3D Textile | 3D Textile Design | 3D Textile Techniques

One of the recent innovations in the field of textiles is ‘3D Textiles’. Generally, all the textile material have an internal 3d structure. However, as they are practically used as a single layer, planer, or cylindrical 2d sheets, they are not called 3D Textile.

What Are 3D Textile?

When a single layer material has an overall shape, or a solid planer material has multiple layers, or a solid multilayer material has a 3D shape, then they are called ‘3D Textile’. Multi-layer hollow materials are also included in this category.

Types of 3D Textile Design

Among the many varieties of 3D textiles, we found the following ones to be more widely used. Take a look–

3D Woven  Textiles

There is no exact definition. Woven 3D textiles require interlacing in the X and Y axis along with the Z-axis. They have yarns crossing in three of those mutually perpendicular directions (X, Y, and Z).

3D woven textiles need a dual-directional shedding system. The warp yarn moves up and down as well as side to side. The movement is required for the interlacement with through-the-thickness yarns.

Specially manufactured weaving machine is required. The designing of the weave is complicated than conventional weaving. A program named ‘Weave Engineer’ by TexEng Limited made the designing steps easy.

3D Weave by TexEng Limited

3D Woven Textiles

3D Braids

Braids are complex structures where single layers of yarns are diagonally interlaced. The movement of the packages around each other is done by ‘Horn gears.’ There is a limitation of using horn gear. The solid braiding process can not achieve versatility.

Four-step braiding can solve the problem by controlling the movement of carriages with the help of a computer.

Although braiding gives a lot of versatility, it has some limitations too. If the size of the product is large, the movement of packages around one another becomes slow. Also, large, braiding machines are necessary.

3D Braiding Process

3D Braid Manufacturing Mechanism.png

3D Knit Structures

  • Complex integral shapes are possible by the computer controlling weft knitting machines. This process is used in making complete garments without sewing different parts of the garments separately. Mechanical performance in weft knitting is slow as the yarns repeatedly change direction over short periods.
  • Spacer fabric is another type of 3D knit. Threads crossing between two knit layers link them.

In warp knitting, multi-axial structures can be produced. The structure is held together by knitted binder yarns.

Weft Knitted 3D Textile

Weft Knitted 3D Textile

Non-Woven 3D Textile

Several types of 3D non-wovens are available –

  • High bulk flat non-wovens: It can be produced by –
    1. Cross-laying of multiple horizontal layers (Uniform effect).
    2. Vertically folding the layers (More 3D effect).
    3. Needling which causes spacer fibers to bridge a gap between two web layers.
  • Non-woven 3D shapes
  • Electrospinning nanofiber

Other 3D Textile Techniques

Here are some other form of 3D clothing techniques –

False Interlacing

False interlacing is a comparatively easy mechanism of producing 3D materials. If the movement of yarn packages are reversed in pairs during interlacing, false interlacing occurs.

3D False Interlacing Crossing Yarns

False Interlacing Process

Interlacing by Crossing Yarns­ ­–
[a] Over & Under Crossing
[b] One Yarn Over, Other Yarn Under
[c] Alternating Over & Under Sections
[d] Alternating Over & Under at Each Crossing


Here, yarns are laid down on one another and then bonded hypersonically.

3D Spiderweb

Spiderweb Structure

Stitched and Embroidered

Previously, 3D garments were made by stitching two layers of fabric in interlocked 3D loops. According to the requirements, pieces are cut and sewn together.

Elaborate stitching is sewn into the base fabric in decorative embroidery. The base structure is dissolved away when a free-standing 3D structure is made.

Draping and Press-Forming

Non-woven fabric is placed between two surfaces of a mould and then followed by pressing to make 3D fabric.

Mae/Male Mould Configuration

Draping and Press-Forming


[a] Mould; [b] Press-Forming; [c] Resulting Shape

What Are the Uses of 3D Textiles?

The 3D textiles are used for both functional and aesthetic purposes. Their application ranges from shorts shoes to helicopter blades. Take a look at some of the most pronounced areas of 3D textile applications –

  1. Aerospace, Automobile, and Military application: Gas turbine fan blades, stingers, Helicopter rotor blades, Military vehicle protection, etc.
  2. Sport and Leisure application: Sport shoes, underwear, outwear, golf-club, etc.
  3. Medical application: Double velour vascular graft, scaffolds, wound dressing, tissue engineering, ulcer management, etc.
  4. Protection application: Soft body armor, helmets, limb protectors, protective panels in vehicles, etc.
  5. Filtration: Gas and liquid filtration.
  6. Papermaking: Supporting the paper during hot air supply.
  7. Geotextile: Separation and filtration purpose.
  8. Construction: Temporary bridges, floorboard, protective side panels, main framework, and cladding of buildings.


Advances in 3D Textile by Xiaogang Chen

Sifat Muntasir


I’m Sifat. I work as a lecturer in the Department of Textile Engineering at Port City International University. I’m fascinated by the latest developments in the world of fashion and clothing, so I spend most of my time writing about them on this blog.

I also enjoy singing and playing games on the internet in my free time – though I’m not very good at either!

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