The weave is the fundamental property of the fabric, it specifies how do the weft threads interlace with warp to make the fabric. Experienced weavers are able to look a the weave in black and white and immediately see what is going on. But everyone can use a little help, and ArahWeave allows you to look at the weave in different ways.

The Weave editor in ArahWeave has five different view modes:


Yarn colors
Jacquard colors
Decomposed colors


The Weave view is the default mode of weave editor. Black point indicates warp (vertical thread) above weft (horizontal thread), while white point means that weft goes above warp.
weave editor

Sometimes it is better to view the weave in colors. If you enable the Yarn colors view mode, the weave will be drawn in warp and weft colors. Some simple programs call this "simulation". You can even buy a a book, which will teach you how to do this in PhotoShop with 10 layers and 200 mouse clicks ;-)
weave editor

The Jacquard color view mode displays a jacquard image, from which the weave was developed, over the weave. Use it, when you want to precisely see the transition from one weave effect to another in the jacquard weave.
weave editor

For reference, here is the same fabric in the simulation view in the main ArahWeave's window.
weave editor

Another helper with complicated weaves is the Regulator view. It shows wefts with regulator (black point on the rightmost edge) in colors (yellow for weft up, and blue for weft down). It is much easier to distinguish between ground and extra wefts, especially if you want to draw some regulator controls manually (with mouse).
weave editor

The last view mode is the great tool for composing multilayer weaves, especially for placing the stitching points between the fabric layers. Each layer has different color pair for presenting warp and weft points, which enables faster and more accurate placement of stitching points.
Can you notice points between first warp and second weft?
weave editor

And here?
weave editor

In addition to that, you have two extra toggle buttons in the View menu.


Dobby view just enables you to switch dobby card on or off, since sometimes you do not wish to be disturbed by it.

Cross section shows you the the warp and weft cross section on top and right of the weave editor, as shown in the tutorial: Construction of multiple Layers.

What is the biggest curse of a weaver? Opinions will vary on this issue, but poor contact with the final customers is definitely one of them. There are just too many middlemans in this business. We can not address the surprisingly low percentage of the fabric cost in the final product. But we can help the weaver in making a better presentation of her fabric used in a finished product.

Using ArahDrape, you will be able to show the looks of your fabric on a shirt, tie, jacket, sofa, tablecloth, bedlinen or whatever the final use of your fabrics may be. You will be able to present the whole collection of your fabrics, and answer many mix and match "What if?" questions at almost zero cost. What if we rotate this pattern by 45 degrees? Can you make it 20% smaller? You will have the picture to answer the question in the time it takes to ask it.

In this tutorial (the PDF version of this same tutorial can be found here), we will present the whole procedure of making your own drape models from zero; in a real-life presentation you will have the models already prepared, so you will just apply the different fabric textures from your current collection.

In this tutorial, we will present the whole procedure of making your own drape models from zero; in a real-life presentation you will have the models already prepared, so you will just apply the different fabric textures from your current collection.
Open ArahDrape by clicking on its icon on the desktop. You will need a picture of the model or the product, with fabric areas in white or in single color. We want to keep the shades and ambient of the original photo, and just replace the fabric. If the model will already have the fabric with a pattern, we will not be able to remove the pattern and insert a new one, while keeping the shades of the original image. You can scan the picture, or make a photo with a digital camera, and transfer the image into the computer. Then select Models > Browse..., and double click the thumbnail of the image.


The image will appear in the main ArahDrape window.


First you have to draw limitation vectors around each region. Region is an area within the image, where you want to overlay a fabric texture, or a hole within a fabric. Choose Regions > New > Vectors, or simply click on the Create new region icon drape newRegUnselect. It changes into drape newReg, which indicates that you are in region drawing mode. Click to create a first point of the region. Position the pointer where you want the first straight segment to end, and click. Continue clicking to set endpoints for subsequent segments. To close the region border, position the pointer over the starting point, and click, or right click to close the region from your current position to the starting point.
There are user friendly functions for editing regions:
  ● If you want to stop drawing the region, you can press right mouse button at any time, and the program will close the region from your current position to the starting point.
  ● If you make a mistake and want to delete just the last point which you have drawn, press [Esc] key on the keyboard. It will work several times.
  ● If you want to add a point into an already finished region border, point a mouse cursor on the place, where you want it, and click with the middle mouse button.
  ● To delete a point, click on it with middle mouse button.
  ● By clicking on the left mouse button you can move a point - keep the mouse button pressed and drag it to a new location.
  ● To delete the whole region, click on a region and press [Del] key on the keyboard, or use Regions > Delete from the main menu.


The default color of the active region is blue, while the color of unselected regions is red. The colors of lines can be changed in Files > Preferences....
On many occasions, the limits of one region will border to another region. You will need to draw the points of your new region on the same point as the border regions, otherwise they will not join correctly and some pixels will “shine” through the borders. This can be quite dull and time consuming task. We will show you a trick, which will allow the program to automatically draw the area border vectors along the existing area.
To draw another region, click the Create new region icon drape newRegUnselect again. Start drawing vectors around the shirt pocket: look at the points 1, 2, 3, 4 on the picture below. Instead of clicking on many border points along the pocket from point 4 onwards, we will make a shortcut directly to point 5.


