Types of webbing

What are the types of webbing? Shoelaces are also a type of webbing? Small webbing has great functions!

Do you know common types of webbing? Do you know that shoelaces and seat belts are also a type of webbing?


In our daily life, we don’t seem to pay attention to the existence of “webbing“, but in fact, we can see that webbing is everywhere. Knowing the types of webbing can give us a deeper understanding of this ordinary decorative accessory.


  • Definition of webbing

Webbing generally refers to a long strip of strong fabric made of yarn. It has a variety of shapes, widths and combinations of materials, and the manufacturing process is also different. Webbing can cover a wide range of functions and uses, and it can be combined with other accessories to make more products.


  • Types of webbing

There are thousand types of webbings, and there are quite a few standards that can be used to classify webbings. Below we will introduce webbing from three categories: production process, weaving structure, and webbing’s materials.


1.  Production process of webbing

It can be divided into two categories: woven webbing and knitted webbing:


  • Woven webbing

The yarns in the two directions of warp and weft are parallel to the webbing’s length (vertical direction) and webbing’s width (horizontal direction), respectively, and the webbing that is interlaced and combined at right angles is called a woven webbing/flat Webbing.


The traditional production method is to use a shuttle loom machine. The weft yarn is placed in a shuttle, and go through the cloth-fell where the upper and lower sets of warp yarns meet to form a webbing with different textures.


When you see this, you will think, huh? Isn’t this similar to woven fabric? Yes, the principle of woven fabric is the same. The difference between the two is: In the production process of woven fabric, the weft yarn can be changed according to the needs while the material and color of warp yarn are fixed; but for webbings, the weft yarn is fixed while the warp yarn can be changed according to the pattern.


Like the shuttle loom for fabrics, this type of webbing machine has been widely used since its invention. However, this webbing machine has same issues with fabric shuttle machine because the shuttle is big and heavy which causes huge noise, difficult to handle complex pattern, and low output. Due to the limitations of mass production and other shortcomings, it was gradually replaced by shuttleless looms driven by demand.


The Shuttleless loom improves the shortcomings of the traditional shuttle loom as a whole. The biggest difference is the change in the way of weft insertion: instead of using the shuttle for weft insertion, other equipment such as Projectile has been used to replace shuttle, and the machine can produce various elastic and non-elastic webbing. At present, the most common types of looms are high-speed shuttleless looms and computer jacquard looms.


  • Knitted webbing

Knitted webbing is formed by the interlocking of warp and weft loops. The loops formed by the yarn are intertwined with each other.


Knitting machines includes warp knitting machines, weft knitting (flat knitting) machines and circular knitting machines. The principle is the same as that of hand knitting, except that the knitting needles are operated regularly through the machine, and the looping steps such as hooking and locking are completed by machines to make knitted fabrics. Nowadays, more and more stitches, such as Plain Stich, Purl Stich, Tuck Stich, Miss Stich, etc., have been developed to expand the types of knitted webbing, and the production efficiency has been greatly improved too.


Like the webbing shuttle loom, the webbing knitting machine is smaller than fabric knitting machine. Webbing knitting machine’s production efficiency is high and it does not take up space. Circular knitting machine is the most common one. Earloops for facemask, including round or flat earloops can be made by circular knitting machine.


2.  Structure of webbing

According to the structure, there are three common types of webbing, plain, twill and satin.


  • Plain/Tabby webbing

Plain/Tabby webbing is the simplest type of webbings, and it is formed by interweaving of warp and weft yarns vertically. The construction of both sides of webbing looks the same. Compared with other webbings, plain webbing is stiff, snag-resistant, durable and thin; but its pattern is usually simple, dull and lack of elasticity, so the price is cheaper.

Woven webbing <plain woven webbing>


Twill tape

Twill tape is also a common type of webbings. It’s woven in a twill or herringbone weave. Compared with plain webbing, it is soft to touch and sturdy. Its characteristics are just the opposite of plain webbing: soft, wrinkle-resistant, slightly stretchable and glossy, but not as strong and snag-resistant as plain webbing.

