FROM IDEA TO FABRIC – BEHIND THE SCENES AT ZIMMER + ROHDE PART 3/3

In the final part of our three-part mini-series on how a collection is created, we’ll show you what comes next after the design phase: The fabric is born from a sketch; a pattern is the result of lots of tiny threads.

A digitally controlled weaving loom is used to transfer designs to textiles.

So-called warp and weft threads are interwoven to create a specific pattern in the fabric. Different colours are used to create a unique appearance, while different types and thicknesses of thread can also create additional effects. For example, the extraordinary matt-gloss effect of the Mixed Media product is achieved by combining matt and glossy threads.

To transfer a certain design onto the fabric, the original design is scanned in and processed using the relevant CAD software. The digitally controlled weaving loom now detects in which order it has to raise and lower the corresponding warp threads to then transfer the desired pattern onto the fabric.

Modern Jacquard looms like this one weave between 50 and 60 metres per day – that’s about one roll of fabric.
Modern Jacquard looms like this one weave between 50 and 60 metres per day – that’s about one roll of fabric.

Different coloured warp and weft threads create a unique appearance.

Precise preparations such as the colouring of the individual threads, which can sometimes take up to two weeks, are required before the designs are transferred onto textiles in the weaving loom. This means that the preparation process that takes place before the actual weaving process is very time-consuming.

The textile fibres also need to be spun into threads for the warp and the weft in advance (the longitudinal threads in a weave are called the warp, while the transverse threads are called the weft). The warp of the Mixed Media design sees a very fine polyester thread dyed in each colour specially determined for every hue. The threads are then ‘warped’. The term warping is derived from the old English ‘to twist out of shape’.

Complex technology and finesse go hand in hand in the modern weaving process.

The following process requires two to three people, so teamwork is an absolute must: The finished warp has to be installed on the loom and tightened. To do this, each individual thread must be pulled through an eyelet on the shaft of the loom so that it can be controlled individually later in the weaving process. This process calls for absolute precision as production can only be seamless later if every factor, such as thread tension, is in harmony.

The fine warp of Mixed Media consists of a fabric width of 140 cm made from a total of 11,520 threads – that’s over 80 threads per centimetre.

Once all the preparations are in place, the actual weaving process can begin. Simply put, weaving describes the interlacing of warp and weft threads at right angles. This means different groups of warp threads are formed that are raised or lowered at the same time as they are interlaced. While this happens, a transverse thread – the weft thread – is fed into the space created in between. This creates a design step-by-step that repeats itself over shorter or longer stretches. This repeating pattern is called a repeat.

Completing the weaving process does not mean, however, that the fabric is ready to go. It is now subjected to immensely precise inspections that look for abnormalities and flaws. If the fabric passes these inspections, it moves on to the finishing process. This might mean, for example, that the full width of it is treated with heat or steam to generate an even more flowing drape. Once it has passed a final quality check, the fabric is carefully rolled up and sent to our warehouse.

Mixed Media lights up any window after a complex manufacturing process.
Mixed Media lights up any window after a complex manufacturing process.

This is how countless beautiful fabrics, which light up windows and rooms, create atmosphere and express a wide range of styles, come to life.

Explore the whole Zimmer + Rohde collection Wonderland on our website.

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