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Units of textile measurement
Textile fibers, threads, yarns and fabrics are measured in a multiplicity of units.
The linear density of a fiber is commonly measured in units of denier or tex. Traditional units include worsted count, cotton count and yield. Tex is more likely to be used in Canada and Continental Europe, while denier remains more common in the United States and United Kingdom. The International System of Units uses kilogram per metre for linear densities; in some contexts, the tex unit is used instead.
Denier or den (abbreviated D), a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers, is the mass in grams per 9000 meters of the fiber. The denier is based on a natural reference: a single strand of silk is approximately one denier; a 9000-meter strand of silk weighs about one gram. The term denier comes from the French denier, a coin of small value (worth 1⁄12 sou). Applied to yarn, a denier was held to be equal in weight to 1⁄24 ounce (1.2 g). Microdenier describes filaments that weigh less than 1 g per 9000 m.
There is a difference between filament and total measurements in deniers. Both are defined as above; but the first relates to a single filament of fiber (commonly called denier per filament (DPF)), whereas the second relates to a yarn.
- DPF = total denier / quantity of uniform filaments
- A fiber, a single filament of natural material, such as cotton, linen or wool, or artificial material such as nylon, polyester, metal or mineral fiber, or man-made cellulosic fibre like viscose, Modal, Lyocell or other rayon fiber is measured in terms of linear mass density, the weight of a given length of fiber. Various units are used to refer to the measurement of a fiber, such as: the denier and tex (linear mass density of fibers), super S (fineness of wool fiber), worsted count, woolen count, cotton count (or Number English (Ne)), Number metric (Nm) and yield (the reciprocal of denier and tex).
- A yarn, a spun of fibers used for knitting, weaving or sewing, is measured in terms of cotton count and yarn density.
Thread made from two threads plied together, each consisting of three yarns
- Thread, usually consisting of multiple yarns plied together producing a long, thin strand used in sewing or weaving, is measured in the same units as yarn.
Fabric, cloth typically produced by weaving, knitting or knotting textile fibers, yarns or threads, is measured in units such as the momme, thread count (a measure of the coarseness or fineness of fabric), ends per inch (e.p.i) and picks per inch (p.p.i).
- A fiber is generally considered a microfiber if it is one denier or less.
- A one-denier polyester fiber has a diameter of about ten micrometers.
- In tights and pantyhose, the linear density of yarn used in the manufacturing process determines the opacity of the article in the following categories of commerce: ultra sheer (below 10 denier), sheer (10 to 30 denier), semi-opaque (30 to 40 denier), opaque (40 to 70 denier) and thick opaque (70 denier or higher).
Ne (Number English) or cotton count is another measure of linear density. It is the number of hanks (840 yd or 770 m) of skein material that weigh 1 pound (0.45 kg). Under this system, the higher the number, the finer the yarn. In the United States cotton counts between 1 and 20 are referred to as coarse counts. A regular single-knit T-shirt can be between 20 and 40 count; fine bed sheets are usually in the range of 40 to 80 count. The number is now widely used in the staple fiber industry.
- Hank: a length of 7 leas or 840 yards (770 m)
- One lea – 120 yards (110 m)
- Thread: a length of 54 inches (1.4 m) (the circumference of a warp beam)
- Bundle: usually 10 pounds (4.5 kg)
- Lea: a length of 80 threads or 120 yards (110 m)
Collier, Ann M (1970), A Handbook of Textiles, Pergamon Press, p. 258, ISBN ,
Curtis, H P (1921), "Glossary of Textile Terms", Arthur Roberts Black Book., Manchester: Marsden & Company, Ltd. 1921
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