been

impressed upon a fabric, it is called printing.

Vegetable dyes were formerly used, but since the coal tar dyes have

been discovered the latter are used entirely. Over fourteen thousand

colors have bee
produced from coal tar. Different fibers and fabrics

attract dyestuffs with varying degrees of force. Wool and silk attract

better than cotton and linen.

=Wool Dyeing.= The methods of dyeing wool differ considerably from

those employed for cotton and other vegetable fibers. They may be

divided into three parts: piece dyed, cross dyed, and yarn dyed.

Piece goods are those woven with yarns in their gray or natural state,

and then cleansed and dyed in the piece to such colors as are

required. They are woven in plain weaves and in a great variety of

twills--in fact, in all styles of weaves--and are also made on the

Jacquard loom. The principal fabrics in this classification are all

wool serges, cheviots, hopsackings, suitings, satines, prunellas,

whipcords, melroses, Venetian broadcloths, zibelines, rainproof

cloths; nun's veiling, canvases, grenadines, albatrosses, crepes, and

French flannels; silk warp Henriettas, voiles, and sublimes. Whenever

it is possible, it is better to dye textile fabrics in the form of

woven pieces than in the yarn. During the process of weaving it is

impossible to avoid getting yarn dirty and somewhat greasy, and the

scouring necessary to remove this dirt impairs the color used in

weaving. Piece dyeing is the cheapest method of applying color to

textiles. The chief fault of piece dyeing is the danger of cloud

spots, stains, etc., which do not appear in the other two methods.

Then again in the case of thick, closely woven goods the dyestuff does

not penetrate into the fabric, and the interior remains nearly white.

The cloth is dyed by means of passing over a roller into a dye vat.

Small pieces or "swatches" are taken from the ends of the fabric, and

compared with the pattern. For it must be remembered that no two lots

of crude dyes are of equal strength, and the wools and cottons of

different growths and seasons vary greatly, so that the use of a fixed

quantity of dye to a given amount of goods will not always give the

exact shade. In comparing a sample with the pattern the two are placed

side by side below the eyes (reflected light), and then held up to the

light and the eye directed along the surface. A judgment must be

formed quickly, as a prolonged gaze fatigues the eye and renders it

unable to perceive fine shades of difference.

=Cross Dyed.= Cross-dyed goods may be described as fabrics woven with

black or colored cotton warps and wool or worsted filling and

afterwards dyed in the piece. Since cotton has not the same attraction

for dyestuffs as wool it is a difficult task to dye a fabric woven

with cotton and wool so that both fibers will be identical in depth of

color, tone, and brightness. In some cases it is possible to dye a

mixed fabric at a single operation, but the usual process is to dye

the wool in yarn state and then dye the warp a color as near the color

of the wool as possible. In the weaving operation the wool is thrown

to the surface. In another method the warp is dyed and woven with a

white wool or worsted filling, and dyed in the piece with a dyestuff

that will not affect the cotton. In this way the cotton does not take

the wool dye, but retains its original color. This class of work is

generally used in mohair, alpaca, and luster fabrics, because the

natural brilliancy of the luster wool, alpaca, or mohair in the

filling is not impaired as would be the case if the cotton in the

goods were subjected to a cotton-dye bath after being woven. The

principal cloths in this classification are cotton, warp figured

melroses, Florentines, glaces, brilliantines, lusters, alpacas, and

mohairs; rainproof cloths, and fancy waistings, and in these may be

found the same great variety of weaves and patterns that is to be

found in the piece-dyed goods already described.

=Yarn Dyed.= Yarn-dyed goods differ from those previously described in

that they are made of yarns that are dyed before being woven, or yarns

spun from dyed wool. Wool may be dyed in the raw state (fleece),

slubbing, or yarn. Fleece dyeing is preferable for goods intended to

stand friction, and that in spite of wear and tear must preserve their

color. It is preferred for dark colored goods where much friction is

to be encountered, but is seldom used for light colors, since these

would be soiled during subsequent processes of manufacture. In this

case every fiber is colored uniformly all over. The yarn from this

wool and the cloth woven from it are dyed through and through and do

not become grayish or whitish by wear and tear.