Now press the space bar, and program will automatically draw new vectors along the common vectors between the last two points.


Obviously, there must be a connected path of vectors of other areas from one point to the other, or the program will not know what to do. Program will always choose the shortest connected path - it is a genuine shortcut!
You must draw region borders for all areas - including the holes in regions, like the buttons. Once you have drawn all the borders, you will be ready to load the texture, which you want to drape over the area.
Texture can be any picture in a supported graphical format (PNG, TIFF, GIF, JPEG). It will probably be in repeat, but you may also use texture pictures, which do not repeat themselves. If you scan or photograph a fabric, you will probably spend some time putting it in repeat. The easiest way to make a fabric texture is to save a fabric simulation from ArahWeave. This way you can be sure that the image will be in repeat. The following screen shot shows the window for saving fabric textures in ArahWeave. You call this function in ArahWeave if you click on Files > Save fabric texture... The options are pretty straight forward:
  ● You can set image format (JPG, PNG, TIFF).
  ● dpi - dots per inch; probably 100 to 150 dpi will suffice for most cases.
  ● Filename is set automatically based on the current fabric name plus the suffix from the chosen image format.
  ● Program displays the actual texture size in pixels above the filename, so you have the feel for the size of your texture. If your fabric repeat is small, and the pixel size is 3000x3000, then your dpi is probably too high. If your image repeat is very big, you can also lower the dpi to get a reasonably sized fabric texture.


We can now return to ArahDrape. If you wish, you can keep ArahWeave open and create textures on the fly, as you need them. To load textures into ArahDrape, use Textures > Load texture.... The Browse window is shown on the following picture. It has some options like Repeat, Size, Date... their meaning is quite obvious, do not be afraid to try them out. You can also rename the file, if you click on filename, or delete it, if you select it and hit [Del] button. If you want to get a better view of the texture, click on it with the right mouse button, and it will open in full screen mode. You can use + and - on the keyboard to zoom in, or [PgUp] or [PgDown] to load the next or previous image. Click right mouse button again to close the full screen image preview. 


Double click with mouse to the desired texture to load it into ArahDrape. It will be displayed on the icon bar on the right below the icons. If you want to unload the texture from the program, you can either click on it and load a different texture in its place, or press [Del] on the keyboard to get rid of it. This will not delete the texture file; it will just remove it from ArahDrape.
We are at at the point where we need to specify the textures to our areas, so you must change the View mode from Regions to Regions and Drape. Each region can be be any of three types:
  ● Color drape color
  ● Texture drape tex
  ● Hole drape hole

Initially, all the regions will be of the type color, so the shirt will look like a patchwork.


Now we want to change them from a color to the texture mode. It is a very easy thing to do, and experienced ArahWeave users will know what to do: Click on the fabric texture icon on the right with the left mouse button, then point to the desired region and copy it there with right mouse button. You can also copy region properties from one region to another - use left mouse button to select a region, and right to copy. Region type, texture and zoom level will be copied, while angle of rotation will remain intact. 


Once you copy the texture to the region with right mouse button, you need to set its zoom level. You can do it in a purely visual way by using up and down arrow keys on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can use the numeric Scale entry field on the bottom right of the main ArahDrape window.
There are three different types of the region shading mode: Flat, Shaded and Shiny. First select a region, which you want to change, and then click the Shade mode icon drape shadeOff in the toolbox to switch between them.
  ● Flat drape shadeOff: program just puts the texture over the region without taking any of its original shade.
  ● Shaded  drape shadeOn: program takes shades from original image. The region color will be a sum of background image shades and the specified color or fabric texture. In the white are (brightness level 255), texture remains the same, at other areas it becomes darker, depends on brightness of the original image. You can adapt the level of brightness in the model with brightness tool.
  ● Shiny drape shiny: program takes shades from original image. At middle level 128, texture remains the same, to the level close to 255 it becomes lighter, to the levels close to 0 it becomes darker. You can change the brightness middle level with changing the Mid-tone parameter. You can choose the Mid-tone parameter from the image with mouse: left click + Shift in the pixel of the region sets the Mid-tone parameter to match the brightness of the clicked pixel. You can also change it manually by setting the parameter. The Strength parameter regulates the strength of the lightness (darkness) of the original model. If you find that the contrast is too strong, reduce the default value of 50. If you set the Strength parameter to 0, you will get same result as with the Shaded mode.

