Fabrics

Fabrics

 

The first clothes, worn at least 70,000 years ago and perhaps much earlier, were probably made of animal skins and helped protect early humans from the ice ages. Then at some point people learned to weave plant fibers into textiles.

Textiles are made from many materials, with four main sources: animal (wool, silk), plant (cotton, flax, jute), mineral (asbestos, glass fibre), and synthetic (nylon, polyester, acrylic). The first three are natural. In the 20th century, they were supplemented by artificial fibres made from petroleum.

 

Textiles are made in various strengths and degrees of durability, from the finest micro-fiber made of strands thinner than one denier to the sturdiest canvas. Textile manufacturing terminology has a wealth of descriptive terms, from light gauze -like gossamer to heavy grosgrain cloth and beyond.

The production of textiles is a craft whose speed and scale of production has been altered almost beyond recognition by industrialization and the introduction of modern manufacturing techniques. However, for the main types of textiles, plain weavetwill, or satin weave, there is little difference between the ancient and modern methods.

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