Slubbing dyeing is preferred to yarn dyeing, for the dyestuff

penetrates the loosely twisted roving, and if unevenly dyed, the

subsequent operations equalize most thoroughly the irregularities in


Yarn dyeing is especially applicable to checks, plaids, and suitings,

and in their manufacture the drop box loom (a loom with two or more

shuttles) is used. Goods manufactured under this classification

include cotton warp checks and mixtures; all wool homespuns, mixture

coatings and suitings, storm skirtings, rainproof cloths. These goods

are made in a great variety of weaves, the effect in each being

secured by the color and the weave.

Piece-dyed fabrics may be distinguished from yarn-dyed fabrics by

unraveling threads of each kind. In the case of yarn-dyed fabrics the

dyestuff has penetrated through the yarn, while in the case of

piece-dyed fabrics the dyestuff has no chance to penetrate as

completely as the yarn-dyed fabric.

=Textile Printing.= Printed fabrics such as print cloths can generally

be distinguished by observing the back side of the cloth. If the

figure or pattern on the face of the cloth does not penetrate through

to the back but only shows the outline, the fabric has been printed.

Fabrics are printed by coming into contact with rotating rollers on

which the pattern is engraved.

The attraction of cotton for coloring is generally feebler than that

of wool or silk. Few of the natural dyestuffs attach themselves

permanently without use of a mordant. A mordant is a substance which

has an affinity for, or which can penetrate, the fiber to be colored,

and which possesses the power of combining with the dyestuff and thus

forming an insoluble compound upon the fiber. Cotton is dyed in an

unspun state, and also as yarn or spun thread, either in the hank or

skein. Silk is dyed in unspun skeins, although to a considerable

extent it is also dyed in the piece.

=Styles.= Since styles and designs are constantly changing it is

necessary for the mills to meet this demand by producing new styles.

Some of the patterns which are at this time considered to be in the

best style would have appeared much out of date two or three years

ago, while perhaps a few years hence, the patterns which are now

almost obsolete will, with some changes, become the most popular

sellers of the season. As the mill officials or designers are not out

among the trade, they are not in a position to judge what lines or

patterns would most likely appeal to the market. This information is

obtained by the "styler" of the selling house. The styler receives all

the latest foreign samples and fashion papers from abroad, and often

goes or sends his representative to Europe to ascertain what goods,

designs, and colors are taking well over there. The selling agent or

styler then supplies the designing department of the mill with all the

samples, information, and suggestions necessary in getting out the


=Construction of Cloth.= In reproducing a sample of cloth in the mill

it is necessary that the construction of the cloth be first known,

that is, there must be ascertained the width, warp ends, and picks per

inch, the number or size of the yarn used for the warp, the number

that is used for the filling, and the number of ounces per yard or

yards per pound. Then the interlacings of the threads in the sample

must be picked out in order to get the design or weave on the design

paper, from which the data are obtained for regulating the movement of

the harness or heddles. Design paper is paper ruled by lines into a

number of squares. An imitation of the cloth can be produced on this

paper by showing the interlacings of the warp and filling. This is

done by filling in certain squares with paint, or pencil marks, while

the others are left empty. In practical work it is the general custom

to make a cross with a pencil to indicate the squares that are to be

filled in, thus showing that the warp thread is over the filling

thread at this point. When a square is left blank it shows that the

warp thread is under the filling at this point. When a warp thread is

up on a certain pick, the harness which controls this thread must be

raised on this pick.

=Finishing.= The fabric as it comes from the loom is in an imperfect

condition for use. When worsted fabrics leave the loom they require

but few and simple finishing operations, and in this respect differ

much from woolen cloths, which require elaborate finishing operations.

The finishing processes of woolen and worsted cloths are similar. The

following description of processes and machines gives a clear idea of

the necessary finishing processes for a standard woolen or worsted

cloth; for particular styles of finish the processes must be varied in

accordance with the particular requirements of the style of fabric in


=Perching.= The fabric as it comes from the loom receives a perching

and measuring inspection at the weave room before leaving for the

finishing room. This examination is to detect quickly such

imperfections as require prompt attention at the loom.

