What is twill fabric?

If you’ve ever worn jeans or dress shirts or sat on a couch, you’ve probably encountered twill fabric. Twill is one of the oldest fabric types that’s still in use — its name coming from the Old English ‘twili’, which means something like ‘two-threaded.’ So, what is twill fabric exactly and how is it used today?

Twill is a very durable, versatile fabric, but you might wonder: what is twill material? What type of fabric is twill? What are its most important properties? And, last but not least, would twill suit the project you’re working on?

What is twill fabric made of?

Before discussing anything else, we should first lay down the basics: what kind of fabric is twill? Well, rather than being a specific kind of material, twill is a way of weaving fabric. This means that every type of textile can be a twill fabric, as long as it’s weaved a certain way. As a result, there are lots of different twill fabric types.

A twill weave has its own characteristic look: a diagonal line in the fabric. This sets twill apart from other kinds of weaves, like satin and plain weaves, which tend to have straight lines running down their material.

This diagonal line is created by weaving a weft thread (laid out horizontally on the loom) over a warp thread (laid out vertically). This is why twill weave examples are often described using fractions: the fraction denotes the exact woven structure of a fabric. A 4/2 twill, for example, would mean that a weft thread was woven over 4 warp threads, and then two underneath.

Because a weave can be made out of different fibers, a twill fabric can have different properties depending on the fabric used to make it. But, the most common fibers used to create twill are cotton, polyester, a cotton-polyester blend, and wool.

Tencel twill fabric

Fabric type: Tencel Twill

Twill weave characteristics

Now that you know what twill fabric is, what does twill fabric feel like? Is twill breathable? Is twill stretchy? Is twill warm? Is twill fabric soft? Is twill better than cotton? Oh, and then there is this: what is cotton twill? Well, the honest answer to all those questions is: it depends.

Regardless of what kind of material is used when making twill fabric, there are some things most twill fabrics have in common, because of the weaving technique. What is twill fabrics most important aspect, which makes it very popular? It tends to have a high thread count. This makes twill a very sturdy, durable fabric, which can easily take a beating without breaking down — and it feels pretty nice on your skin too!

Visually speaking, twill hides stains pretty well, and it has an alternating light-and-dark pattern that tends to emerge because of the weave. This can make twill challenging to print on, but this is one of those things that’s dependent on the type of fiber used when making twill. It also drapes well and tends not to wrinkle.

Is twill fabric breatable?

One of the downsides of twill is that it generally isn’t very breathable. This doesn’t mean it feels suffocating to wear either, but just that there are breezier fabrics out there. Though there is, of course, the fiber factor to consider. Linen or cotton twill fabric will feel airier than polyester twill. The breathability is mainly impacted by the fabric’s thickness, which makes twill warmer than a lot of other fabrics — especially if it’s made from wool!

Is twill fabric stretchy?

Twill also isn’t very stretchy unless it’s made with a small percentage of something like spandex or elastane. That can change the environmental impact of twill, though. Natural sources of fiber usually have a lower impact on the environment — though they can still be produced in a harmful way — whereas more synthetic fibers like polyester tend to be harmful.

What is twill fabric good for?

We’ve discussed what twill fabric is, and what its characteristics are, but what is twill fabric used for? Twill is a very versatile material, which is why there are a lot of potential applications for it.

One of the most well-known uses of twill is denim jeans. Chances are that if you pull a pair of jeans out of your closet right now, you’ll see that characteristic diagonal weave in the fabric. But, twill is also used for clothing items like chinos, tweed, and polo shirts.

Plus, the lack of wrinkles, durability and stain-free nature of twill makes it ideal for things like work clothing, undershirts, or underwear!

Aside from clothing, twill also tends to be used when making upholstery, bed and bath linens, tablecloths, curtains, towels, carpets, rugs… So basically, if you can imagine it, there’s a chance it can be made using twill!

Twill used for clothing Twill used for interior
Work clothing Upholstery
Denim jeans Bed and bath linens
Chinos Tablecloths
Tweed Curtains
Polo shirts Towels
Undershirts Carpets
Underwear Rugs

Looking to purchase twill fabric?

Now you have the answer to ‘what is twill fabric’, and you know everything there is to know about twill, you might want to purchase some fabric for your project. House of U helps you to effortlessly print your own designs on textile, starting at small quantities. It’s easy! Just upload your pattern to our design generator, select your desired fabric, and we’ll do the rest.

Plus, if you need some extra tips and tricks on how to design your own fabric, we’ve made a helpful guide for you.

If you’re still unsure whether twill is the type of fabric that suits your needs, we have other blogs detailing other fabric types. You can compare and contrast and find the perfect material to make your project come to life. But we can imagine it might be a lot, so feel free to contact us if you have any unanswered questions. You can also reach out to request a print sample. We’re happy to help!

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