The region shading works for textures and colors. If you are draping based on a photo, you will prefer to have it shaded, while flat might be more appropriate for quick fashion sketches.The region in shaded mode has an extra gray square on the bottom right angle of the main window. You can see it on the picture below. Use two control points to adjust lightness and darkness of your shades. The upper right point controls the light shades, while the bottom left controls dark shades. Try moving the control points with mouse - effects will be immediate.019

As you copy the texture from one region to another with a right mouse button click, you also copy the zoom level and a lightness of that region. You should also set the region type to hole for buttons and labels.


If you want to get a more realistic view of the final image without the region borders, select View > Drape.


We have all the nice shades, but the image still looks somewhat flat. Why? It looks unnatural, because the newly applied textures do not follow the shape of the original model.
We must specify the geometric distortions in the fabric caused by perspective view, creases or simply the 3D volume of the product. To accomplish this ambitious goal, we will use the grid tool. You can get the Grid window, if you click on icon  or select menu Regions > Grid.... Do not forget to click on the desired region first - you can set the grid for only one region at the time. There are two different grid types:
Use Simple when you have an easy perspective mapping, like a carpet on the floor. You will have a rectangle, which you should distort into a trapezoid which matches the desired geometry of the mapping.
And use Complex for anything more complicated.
Our case requires use of a complex grid, so you should select it. Then click on Vertical vector and draw it in the main window besides the selected region. Draw it in the same way as you did the region just that it does not end with starting point. Finish drawing the vector by clicking on the right mouse button. Vectors will be the guiding lines for the mapping of your fabric texture to the area. The vertical and horizontal vectors should intersect, and their borders should be outside the regions. As a minimum, you will need two vertical and two horizontal vectors. Vertical vectors should be drawn from top, and horizontal from left to right. If the fabric has many complicated distortions, you can draw intermediate vectors. Do not mix up vertical and horizontal vectors, and do not forget to intersect them. If you make a mistake, program will not generate any mapping, until you correct the vectors and make them valid. On the picture, you can see two vertical vectors in green, and two horizontal vectors in red.


Once you finish setting the grid for one region, close the Grid window, and click next region by left mouse button to select it, and open the Grid window again. You can also click the Show grid button in the Grid window, to see which grid will be used in the mapping.


You also can increase grid's Density; this will make smaller rectangles in the mapping. In most cases, default grid density will do just fine. Adding, deleting, and moving grid vector points works same as on region vectors: to add a point into an existing vector, just press the middle mouse button on the vector; to delete a point press the middle mouse button at the point. If you want to delete the whole vector, point the mouse cursor at one of the points of that vector, press a right button, and choose Delete vector. If you need to move whole vector, you can do it by CTRL+ mouse button drag. In some cases you would need two identical vectors, but it is difficult to draw two exactly the same. So to do this point the mouse cursor at one of the points of that vector, press a right button, and choose Duplicate vector. The program will draw another identical vector, which you can move it by CTRL + left mouse button drag to desired place.
Sometimes you will have a region very close to the border, therefore you will not able to draw grid vectors freely over the edge. In these cases use View > Image offset. You will get an extra border, which should give you enough working space around the image. If there is still not enough space, go to Files > Preferences… and set the desired size in pixels.


The start of fabric texture within a region is not independent from the other regions. On a normal shirt, the fabric on the pocket needs to be aligned with the body. To match the starting offset of two neighboring regions, click anywhere on the region with left mouse button and drag the texture to the desired position. Program will interactively move the texture offset as you will move the mouse.
You should not forget to save your work at the end, use Files > Save project...; type the filename in the and in the file selection box. The extension .drape will be added automatically.
As you have seen, making a good drape model requires some work, so we want to use the same model many times with different texture. You can load other fabric textures by clicking on Textures > Browse..


If your drape model contains many regions, like on the shirt form our example, you will quickly become tired from clicking on regions with right mouse button to apply a different texture. One would like to copy the new fabric texture to all regions, which have currently the same texture. To achieve this, click the group icon drape groupOut in the toolbar. It will change itself to drape groupIn, so that you know that ArahDrape is in the "group" mode. From now on, you can use a single click (right mouse button) to copy texture to all regions with the same texture. You can then disable the group to change the region type individually, if you wish. For example, you can make the shirt collar and wristband white, if you change their region type from texture drape tex to hole drape hole.
Textures can also be rotated. The default center of rotation is at the first border point of the region, but can be moved to the desired place by double clicking the left mouse button. The current position of the center of rotation is marked by a small circle. The shirt on the lower picture has it at the middle of the right pocket. You can set the angle of rotation pressing by left and right arrow key on the keyboard, or by entering a value in the Rotate field in the right bottom corner of the main ArahDrape window.


As always, we are doing this to impress our potential customers, or to help them choosing between the different variations of our products. So we need to find a good way of showing our draped images to them. One way is to invite them in front of the computer, and insert the textures from your collection as you talk to them. This will probably be the most effective way, since it will also involve the customer. If such a presentation is not possible, you can also print the drape simulation from Files > Print picture... If you want to send the picture by e-mail to the customer, or prepare pictures for publishing on the web like in our drape gallery, you can save just the drape image using Files > Save image as...

shirts small

In this tutorial, we have used fabrics from Tekstina.

