Fabric and Garment Finshes : A basic Overview

What is finishing?

  1. A series of processing operations applied to gray fabric to enhance their appearance and hand, properties and possible applications.
  2. In textile manufacturing, finishing refers to the processes that convert the woven or knitted cloth into a usable material and more specifically to any process performed after dyeing the yarn or fabric to improve the look, performance, or “hand” (feel) of the finish textile or clothing.
  3. A finish is a treatment given to a fabric, to change its appearance, handling /touch or Its purpose is to make the fabric more suitable for its end use.
  4. Finish includes any general treatment given to clean and iron fabrics and create exclusive variations of them by using chemical treatments, dyeing, printing, to make fabric attractive and appealing.

Why we need finishing?

  • Improve the appearance of fabric and enhance its
  • Produce variety in fabrics through dyeing and
  • Improve the feel or touch of
  • Make the fabric more
  • Improve the draping ability of light weight
  • Make fabric suitable for an end (specific)
  • Finishing is the heart of textile processing.
  • Enhance sale appeal.

Types of finishes:-

There are different types of finishing based on different perception and criteria. It is not possible to deal with all of them here, so I will be going with most prominent ones.

On the basis of end product:-

  1. Aesthetics:-

-Change or modify the appearance and / or hand of the completed garment.

-Gives fabrics a distinct surface effect and are pleasing to both hand and eye.

Exa- calendaring, fulling, mercerization, softening, napping and sueding, Plisse, shearing, stiffening.

  1. Functional :-

Alter or improve the wear ability and performance of fabric or garment and provide for:

  • Additional comfort
  • Safety measures
  • Environmental and Biological resistance
  • Durability for wear life of garment
  • Improved care performance

Exa- Antistatic, Durable press, Flame Resistant, Soil Release, Anti-Microbial. Crease resistant, mothproof, shrinkage control, water proof/repellant.

Classification from application POV:-

  1. Mechanical Finish:-

Cause a physical change in the fabric. Finishes are applied by mechanical equipment such as copper plates, drying cylinders, perforated cylinders or Stentor frames. Fabrics are handled in dry state. Beating, brushing, calendaring, filling, etc. are some of the finishes included in this group. These finishes are either temporary or semi durable and do not last long. It is also known as dry finish.

Exa- Calendaring, Raising, Milling, Sanforising

  1. Chemical Finishing:-

Acids, alkalis, bleaches, detergents, softeners, resins and other chemical substances cause a reaction and produce permanent change in fiber, yarn or fabric. These finishes are usually durable and permanent or wet finishes. Examples are: fire proof, crease resistance, etc.

Exa- Antistatic, antibacterial, Mercerization, Softening, Stiff and transparent, Flame retardant, Soil Release, Water Proof, Crease Resistant

On the basis of permanency:-

1. Permanent finishes

Involve a chemical change in the fiber structure. Once it is applied will not change or alter throughout the life of fabric. Effectiveness of the finish will withstand throughout the life of the garment / fabric.

E.g. Water proofing, fire proofing, etc.

  1. Durable finishes

Usually last throughout the life of the garment. Effectiveness will withstand for 50 – 60 cleanings. Near the end of the normal use life of the garment, the finish is completely removed

E.g. permanent pleats, wrinkle resistant, etc.

3. Semi durable finishes

Last through 25 – 30 launderings / dry cleaning. Many are renewable in home laundering / dry cleaning

4. Temporary finishes

Are removed completely in 1 – 2 laundering / Dry Cleaning. Add body / appearance / hand of the fabric. Increase the salability of inferior fabric.

Some technologists categorize this permanency in three parts only:-

  1. Permanent finch: – Finishes which sustain their characteristics for extended periods of time for a larger part of the life of fabric or garment.

Exa- Sanforising, Resin Finish, Water Proof, Flame proof