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Textiles : Fiber

Information about textile studies and resources for textile research.

Textile Standards

Textile Quality Control

Textile Testing

Fiber Classification

BFL and hemp

Fibers comprise textile fabrics. Textile fibers are usually one of two kinds: natural or manufactured.  Natural fibers are those found in nature, whether their origin is cellulose-based (e.g. cotton, sisal, flax/linen) or protein-based (e.g. wool, silk, asbestos).  Manufactured fibers are man-made through a process transforming natural raw materials or synthetic materials from a liquid-state to a solid fiber.  There are numerous examples of manufactured fibers; some general examples include spandex, polyester, and rayon. 

*Humphries, Mary. Fabric Reference (3rd Edition). Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2004.

Sustainable Fibers

  • Sustainability is a hot topic in textile production right now.  Some examples of sustainable, and other, fibers can be found in a chart created by Earth Pledge, a foundation that "promotes and supports sustainable development programs." [Retrieved February 24, 2010 from Earth Pledge website.]
  • 2009 was declared the "International Year of Natural Fibres" by the United Nations.  Click here to read more about it.

Fibers & Fiber Care

Collection of fiber related links from the American Fiber Manufacturers Association.

Includes Fabric University with lots of information on fibers, yarns and fabric, as well as fabric care, and trade information.

Fiber World Classroom
Basic information on fiber products, their manufacture and care. Also a section on fiber and the environment.

From Fiber to Textile

Fibers are forged into textiles through various techniques.  There are dozens of different ways to weave fiber into fabric, but there are two primary categories of textile techniques:  loom-woven and non-loom textiles.

A loom is "a device used to weave cloth. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads. The precise shape of the loom and its mechanics may vary, but the basic function is the same." [Retrieved from Wikipedia April 15, 2010.]

Some examples of loom-woven textile styles include:

  • Damask
  • Satin weave
  • Tapestry weave
  • Twill
  • Velvet

Non-loom textiles are created using a variety of techniques and tools. Some examples include:

  • Brading
  • Crocheting
  • Knitting
  • Lace
  • Macrame
  • Netting

*Gillow, John and Bryan Sentance. World Textiles. Thames & Hudson Ltd. : London, 1999.