List of accelerator keys in ArahDrape:
(Note that the main window has to be active for the accelerators to work)ZOOM
1 : zoom level 100%
2 : zoom level 200%
9 : zoom level 900%
0 : zoom level 1000%
f : fit to window
+ : zoom in
- : zoom out
ALT+mouse wheel : zoom in, zoom outVIEW MODE
i : image
r : regions
e : regions and drape
d : drape
o : toggle image border offsetSET REGION TYPE
c : color
t : texture
h : hole
s : toggle shadingb : browse textures
CTRL+b : browse images (models)
CTRL+s : save project
CTRL+q : quit program
DEL (in main window) delete selected region
DEL (in textures window) delete selected texture
CTRL+z : Undo
CTRL+r : Redo
Arrow keys UP and DOWN will zoom texture in selected region.
Arrow keys LEFT and RIGHT will rotate the texture in selected region.Shift+left click into region sets the Midtone value for that region.

During training, we are often faced with the following situation: While we are still trying to explain some basic features of ArahWeave software for weaving, the customer brings up one of the most complicated fabrics he/she has ever tried (and failed) to reproduce, and suggests we develop that one. Sometimes we give in, trying to prove that such fabrics can also be developed using ArahWeave software. As a result, valuable time is lost and customer ends up being confused with a lot of information, which was not presented in an orderly manner.

We must stress once again: Fabric design is a serious business, and can not be learned in a couple of days. It is possible to learn how to use ArahWeave in a couple of days, but not if you are novice in both weaving and computers. Anyone, who is trying to sell you a CAD, and claims that you can learn it in one day, is either lying, or does not know what is he/she talking about. Or the CAD in question is really so basic, that you can exhaust its capabilities in one day.

ArahWeave enables development of many different kinds of fabrics, and in this tutorial we present a complex gobelin fabric, so customers will be able to look it up and learn it on their own. A good explanation of gobelin construction in textile books is very rare. We are basing the example fabric for this tutorial on section 21.3 of the book Intrecci e strutture dei tessuti, written by Fernando Scanzio and Ugo Pedrazzo, published by Paravia - Texilia, Biella, Italy in 1988, pages 489-494. If you know Italian, we highly recommend this book. If you do not, we recommend that you learn it. You will be able to understand what they sing in the opera ;-)

Jokes aside - It is a very good learning strategy to take a textile schoolbook and study it with the CAD, inserting the weaves and fabrics as you read the book.

First, take a look at the scanned fabric picture. This fabric is constructed of five warp threads (one binding thread and four color effect threads) and three weft threads (one binding thread and two effect threads). Color threads are used to make a desired color effect in the fabric, while binding threads are just used to keep the other threads in place, and to make a compact, durable fabric.

old gobelin fabric

Colorful warp ends, which create effects on fabric surface, are usually wound on the first beam. Binding warp end is usually black, white or neutral gray; it is also thinner than effect threads. It is wound on the second warp beam, using higher tension than other warp ends. You need two warp beams, since warp consumption of binding threads is lower, and we keep it at higher tension. In some cases, two binding warp threads are used.

Weft is usually thicker than warp, so that we can weave faster with lower weft density. Binding weft is an exception, since it is similar to binding warp, that is: thinner and of achromatic color. A filament yarn is often used for binding threads, since it can be semitransparent and thus even less visible. Not to mention the lower yarn price with respect to cotton or wool.

You need to have a jacquard image in proper dimensions with respect to weaving density. You also need to consider, that the image size will be multiplied by number of warp threads (five) and weft threads (three). So you draw a smaller image. We have already described how to draw the jacquard image with ArahPaint in this tutorial. We want to remind you of a special feature in ArahPaint: namely, in ArahPaint you can enter the density of finished fabric with Edit > Set repeat size..., and the Zoom window will display the image in aspect ratio of the finished fabric. Drawing is much easier, if you use this setting..

ArahPaint drawing in density

The color areas of a gobelin image are usually quite small, and this makes the image similar to a cross-stitch or knitting pattern. Since each point is going to be multiplied by 5 in horizontal and by 3 in vertical, it is quite acceptable to have areas of single pixel on this image. In normal damask type of fabric, it would not be a good idea to have such small areas, because we would not multiply the image size during weave insertion, and the areas would be too small for the weave to make a difference. It would be like writing a poem with single character words. But jacquard is similar to art: for every rule, there is a special case, when you need to break it.

ArahPaint jacquard seamless repeat

Here is the picture gobelin fabric pattern for download, so that you do not need to redraw it, if you just want to repeat the exercise. It is not drawn in full repeat - you should be able to finish it on your own, if you want to become a jacquard designer. For gifted people, this is the easy part. For the rest of us, it is next to impossible ;-)

Since we have five warps and three wefts in this fabric, we can start by setting warp and weft pattern. Open ArahWeave and choose Fabric > Thread pattern. Type 1a1b1c1d1e for warp and 1a1b1c for weft. You should also set warp and weft colors as following: warp - black (thin), blue, red orange, green; weft - gray (thin), black, white. Detailed setting of colors and yarns was already explained in this tutorial.

