I remember wondering not so long ago what a person meant by, say, "silk satin jacquard," or "wool crepe." Trying to figure out these definitions I started breaking down the categories into which each fabric falls. Leaving aside the fiber content (wool, poly, cotton, etc.) for the moment, I used an idea I got from bird identification books, of looking for the most noticeable feature and working out from there.
I came up with a list of "first impression" groupings of fabrics, and I'll get to that soon. First, these are the basic weaves, showing illustrations from Fabrics and How to Know Them by Grace Goldena Denny, 1928 edition. Keep in mind this is what the fabric looks like through a magnifying glass!:
And a knit is not a weave at all. This is its basic structure:
These are the basic weaves as more graphically illustrated in the Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles:
Next time: Some fabric definitions