=Burling.= Every knot that has been tied in the threads during

winding, dressing, beaming, and weaving, must be looked for and felt

for during burling, carefully drawn to the surface of the cloth, and

then clipped off with the scissors, leaving the ends long enough so

that no space without a thread will occur. Threads which are found

loose on the face or back of cloth, caused by the weaver having tied

in a broken end, should be cut off and not pulled off. All places

where threads are not woven in are marked so that the sewing-in girl

(mender) can adjust such places. The cloth is subjected to perching

again. It is examined for imperfections, and when these are found,

they are marked with chalk to call the attention of the menders to

such places.

=Mending.= The object of darning or mending is to make all repairs in

the structure of the cloth before the process of fulling. The mender

must have a good eye for colors necessary to produce various effects

and for the interlacing of the threads. More exact work is required

for threadbare fabrics that require little if any finishing afterward,

than in dealing with a face finish fabric, where the nap is to be

raised and will cover many imperfections so that they will never be

noticed in the finished cloth.

=Fulling.= The object of fulling is to render woolen and worsted

goods stronger and firmer in body. Fulling is similar to felting, the

principal object of each being to condense the fibers, thereby

increasing the firmness. Certain varieties of woolens are fulled

nearly one-half their original width and length. The process of

fulling includes three steps: cleansing, scouring, and condensing the

fibers of the cloth. The object of scouring is to get rid of oil used

preparatory to spinning, and to remove from the cloth stains and the

sizing used in dressing the warp. The cloth is first saturated with

hot water and soap, and is then scoured and rubbed between the

slow-revolving rollers of the machine from two to eighteen hours,

according to the character of goods and the amount of shrinkage

desired. The more prolonged the operation, the more the material

shrinks. When sufficiently fulled, the length of cloth is scoured to

free it from soap. This is done with water, warmed at first, but

gradually cooled, until at the end the cloth is worked in cold water.

Next the cloth is stretched uniformly in all directions, so that it

may dry evenly without wrinkles or curls. Sometimes the cloth is

placed in a hot-air chamber to hasten the drying. The fulling or

shrinking is effected by the application of moisture, heat, and

pressure. Every one is familiar with the fact that woolen blankets,

flannels, and hosiery tend to contract with frequent washings, gaining

in thickness and solidity what they lose in elasticity. Such shrinkage

is greatly hastened when they are rubbed vigorously in hot water and

then allowed to cool suddenly. This change is due to the physical

properties of the wool fiber.

Such goods as beavers, kerseys, meltons, and fancy cassimeres are

seldom fulled more than one-sixth of their woven width, while worsted

goods are shrunk but a small fraction of their woven width. The amount

of fulling received is the distinguishing feature of many varieties of

cloth. In the treatment of broadcloth, doeskin, and all nap finished

woolens, the fulling is carried to a point where the fibers become

densely matted, obliterating all traces of the weave and giving the

cloth the appearance of felt.

=Crabbing.= After the cloth has been dried in the hydro extractor,

where it throws off superfluous moisture, it must be stretched full

width for the future finishing processes, and "set" at this width.

Crabbing consists of two operations, first the loosening process, then

the setting process. Goods are run on a cylinder, then passed over

several rolls, and are kept tight so as to avoid wrinkles. The

cylinders are immersed in hot water and the goods are allowed to

rotate in this water for about twenty minutes, after which they are

taken out for one or two hours. They are then returned to the machine

for about twenty-five minutes and are subjected to boiling and also to

additional pressure. The boiling water sets the fabric and the

additional pressure gives the desired finish.

=Tentering.= The object of tentering[14] is to straighten and level

the fabric. After the cloth leaves the tentering machine it has lost

its natural moisture, and is not at all fitted, as far as fiber

condition is concerned, for the napping. To bring it into a fit state

for this operation it is passed through a trough containing a brush

which gives it the desired moisture. It is then ready for napping.