ArahWeave edit thread pattern

We are now at the stage, when we need to draw the weaves for gobelin fabric. Select Weave > Edit. In Edit weave toolbox click on gobelin 07 1K to delete contents of weave editor. Then you have to set the dimensions of the weave. Since our fabric is composed of five warps and three wefts, and the size of weave for one warp and one weft is four by four, the size of composite weave is 5 warps x 4 = 20 and 3 wefts x 4 = 12. Select Change > Dimensions. In the Change dimensions dialog box write the dimensions of the weave which you will draw (20x12). You can also change dimensions with mouse if you click on arrows or use wheel mouse on the numbers.

ArahWeave weaving dimensions

We are using fifteen different weaves (color effects) in this fabric. Weave combinations between individual warp and weft threads for each color in jacquard design are shown in table below. Black warp and gray weft are binding threads. At the bottom of the table, there is also a weave profile for each weave, so you can compare the table and profile, while trying to figure out the logic behind the weaves. The profile is vertical, and top of the fabric is on the right hand side.
Yes, the table looks intimidating. But it is really not that complicated. For starters, it is good to examine the profile. Let us look at the first weave (rosa). We have thick white weft on top, and thick black weft on the back. The thin gray binding weft is always in the middle, and it ties the red effect warp to the top, in conjunction with thin black warp. The green and blue warps are in the middle, doing nothing, and yellow warp is tied with black weft to the back face. The construction of the first 12 weaves is all basically equal, just the positions and number of threads are changing. For example, pairs rosa-rosso, verdino-verdone, azzurro-blu, giallino-ocra, are just combination of one effect warp (red, green, blue) and alternating white with black weft, to make light and dark version of each color effect. Ocra, arancio, viola, verde and verde freddo put two effect threads on top, to make additional color combinations.
Now we examine the exceptions: Nero is again equal to others, just that there is no effect warp on top - it is a full black weft float. This weave can not be used for larger areas - it is only used as an outline. This leaves us with the two real exceptions: celeste and carta. They are white and black weft versions of plain weave with thin binding warp. Why didn't we make other color variations in this way? Because only the combination with thin black warp enables us to use the high weft density. This is an important part of gobelin weave construction - you must think of the surface density and of space you have at disposal. For this reason, you can not put three warps on top or on the back.
The roles of threads in gobelin weaves are structurally different (effect and binding), so you can not generate additional weaves just by shifting the weave left or right, up or down, like we has suggested in this tutorial. You may shift the weave around, but you must keep the binding threads at its original positions.

WeftWarp rosa rosso verdino verdone azzurro blu giallino ocra arancio viola verde verde
celeste nero carta
C Black weft up warp twill weft up warp twill weft up warp twill weft up warp twill warp twill warp twill warp twill warp twill plain weave warp twill warp up
Blue weft up warp up weft up warp up warp up warp up weft up warp up weft twill warp up warp up warp up weft up warp up warp up
Red warp up warp up weft up weft twill weft up weft twill weft up weft twill warp up warp up weft twill weft twill weft up weft twill weft twill
Yellow weft up weft twill weft up weft twill weft up weft twill warp up warp up warp up weft twill warp up warp up weft up weft twill weft twill
Green weft up warp up warp up warp up weft up warp up weft up warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up weft up warp up weft twill
B Black warp twill weft up warp twill weft up warp twill weft up warp twill weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up warp up weft up plain weave
Blue warp up weft up warp up weft up warp up warp up warp up weft up weft up warp up weft up warp up warp up weft up weft up
Red warp up warp up weft twill weft up weft twill weft up weft twill weft up warp up warp up weft up weft up weft twill weft up weft up
Yellow weft twill weft up weft twill weft up weft twill weft up warp up warp up warp up weft up warp up weft up warp up weft up weft up
Green warp up weft up warp up warp up warp up weft up warp up weft up weft up weft up warp up warp up warp up weft up weft up
A Black warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up warp up
Blue weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up
Red weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up
Yellow weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up
Green weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up weft up
Profile rosa rosso verdino verdone azzurro blu giallino ocra arancio viola verde verde freddo celeste nero carta

It would be quite difficult to draw composite weave directly into weave editor. Instead of this choose Change > Edit decomposed. Type 5 in Warp layout, and 3 in Weft layout. The weave is now divided into 15 fields, which represent weave combinations between each warp and weft. The grid of selected field is colored red. Use left mouse button for drawing black points (warp up), and right mouse button to erase them. Now simply read the above table and copy elementary blocks (warp/weft twill, warp/weft up, plain weave) to its proper places. You can copy or exchange selected weave as in other part of the program: copy to another field with right mouse button, exchange with middle button. You can draw the weave points in any of the two windows - the changes will be immediately updated to all parts of the program.

