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Yarn Classification Guide: Raw Material, Process, Structure, Use

Yarn, a continuous bundle of fibers made up of short fiber or filament aggregates, generally includes three types of yarn: short fiber yarn, filament yarn and fancy yarn. There are many types of yarns with different properties. To fully understand the types and uses of yarns, we generally start from four aspects: raw material, process, structure and application.

Raw materials for yarn

The raw material of yarn includes two kinds of short fiber and filament fiber: short fiber yarn includes cotton yarn, hemp yarn, wool yarn, silk yarn, pure chemical fiber yarn, blended yarn, etc. Filament fiber mainly refers to silk and chemical fiber filament. For yarn, its raw material is often composed of one or more kinds of fibers, namely mono-fiber yarn and blended yarn.

1 Mono-fiber yarn

Yarn spun from one kind of fiber raw material, such as pure cotton yarn, pure wool yarn, pure viscose yarn, such yarn is suitable for making pure textile, mainly reflecting the basic performance of the fiber used.

2 Blended yarn

Yarn spun by two or more different kinds of fiber materials mixed into the yarn, the purpose is to combine the advantages of various fibers, improve the performance of the yarn, increase the variety of colors. Such as polyester and cotton blended yarn, wool and viscose fiber blended yarn.

Blended yarn

The process of spinning

1 Yarn twisting: twist, twist direction

The effect of yarn twist on fabric

yarn twist applications
low twist yarn below 300 fleece, knitted fabrics, etc.
medium twist yarn 300~1000 softer fabrics
strong twist yarn 1000~3000 smoother fabrics, folded fabrics
super Twist Yarn over 3000 folded fabrics

The effect of yarn twist direction on fabric

direction of twill twist direction of warp yarn twist direction of weft yarn twill clarity
right twill S Z twill is not clear
left twill S Z twill is not clear
right twill Z S twill is not clear
left twill Z S twill is not clear
right twill S S clear warp twill
left twill S S clear weft twill
right twill Z Z clear weft twill
left twill Z Z clear warp twill

2 Yarn carding: carded yarn, combed yarn and waste yarn

Carded yarn is a yarn spun with an ordinary spinning system.

Combed yarn, made of good quality fibers, is spun with an additional combing process than carded yarn. The combed yarn has a straighter fiber arrangement, higher yarn strength, improved luster and fewer defects.

Waste yarn, the waste cotton processed in the spinning process is used as raw material to spin into yarn, which is generally only used to weave coarse cotton blankets, thick pile cloth and packaging cloth, etc.

3 Dyeing and finishing of yarn

classification description
gray yarn Also called primary yarn, the yarn is not dyed and remains its original color of the fiber.
bleached yarn The original color yarn becomes bleached yarn after the practice bleaching process.
dyed yarn The raw yarn is dyed before the weaving process and used for color weaving.
mercerized yarn The yarn is mercerized and divided into mercerized bleached yarn and mercerized dyed yarn.
colored spun yarn The fibers are dyed first, and then the colored fibers are spun into colored yarn.
gassed yarn Yarns that are processed by burnishing and have a brighter surface.

Morphological structure of the yarn

1 Yarn fineness / Yarn count

Here take cotton type yarn and wool type yarn as an example to illustrate the division of yarn fineness

Classification Cotton or cotton type yarn / Tex Wool or wool type yarn / Nm
Extra fine yarn ≤10 ≥80
Fine yarn 11~20 32~80
Medium yarn 21~31
Coarse yarn ≥32 <32

Coarse yarn, 32tex or more cotton yarn, is mainly used for weaving thick fabrics or pile cotton fabrics. Such as coarse cloth, flannel, strong tweed, etc.

Medium yarn, 33~22tex cotton yarn, is mainly used for weaving plain cloth, twill cloth, tribute satin and other fabrics, cotton fabrics are more widely used.

Fine yarn, 21tex, and below cotton yarn, mainly used for high-grade needle and cotton fabrics, such as high-grade poplin, high-grade sweatshirt, undershirt, etc.

