[ELI5] How cloth is made? From string to fabric?



[ELI5] How cloth is made? From string to fabric?

In: Technology

Yep. String is either woven into fabric (lots of strings lined up and intersected with each other like a lattice) or knit into fabric (one string wrapped around and through loops like a blanket your grandma might’ve made).

Cloth starts as fiber, either in a bundle (like a cotton puff) or in a single strand (like synthetic nylon). If the fibers are bundled and organic (cotton puff), they’ll need to be straightened out and cleaned of anything other the fibers; for example, cotton has seeds scattered throughout the cotton puffs. After the fibers have been separated, they are spun into threads or yarn (think of the classic spinning wheel). The yarn is then woven in a cross-pattern to make a sheet of fabric. This can be done with a loom, a big frame that has a ton of threads going one way, while a little shuttle carries the cross-thread going the other way. Each time the shuttle crosses, every other thread on the frame switches position (up-down), so that they are wrapping around each cross-thread.

String is made into fabric through a process called “weaving”. The actual pattern of this process varies depending on the cloth.

In the past this was done using a device called a “loom”, typically a laborious task performed by women. With the introduction of machines and industrialization this was able to be done automatically, a move that was opposed by a textile association at the time for the many weaving jobs that would be lost. That textile association were the Luddites, and their opposition to technological progress turned their name into a perjorative term for anyone who opposes technology.