=Napping.= Most cloths at this stage of finishing are more or less

unsightly on account of long and irregular fibers on the surface. A

nap may be raised on the surface of a fabric for various reasons: in

order to render the material warmer, softer, or more pleasant to the

touch, as in the case of blankets and flannels intended to be worn

next to the body; or for the purposes of increasing the durability of

the fabric, as in the case of melton, kersey, broadcloth, and similar

goods; or a nap may be raised with a view to removing all the fiber

from the underlying structure in order to leave the pattern of the

cloth well defined and free from hairiness. The covering of nap over

the surface of the fabric tends to conceal many defects caused by

imperfect yarns and faulty weaving. Coarse, inferior yarns at best

produce an unsightly fabric, but when the cloth constructed of such

threads is finished with a fine, delicate nap the surface takes on a

softer and richer appearance. Not only are the defects in the

structure concealed, but the material is rendered more sightly and

desirable and appears to be more expensive than it really is.

The operation of napping is performed by passing the cloth in a

tightly stretched condition over a revolving cylinder covered with

teasels or steel hooks. These thousands of little hooks scratch the

entire surface of the cloth, opening up the short fibers and covering

the whole with a nap. Since the fibers are of different lengths it is

necessary to brush the fabric vigorously and then pass it through the

shearing machine in order to make an even and uniform length. The

shearing machine acts on the principle of the lawn mower and either

cuts the nap completely or leaves a pile surface. The cloth is cleaned

by passing through a brushing machine.

=Pressing Machine.= The fabric now requires consolidating and lustering,

or "smarting up" in appearance--practically pressing--before it is

forwarded to the warehouse. This is done by passing the cloth over a

pressing roll heated to a high temperature. Having obtained a

satisfactory luster, it is necessary to fix this by winding the cloth on

rollers and allowing dry steam to pass through the piece. This fixes a

permanent luster and finish on the piece and sets it so as to prevent

shrinkage. The cloth is now packed and sent to the jobbers or tailors to

be cut up into suits.

=Theories of Coloring in Textile Design.= The three primary elements

of textile design are weave, combination of form, and blend of colors.

They enter either separately or in connection with each other into

every species of loom effect. Weave relates specifically to the build

or structure of the cloth and is an indispensable factor in any type

of cloth. Schemes of weaves will produce in one operation an even and

firm cloth, decorated with a type of pattern that usually consists of

minute parts but which is pronounced and decided in combination.

Combination of forms is a surface decoration obtained by uniting

straight and curved lines. Color brightens and improves the qualities

of the design. In fact, the discarding of color shades would diminish

the elegance of the design and impoverish its appearance and would

practically destroy the woolen industry. Whether the pattern be

stripe, check, figure, or intermingled effect, it obtains its outline

and detail from methods of coloring adopted. In worsted there is a

larger diversity of weave design than in woolen; but still colors are

very extensively employed to develop effects due to weave and form,

and also to impart a cheerful and lustrous appearance to cloth.

Patterns in dress fabrics, shirtings, and other articles made entirely

of cotton are frequently mere combinations of fancy shades, while

fabrics composed of silk and jute materials, including silk ties,

handkerchiefs, etc.--in fact the cloths in which fancy shades are

used--show that coloring and its combinations in all woven product

embellished with design, are elements which give tone and character to

the styles. Though the cloth may be soft to the touch, substantially

made, of uniform structure, and skilfully finished, yet a lack of

brightness and elegance in coloring so powerfully detracts from the

appearance of the pattern that these qualities alone are not


On subjecting cotton, silk, wool, and worsted goods to inspection,

color is found to have a different tone or cast in each fabric. Fancy

colors in cotton, while decidedly firm and clear in effect, are

non-lustrous, raw, and dull in toning. Silk colorings, on the

contrary, possess both compactness and brilliancy; woolen colorings

have a unique depth and saturation of hue characteristic of the

material employed in the manufacture of woolen goods; while worsted

colorings are bright, definite, and smart in appearance.

