Updated on October 1, 2022 by Sarina

Textiles refer to materials that are made from fibers, thin threads or filaments which are natural or manufactured or a combination. Textiles are created by interlocking these yarns in specific patterns resulting in a length of cloth.

As per the Federal Trade Commission’s website – The term “fiber” or “textile fiber” means a unit of matter which is capable of being spun into a yarn or made into a fabric by bonding or by interlacing in a variety of methods including weaving, knitting, braiding, felting, twisting, or webbing, and which is the basic structural element of textile products

The textile fibers are spun into yarn and then made into fabric by different methods like weaving, knitting, felting. It forms the building block of a garment. So many properties of the fiber, like fiber type, yarn gauge, twist yarns per inch, weave float, how it is processed and finished determine the final product.

The most important criteria for quality textiles are

Type of textile fibers 

textile fibers
This refers to the yarn used in making the fabric. Check out the post on different types of textile fibers for more detail on this.

Basically speaking you can classify the textiles as natural textiles and synthetic textiles. Main Natural textiles are Cotton, Silk, Denim, Flannel, Hemp, Leather, Linen, Velvet, Wool; The synthetic textiles include Nylon, Polyester, Acetate, Acrylic, Polar fleece, Rayon and Spandex.

Thread count
This refers to the number of threads per inch of a fabric (yarns-per-inch). This denotes how tightly or loosely the fabric will be woven. Higher the thread count higher the number of threads woven per inch, and higher the quality. Learn more about Thread count and why it is counted as a quality yardstick of textiles

Balance of weft yarn and warp yarn
In the weaving of the cloth, there will be a balance in the proportion of horizontal weft yarn and the vertical warp yarn. This is very important in any fabric. In high-quality fabric, this balance (either in numbers or in size) will always be maintained. 

The fibers that are woven to make the fabric will either be as a single strand or they will be formed by combining two yarns (twisted) or even more.
When two or more fibers are so twisted together, they result in a stronger, durable yarn which also resists pilling. A two-ply yarn is superior to a single ply yarn


These are processes used on the fabric to improve its appearance as well as performance. Pre-shrinking, Making it non-wrinkle, dyeing to different colours, sizing, sanforization etc. More on fabric finishes here


What is textile

Related posts on Different types of fabrics

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  1. Thank you very much for your time and help with to enlighten us more about the sewing technics and guide,I really appreciate that,As for me am a professional Seamstress/ Tailor living in the Western part of Africa to be precise, I really want to join an organization or company out of my country so that I take my career into another level.but am still interested and I always follow up your program in sew guide in my email address which I have been for so long.as Tailoring is m professional job presently. would it be possible for someone like me to join you there so that I contribute to the up coming seamstress/ Tailoring as a employee in that organization?

    1. Hi Barbah
      I am so happy to know this site helped you. I am afraid I do not have an organisation such as you hope for. Best wishes in your sewing journey.

  2. For the purpose of tariff codes, if a cotton material does not have a finished edge is it not considered a textile article (Chapter 63)? It is only considered a cotton fabric?

  3. So where can one purchase quality fabrics? All the fabrics one can get at like, Wally World one could read the newspaper thru, and that, to me, doesn’t indicate quality. It would seem pointless to even sew if one had to literally line every garment they make in order to maintain modesty. We have upholstery shops here in town that carry better quality fabrics, but who wants to look like someone’s deck chairs or the sofa in the doctors office or something like that. Where do commercial garment makers get the kind of cotton like for t-shirts that is thick enough to cover things nicely, and hang better?

    1. Hi Connie
      This is a problem I face too. So I have no solution other than empathize. I am always looking at the thick knits and wanting them : ) Even the Rayon I get is not as good as the ones of ready-made clothes

  4. This definitely is an amazing piece! It’s loaded with vital information on the subject, and then some more. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

  5. Hi,
    I live in Phoenix and need 100% cotton tee shirts that has a weave that will block UV rays. I have already had two precancerous places removed from my back. I bought three denim shirts off of eBay and the sunlight comes right through them. Synthetic material makes me itch. Can you help me? I bought two cool bar shirts and the sunlight passes through. They are now four years old. I still wear them, but they are so expensive. The heat is so hot and sunlight is so bright. I thought you might know something with a certain weave and not too expensive that might help me. Thank you for any reply. I am at my wits end. Thank you. Greg

  6. Awesome!! i love this, am into cloth making and just starting a fashion school. I find this so useful. many thanks. Would love to be one of your followers.