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Product Insight: It's Not Like Your Granny's Knitting...


Posted by Jenna A on 11 February 2014 at 12:00 AM

Technical sports fabrics are fascinating - or at least we think so - but what goes into producing the lightweight, wicking materials that go into the Tribesports Performance Range?

What goes into Performance Fabrics

The Playbook section of the shop is there to help debunk the mystery of how sportswear is made - we want to be as open with the production process as possible so that you can make truly informed decisions about your sportswear. Today, we're taking a look at the intricacies of Greige - that's the term for fabric in its earliest: the yarn is spun and then knitted into a greige. This is before the fabric goes through the dying process and before technical treatments are applied, so let's get our technical hats on and look at:

How to Produce Quality Greige!

First off, what does the term greige mean? It was originally used in relation to unfinished silks, as the silk would be an off-white color before the dying stage. With sports textiles, the term greige is used about the knitted fabric produced when the threads of spun yarn are put through the weaving process. The term greige will be used until the greige has technical treatments applied (such as Aegis Antibacterial treatment), dyed, cleaned and set. 

Circular weaving machine set up:

For the bulk of the Tribesports Performance range fabrics, a circular weaving machine is used to knit the greige.

Circular weaving machine

This huge machine takes around 8 hours for a team of 2 employees to set up. They will arrange around 2,800 needles in a specific pattern in order to knit the greige. 

That's right, knit. Although you wouldn't think it, the majority of our fabrics in the Tribesports Performance Range are knitted (with the exception of the woven outer shorts in the men's and women's range). While they may not look like your favorite cable-knit sweater, circular knitting is an essential production method as it works to enhance breathability and stretch in performance fabrics.

Circular knit fabrics, such as the polyester and spandex blend in the Tribesports Performance Range are excellent for technical sportswear for a plethora of reasons, but mostly because it is easy to create bespoke blended fabrics with precise specifications; for example the polyester/spandex blend creates the perfect balance of durability and stretch, as well as being extremely lightweight and soft to the touch.

Half-zip top, super soft

Usually, the greige will be produced in huge quantities (from around 3,500 yards in one machine load) and transported to the dying mill in order to progress the greige along into a finished fabric. Each step of the process has strict quality control checks to ensure consist quality throughout the entire batch of greige.

We work directly with our fabric and dying mills so that we have the final sign off on quality of fabrics, from the greige right through to the finished product.