Just one note on the weave profile in the weave editor - you may have noticed that it is quite different from the profile at the bottom of the weave table. The profile in the table has been drawn by hand, and usually represents weaver's intent, as a first step in design of a new weave. You see that weft threads are clearly positioned at the top, bottom or middle, according to their desired role. The profile in weave editor is generated by ArahWeave, and the program has no idea of binding thread and things like that. It just draws the profile according to the position into which threads are pushed by the weave. For reasons of clarity, each thread has its own position, so green and blue warp run one on top of the other, although they would run in parallel in the real fabric. You can also see that the gray binding weft is on the top (not in the middle), together with thick black weft. But the real fabric is also like that. So you see that the weaver's profile from the weave table looks more understandable, but can also be deceiving.

ArahWeave jacquard gobelin fabric

Below is a sample printout of decomposed weave. Besides the weave from the editor above, we have added two other weaves, so you can look it up in the weave table above, and check if you understand it properly. Or better still - open ArahWeave and draw them by yourself.

gobelin 10 12K
ArahWeave printed weave
gobelin 12 12K

After you have drawn and saved the weaves, you can check the color effect of weaves in the browse window. You can reach it through Edit weave window be selecting Files > Browse. The Color button in the right lower corner should be on, and you should set the correct density of the fabric (Thread pattern > Density), and View of fabric should be set to Simulation 3 or higer..

ArahWeave different colors in weave structure

Now choose Weave > Jacquard conversion, and load the image in Jacquard conversion window by selecting Images > Load image.
The picture size is 100 by 88 pixels. It is displayed on title bar of Jacquard conversion window, along with image filename, number of colors, and current zoom level. We need to to change the resulting weave size after weave insertion according to number of warp (x5) and weft (x3) threads. Enter the multiplied values at the bottom of the Jacquard conversion window for warp (5x100=500) and for weft (3x88=264) or just simply click on x5 for warp and x3 for weft.
Now we need to load a jacquard weave for every color in the image (Choose weaves > Load weave...). You can select weaves from the file selection box. In this case it is even better to use the Browse window (Choose weaves > Browse).

ArahWeave jacquard conversion

If you press the Color toggle button in this window, you can also see the weave simulation of the weave which you have chosen for each color, even before you apply the weaves to the image. Isn't that cool?

ArahWeave jacquard conversion

By pressing the OK button in the left lower corner, you will get the jacquard weave based on color image and weave selection.

ArahWeave jacquard weave

Before preparing a jacquard floppy for weaving, we must correct the long float errors.
In Edit weave window choose Change > Float. A window with separate graphical report of float length for warp, weft, face and back of the fabric will pop up. You may need to resize the window to see all the data. If there is enough space, program will display the exact number of floats of length 1, length 2, length 3, etc. To see how many floats are longer than 8, just click on 8, and program will sum up the total number of long floats and display them in red in the relative top right corner. Besides, it will also display the length of float over 8 threads in mm, according to current density setting. By clicking on the float report, you set the length of acceptable float. To see the location of errors, click on toggle button Mark, and weft long floats will be marked in red, while warp float errors will be marked in cyan. Only the errors on the face of the fabric will be shown. To see the long floats on the back side, negate the weave, or Reverse the fabric. Long float errors will be shown both in weave window and in main fabric display window, if the view mode is Weave or Integer.

ArahWeave float correction

Then click on the Fix floats face and back and program will remove all floats longer then the selected threshold value. You will get the report about correction of long floats. If you will set reasonable long float limits, all the long floats will be removed automatically.

ArahWeave float correction

In many cases, a trained weaver will be able to tell if the fabric is correct or not, just by looking at the weave colored in warp and weft colors (what we call Integer view). Well, gobelin is not one of such cases. Anyone who still thinks that simulation is just a toy for people, who do not understand weaving, may continue to run back and forth between the loom and the CAD.

ArahWeave gobelin fabric

Users of ArahWeave will be pretty sure what are they going to get, by selecting View > Simulation in the main fabric window. There are 8 quality levels of the Simulation; higher number means higher quality.

ArahWeave gobelin fabric simulation

Note that we were not trying to match the colors of the fabric picture at the top of this tutorial, since it is based on a scanned photo from a book. From this point on, it is easy to save the weave in the jacquard format, like it is explained at the end of this tutorial. This one is already too long, so we are not going to repeat it here.

Any final words? First, we congratulate you, since you have read it to this point. We are even happier, if you understood it, and have learned something new. Probably you agree with us, that jacquard fabrics should be more expensive, since so much knowledge is needed to design them.
If you examine other gobelin fabrics, you will find out, that their construction is remarkably similar to the principles, presented in this tutorial. The fact, that gobelin weave construction was developed several centuries ago, proves, that people are not getting any smarter. We just have better tools now. In many aspects, weaving is similar to programming: people wrote better programs, when they needed to punch cards in order to program a computer, since they were actually thinking before writing a program. Now we write the program during thinking about the problem, and we are satisfied as soon as something appears to be working. We will not mirror this metaphor into weaving, so we will not insult anyone. Take this as a challenge and try to develop a really novel weave construction, using the knowledge you have gained here.