Herringbone twill tape  <Herringbone twill tape>


Satin Ribbon

Satin is basically a method of weaving. It uses a low-twist yarn, through a twill weave process, where four weft yarns (or warp yarns) are covered on a single warp (or weft), which reduces interlacing and gives satin its characteristic smoothness. According to the type of yarn shown on the front of the fabric, it can be divided into warp satin (more warps on top) and weft satin (more wefts on top). Satin has less interlacing than other webbings, so the appearance of the front and back sides is quite different. Satin is very soft, smooth and glossy but easy to snag.

Satin ribbon

<Satin Ribbon>


In addition to the above-mentioned three common structures of webbing, there are other structures, such as derivatives, combination, compound, jacquard, etc. After long-term investment in R&D and upgrading of technology, more complex and rich structures have been developed, such as herringbone pattern (single-herringbone, double-herringbone, multi-herringbone), beaded pattern, rib, double-layer, multi-layer, etc. The applicable field of webbing has been greatly expanded.


In addition to the above three common types of webbing, there are several styles of webbing that are highly inquired and widely used in the market as follows:


  • Cord belts

Cord is a thin, flexible string or rope made from several twisted strands. Its structure is relatively fluffy and loose, and the price is relatively cheap. It is often used for products that do not need to be printed, such as shoelaces or sports ropes, but not limited to this field. Identification card belt and luggage straps are also common products of cords. Because of its relatively low cost and many types of applications after dyeing, cords have become the most common type of webbing on the market at present; according to the purpose, flat solid or hollow cords can be selected.

Hollow Cord Belts

<Hollow cord belts >


  • Braided webbing

Braided webbing, also known as spindle webbing, is a flat-shaped and solid webbing. Its manufacturing process is to insert the weft bobbins that have undergone winding procedures on the fixed tooth base of the knitting machine, and then move the weft bobbins in the “8” shape to pull the yarn to weave. In addition to braided webbing, this weaving method can also be woven into tubular ropes, called braided ropes.

Braided webbing has a higher strength than other organizations because of its 8-shaped structure. It is suitable for the decoration of bags, waist belts, special watch straps, etc.

Braided webbing

<Rope is one of braided webbings>


Jacquard webbing

Jacquard webbing can have different patterns. When weaving, you need to use a jacquard loom, put different colors of yarn in different feeding hole according to the pattern, and lift the yarn (warp or weft) with the help of the jacquard device to make the pattern. The three-dimensional embossed patterns are then formed. Jacquard webbing has rich colors and can be woven into single-sided, double-sided, single-color and multi-color. The pattern formed by such rich organization is called jacquard organization. “Jacquard” is named after Joseph Marie Jacquard, the inventor of the Jacquard mechanism.

Jacquard webbing requires a higher degree of craftsmanship than basic webbing. Its structure is stable, durable, snag resistance and not easy to deform. Because it is using dyed yarn to weave, rather than simply printing or dyeing to the webbing, its color fastness is good. It is suitable for the products that need to present more colors and complex designs, such as the straps of sandals or luggage straps.

Jacquard webbing machine

<Jacquard webbing machine>

Jacquard webbing

<Jacquard webbing is often used on sandals>


3.   Materials of webbing

The materials of webbing are raw white or dyed yarns which are made of either natural or synthetic fibers. The following are some commonly used materials for webbing.


  • Natural fiber webbing: cotton, linen.


Cotton webbing

Cotton webbing has excellent hygroscopicity and moisture retention, breathability, soft touch, and can withstand high temperatures up to 110 degrees Celsius during dyeing and printing process without damaging its fibers. The hygroscopicity of cotton webbing is not as obvious as cotton fabrics, and sometimes it is more likely to be a disadvantage. The price of pure cotton webbing in the market is relatively high, and it is mostly used as decorative accessories for maternal and infant clothing that requires soft touches.


Linen webbing

Linen webbing includes jute webbing and flax webbing.

