There is a strong correlation between ply and gauge in the manufacture of cashmere clothing. Understanding the ply and gauge of cashmere will help you determine whether it meets your needs. Although they are not linked directly to cashmere quality, they still have an impact on how the item performs.
Ply and gauge together can determine the thickness and overall quality of cashmere fabric. The gauge has an impact on the drape, elasticity, and overall look, while the number of plies in the yarn can affect the strength, durability, and texture of the fabric.
What does “Ply” mean?
‘Ply is the number of cashmere strands twisted together to make a finished piece of single cashmere yarn.’
A higher ply count indicates that more cashmere strands have been twisted together, thus creating a thicker yarn and, consequently, a denser fabric. In simpler terms, it determines the thickness or density of the cashmere fabric. Cashmere is fine hair, but when you twist multiple strands together, it creates a stronger fabric that is more resilient to wear and tear.
Here are some common ply counts and their characteristics:
It is the most basic form of yarn, made up of only one strand of cashmere It is lighter and finer than multi-ply yarns, but not as strong or durable.
2-ply cashmere is made by twisting two strands of cashmere together into one yarn. In comparison to 1-ply yarn, it is thicker and stronger, resulting in a more substantial fabric.
3-ply cashmere is made by twisting three strands of cashmere together into one yarn. It is thicker and stronger than 2-ply yarn. It is often used to make warm, cosy sweaters and accessories.
4-ply cashmere is made by twisting four cashmere strands together into a single yarn. It is very thick and dense, making it ideal for heavy, warm winter clothing.
So, the label “2 ply” or “3 ply” on a cashmere sweater denotes the number of twisted fibre strands that were used to create it. Higher plies such as 4-ply, add additional warmth and weight but do not indicate additional quality. Also, higher ply counts tend to be more expensive, as they require more yarn to make.
What does “Gauge” mean?
A gauge is a measurement of how densely cashmere yarn is woven or knitted together. The term “gauge” states the number of stitches or rows per inch in a fabric.
The higher gauge number indicates a tighter knit and, hence, a denser fabric. This means more cashmere yarn is used per square inch of cashmere fabric.
- 7-gauge cashmere is composed of 7 rows or stitches of cashmere yarn per inch of knitted cashmere. This results in a looser, airier fabric that is generally more lightweight and breathable.
- 12-gauge cashmere is composed of 12 rows or stitches of cashmere yarn per inch of knitted cashmere. This produces a substantially tighter, denser fabric that is generally warmer and more durable.
In general, the higher the gauge number, the better the quality of the cashmere fabric. In addition to being stronger and warmer, the tighter knit also makes the fabric more durable. Cashmere that has a higher gauge is usually more expensive since a denser knit requires more cashmere yarn.
Lower gauge cashmere is lighter since less cashmere is used in the material. Choosing a lower gauge is ideal when looking for lightweight cashmere items. Cashmere fabrics are knitted or woven in various gauges. The gauge number depends on the desired style, comfort level, and intended use of the cashmere garment. For example, cashmere sweater gauges range from 5 to 16 stitches per inch.
When designing a cashmere garment for a specific function, such as extra warmth or lightweight, ply and gauge are all vital factors to consider.