Basic Concept of Fiber & Yarn


Fiber: Fiber is defined as any product capable of being made into fabric. It is smallest visible unit of textile product. A fiber can be defined as a “pliable” hair like strand that is very small in diameter in relation to its length”. Fibers are the fundamental units or the building blocks used in the making of textile yarns and fabrics.

Properties of Textile Fibers:

  • Tenacity
  • Flexibility
  • Spinning quality (Cohesiveness)
  • Uniformity
  • Resiliency
  • Density
  • Elasticity
  • Luster
  • Color
  • Crimp
  • Moisture Regain

Classification of Fibers

According to the length of fiber-

Staple fiber: Natural or man-made or short length fibers which measures in inches or fraction of inch; for example 3/4 inch to 18 inches except silk all other natural fibers are staple fibers. Staple fibers are of limited length.

Filament Fiber: Long continuous fibers strands of indefinite length measured in yards or meters fibers of continuous length long enough to be used in fabric as such natural silk filament is 360-1200 meters. Synthetic (man-made) filaments can be made many kilometers long. The only natural filament fiber available is silk. All man-made fibers are filament. Man-made fibers are produced as filament, although they used as staple fibers if necessary. So filaments are used as staple fiber but staple fibers are never used as filament.

According to sources-

Natural Fibers:

Produced naturally from plants or animals and are spun or twisted into yarns. Cotton is the most common natural fiber. Other natural fibers include silk, wool, jute, hemp, and linen. Natural fibers are generally not as uniform as synthetic fibers and are affected by climatic changes w select cotton fibers from the best available crops, classifying them depending on the geographic location, climate, plant seed type, and the cotton grower reputation.

Types of Cotton based on quality:

  • Sea Island cotton- The quality of this type of cotton is good. The staple length is around 2 inch. The average diameter is around 0.016mm.
  • Pima Cotton- Staple length is around 1 inch.
  •  US Cotton- Its staple length 1.5 inch.
  • Asian Cotton- Staple length 1 1/8 inch and it is found is China, India Pakistan etc.

Synthetic / Man-made Fibers: These are made from various chemicals that are then melt-spun or wet-spun into continuous filament fibers. We select our synthetic fibers based on their ease of dying, color fastness, pricing and sustainability. The most common synthetic fibers used are polyester and nylon. Other synthetic fibers are acrylic, spandex, glass fiber, rubber fiber, metallic fiber, ceramic fiber etc.


Yarn: Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibers, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, and rope making.

Classification of Yarn

According to structure-

Staple fiber yarn or Spun Yarn (Single Yarn):  Spun yarns are made from the staple fibers that are twisted together. This type of yarn is usually found in most standard fabrics for clothing and household use and purposes.

Ply Yarn: Two or more than two single yarns are twisted together to form a ply yarn. two single yarns are twisted together, the resulting yarn is known as two-ply yarn. If three are twisted together three-ply yarn and so-on. A cabled yarn is formed by twisting together two or more ply yarns or a combination of ply and single yarns. Cords are seldom used in apparel fabric.

Filament yarns: A filament yarn is made from one or more continuous strands called filaments where each component filament runs the whole length of the yarn. Those yarns composed of one filament are called mono-filament yarns, and those containing more filaments are known as multi-filament yarns. Silk is the only major natural filament yarn.

Novelty Yarns- The construction of these yarns is of complex nature and is varied in many ways. These yarns are usually ply yarns of different kinds of fibers or of different colors and are irregular rather than smooth single strand or yarn of various colors, sizes of fibres may be twisted together to form complex yarn.

Types of Novelty Yarns

Slub yarn: This is a yarn made with thick and thin placing by varying the amount of twist in the yarn at regular intervals. They are found in drapery and upholstery fabrics.

Flock yarn: These are frequently called as flake yarns. These are usually single yarns in which small amount of fibers either different colors or luster or both are inserted into the yarn and held in place by twist of base yarn eg: tweed fabric. This gives a spotted and short streaky appearance.

Thick and thin yarns: These are similar to slub yarns but these are made from filament whereas slub is prepared from staples.

Metallic Yarn: These are primarily decorative. The plastic coasting on it resists tarnishing but care must be taken while pressing as pure metals are soft, their thin films are used over a core yarn that has replaced gold and silvers now.

Types of Cotton Yarn (based on manufacturing process):

  • Carded Yarn: The yarn which is made from short staple and low quality fiber are called carded yarn. Carding is an operation in the spinning section. The yarn that is formed after carding operation is called carded yarn.
  • Combed Yarn: A yarn whose sliver is combed and uses finer fiber than carded yarns and is more regular and expensive than carded yarn.

Yarn Count

Yarn count is a numerical value, which express the coarseness or fineness (diameter) of the yarn and also indicate the relationship between length and weight (the mass per unit length or the length per unit mass) of that yarn.

Types of Yarn Count:

  • Direct Count System
  • Indirect Count System

Direct Count System: The weight of a fixed length of yarn is determined. The weight per unit length is the yarn count. The common feature of direct count systems is the length of yarn is fixed and the weight of yarn varies according to its fineness.

The following formula is used to calculate the yarn count:


Where, N =Yarn count or numbering system

W =Weight of the sample at the official regain in the unit of the system

L=Length of the sample

I=Unit of length of the sample

Tex of a yarn indicates the weight in grams of 1000 meters yarn. So, 40TEX means 1000 meters of yarn weigh 40gm, text means 1000 meters of yarn weigh 50gm. From above discussion it is concluded that, higher the yarn number (count) coarser the yarn and lower the number finer the yarn.

Indirect Count System: The length of a fixed weight of yarn is measured. The length per unit weight is the yarn count. The common feature of indirect count system is the weight of yarn is fixed and the Length of yarn varies according to its fineness.

The following formula is used to calculate they are count:


Where, N =Yarn count or numbering system

W =Weight of the sample at the official regain in the unit of the system

L=Length of the sample

I=Unit of length of the sample

W=Unit o weight of the sample

  • Ne: No of 840 yards yarn weighing in one pound (1 lb)
  • Nm: No of one kilometer yarn weighing in one kilogram (1 kg)

The ‘Ne’ indicates how many hanks of 840 yards length weight one pound. So, 30 Ne means 30 hanks of 840 yards i.e.30×840 yards length weigh one pound, 40 Ne means 40 hanks of 840yards i.e.40×840 yards length weigh one pound.

From above discussion it is concluded that, higher the yarn number (count) finer the yarn and lower the number coarser the yarn.

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