What is TEXTILE? A simple definition and different types of textile fibers

what is textile

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Introduction to textiles

Textile refers to the material that are made from fibers( hair like materials which are  natural or manufactured or a combination). The fibers are spun into yarn and then made into fabric by different methods like weaving, knitting etc. It forms the building block of a garment. 



Humans have been making textiles for a long long time and have since discovered different methods of making them, decorating them and making things with them.

Different types of fibers originated in different parts of the world – cotton in India, Africa ; silk in China , wool in Mediterranean and flax for linen in Europe and Egypt ; later these textiles reached all parts of the world and was adopted by all cultures and geographical regions.

Different fibers that form textiles

The fibers that form textiles are of 2 types

  • Natural fibers

They are harvested from plants or by shearing animal fur. The most common ones you must know are wool, silk (from animals) cotton,jute, flax ( from plants) Hair bearing animals like silkworms and sheep are shorn of their fur to produce these fibers ;Fibers are also extracted from roots, leaves etc of plants like cotton, flax etc. Minerals like asbestos are also used to make  fibers

  • Manufactured fibers ( Man made fibers)

Major players of the textile industry invest in developing fibers which are economical as well as carry many qualities which are highly desired. These versatile fibers are much in demand and make up almost half of the fiber produced in the world today.

Manufactured fibers consists of the following three types

1 Regenerated cellulose fibers which are made from a viscous solution of cellulose which is purified wood pulp

2 Synthetic fibers which are basically chemical raw materials

3 Blended fibersman made fibers made by blending other man made fibers or with natural fibers. They are mostly a cross between natural and manmade fibers. 

what are textiles

How are textiles made ?

After the fibers are produced, they are made into yarn. Different types of fibers under go  different types of spinning processes to make them into yarns. The finished yarn is made into fabric by different methods like weaving & knitting. Other methods like crocheting, felting, laminating, knotting etc are also used. 

Production of textiles are woven into the history of their respective regions. Each of the textile tells a spacific original story of the people who made and used them down the centuries.Some of these textiles are no longer in use or they have lost their commercial importance due to a number of reasons.

Man has since invented many processes and technologies to produce beautiful textiles with spectacular designs and patterns in the most cost effective and streamlined ways.

Mass production of textiles with minimum dependence on manual labour has cut down the production cost of textiles and has made most of the textiles affordable for ordinary people like you and me

Checkout the post on the different types of Fabrics available for more details.

Reference : Textiles By Bobbie Sumberg

Fashion from concept to consumer by Gini Stephens Frings