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What are textiles?

What are textiles?

Textiles are fabrics, fibers, cloth or materials used to make fabrics. At first textiles only referred to woven fabrics. The word textile is derived from the Latin term textilis, which means “woven". Now the word textiles encompasses materials used to make fabrics and fabrics themselves.

Textiles are everywhere in our lives. They are in our clothes, our furniture, our carpets and our bedding. They can be made from natural or synthetic fibers, and they can be woven, knitted, felted or even printed.

In this article, we'll take a look at everything you need to know about textiles, where they come from and how they are used.

What was the first textile?

The first textiles were probably made from natural fibers such as wool, flax, and cotton. Today, there are a wide variety of synthetic fibers that are used to create textiles, including polyester, nylon, and acrylic.

There are two different types of textiles, natural plant based and man made textiles.

Natural Plant Based Fibers


Cotton fibers are the softest and most comfortable fibers used in fabric production. They are also strong and durable, making them ideal for a wide range of uses. Cotton fibers come from the seedpod of the cotton plant, and are typically white in color. They can be spun into a variety of different textile yarns, and are used in a wide range of products, including clothing, towels, and bedding.



Ramie is a bast fiber, meaning the fibers come from the inner bark of the plant's stem. The plant is native to Eastern Asia and was first cultivated in China. Ramie is one of the strongest natural fibers and is used in a variety of applications, including clothing, home furnishings, and even automotive upholstery.

 Ramie plant



Coir fibers are derived from the husk of the coconut, and are used in a variety of applications including brushes, mats, ropes, and upholstery. The fibers are strong and durable, making them ideal for use in high-traffic areas.

Coir is also resistant to mold and mildew, making it a popular choice for outdoor applications.


Hemp fibers are strong and durable, making them useful for a variety of purposes. Hemp fibers can be used to make rope, paper, and fabric. In the past, hemp was a common material used to make sails for ships. Today, hemp is sometimes used as a substitute for wood fiber in paper and fiberboard production. Hemp fabric is used to make clothing, bags, and other textile products.


Hemp Yarn

Hemp is grown in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and North America. In the United States, hemp was once an important crop for farmers. However, hemp cultivation was banned in the 1930s because of its association with marijuana. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in growing hemp, and some farmers have begun growing hemp once again.


Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. Linen is strong and durable, making it a popular choice for clothing and home furnishings. The flax plant is grown in warm climates and the fibers are harvested by hand. The fibers are then spun into yarn and woven into fabric. Linen is often used for bedding and table linens because it is easy to care for and gets softer with age.

Man Made Synthetic Textiles and Fibers


Polypropylene fibers are made from the by products of oil and natural gas production. Propylene is polymerized into polypropylene resin. This resin is extruded with color pigments through a showerhead like device known as a spinneret. The spinneret creates long thin synthetic fibers of polypropylene that are then spun together to make polypropylene yarn. The yarn is then woven, knitted, or spun bond to create usable textiles like upholstery fabric, active wear, medical fabrics, and industrial geotextiles.   



Polyester fibers are made from a long chain of synthetic polymers, which are derived from petroleum. The fibers are strong and resistant to environmental damage, making them a popular choice for a wide range of applications, including clothing, upholstery, and industrial textiles. Polyester fibers can be used in both woven and knitted fabrics, and are often blended with other fibers such as cotton or wool to create a fabric with desired properties.

Better than polyester performance fabric


Nylon fibers are created from a long chain polymer called polyamide. This polymer is created by combining two different monomers, diamine and dicarboxylic acid. The most common method for creating nylon fibers is called melt spinning. In this process, the polymer is melted and forced through tiny holes, called spinnerets. As the molten polymer exits the spinnerets, it is cooled and forms long, thin fibers. These fibers are then wound onto a spool.

nylon rope

Nylon fibers are used in a variety of applications. One of the most common is in the production of clothing. Nylon fibers are often used in blends with other fibers, such as cotton or wool, to create fabrics with unique properties. Nylon is also used in the production of carpets, tires, and rope.


Rayon fibers are made from cellulose, which is a natural polymer. Cellulose is the main component of plant cell walls and is found in all green plants. Rayon is produced by dissolving cellulose in a chemical solution and then forcing it through a small hole, called a spinneret. The solution is then cooled and solidified to form the fiber.

Rayon fibers are used in a variety of products, including clothing, upholstery, and towels. They are also used in medical applications, such as bandages and dressings.


Acrylic fibers are a synthetic fiber made from a polymer (polyacrylonitrile) with an average molecular weight of ~100,000 g/mol. The fibers are used in a variety of applications, including clothing, carpets, and reinforcement in plastics. Acrylic fibers are produced via a spinning process, in which the polymer is melted and extruded through a spinning nozzle. The resulting fibers are then cooled and drawn to achieve the desired properties.

best outdoor fabric

Acrylic fibers are known for their softness and durability. They are often used in blends with other fibers, such as wool, to create fabrics with a variety of properties. Acrylic fibers are also used in making synthetic fur and in the production of artificial turf.


Textiles are an important part of our lives, and there is a wide variety of textiles to choose from. Natural fibers such as cotton and linen are soft and comfortable, while synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon are strong and durable. There is a textile to suit every need, and textiles are an essential part of our everyday lives.

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Shamiul - February 28, 2024

Hi… Your blog is so interesting and much educative site… Hope you also know about

It’s a textile related site… Hope you will be read my articles

Sarah - June 12, 2023

Properties of cotton and their characteristics

Margo Coad - March 7, 2023

I am struggling in trying to decide what to reupholster my mission style couches with. Any advice?

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