Finishing includes all the mechanical and chemical processes employed commercially to improve the acceptability of the product, except those procedures directly concerned with coloring. The objective of the various finishing processes is to make fabric from the loom or knitting frame more acceptable to the consumer. Finishing processes include preparatory treatments used before additional treatment, such as bleaching prior to dyeing; treatments, such as glazing, to enhance appearance; sizing, affecting touch; and treatments adding properties to enhance performance, such as preshrinking. The newly formed cloth is generally dirty, harsh, and unattractive, requiring considerable skill for conversion into a desirable product.
Finishes enhancing the feel and drape of fabrics involve the addition of sizing, weighting, fulling, and softening agents, which may be either temporary or permanent. The performance of fabrics in use has been greatly improved by the development of processes to control shrinkage, new resin finishes, and new heat-sensitive synthetic fibers.