For centuries, woven cloth has been used to create clothing. Woven cloth is often referred to as textile and contains fibers spun into a yarn or a thread for use as clothing. Archaeologists and historians look to artifacts to explain how the fabric was used and worn by different cultures in the past. Both historians and archaeologists have come to different conclusions regarding clothing and textiles.
Archaeologists have found evidence that clothing was worn by prehistoric people up to 500,000 years ago. Historians believe that the spread of lice may have led to this change because people wore clothing to protect themselves. Assorted sewing needles were found, which reinforces the belief that early textiles were handmade and that people sewed their own clothing. Humans began weaving to create clothing out of textiles as far back as 27,000 years ago.
Early textiles were often made of flax, which grew in surrounding areas of the Near East. Later, farmers used sheep and turned the fibers into types of fleece, but it wasn’t until much later that the use of wool grew out of shepherding and farming. The use of linen became popular during the 3000 BC era when weavers learned to twist the linen fibers into clothing material.
Historians believe that textile and clothing makers were incorporating cotton into their pieces by the 4th and 5th centuries BC. Cotton was a stronger and more durable fabric that was capable of holding dyes to make different colors, and the dyes themselves were often made from natural items like berries, plants, and bugs.
In the 15th century through the 17th century, fabrics were chiefly made for trade with other countries. For example, in England they traded cotton for silk and they traded muslin fabrics from India. History shows that the more expensive fabrics were reserved only for the upper class who could afford to purchase the them. The lower and poorer classes often relied on clothing and textiles they could make themselves.
There’s evidence to prove that trading existed in much earlier times as well. Nomads and others who created fabric and textiles worked with traders, who then passed the products along to merchants that carried the products to other countries and sold them. In ancient times, the Silk Road was responsible for spreading silk fabrics around China, Egypt, and other ancient settlements. In present times, textiles (otherwise known as apparel) can be bought at chain stores like Walgreens and can also be customized in a variety of styles like t-shirts, sweatshirts, and outerwear.
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The Textile Revolution
History of Clothing and Textiles
English Medieval History
All Sewn Up
History of Clothing Around the World
Historical Clothings & Textiles
Clothing and Fashion
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The Textile Museum Shop
American Textile History Museum
Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum
Windham Textile & History Museum
La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum
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