Fabric Science - bolting the fabric
While I was in the states, one of the things we bought was a book for me - Fabric Science.
I did take a textiles course many years ago, but it was a long time ago. There are a lot of new textiles and the industry has changed a lot in these intervening years. I also wasn’t as interested in fabric then as I am now. Seriously. The class was sort of interesting, but if I took it again now, I’d be the best, most interested student in the class (possibly)!
I discussed this with Rachael and we bought this textbook for me to learn.
There is so much misinformation on Facebook and other places, I wanted to learn what was “for real” and not just what so and so said. A lot gets passed on as fact that is simply hearsay.
From time to time I will share pertinent things that I learn from this book with you.
I will probably focus on quilting cotton or fabrics that I think would work for quilting.
In this book, they point out that there are three main classifications of textiles. They are.
Fabrics for Interiors
Industrial (including things like tents, medical supplies, filters, gardening applications, etc.)
Of course, “quilting fabric” falls under the “fabrics for interiors” category.
This information is USA based.
There are 3 primary sources of textiles and they are -
Mills - produce the textiles on their own machinery. They also produce the yarns that make up the fabrics and put on finishes after the fabric is produced. There aren’t many mills left in the USA, but according to this book these are the majors ones here - Milliken and Company (Spartanburg, SC - my daughter lives there, BTW!), Burlington Industries (Greensboro, NC), Cone Denim (Greensboro, NC) American Textile Company (Duquesne, PA), and Shaw International (Dalton, GA).
Converters - buy unfinished (griege) goods from the mills and using other companies, finish them as they desire
Importers - the direct importer buys from mills overseas and brings the textiles or finished sewn products into the USA. They resell to a clothing manufacturer or a store (they don’t have mills of their owns - they are only selling). There is also a group called Import mills where they manufacture and import to the USA and sell as would the major mills found in the USA.
Many people don’t realize that when the mills produce textiles, they don’t send them over to the USA in nice neat bolts. Usually, it is in rolls - and often BIG rolls of fabric.
When my sis and I were on our buying trip in October, we saw one guy rolling from a big roll of fabric to bolts.
We asked if we could take pictures and it was fine with them, so here are a few pictures. The company where we were imports the big rolls - I don’t remember how many yards on on each roll, but lots. They then put them on bolts in much smaller amounts.
The guys doing the rolling onto bolts get paid by the yard, so they love big bolts - as they can earn more per hour since the time it takes to set up a bolt is the same for an 8 yard bolt as it is for 15 yard bolts or in this case, a 50 yard bolt.
Here’s a video Rachael took of this guy “bolting” it.
After they got the fabric on the bolts, they then wrapped the bolt in plastic.
We were buying some black and it had already been bolted - each bolt was up to 50 yards - can’t remember for sure. - but often quilt shops get 15 or even 8 yards on a bolt. We had asked for bigger bolts - it’s a black similar to Kona cotton. Here are two pictures of this lady putting plastic over the fabric, then the machine making it into a cover. After that it went through the shrinking machine (my name for it).
My sis got a video on that happening. Check it out here.
So, now, maybe you know just a tad bit more than you used to know about this process!
I would love to visit mills. Here in Poland my sis and I tried to visit one when she came over in ‘17, but they didn’t want us to see where they produce the fabrics. All we saw was the storage facility.
And that’s all for today! I hope you get time to sew today!
Have a great day, wherever you are!
Be sure to check out what my sis has for you in the store!