Warp knit fabrics put beauty in a favourable light

New textile developments for the sports and apparel sectors from KARL MAYER

Obertshausen, (PresseBox) - KARL MAYER not only supplies state-of-the-art machines but also provides innovative ideas for designing textile products. A selection of new warp-knitted fabrics and models was therefore developed in time for the company's open-house event, which aimed to give new impetus to the clothing and sportswear sectors. These new textile innovations include a completely new type of plissé fabric, a lace decorated with sports motifs, and a super-lightweight laminate for use in functional outdoor jackets, for example.

A new type of plissé fabric

This fabric has a design similar to a pressed pattern on the reverse side and has a clearly defined plissé construction on the right side (Fig. 1). The clearly defined folded construction is arranged in differently coloured, narrow strips. The pronounced three-dimensional look of the fabric matches the current trend for the renaissance of the traditional, handcrafted look - which makes it look as if it had been made by hand - yet the bold, multicoloured pattern in the pop art style gives it a modern twist.

The plissé pattern features an alternating, segmented, folded construction in the white areas, thus producing an effect that enhances the dynamic look of the surface.

Plissé effects produced by folding and looping

The appearance of the fabric, which almost seems to move, is produced by combining a conventional technique with a completely new method of forming folds. The plissé effect is produced conventionally by the threading-in arrangement typical of the pattern and the relevant lapping. The relationship between the needle threading arrangement and the movement of the bars produces long yarn bands with shorter plissé yarns arranged behind them. Over a specific number of revolutions of the main shaft, the fine yarns do not form stitches but tie-in the bands later. These are laid-in in a folded arrangement as a result of the difference in length - rather like a Venetian blind.

Unlike a typical plissé pattern, the yarn bands are only fixed at the bases in a second segmented sequence. Each of the heads of the loops engage with the adjacent row. This creates a looser construction and produces a new braid-like effect that is quite new to warp knitting, which can also be cut without any problems. An attractive scalloped edge can be produced by cutting open a row of looping partners.

Other pattern features can be produced in this innovative plissé construction, for example by using yarns featuring coloured heather effects, finer-count yarns, and polyamide yarns, which optimise comfort when used in clothing.

This attractive plissé fabric was produced on an HKS 4-M EL in a gauge of E 28. The EL control facility demonstrates all its features when working a specific design such as this one, which involves segmental changing of the pattern construction.

Lace with sporty styling

KARL MAYER has developed a lace with a sporty look (Fig. 2) which, instead of the conventional patterns featuring flowers and decorative effects normally used in lingerie, bridges the gap between two different style worlds. On the one hand, it brings a decorative, stylish look to rather austere sportswear and, on the other hand, it brings stringency and dynamics to the rather romantic, dainty look of bras and briefs. This lace is therefore completely in keeping with the current trend for blurring the boundaries between the different types of clothing.

The pattern of this dense lace features modern sports symbols in sweeping lines. The motifs are separated by chequered flags used to mark the end of races. The motto of the Olympic Games, "Faster, Higher, Stronger", is written in Latin at the sides. A dainty scalloped pattern is used at the edges of this new style of lace as an homage to classic lingerie lace. This sporty design was worked on an MJ 42/1 B in a gauge of E 24 to create a positive/negative effect. This efficient and flexible multibar Jacquardtronic® Lace machine was processing polyamide and elastane to produce this fabric. The blend contained 15% elastane to provide optimum comfort stretch during wear.

Laminate for lightweight outdoor jackets

Lightness and function are the latest buzzwords in the clothing sector. Two new developments illustrate the contribution that warp knitting is making to the theme of wind- and weather-proof outdoor jackets made from two-layer laminates. A warp-knitted textile was used as the carrier substrate and combined with a film membrane to produce this composite. Their special characteristics have made warp-knitted textiles firm favourites for use as stabilising and protective layers for functional membranes in sportswear. With their relatively open, lightweight constructions, these specifically engineered knitted fabrics provide excellent slip resistance - one of their advantages compared to woven fabrics, which can usually only achieve this effect by having high warp and weft densities, which makes the substrates very heavy. The elongation of the warp-knitted fabrics can also be set optimally. Compared to weft-knitted fabrics worked in the appropriate lapping and materials, the elasticity is low enough to prevent the film from tearing, yet high enough for the garment to feel comfortable when worn.

The warp-knitted fabric in KARL MAYER's translucent version of outdoor jackets shown in Figures 3 - 6 was produced on an HKS 2 high-speed tricot machine in a gauge of E 28. The textile has an open net structure (Fig. 3) and weighs just 50 g/m2. When combined with a membrane, a water- and wind-proof garment is produced, which is also breathable - optimum performance features that are perfect for strenuous sports like cycling. Especially when combined with the super-lightweight, sleeveless underwear-overall made from a warp-knitted fabric produced in a gauge of E 50 (Fig. 4), the result is a stylish outfit that is causing quite a stir - and not just in the sports sector.

In a second model (Fig. 5), a warp-knitted fabric with a relatively dense surface and a clearly recognisable stitch structure was used as the carrier for an opaque film membrane. This textile, which weighs 90 g/m2, is just as lightweight and was produced on an HKS 2-S in a gauge of E 28. This two-layer laminate was made up to produce a stylish sports and casual jacket that is breathable, wind-resistant and waterproof. The garment is also oil- and stain-resistant, which makes it perfect for use as workwear. The seamless top shown in Fig. 5, which was produced on a DJ 4/2 machine in a gauge of E 28, is perfect for wearing underneath this stylish, all-round jacket.

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