For a corset naturally flat woven fabrics are most suitable, because they have less distortion, resp. lenghtening in crosswise and in longitudinal direction, presupposed that no flexible/elastic yarns are used.
Distinction by weaves
In the range of corsets the common weaves are twill- and satin-weave. Because of its various pattern-possibilities the satin-weave is prevailing in decorative corset-layers, while weavings in twill-weave are mostly used for the inner corset-layers (drill, twill), which have no patterns except the weave-structure - it only should be used for decorative puposes if the lady or the gentleman prefers a coloured fish- or herringbone effect.
In so far it is not necessary to mention from this place, that these fabrics are constructed by interlacing warp and filling yarns in a progressive alternation which creates a diagonal effect on the face, or right side and which may appear in different constructions.
This means, the process of a twill weave results from each warp yarn passing over filling yarn and then under one filling yarn.The exact number (minimum 3) which are passed over denotes the particular type of twill weave.
The satin-weave has a greater importance in the field of corsets. In so far a few additional distinctions to that extent should be made because they are frequently used in the specialized jargon.
Differentiation should be between warp face satin, the most common (vertical floats - satin), and the filling face satin (horizontal floats - sateen), whereby the better material usually floats in the surface. In a warp face satin the filling yarns cross over one and under 4 (minimum) warp yarns, thus mainly the warp yarns are visible on the face. In a filling face satin, the filling yarns cross under one and over 4 warp yarns thus mainly the filling yarns are visible on the face.
In this manner, a smooth and shiny surface effect is achieved, because light is reflected off the yarn surface, not absorbed by the intersections of yarns. The shiny surface effect is further increased through the use of high luster filament fibers in yarns which also have a low amount of twist.
(trade marks: Duchesse, Liberty, Merveilleux, Soleil, Damassé, Crepê Satin).
note: Weft or Filling: The yarns that are woven across the loom, with Weft being the English term and Filling being the American term.
Distinction by technology
In the category of shaft-weavings (i.e twill or satin) a various number of warps is summarized and will be raised or lowered groupwise. In contrast to the shaft-weaving-technique the summarization of warps in the jacquard technique is very small. As an extreme every warp thread may be raised or lowered individually. The Jacquard attachment provides versatility in designs and permits individual control of each of the warp yarns. Thus, fabrics of almost any type or complexity can be made. Brocade, damask, damassé, gobelins, matelassé or various wordcombinations that point to that technique ie. jacquard-damask, jacquard-brocade or jacquard-gobelin are types of jacquard woven fabrics.
In so far we are able to distinguish between weaves and and weaving-technology:
A firm, jacquard woven silk-fabric in a satin weave for warp-face and sateen weave or filling face effect with floral or ornamental patterns, woven into it as part of its structure.The pattern-contrast between the plain and figured surface causes in the alternation between warp-face- and filling-face-effects.
Can be woven in a satin-weave but only for warp-face or only for filling face effects with twill-weave as well, which may build embossed pattern-effects with smooth and rounded contours.
Term for middle- and fine threaded glossy jacquard fabrics with a minimum count of threads about 88 threads/cm².
Brocade is a rich, jacquard-woven fabric which may have an embossed effect and has contrasting surfaces with an multicolour-design of raised figures or flowers. Brocade often has gold or silver threads or Lurex®-threads running through it.
Brocatelle is a jacquard fabric similar to brocade with the design in a raised appearance from being formed with a satin or twill weave. Instead of the metall- or Lurex®-threads a gold- or silver-dyed thread will be used.
Satin weave fabric is mainly made from silk, manufactured filament yarns (satin) or from cotton, rayon or other spun yarns (sateen). Better qualities made from cotton are mercerized to give a higher sheen. But in contrast to the silk-luster the 'satinluster' is more evident. The definition claims, that satin is a plain, smooth, generally lusterous fabric with a thick close texture in a satin weave for warp-face or sateen weave or filling face effect (5-harness, filling-face weave).
Satin also impresses with his smooth and strong lustrous sheen in the filling direction. The merits of satin are in the esthetical range and thus they are only for decorative purposes. Satin is expressively not for a heavy straining and only for a preserve use. It is susceptible to water-drips.
Fine threaded glossy jacquard fabrics in satin-weave from pure-silk or chem.silk in high warp-density.
Common fibres for corsets
Silk is the strongest natural fiber. A steel filament of the same diameter as silk will break before a filament of silk. Silk absorbs moisture, which makes it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Because of its high absorbency, it is easily dyed in many deep colors. Silk retains its shape, drapes well, caresses the figure. A tightly woven silk will not 'shrink' or will 'shrink' a lot less.
Silk may yellow and fade with the use of a high iron setting. Silk is also weakened by sunlight and perspiration.
Moisture-absorption up to 32% of its own weight, without feeling wet. The ultimate tensile-strength of cotton can be evaluated as very good. In wet condition even higher than in the dry condition. Cotton will take much longer to dry than less absorbent fibers. Cotton has only a small gloss, which can be increased by mercerisation.
Polyamid, Polyester, Acetate etc. should have no importance in the field of corsets, although it is possible to get optical effects which are only possible in the field of natural-fibres by the more expensive raw-material and costly processes.
How to differentiate fibres in a simple way?
The burn-test is the simpliest and easiest way to differentiate the fibre-categories. That doesn't mean, that the corset should be flamed only for the reason to know that it wasn't from cotton. Use a yarnend/fibres only.
To identify fabric that is unknown, a simple burn test can be done to determine if the fabric is a natural fiber, man made fiber, or a blend of natural and man made fibers. The burn test is used by many fabric stores and designers and takes practice to determine the approx. fiber content. However, an inexperienced person can still determine the difference between many fibers to "narrow" the choices down to natural or man made fibers.
Cotton is a plant fiber. When ignited it burns with a steady flame and smells like burning leaves. The ash left is easily crumbled. Small samples of burning cotton can be blown out as you would a candle. Protein fibers (like silk and wool) usually burn readily, not necessarily with a steady flame, and smell like burning hair. The ash is easily crumbled.
Synthetics melt and then burn rapidly if the flame remains on the melted fiber. If you can keep the flame on the melting synthetic, it smells like burning plastic.
Blends consist of two or more fibers and, ideally, are supposed to take on the characteristics of each fiber in the blend. The burning test can be used but the fabric content will be an assumption.