Lifting Plan in Weaving a Fabric

Author: Aayushi Kumar

A lifting plan provides an information on how to create specific weave structures on dobby or table loom. This format is an alternative to tie-up format which is generally used for floor looms.

This weave drafting format consists of 3 main components –
  • Weave plan matrix (Drawdown)
  • Draft plan matrix (Threading pattern on harness)
  • Lift plan matrix (sequence of lever/peg lifting)
Let us understand each component by considering an example shown below.

Step-I: Preparing the weave plan

Let us consider basic 3/2 warp way twill weave motif (3 up 2 down). The repeat size for this selection will be 3+2=5 i.e. (5 x 5) 

Clearly, the next step is to draw the desired rearrangement of the weave motif, which is the weave plan. Note, that weave plan is a schematic representation of the cloth itself and showcases interlacement of warp and weft yarns (Figure1). 

weaving plan

Step-II: Draft plan 

It communicates two main pieces of information to the draft reader-
  • It showcases the number of shafts (heald frames) required to complete the design.
  • The draft plan, (known as threading plan) indicates the order of insertion of the warp yarn through heddles of each shaft to get the desired pattern. 
Upon knowing the meaning and relevance of drafting plan, the question arises, how do we find out these two aspects of a given weave plan? Let us continue with the example taken (i.e. basic 3/2 warp way twill weave). 

To prepare a drafting plan, the key is to put same warp designs in one shaft so that their up and down movement is same. 

In the referred weave plan (Figure 2) the similar warp designs (pointed out using arrows) are identified and put in same shafts; therefore, for this specific weave plan, 5 shafts are needed to complete the design. 
Draft plan

The next step is to plan the order of warp yarn insertion in each shaft. This is automatically determined once we find out number of shafts required by grouping the similar warp yarn interlacement. (In figure 2, look at the table Determining the number of shafts) 

Cross similar warp interlacements in a single shaft. In figure 3, warp yarn 1 and 6 are threaded in shaft 1 via heddles 1 and 6.  Similarly, the pattern is continued to get the final drafting plan as shown in the diagram below (Figure 3). 
Draft plan 2

Step-III: Formulating Lifting plan

Figure-4 shows how the lifting plan matrix is positioned in the draft, meanings of rows, columns, and their relationship with the shafts.
Before beginning, do remember that the pegs (in a dobby loom) or levers (in a table loom) are to be lifted in such a manner that we ultimately get the weave plan that we had decided in step-I. 
You must keep in mind that when the levers or pegs are lifted up, they lift the corresponding shaft to which they are connected. That means, shafts (1,2,3,4 and 5) must be controlled with one lever or peg each (i.e. L1, L2, L3, L4, L5 respectively, figure 4); hence, we require 5 of them for the weave plan that we have considered. 
Formulating Lifting plan

In the weave plan, we require warp to rise up over weft where ever [X] annotation is given. In order to lift the warp [X] we need to lift the corresponding shaft and in turn lift the corresponding lever.
Now, look at the Figure-4. Note that, for the warp yarns (i.e. Warp 1, Warp 4, Warp 5, Warp 6, Warp 9, Warp 10), before insertion of first weft yarn (Weft 1), we need to lift shaft 1, 4 and 5 for which we need to lift lever L1, L4, L5 (all denoted with X in the diagram). 
In a similar manner, lifting order is decided before insertion of weft 2,3,4,5 and so on while looking at the weave plan and the shafts that need to rise. The final lifting plan is shown in Figure 5.
final lifting plan

Look at the Conclusion Chart shown in Figure-5. It shows the interrelationship between warp yarns, weft yarns, levers/pegs (lifting plan) and shafts to be lifted. In a similar manner, lifting plans can be prepared for different weave plans. As a signing off note, do not forget to clearly represent the notations for clear communication of your draft. (Refer to figure1 for a sample format)

Try creating your own weave design and chalk out it’s lifting plan. Cheers!

Related post: How to read the Tie-up plan

  • Hand Weaver’s Pattern Directory by Anne Dixon
  • Woven Textiles: A Designer’s Guide by Sharon Kearley

Published:15 Jul 2020 
Updated: 4 Nov 2023

About the Author: Aayushi Kumar, an NIFT, Kolkata graduate, and Co-founder of Ednam Solutions Pvt Ltd is working in the field of female healthcare and hygiene, making smart garment. Her interests include sustainable fashion, functional garments and luxury brand management.

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