Weave editor handles both jacquard and dobby weaves. If the weave can be woven on dobby, it also shows tie-up and card; otherwise this information is hidden.

Maximal weave size 65520x65520 - really, it is not a typing error ;-) If in doubt, download the demo and try it.

Maximal number of shafts is 50 (nobody has that many, but can be useful for editing)

Weave editor grid is fully customizable, both as grid dimensions in x an y direction, as the line thickening

You can enter denting (sley) and regulator (warp beam let-off) and view it in fabric simulation. Empty dents are also supported! Regulator (and denting) can be entered in numerical way or drawn on the side (or top) of the weave.

Operations like move up, down, left right, negate clear ... work on selection or full weave. Copy/extend selection to larger area. You can load other weaves into selection - weave patchwork can be drawn in a matter of seconds.

Program can control threads reversal: if two (or more) threads are in the same dent with very similar weave, the program will warn you that there is danger of threads reversal.

In pattern draft, the lines are drawn (or printed) in gray to permit easy counting of both black and white squares


Warp and weft pattern are drawn and printed on the side of the weave, to avoid errors in drafting


"left" and "right" dobby cards are supported through program customization


Export the dobby card to 3.5" floppy in electronic dobby format Stäubli 1858III, Dornier DoTech and DoStyle format


Export the drafting and drawing-in information for VEGA drawing in machines in .VIF format. Empty dents and skipped drafts are supported.


Weave can be displayed in standard black (warp) & white (weft) notation, or in current warp/weft colors


You can insert or delete any number of warp or weft threads anywhere in the weave


It is also possible to edit the weave by clicking directly on fabric simulation.


If you develop the weaves for the dobby loom, you will appreciate that you can save or load individual weave elements, like just the card or just the drafting. In this way, you can have the fixed warp and drafting and just load different cards. If you find something interesting, you have created a new design at almost zero cost.


Weave editor with a dobby weave:

Weave editor in ArahWeave

And if you are looking for new weave ideas, we have a library of 10039 (ten thousand thirtynine!) weaves, sold separately as an option. You can browse them with incredible ease. Even the weaves which you will create during your work with ArahWeave will be automatically browsable. So if you know how your weave looks, you will be able to find it, even if you forget its filename.

Furthermore, you can sort them by:

  • name
  • number of shafts
  • warp float length
  • weft float length
  • date
  • size
  • effect (relative % of warp points)
  • warp consumption
  • weft consumption

You can view all these weaves in colors of warp/weft to discover interesting raye effects. ArahWeave is a nice program - it allows you to resize the window and it will display more data. The weave display grid is customizable. And to load a weave just double click it. What could be simpler than this?

database of weaves in ArahWeave

But it doesn't end here. If you enable Color button, you can browse the weaves in actual warp/weft colors and view the simulations in real density. You will discover many new possibilities. Using the same warp, you can make many new designs with almost zero cost!

ArahWeave database of weaves in color view

It goes without saying, that ArahWeave will optimize the number of shafts or redraw draing-in to desired number of shafts. But what if the number of weave shafts is bigger than the number of shafts on your loom? We have a cure for this, too. Mergers of companies are very fashionable nowadays, and you can use it on your shafts. ArahWeave will find the two most similar shafts, and identify the differences. It is then up to you to remove the differences, so that they can be merged.

merging shafts with ArahWeave

You can also print out the complete weave, including selvedges. Printout is customizable, and you can switch off individual elements which you do not need.

ArahWeave weave printout with fabric simulation

Color shading is an advanced feature of ArahWeave software for weaving, which enables you to weave any color image into a fabric with roughly the same colors, without any color reduction. So you can go directly from scanning to weaving, without any image editing. You may adjust image contrast, hue, or any other operations, which you do on a photo in order to make it look good.

For this example we have scanned the famous Van Gogh's painting Landscape with olive trees.
scaned image

Open ArahWeave, choose Files > Browse...
ArahWeave browse window

... and load the color shading fabric template file. This file is not present in the demo version of the program. You get it with a paid version of ArahWeave software, or we can e-mail it to you on request, if you have a valid support contract.

In this color shading template fabric file, we use black and white yarn in the warp, and six colors in the weft.
ArahWeave thread pattern

During color shading jacquard conversion, the program chooses (or makes) the most appropriate weave, with respects to yarn colors in the fabric. For more accurate color rendering you can change warp and weft colors into colors, which are actually present in the image. The algorithm for automatic weave generation is flexible, and is not limited to 2 warp 3 weft systems, or to one particular weave type (satin, twill), neither to these particular warp and weft colors. For changing colors choose Fabric > Colors.... From Edit colors window load PANTONE for fashion and home-paper®, and copy colors, which you want to use to warp and weft.
ArahWeave Pantone color palette

In the following step, we will set the weaving density of the finished fabric, by selecting Fabric > Density. You only need to enter warp and weft density, other fields are not important in this case. If you are not sure what density will you use, just enter the closest approximation. In our case, we are using 48 threads per cm in warp, and 72 threads per cm in weft. Your density will probably be different.
ArahWeave weaving density

Now we need to open the jacquard conversion window, do it by selecting Weave > Jacquard conversion....

