Spreading Modes

A spreading mode is the manner in which fabric plies are laid out for cutting. The spreading mode is determined by the fabric characteristics, quality standards of the firm, and available equipment. Two fabric characteristics that determine the spreading mode are the direction of fabric and the direction of the fabric nap.

Spreading Modes

Direction of Fabric Nap:

A second consideration in selecting the spreading mode relates to the direction of the fabric nap. Placement of the nap may be:

  • Nap-one-way (N/O/W)
  • Nap-up-and-down (N/U/D)

Asymmetric and directional fabrics must have the nap running the same direction, nap-one-way (N/O/W). This spreading mode is the most time-consuming to lay-up, but it generally produces the best quality. N/O/W fabrics may be spread F/F and F/O/W. If napped fabrics are to be positioned F/F the fabric needs to be cut and the roll turned at the end of each ply so the nap will lay in the same direction on facing plies. This is suitable for directional fabrics and to pair garment parts for the sewing operation. This is sometimes referred to as pair spreading. Symmetric, no directional fabrics allow flexibility for spreading. These fabrics can be spread with the nap running both up and down the spread. This spreading mode is called nap-up-and-down (N/U/D). This type of fabric may be spread face-to-face or face-one-way with the nap running up and down.

Direction of Fabric Face:

The fabric face may be positioned in two ways:

  • Face-to-face (F/F) or with all plies facing-one-way (F/O/W)
  • Face up or face down.

Face-to-face (F/F) spreading may be continuous as the spreader moves up and down the table. This is the fastest method of spreading, the least costly, and generally results in the lowest quality. With this method of spreading the face is up on one ply and down on the next ply as the spreader goes back and forth. Often symmetrical, non-directional fabrics are spread continuously, which places alternate plies face-to-face or back-to-back. Quality is affected because the operator is only able to monitor the face of fabric half the time.

F/O/W spreads, face up or down, are more time-consuming and expensive because fabric must be cut at each end of the spread and the new end repositioned. If a rotating turntable is used to turn the fabric roll 180 degrees at the end of each ply, the fabric can be spread from both ends of the table without a wasted trip. F/O/W spreading may be done with the fabric face up or face down. When the fabric faces up, the operator is able to monitor the face for flaws and imperfections as the fabric is being unrolled. This is particularly helpful when spreading prints. Pile fabrics, corduroy and velvet, are often spread face down, other high-quality fabrics are spread face up.

Muhammad Rehan Ashraf

I am a Textile Engineer, founder and editor of "Textile Trendz". Currently working in an export-oriented textile organization. I love to share my knowledge about textiles.