Although it seems there are many types of fabrics used in textile industry, there are, in fact, 3 types of basic fabrics only, by the structure of yarns or fibers. They are woven fabric, knitted fabric and non-woven fabric.
Woven fabrics are made by interlacing two sets of yarns at right angels to each other. The lengthwise yarns are known as warp yarns or ends, while the widthwise yarns are known as filling yarns or picks. The lengthwise edges of the fabrics are called selvages.
Knitting is the process of making cloth with a single yarn or a set of yarns moving in only one direction. Instead of two sets of yarns crossing each other as in weaving, the single knitted yarn is looped through itself to make a chain of stitches. These chains or rows are connected side by side to produce the knit cloth.
The chain of loops which runs across the cloth is called a course. This corresponds to the filling in woven fabric. The lengthwise chain of loops is called the wale and corresponds to the warp. The number of stitches or loops in each square cm/inch determines the density of the cloth. The closeness of the wales in the fabric is determined by the closeness of the needles in the machine(i.e. machine gage). The number of courses per cm/inch in the fabric is dependent upon the height of the stitch loop(i.e. the distance the needle pulls the yarn when the loop is made).
A nonwoven fabric is a textile material made directly from fibres and held together by adhesives, fusion( if the fibres are thermoplastic), or mechanical entanglement.
There are different types of nonwoven fabric, such as bonded web, fusible, and spun bonded. Each possesses distinctive properties for specific end uses, such as: disposable hospital gowns, apparel interfacings, geo-textiles(to prevent erosion), industrial filter cloth, wiping cloths, and quilt backings.
Some other textile materials, such as felt, lace fabrics, tufted fabrics, and boned and foam laminated fabrics, are all combined by 2 or all of these 3 types of basic fabrics.