How is cotton twill constructed? Cotton twill is a popular fabric for clothing because it drapes well, is pleasant to the touch, and is easy to care for. A quick look in your closet will reveal a number of cotton twill garments—denim, chino, and tweed, for example, are all forms of twill. But what exactly is twill fabric, and what makes it different from ordinary cotton fabrics?
Twill is identified by its diagonal weave pattern. In the simplest tweeds, two threads going one direction (the warp) and crossed over by one thread going the opposite direction (the weft). This pattern will produce the diagonals characteristic to twill. In garments that use only one color of thread, this pattern will be less apparent. In fabrics such as tweed, threads of more than one color are used, with threads of one color for the warp and a different color for the weft. This is what gives tweed its distinctive patterns. The diagonal weaving pattern results in parallel ribs, also known as the wale. Twill typically drapes well because of this diagonal pattern.
Twill's weave pattern also tends to lend it more give than other fabrics, which makes it a popular choice for pants in particular. Twill is also remarkably resistant to stains. The diagonal weave pattern makes it more difficult for liquids and other materials to adhere to the fabric. Cotton twills are easy to care for, since they can typically be machine washed and dried. (Cotton twills containing wool, such as some tweeds, will need dry cleaning or other special care.)
The diagonal weave of twill makes it more durable as well, which makes it an excellent choice for work clothes or items that will see heavy use. Denim jeans, of course, are the most ready example of this. However, khakis and chinos—along with the popular Dockers brand of pants—are professional-looking yet durable and comfortable twill choices for most workplaces.