Cotton: From Field to Fabric(Chapter 7)
Cotton fabrics, as they come from the loom in their rough,
unfinished stages, are known as greige goods.
Most undergo various finishing processes to meet specific end-use
requirements. Some mills, in addition
to spinning and weaving, also dye or print their fabrics and finish
them. Others sell greige goods to
converters who have the cloth finished in independent plants.
Finishing processes are numerous and
complex, reflecting today’s tremendous range and combination of
colors, textures and special qualities. In
its simplest form, finishing includes cleaning and preparing the
cloth, dyeing or printing it and then treating
it to enhance performance characteristics. To produce a smooth
surface in preparation for dyeing and
finishing, the greige goods are passed rapidly over gas-fired jets
or heated copper plates to singe off lint
and loose threads. Moving at speeds that can be greater than 200
yards a minute, the material is scoured
and bleached in a continuous process that involves the use of
hydrogen peroxide. The time for the
chemicals to do the preparation reactions occurs from piling the
fabric on conveyor belts that pass through
steaming chambers, or stacking in large steam-heated, J-shaped
boxes before the goods are withdrawn
from the bottom. If a more lustrous cloth is desired, the goods are
immersed under tension in a caustic soda
solution and then later neutralized. The process, called
mercerizing, causes the fiber to swell permanently.
This gives the fabric a silken sheen, improves its strength and
increases its affinity for dye. Mercerizing also
can be done at the yarn stage.
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Sleeve Cuff-self fabric to serge with DN straddle coverstitch.
Hem-self return with DN coverstitch.
Waistband-encased with 3/4" height ealstic, 1/4" flatlock stitch.
Leg opening-self fabric to serge with 2 needle straddle