Load the color image, which you want to weave by selecting Images > Browse. The picture must be in full color 24 bits per pixel, for example in JPEG image format.
ArahWeave jacquard conversion

Below the image, you see the basic weaves used for color shading. Program displays 256 spaces for weaves, but only the first weaves, which are filled in, are actually used. Most users do not have the knowledge needed to make new color shading weaves, so you should leave the weaves as they are.

You need to enter the number of your pattern hooks in warp, for example 1800. Click the Density button and the computer will automatically calculate number of wefts (picks), which will keep the proportion of the image, based on fabric density. Program will fill in the value of 2100 in the weft field, as you click on the Density button.
You have five options for fine tuning of the final result:

  • Random: this toggle button gives you choice of two different dithering algorithms, which give the impression of increased number of color levels. You can try both to see which works best for you.
  • Reinforce: with reinforce turned on, the program changes the length of floats of warp and weft in the "original" weaves to achieve color accuracy. This only works for certain types of color shading weaves. You should leave the setting which was present in the template.
  • Flat to flat: sometimes you want the text labels or borders in color shading to remain unaffected by the noise, which is usually added to the picture to achieve a smooth shading. If the Flat to flat button is turned on, the program will search for areas of flat color in the true color image and will not apply any dithering noise in that area.
  • Noise: with this option you can make smoother color transition between shades. The value goes from 0 to 99, experiment with it until you find a good compromise between smooth rendering and loss of detail.
  • Warp / weft color ratio: you can specify the relative importance of warp and weft effect in the calculation of color shading weaves, expressed as %. Default value is 50, that means that the importance of warp is equivalent to that of the weft. By changing it, you can make the final fabric image more or less saturated, if you have black and white warp and colors in the weft.

ArahWeave software for weaving jacquard and dobby

Click the OK button and ArahWeave software will make the transformation. After few seconds, you have the resulting weave.
ArahWeave edit weave

Before preparing the file for weaving, we must correct the float errors. Usually you will have considerable number of long floats after color shading conversion.
In the Edit weave window choose Change > Float. A window with separate graphical report of float length for warp, weft, face and back of the fabric will pop up. You may need to resize the window to see all the data. If there is enough space, program will display the exact number of floats of length 1, length 2, length 3, etc. To see how many floats are longer than let say 20, just click on 20, and program will sum up the total number of long floats and display them in red in the relative top right corner. Besides, it will also display what the length of float over 20 threads in mm, according to current density setting. By clicking on the float report, you set the length of acceptable float. To see the location of errors, click on toggle button Mark, and weft long floats will be marked in red, while warp float errors will be marked in cyan. Only the errors on face of the fabric will be shown. To see the long floats on the back side, negate the weave, or Reverse the fabric. Long float errors will be shown both in weave window and in main fabric display window, if you use Weave or Integer view mode..
ArahWeave correct float

Then in the Edit weave window choose Change > Fix float face and back and program will remove all floats longer then selected ones. Correction of long floats has very little influence on the fabric appearance in the case of color shading. You will get the report about correction of long floats. If you will set meaningful long float limits, all the long floats will be removed automatically.
ArahWeave correct float

If you will use this function many times, you do not need to use the float control window at all. The long float limits are already set in the fabric template file, so all you need is press h on the keyboard to fix the floats, and you are done.

To view the simulation of fabric on the screen, select View > Simulation 4; higher value of simulation number means better quality of the simulation, but also slower simulation calculation time. By clicking on the desired number in the Zoom menu, you will enter desired zoom mode. Value 1:1 means 100%, 2:1 stands for 200% etc. You can also set zoom in Fabric > Density to any value between 5 and 1600%. The current zoom factor is also displayed in the main window's title.
ArahWeave fabric simulation

Here is fabric simulation at 100% zoom.
ArahWeave fabric simulation

Ideally, you will want to weave color shading pictures at maximum number of hooks available on your jacquard. The fabric in this tutorial uses just 1800 hooks, but if you have a jumbo jacquard with 9600 or 12000 hooks, you will be able to render the image with much more detail.

We have developed several different fabric constructions for color shading. In this tutorial, we have presented a 2 warp 6 weft construction, but we also have normal tapestry with 6 warps and 3 wefts, rotated tapestry with 3 warps and 6 wefts, 1 warp and 6 wefts, 5 warps and 3 wefts, etc. You can also make your own color shading constructions, if you understand weaves really well. The construction of custom color shading template files will be explained in a separate tutorial.