In textiles, the term "hand" refers to the way a fabric feels when it is touched or handled. It is a subjective measure of a fabric's texture, softness, and pliability. The hand of a fabric is determined by a variety of factors, including the type of fibers used, the weave or knit of the fabric, and any treatments or finishes that have been applied to it.
The hand of a fabric can be described in many ways, including soft, smooth, rough, stiff, crisp, silky, and so on. These descriptions are used to convey the tactile qualities of the fabric and to help people understand how it will feel when it is worn or used in a particular application.
There are several factors that can affect the hand of a fabric. One of the most important is the type of fibers that are used to make it. Natural fibers, such as cotton, wool, and silk, tend to have a softer and more natural hand than synthetic fibers, such as polyester or nylon. This is because natural fibers are made up of protein or cellulose, which have a different molecular structure than synthetic fibers. As a result, they have a more natural texture that is often preferred by people.
Another factor that can affect the hand of a fabric is the weave or knit of the fabric. Different types of weaves and knits can create different textures and surface characteristics that can affect the way the fabric feels. For example, a plain weave, which is a simple over-under weave, tends to create a smooth and flat surface that feels soft and comfortable against the skin. On the other hand, a twill weave, which involves interlacing the threads in a diagonal pattern, creates a more textured surface that feels rougher and stiffer.
Treatments and finishes can also affect the hand of a fabric. For example, a fabric that has been treated with a softener or conditioner will have a softer and more luxurious hand than one that has not. Similarly, a fabric that has been finished with a coating or lamination will have a stiffer and more structured hand.
The hand of a fabric is an important consideration in the design and production of textiles. It can affect the way a garment fits and feels, as well as its overall appearance and durability. Designers and manufacturers must take into account the desired hand of a fabric when selecting fibers, weaves, and finishes to create the desired effect.
In conclusion, the hand of a fabric is an important characteristic that affects the way it feels when it is touched or handled. It is determined by a variety of factors, including the type of fibers used, the weave or knit of the fabric, and any treatments or finishes that have been applied to it. Understanding the hand of a fabric is important for designers and manufacturers in creating textiles that meet the needs and preferences of consumers.
The way the fabric feels when it is touched. Terms like softness, crispness, dryness, silkiness are all terms that describe the hand of the fabric. A good hand refers to shape retention without stiffness.