Author: Anja Redl

The history of textiles (Latin: texere

– to weave) dates back to

the dawn of human civilisation.

While leather had been used to make

garments long before, the earliest fabric

made of plant fi bres was found in

the area of modern Sweden, dated to be

up to fi fteen-thousand years old. Since

then, the textile world has been enriched

by a number of fabric types.

The culture of silk evolved in India, in

the fourth century AD. The various types

of silk production methods formed

later in China, through the rearing of

silkworms instead of collecting the yarn

in the wild. Wool also appeared in India,

in the third century AD. Weaving,

hence the production of linen has been

discovered in Egypt, in the fourth century

AD. Types of textiles were severely

increased with the discovery of artifi cial

fi bres after the Industrial Revolution.

Nowadays, a broad collection of textile

types is available on the market. Different

kinds of fabrics are made of several

various materials, with several various

methods. Let an overview on those



Wool: Fibres of wool are gained from the

fur of animals. The fi bres are sinuous,

hence trap small bubbles of air, keeping

the temperature constant. Wool is, therefore,

an excellent material for warm

clothing and blankets. The cleaning of

wool requires special carefulness as the

fi bres contract in hot water. Rare kinds

of wool are mohair, made from the fur

of Angora goat; cashmere, of pleasant

odour, made from the fur of pashmina

goat, the tender angora, made from the

fur of Angora rabbit, and the exclusive

alpaca and camel wool.

Silk: The yarn of silk is an explicitly thin

and fi ne yarn, natural substance of the silkworm

pupa. For the harvesting of such,

long and cautious work is needed, therefore

the primary use of silk occurs when creating

luxurious clothing. Its natural gloss

is pleasant to the eye, its touch is pleasant

to the skin.

Cotton: The fi bres of cotton are from inside

the boll of the cotton plant. Cotton is

nowadays the textile of broadest use, as

the touch of it is pleasant, it is durable, and

easy to clean. The longer the cotton fi bres,

the fi ner and stronger the fabric. The highest

quality cotton is made of ELS (Extra

Long Staple) cotton plant, the fi bre-length

of which exceeds all other types.

Linen: Linen fi bres stem from fl ax, and the

attributes of it are mighty similar to those

of cotton. However, linen is stronger and

more durable. The strength and fi neness

of the yarn are determined by the length of

the fi bres, likewise.

Synthetic textiles: Synthetic textiles are

made of synthetic fi bres, the substance of

which is usually oil or coal. These kinds of

fi bres melt when exposed to heat. Synthetic

textiles are less pleasant to touch compared

to natural textiles and might often cause irritation

to the skin. The use of these is prevalent

in lower quality garments as neither

the production nor the cleaning of synthetic

textiles requires special carefulness.


Weaving: Woven fabrics contain several types,

each with differing attributes.

Plain weave: The thicker the yarn used for

weaving, the heavier the fabric. The pattern

is the construction of horizontal stripes.

Primary use of it are bedsheets.

Twill weave: This kind of weave is mighty

similar to plain weave but completed by

a diagonal pattern to increase the hardness

of the fabric. A great example for textile

made of twill weave is denim.

Herringbone weave: Created primarily

of wool yarn, the pattern of herringbone

weave is a construction of V-shaped stripes.

The result is a warm fabric, ideal for

winter coats.

Satin: It is a luminous weave, fi ne to touch.

Producing satin is an especially attentive

work as the yarn tangles easily, decreasing

the durability of the fabric. Hence, sating

is primarily used for luxury clothing and

evening gowns.

Pile weave: The fuzzy surface of this kind

of weave is obtained by constant addition

of extra fi laments. A gorgeous example for

pile weave is velvet.

Knitting: Knitted textile is especially supple,

that can be further increased with the

use of elastic yarn. The two types of it are:

Weft knitting: Produced with two needles,

of a continuous yarn, weft knitting had

been the only type of knitting before the

development of knitting machines. However,

with regular use, this type of fabric

tends to expand and lose shape. Most

T-shirts, stockings and pullovers are made

with this technic.

Warp knitting: This type of knitting can

only be produced by factory machines.

Each loop is created from a distinct yarn

and are connected vertically. The result is

a textile that is stronger and does not lose

shape as easily. Warp knitting is regularly

used for swimwear and sportswear.