The cost of jute webbing is lower than that of flax webbing, and the stiffness of jute webbing is higher than that of cotton webbing. Jute webbing is rough and stiff and is mostly used for wrapping gifts.

Flax belongs to the higher class of hemp fibers. Flax has long fibers, good tensile strength, good air permeability and can dissipate body heat quickly, so it’s suitable for summer; the disadvantage is that flax is expensive so flax webbing is mostly used for fashion clothing and bag decoration.


  • Synthetic fiber webbing: Polypropylene (PP), Nylon (Polyamide), Polyester.


Polypropylene (PP) webbing

Polypropylene (PP) webbing is light and dull. Its handfeel is harder and rougher than nylon, and its strength is worse than nylon, so it is not suitable for safety products. It’s mostly used for handbags or related products.


Nylon webbing (Polyamide)

Nylon is durable, glossy, colorful and snag-resistant. Nylon webbing has poor water absorption and its color fastness to light and heat is not good. It’s easy to become yellow and lose strength over time, and easy to wrinkle. Nylon webbing’s price is higher than polypropylene webbing. Because nylon webbing is strong and durable, it is mostly used for seat belts.


Polyester webbing

Polyester webbing is snag-resistant, strong, not easy to wrinkle, and it has good color fastness after dyeing. Polyester webbing has better color fastness to light than nylon. Due to its high strength and good color fastness, it is suitable for ropes or outdoor hammocks. The disadvantage of polyester webbing is that it’s easy to have static electricity after rubbed and is easy to pill. It is often blended with cotton or wool to improve the pilling problems.


Quality requirements for webbing

There is no uniform test standard for webbing. According to its use, each webbing has a corresponding test standard, so it is impossible to define which material and which structure is the best webbing. But most webbings used as decorations have to go through the process of dyeing, finishing and cutting. In the following we will discuss how dyeing and cutting process will affect the quality of the webbing.


  1. Dyeing

At present, high-efficiency continuous dyeing (Pad-Steam) is mostly used. In the dyeing process, the raw material, dyestuff, dyeing tank, baking temperature, etc. are all factors that affect the dyeing quality. In addition to above factors, it also depends on the knowledge and ability of the technicians to control the dyeing and finishing temperature, choose appropriate dyeing formula, and carefully inspect the finished products.


  1. Colors

With the prosperity of the fashion industry and market competition, colorful webbings with dazzling and popular colors seem to be the mainstream demand. However, the requirements on precise color are getting more and more strict. Whether the color of webbing meets the standard of the user actually depends on many reasons. The following are factors that are likely to cause color difference of webbing.


  • Color deviation to original sample

Thanks to modern technology! Even if the location of the supplier and the customer is quite far away, the supplier can get customer’s confirmation right away by taking photos of original sample and counter sample, and then produce immediately after both parties agree, instead of sending samples back and forth by express. But the risk is that the bulk goods are not same as original sample due to the color deviation caused by quality of camera, light, angle, etc. when shooting. From the photos, it is not easy to see the dyeing effect and quality of the webbing which results in disputes after receiving the bulk sample after production. In addition, the color of the first batch of bulk samples may be no problem, but there is still a slight color difference compared to original sample. If the supplier takes the first batch of bulk samples to be the standard samples, the following batches might have color deviation more and more seriously. Therefore, the best way is to match the color with the original sample every time.


  • Types of materials and quality

We have introduced the material and structure of the webbing before. It can be seen that if a different material is used for dyeing (perhaps to save costs or have other considerations, etc.), the weaving method will affect the density of the webbing, which in turn affects the colors of webbing. Different materials have different color shades and gloss after dyeing. In addition, the quality of raw materials from batch to batch needs to be properly controlled to avoid dyeing issues and color deviation.


