Dobby Weave Characteristics and Uses (How Can You Tell?)

Looms need special equipment added to them. It may be a nuisance but if you want a unique fabric and an innovative look, then these little pieces need to be invented. The special device for the dobby weave is doing a great design job.

How can you tell if a weave is Dobby? The one characteristic that stands out in this weave style is all the geometric shapes that can be woven into the fabric when using this weave style. The uses for this weave style are more for creative and innovative purposes than anything else.

To learn more about the dobby weave pattern just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can recognize this weave pattern at a glance. While like the jacquard weave pattern it is not as complex.

What is Dobby Weave Made From?


First off, this weave style is not a newcomer to the fabric world. It has been around for almost 200 years. The part that is needed to create the dobby weave was invented and added to the loom in 1840.

Second, that little piece of information brings us to the answer to the question. Along with the loom and this special dobby part, dobby weave comes from the use of a variety of different fibers. Since this is a weave style that requires a loom just about any fiber can be used to create this fashion style.

Nylon, wool, cotton, silk, in between fibers, and many more all can be woven in this pattern when that special part is attached to the loom. So the weave is made from a variety of fibers and possibly a lot of blends can be woven on this special attachment as well.

It may take a little practice to master how to use that special attachment but the designs and shapes you can create should be worth the effort. The good news is that the dobby weave is not expensive to produce.

You get to create and be innovative with your designs as you get more experience using that special piece.

What is Dobby Fabric Used for?

While many people say the sky is the limit, that may not always be the case. Those same people think that creativity and innovation do not require a little common sense, a bit of realistic thinking, and knowing one’s limitations. Both do.

While this weave style can help you be creative and innovative, there are limits to what you can put on the fabric and where it can be used. Right now the applications for this weave style are fairly limited but that doesn't mean that expansion is not possible.

Fabric designers are using this weave style for dresses, shirts, blouses, polo shirts, outerwear clothing articles, and handbags. The last one may include large oversized bags where you carry everything except the kitchen sink.

There are not a lot of applications at this time as not everyone is thrilled about having geometric designs on their clothing or fashion accessories. While that list is a bit limited, we recognize the fact that there may be more applications than we listed.

Fabrics, no matter their weave style, can be used in many ways, and for different projects, many people didn't consider it possible.

What does a Dobby Weave Look Like?


This weave style may look like a simple version of the jacquard weave style or other similar weave styles that allow for different shapes to be placed in the fabric. That anonymity or under-the-radar application may be why many people have not heard of this weave style before.

When you look at different images of all the designs of the fabric, those clothing items look like any other weave style. The variety of designs you can make using that special attachment helps the weave style blend in with other weave styles.

Generally, the shapes this weave style produces are simple designs that do not take a lot of time or work to create. If you want intricate and complicated designs and shapes, then you need to move up to the jacquard weave style. The dobby does not get complicated or very intricate.

That is okay as some people like simple things, simple designs and do not want to overcomplicate their look. This weave style meets their needs and makes sure the focus is on them and not what they are wearing.

How can you Tell if a Weave is Dobby?

We wish we could tell you a little secret way of identifying the difference between other weave styles and the dobby weave style but there really is no secret way to reveal it.

Even the simplistic geometric shapes may be duplicated on other weave styles so that is not a big help either. If there is a secret, no one is talking about it. Simplicity is probably the best key as dobby designs do not get complicated.

Then, you can try to tell by the texture as the dobby fabric may be a bit thicker than other fabrics in its designs. What complicates identifying this weave style is that the dobby weave can use a twill weave on the edges of a plain weave style.

Or, it can use a zig-zag weave pattern. Its versatility is what keeps this weave pattern anonymous. When the fabric is woven with very fine yarns, you get a little raised texture to the material and that is just one style of a dobby weave.

What is said to be the most recognizable dobby weave is what is called the pique. That style is found on polo shirts. So if you pick up a polo shirt and it has some nice simple geometric designs, it is probably a dobby weave.

Dobby Weave Characteristics


The characteristics are easier to identify than the weave style as there are subtle differences between this weave option and other ones. First, you get more texture than you would with a plain weave.

