CALICO. A trade term to describe the simplest variety of plain cotton fabrics embodying what is variously known tech nically as the "plain," "calico" and "tabby" weave. This simple fabric structure is evolved by the most elementary plan of inter weaving two distinct series of threads, constituting the warp and the weft series, respectively, and which cross each other at right angles. Each individual thread of these two series inter weaves in an exactly corresponding manner; i.e., with every thread in each series passing alternately under and over consecutive threads of the other series, uniformly, throughout the entire fab ric. Hence, every thread in each series interweaves to the utter most possible extent with every thread in the other series, and thereby produces a texture which is relatively firmer and stronger than that of any other elementary weave structure, for corre sponding counts and quality of yarn, and ends and picks per inch in the fabric.
Calico fabrics comprise an infinite variety of different textures and qualities according to the different uses for which they are intended, ranging from the finest muslin and cambric textures to those of the coarser and stronger textures of cotton. In the cot ton trade, however, the term "calico" applies more strictly to a true plain cloth in which the counts and quality both of the warp and weft, and also the number of ends and picks per inch corre spond, approximately. Thus, a typical example of a fine texture is one containing zoo ends and picks per inch, of 40's counts of yarn both for warp and weft, though these data may be varied in either direction with considerable latitude, without departing from the true calico texture. When these items correspond, either exactly or approximately, the resultant texture, whether this is fine or coarse, will be produced with a general evenness of surface in consequence of the threads of both series each bending and yield ing in the fabric in an exactly corresponding measure.
Calico fabrics are almost invariably woven in the "grey" state; i.e., in the natural colour of the raw cotton staple. A considerable quantity of calico is used in the grey state for domestic purposes, as well as for many trade and other uses. It is also shipped in large quantities all over the world. A considerable amount of calico is also bleached, dyed, and printed, for every conceivable household use and articles of clothing. (See CRETONNE.) Variations of Plain Calico. Although the plain calico weave is the simplest possible fabric structure, yet it permits of several distinct modifications in the development of different textural effects without departing in the very least from the essen tial basis of that structure as defined in the first part of this article. Thus, instead of employing warp and weft of similar counts of yarn, and inserting a corresponding number of ends and picks per inch, as in a true calico fabric, warp and weft of widely different counts may be employed in order to produce ribs and cords either across, lengthwise, or in both directions of the fabric. The ribs or cords will lie in the direction of the coarser threads and will be more or less pronounced according to the disparity in the respec tive counts. For example, a warp-ribbed effect is produced across the fabric by employing a greater number of warp threads of finer counts of yarn, per inch, with a fewer number of picks of coarser counts of weft, as exemplified in "poplins" and similar textures. By adopting the reverse method, a weft-ribbed or corded effect is produced lengthwise of the fabric, by employing yarn of coarser counts for warp, and of finer counts for weft. The familiar ex ample of "repp" fabric employed for upholstering railway car riages is virtually a plain texture evolved by employing yarn of both coarse and fine counts both in the warp and also in the weft series of threads, in order to develop a more pronounced ribbed effect, as well as a texture of greater strength and durability. (See also COTTON ; WEAVING.) See H. Nisbet, Grammar of Textile Design (1927). (H. N.)