Textile or ‘cloth’ has become a very fundamental part of our lives. But, have you ever thought how these beautiful designer dresses that we see around, come into existence? The answer lies in the wonders of nature. Nature has provided us with indispensable assets like flora and fauna whose by-products help human beings to help their survival. Cloth is also a production of the plant and animal fibres. Raw fibres like fur, hair, wool, cotton etc. go through a long series of processes that finally give it the form of a cloth. All such processes take place at, what is called, a textile industry. Since cloth is a very important part of every aspect of our lives, textile industry is one of the most flourishing industries in the world animal and plant textile is one of the most concerning industries of any nation.
Now let’s understand the process of cloth generation in a bit detail. Raw fibres like fur, wool etc are spanned to produce long strands called yarn. Then these long strands are knitted, weaved and knotted to finally produce the Fabric. Cloth is the term used for the finished fabric. Cloth can be made out of many materials. Here we will only discuss about the animal and plant materials.
Animal textile is generally made up of hair, fur, wool etc. Wool is the hair of the domestic sheep and goats. Wool as a whole, is coated with a mixture of wax and lanolin which itself is dirt proof and waterproof. Woollen clothes are generally made for wearing in winter-purpose. Such clothes include jackets, coats blankets etc. Another very important animal fibre used for cloth production is silk. Silk is produced from the fibres of the cocoon of the Chinese silkworm. This silk is spun into smooth fabric which is why silk cloth material is quite expensive and people have rich eyes on it.
Plants originated fabrics are no less popular than those of animals. Cotton, jute, hemp and other cellulosic fibre plants are sources of fabrics and textiles. These are then knitted or woven to produce the yarn which in turn is used to produce the fabric. Other than using yarn, textiles can also be made by the process of felting. Felting is the process of pressing steamed fibres together to produce the cloth. The plant fibre is mostly extracted from its cellulose.
The fabric developed from plant and animal textile goes through number of processes to make the finished cloth. Also some preservation techniques are applied to these fabrics so that they stay in good condition for long time. Industrial Revolution has brought about a drastic change in the functioning of the textile industry. Weaving used to be done manually until the industrial revolution. The invention of flying shuttle and steam-powered looming has proven a boon to the textile industry by automating the weaving process particularity. The animal and plant textile industry has evolved rapidly over the years with new processes, techniques and methods developed.