What are "Wales" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 13-Mar-2023 (8 months, 20 days ago)
Share on FacebookShare on Twitter
In the realm of textiles, a wale refers to a series of raised parallel ridges or ribs on a fabric's surface, most commonly found in knitted or woven fabrics. The term "wale" is derived from the Old English word "wl," meaning ridge or streak. Wale can refer to both the individual ridges themselves and the number of ridges per inch or centimeter.

The presence of wales in a fabric is determined by the construction technique employed during manufacturing. In knitting, wales are formed by a series of loops or stitches that interlock vertically to create a raised pattern. In woven fabrics, wales are formed by the interlacement of the warp (lengthwise) and weft (crosswise) yarns. The number of wales per inch or centimeter is referred to as the "wale count" or "wale density," which varies depending on the fabric's intended purpose and desired appearance.

Wales play a crucial role in the aesthetic, texture, and performance of fabrics. They can create decorative patterns, add texture and dimension, enhance stretch and recovery, and influence the overall drape and hand-feel of the fabric. Fabrics with a higher wale count generally have a smoother and more refined appearance, while those with fewer wales may have a more pronounced ribbed texture.

Various textile manufacturers and users utilize wales in their products. Rib-knit fabrics, characterized by distinct raised vertical ribs, are commonly used in the production of garments such as t-shirts, sweaters, socks, and cuffs. Jersey fabrics, on the other hand, have a smoother appearance with no visible wales and are widely used for lightweight garments like t-shirts and dresses. Corduroy is another example of a fabric that prominently displays wales, featuring raised ribs formed by cut-pile yarns.

The fashion industry, including apparel brands and designers, extensively uses fabrics with wales to create unique and visually appealing garments. Luxury brands like Gucci, Prada, and Chanel often incorporate rib-knit fabrics into their collections to add texture and style to their garments. Sportswear and activewear brands like Nike and Adidas also utilize wale patterns in their knitted fabrics to enhance stretch and provide a comfortable fit during physical activities.

Additionally, upholstery manufacturers utilize fabrics with wales to create visually interesting and durable furniture coverings. Woven fabrics with distinct wale patterns are commonly used for upholstery purposes to lend texture, depth, and resilience to sofas, chairs, and other furniture pieces. The wale count and style can be tailored to suit different design aesthetics, from classic to contemporary.

In conclusion, wales are an essential aspect of textile manufacturing, contributing to the appearance, texture, and functionality of various fabrics. Whether used in garments, upholstery, or other textile applications, wales offer designers and manufacturers a means to create visually striking and versatile products. The top users and manufacturers of wale fabrics span across the fashion, sportswear, and upholstery industries, where creativity and quality are paramount.
In a knitted fabric, the series of loops that are formed by a single needle, which runs vertically or lengthwise in a knitted fabric.
A column of loops along the length of a knitted fabric.
In knit fabrics, a column of loops lying lengthwise in the fabric. The number of wales per inch is a measure of the fabric's fineness. In woven fabrics, one of a series of ribs or cords, running either warp wise or filling wise.
In woven fabric, one series of ribs, cords, or raised portions. In corduroy fabric, wales per inch are counted to distinguish broad- from fine-textured cloth. The higher the wale number, the finer the texture of the fabric.
In a woven fabric, like corduroy or Bedford cord, the wale is the rib or raised cord that runs lengthwise with the warp.

Some other terms

Some more terms:

Khaki 64
Literally a color description given to yellow-brown, earth/dust tones or greenish tinged shades, the term khaki has also evolved to define a strong cloth made of cotton, worsted or linen yarns and...
(Heat Sealing) - A process of heat finishing that will stabilize many manufactured fiber fabrics in order that there will not be any subsequent change in shape or size. Heat setting is used to...
Doesn't necessarily mean that it kills bacteria. A stat means that it may simply be slowing growth or holding the death to growth rates of bacteria (same for fungal stats) more or less in...
Shoddy 575
In the textile industry, "shoddy" refers to a type of recycled or reclaimed textile material that is derived from discarded or worn-out garments and fabrics. Shoddy can be made from various types of...
The amount, expressed as a percentage by mass, or linear polymer that is generally present in a crystalline form, the remainder of the polymer being present in an amorphous state. NOTE: There are...

Add a definition

Add a definition for a textile term that you know about! Send us an email & tell us:
  • The term you want to define
  • Its definition in 500 words or less
  • Attach an image if necessary.
  • Optionally, tell us about yourself in 200 words or less!

Companies for Wales:

If you manufacture, distribute or otherwise deal in Wales, please fill your company details below so that we can list your company for FREE! Send us the following details:
  • Company name
  • Company address
  • Attach a logo, if necessary.
  • Optionally, tell us about yourself in 200 words or less!

(s) 2023 TextileGlossary.com Some rights reserved. • Sitemap