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With textiles, fabric is passed under rollers at high temperatures and pressures. Calendering is used on fabrics such as moire to produce its watered effect and also on cambric and some types of sateens.
In preparation for calendering, the fabric is folded lengthwise with the front side, or face, inside, and stitched together along the edges. The fabric can be folded together at full width, however this is not done as often as it is more difficult. The fabric is then run through rollers that polish the surface and make the fabric smoother and more lustrous. High temperatures and pressure are used as well. Fabrics that go through the calendering process feel thin, glossy and papery.
The wash durability of a calendared finish on thermoplastic fibres like polyester is higher than on cellulosic fibres such as cotton. On blended fabrics such as Polyester/Cotton the durability depends largely on the proportion of synthetic fibre component present as well as the amount and type of finishing additives used and the machinery and process conditions employed.
Several different finishes can be achieved through the calendering process by varying different parts. The main different types of finishes are beetling, watered, embossing and Scheiner.
The watered finish, also known as moire, is produced by using ribbed rollers. These rollers compress the cloth and the ribs produce the characteristic watermark effect by moving aside threads as well as compressing them. This leaves some of the threads round while others get compressed and become flat.
In the embossing process the rollers have engraved patterns on them, and the patterns become stamped onto the fabric. The end result is a raised or sunken pattern, depending on the roller. This works best with soft fabrics.
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