Jacquard is fabric that is best known for its unique woven raised patterns. A loom process creates the jacquard weave where each warp thread is raised independently. The design is not dyed or printed on the fabric. It is incorporated into the weave. The weaving process is more versatile and there is more control too. In fact, the name of the fabric comes from the person who invented the loom attachment – Joseph Marie Jacquard. Jacquard patterns are more wearable compared to printed designs. The luster stays for longer. You can choose from many colors and styles. Sometimes there are other components too like cotton, wool and silk.
Origin Of The Jacquard Weave
The jacquard weave is related to brocade. In the 4th century, linens, wools and Byzantium were woven into complex patterns to make fabrics. Brocade became more luxurious after silk weaving was imported in the 6th century. Craftsmen started to weave silk into damasks, brocades and tapestry fabrics for royalty.
However, soon, only the very rich and nobility could afford brocade. Sometimes, semi-precious and precious stones were also woven into them. The love with brocade continued to the Renaissance age, particularly in Italy. In fact, Italians in the 15th century were known for making the best fabrics. Learn more details of the jacquard fabric here.
Brocades were still being woven on large looms by hand. Two people used to work on these looms – the weaver and the draw boy. The process was slow and extremely labor intensive. By the 1700s, many in France were trying to come up with a better loom. Joseph Marie Jacquard, who invented the jacquard loom attachment, was a former draw boy, who worked 6-8 hours daily on the old loom process.
Machines were able to handle repetitive tasks by the late 1700’s. But an artist’s touch was still needed for brocades as the designs were complex. The machine had to be programmed so that the weave can be changed, depending on the line of the pattern that was to be created. Jacquard came up with a simple solution for this. Even Napoleon recognized his concept. Jacquard was called to Paris so that the process could be made more perfect. The final version was released in 1804. This was the first programmable machine in the world.
Electronic jacquard looms arrived in the 1980s. Computer programming has now replaced jacquard’s punch card programming mechanism. This allows more complex designing. But the fabrics produced still have the name of Jacquard.
Modern day jacquard is made from different fibers – silks, natural cotton, polyester cotton blends and polyester. However, the method of construction remains the same. They generally have intricate design, and are thicker and stronger than many other weave types.
Jacquard Fabric Types
Technically, a fabric using the weaving process of the loom boys and the weavers and perfected by Joseph Marie Jacquard is a jacquard fabric, including other familiar weaves like brocatelle, brocades, tapestries and damask. These fabrics are used commonly in upholstery and home goods because of their texturing and thickness. You will find jacquard used also in the fashion industry.