If you want to know more about yarn fineness, please refer to this article: Representation Method, Conversion Relationship, Test Method of Yarn Fineness / Yarn Count: Tex, Den, Nm, Ne

2 Yarn morphology

Short fiber yarn

Single yarn: Spun directly from short fibers by spinning, mainly used as raw material for fabrics.

Plied yarn: A thread made by two or more combining and twisting single yarns, which has better strength and abrasion resistance than single yarns. There are 2-plied yarn, 3-plied yarn and multi-plied yarn, such as sewing threads, embroidery threads and knitting threads.

Double twisted plied yarn: made by combining two or more plied yarn in twisting, mainly used for decorative threads, ropes, etc.

yarn structure

Short fiber yarns generally have a loose structure, contain more air, and are more hairy and less lustrous, so they have a good feel and covering ability. The woven fabric has better comfort and appearance characteristics, proper strength and uniformity.

Filament Yarns

Filament yarn is formed by one or more filaments twisted or untwisted and combined together, mainly including ordinary filaments and deformed filaments.

Ordinary filament type Features and Applications
Monofilament Composed of a filament, the diameter size depends on the fineness of the fiber filament. It is generally used only for processing thin fabrics or knitted fabrics, such as nylon socks, face towels, etc.
Compound filament A compound filament is made from multiple monofilaments that are combined. Many silks are woven from compound filaments, such as plain soft satin and power spun.
Compound twist filament Compound twisted filaments, such as silk crepe-like fabrics with compound twisted silk.


Deformed filament type Features and Applications
High-stretch yarn High stretch, general fluffiness, suitable for elastic tight elastic shirt pants, elastic socks and other elastic fabrics, mainly nylon high-stretch silk.
Low-stretch yarn Moderate elasticity and fluffiness, suitable for taking fabrics and decorative fabrics with low elasticity requirement but good appearance, handfeel and dimensional stability. Polyester low-stretch yarn is the main material, and polypropylene low-stretch yarn is often used to make carpets.
Bulked yarn With low stretch and very high fluffiness, bulky yarn is fluffy in volume, rich in feel and elasticity, and is used for making fleece, imitation woolen tweed, knitted inner and outer garments and hats and scarves. A typical representative is an acrylic bulky yarn.
network filament Some monofilaments produce periodic misalignment, bending and twisting, which increases the holding force and can replace twisting. This kind of silk feels soft and fluffy, imitates wool well, and is mostly used for ladies’ tweed.

filament yarn

Filament yarn has a smooth surface, good luster, low friction and poor covering ability. However, it has good strength and uniformity and can be woven into finer yarns. The fabric woven with it feels smooth, cool, bright luster, even and flat, and its strength and abrasion resistance are better than that of short fiber yarn fabric.

Fancy yarns

In addition to short fiber yarns and filament yarns, a class of fancy yarns is produced to enrich the appearance of fabrics and improve their taking properties.

Fancy yarns

Fancy yarns are yarns with a special appearance, hand feel, structure and texture obtained by various methods, mainly in the form of various color and shape variations on the yarn. Fancy yarns enrich the appearance of fabrics and also improve some of the taking properties of fabrics.

Uses of yarns

1 Warp yarn, used as warp yarn for weaving, is required to have high strength and proper twist because the warp yarn is subjected to high tension and friction during weaving.

2 Weft yarn, used as weft yarn for weaving, because weft yarn does not bear more tension and friction during weaving, so weft yarn strength is smaller than warp yarn strength, but it needs to have certain softness and twist stability, and twist should not be too much.

3 Knitting yarn, which is required to be soft and smooth, and smooth through the knitting crochet, so the knitting yarn is clean, even and with lower twist than warp and weft yarn.

4 Cheese, yarn that comes off the winder and is wound in the form of a tube roll.


5 Reeled yarn, yarn wound from a cheese yarn in a specified length and number of turns. For example, the length of cotton reeled yarn is 1000 meters, called “one-reel”. Its shape is suitable for inspection and dyeing processing and is easy to pack, transport and store.

Reeled yarn

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