Then the fabric may be sold at a very inexpensive price as it does not cost a lot to produce. That lack of cost may be due to the small geometric designs this weave style creates. Also, the geometric designs will be simple and not complex like the jacquard design style.

Then, the fabric has a good drape to it, can be stretchy at times, is flexible, and very versatile. There is also a resistance to creasing which should make laundry time a little easier for you.

Those are the basic characteristics of this weave style some of which will be found in many other weave patterns. There is really nothing in the characteristics of the fabrics produced by the dobby weave that make it stand out.

It is like an old pair of brown shoes in a closet full of brown shoes. They all have unique characteristics yet they all look like brown shoes and nothing makes them stand out from the crowd. Even the simplistic look is not unique.

Dobby Weave Structure

The weave structure is basically done through the manipulation of the warp thread. How it is pulled determines the shape of the geometric design. Two different colors can be used on the dobby loom which helps the shapes stand out from the body of the shirt.

Although one can create many different designs using the dobby weave method, that effort is very time-consuming and tedious. One really needs to have the patience to complete the design structure when using this weave style.

The weave structure is very similar to the jacquard weave structure only less complicated. if you know that style then you have a better understanding of the dobby weave structure because it is simpler and easier to work with.

The weaving process for the dobby style only allows for the warp threads to be manipulated when in groups. There are no individual movements that allow for intricate designs to be formed.

Because the harness on the dobby loom can only hold a limited number of warp threads, the complexity of the design is limited. That limitation is why the dobby weave pattern only creates simple geometric shapes and not complex ones like the jacquard weave pattern

Dobby Weave Fabric Examples


There are a lot of different ways to create interesting fabrics off of the dobby weave loom. One method is a set of lines with a dotted center line between solid ones. This makes the fabric look like a colorful highway and not material for a dress or a shirt.

Another example would be a very light white floral pattern that barely shows its look when combined with a nice blue body of a shirt. Then there are times when rayon fibers are used and you get a nice lightweight fabric with very few dots used as the design.

If the maker of the fabric uses the same colors for the body of the shirt and the shapes, then those shapes are very difficult to see. A more visible dobby design is when there is a light background on the fabric and the designs are created by using darker colors like red and shaped into flowers or other geometric designs.

In one case, 4 different colors were used to create a whitish background with a 3 colored flower. It is hard to say what designs you will see in your favorite fabric stores as there is not always enough room to display all the different weave patterns and weave styles.

Dobby Weave vs Circular Knit

The biggest difference between the two weaves will be in thickness and texture. The circular knit style is often used in T-shirts and produces a very lightweight material. Whereas the dobby style often produces thicker textures and while the fabric may be lightweight at times, it may not be as lightweight as the circular knit style.

A lot will be determined by the gauge of the threads used in either weave style. The higher the gauge number the thinner the thread. Dobby weave can work with all different gauge sizes so it may be difficult to tell the two styles apart.

Finally, the circular loom and knit style are designed to produce seamless materials like nylons, tights, fire hoses, and so on.

The Cost of Dobby Weave Fabrics


This material is not really that cheap nor is it that expensive. There are fabrics right now selling between $7 and $12 per yard and your cost will depend on the fibers used to create the fabric.

Rayon fibers made into dobby weave fabrics may be the cheapest as it sells for about $7 per yard. The best thing to do is check with your local fabric stores to see what they are selling this material for. It is a good move to make as some of the fabrics we saw are very attractive and give some great color combinations.

Where to Find Dobby Weave Fabrics

Your cheapest option will be the many online fabric outlets. Their low overhead ensures that you get the best price possible for the fabric. We are not saying that you will get the best shipping prices though.

Your big box stores, the local mall department stores, and your locally owned fabric outlets should also be good places to look. If you do not find what you want at those places you can always ask about having them order some for you.

This is a popular weave style so many stores should be able to help you out.

Some Final Words

If you want to use a weave style that blends in with all the other possible weave styles in your next sewing project, then dobby is it. While it is easy to tell the difference between it and the jacquard weave pattern it may not be so easy to tell it from all the others.

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