These differences are due to the physical properties of the several

fibers. Thus a filament of silk is transparent and shines like smooth

glass when light falls upon it; that of wool is solid and opaque in

the center, but its exterior consists of a multitude of

semi-transparent scales which, when of large dimensions and uniformly

arranged--as in the best qualities of wool--reflect light with a small

amount of dispersion and impart to the woven material a lustrous

aspect. Cotton has no such partially transparent sheath. What light is

reflected is so broken up that the color is poor. Compare three plain

woven crimson textures made of silk, wool, and cotton respectively.

The first literally shines; luster, brilliance, and richness are the

elements of its coloring. Though bright, it lacks that fulness and

depth of color which belongs to the wool product, whose millions of

filaments, closely compounded, all tinted alike, possess a peculiar

bloom and weight of color not to be found either in the silk or cotton

article. Lastly, take the crimson calico. How deficient in warmth and

richness it seems to be, after examining the woolen and silk texture!

It is dull and has a raw and deficient character.

The various methods of employing fancy shades in patterns obtained in

the loom may be briefly summarized:

I. In mixture cloths, for suitings, coatings, etc.

a. By combining or blending various colors of


b. By combining several classes of twist threads.

II. In plain, twilled, mat, and fancy weave designs for trouserings,

coatings, suitings, jackets, dresses, costumes, flannels, shirtings,


a. By introducing colors into the warp, forming


b. By introducing colors into the filling, producing

spotted patterns.

c. By introducing colors into both warp and filling,

giving checks, broken styles, etc.

III. In figured designs for dresses, vestings, etc.

a. By using one or several series of extra warp yarn.

b. By using one or several series of extra filling.

Dress goods fall naturally into two distinct classes when regarded

from the standpoint of fashion--staples and fancies. Staples are those

fabrics which are made of the same construction year in and year out.

They vary only in coloring to meet the changes of fashion.

The Staples are:




Imperial Serges,

Storm Serge,






Nun's Veiling,


Shepherd Checks.

The Fancies are:

Produced through

Variation of weave,

Variation of color,

Variation of color and weave:




Hopsacking, etc.

Coloring includes:






Prior to the factory era our fathers and mothers made homespun clothes

and wore them till they had passed their period of usefulness. The

average consumption of wool at that time averaged not more than three

pounds per capita. As wealth increased the home loom and

spinning-wheel were slowly supplanted by the mill and factory. The

different textile manufacturers at length found that competition was

so keen that it was necessary to adulterate, particularly any fabric

that was popular. The classes of goods that are most adulterated are

the expensive fabrics, those of wool and silk. There are such changes

of fashion in dress at the present day that garments composed of

materials formerly considered good enough are often thrown aside as

old-fashioned when only half worn. Manufacturers cater to the whims

and fancies of people and import to this country foreign styles. The

rapidly changing styles cause people to throw upon the market a great

amount of cast-off clothing only partially worn.

The result is that there is not wool enough to provide the public

with clothing made of new wool. The requirement per capita has risen

to six pounds. The immense amount of fiber in cast-off clothing does

not find its way into the paper mills, but rather into the shoddy

mill, where it is remanufactured into cloth again, or where part of

the fiber is mixed with good wool to make "pure wool" cloth. In other

words, the rapidly changing styles of to-day and the limited supply of

wool are responsible for the wholesale adulteration which is being

practised in modern cloth manufacture. This adulteration furthermore

is becoming more and more difficult to detect by reason of the rapid

improvements made in the finishing processes of cloth manufacture.

Hence the necessity for people to know how and why adulteration

occurs, how it affects prices, and what are the means of detecting it.

Shoddy is considered a legitimate adulteration in woolen and worsted

goods. The following adulterations are not legitimate unless sold as


1. Cotton combed with wool.

2. Thin cotton threads twisted in with worsted during the process of


3. Cotton threads of the same color as the wool or worsted used as

filling or warp.

4. Cotton veneered with wool.

5. Cotton threads of the same color as wool used in weaving.