  • Technology of dyeing and quality of dyestuff

First of all, dyeing technicians need to be very clear about the characteristics of the raw materials of webbing, so that they can adjust the dyeing temperature according to each material. Polyester fiber needs to be dyed at 100 degrees Celsius or above, which belongs to high-temperature dyeing materials (note: some newly invented polyester fibers can be dyed at low temperature); while cotton fiber needs to be dyed at a low temperature of about 60-80 degrees Celsius. The temperature of dyeing will cause difference in color shades. In addition to dyeing temperature, dyeing equipment and quality of dyestuff may also cause great differences in colors. It is necessary to confirm that all factors meet the required standards in order to avoid the quality issue.


  1. Color fastness

Color fastness is important to a colored webbing. It’ll be a tragedy if your webbing fades or even transfers to other clothes after one wash! Therefore, if you can ask the supplier to provide the relevant test report, you can ensure that the webbing has good color fastness. The international standard commonly used is the ISO 105 series: Textiles — Tests for color fastness, which covers a wide range of test methods.


  • Color Fastness to Crocking/Rubbing (ISO 105-X12): Test the degree of fading or contamination when dyed webbings are rubbed against textiles, such as the rubbing between backpack straps and clothing; a total of 5 grades, Grade 5 is the best, which represents no fading.


  • Color fastness to Perspiration (ISO 105-E04): Test the degree of fading or contamination of dyed webbings on perspiration, such as sports wristbands in contact with skin; a total of 5 levels, Grade 5 is the best, which represents no fading at all.


  • Color Fastness to Water (ISO 105-E01): Test the degree of fading or contamination of dyed webbings in contact with water. It is a static test method without washing action; a total of 5 levels, Grade 5 is the best, which represents no fading at all.


  • Color Fastness to Washing with soap (ISO 105-C10): Test the degree of fading or contamination of dyed webbings and textiles after washing with soap, rinsing and drying; a total of 5 grades, Grade 5 is the best, which represents no fading at all.


  • Color Fastness to Light (ISO105-B01: Daylight/ISO105-B02: Artificial light): Test the degree of fading or contamination of dyed webbings after exposure to light; a total of 8 grades, Grade 8 is the best.


There are other color fastness tests such as acid resistance, chlorine resistance, carbonization resistance, etc., which may be required for special functional clothing.


  1. Cutting

It can be divided into manual cutting and automatic machine cutting.


  • Manual cutting: By heating wire or cutter.

The advantage of manual cutting is that it can cut out various irregular corners without limitation, and does not require large investment in equipment. However, it is quite a test of the worker’s skills. For example, if the webbing is not well sealed, it may have loose edge; or when a heating wire is not properly used, it is easy to leave burnt or yellow marks on the cutting edge. And because the output of manual cutting is very low, it is only suitable for the production with special needs.


  • Automatic cutting by machine: heat cutting, cold cutting, ultrasonic cutting.

Cutting by machine can eliminate the factors of human error and the output is large. Ultrasonic cutting machine has been developed to avoid the shortcomings of burnt and uneven cutting.


  1. Weaving defects

Burrs, miss-pick, holes, waves, rough/broken selvage and uneven selvage are common defects of webbing. It’s impossible to have 0% defect rate in production. The technicians should pay extra attention to the production, adjust the machine and pick out defected goods in time so as to reduce the defect rate. The problems of mis-ick and holes are inevitable because they’re usually caused by the weaving machine. The machine needs to be adjusted and corrected during the production process to eliminate the defects. Burrs, waves, rough/broken selvage and uneven selvage are also major defects of webbing and must be picked out and discarded so as not to affect the safety of use and the looks of webbing.

Major defects of webbing

<Major defects of webbing>


With the development of fast fashion, webbings are more and more diverse, and the life cycle of products is getting shorter and shorter. It is necessary to continuously introduce new products to meet the urgent demands of markets. At the same time, Sustainability and environmental protection are highly valued by fashion industry. To meet the goal, many manufacturers have begun to develop recyclable and biodegradable webbings using environmentally friendly materials, such as bamboo fiber, corn, etc. It’s important to find the balance between fast fashion and environmental protection. If you have any needs for recyclable webbing, please contact ILLUME, and we will provide you with products that meet your needs!


~The end~










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